Mar. 5th, 2011

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To look for old newspaper obits, and see if the book on Arkansas moonshiners that came up in my Burris surname search has any interesting tidbits...

After all, I need to stay current on my microfilm scrolling skills...
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From the Gurdon Times, dated 24 Feb 1906:

Valentine Party
Mrs. Tom Callaway, in her charming manner, on last Saturday afternoon, from 3 to 5 o'clock, entertained the Kadohadacho Club with a Valentine party.

The weather was propitious and a large number of ladies were present.

The Valentine idea was carried out in the decorations, the house being artistically decorated in red and white hearts in the spirited contest in which all were so interested; also in the score cards, and last but not least in the delicious and dainty refreshments, after which we were served with most refreshing punch.

In the contest Mrs. Fitzgerald won first prize and Mrs. Kress won the booby prize.

The guests lingered and departed reluctantly, enthusiastic over the afternoon's pleasure and hoping Mrs. Callaway would entertain again at an early date.

Comment: The Kadohadacho Club was apparently the fledgling effort in Gurdon by women of the community to establish a library in their town. The Club was named for a local Indian tribe.

I do not know the identity of Mrs. Tom Callaway for sure - I suspect she may have been the former Mattie Estelle Moore, wife of Thomas F Callaway, who was the son of William "Little Bill" Callaway and Emily L Bevil.

But there are a bunch of Tom Callaways in the Clark County family tree around the same age. I eliminated the widowers...
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It started off in spectacular fashion about 3 a.m.

Complete with lightning and thunder, and the tell-tale clacking noise of the tops of very tall pine trees crashing together in the wind. Think mega-supersized bamboo wind chimes.

I got up, looked out at the storm, filled cats' food bowl, and went back to bed. I noticed as I walked down the hall that my next door neighbor was up, with several lights on. She gets nervous when it storms.

If it's my time, then it will be my time whether I am conscious or not.

But I did have on decent underwear.

Got up again about 6:30 a.m. I was meeting my cousin at the Arkansas History Commission to look for obituaries for several of her family members on her dad's side.

I always do a little research before those trips in their online catalog. I hate wasting time trying to figure out which reels of microfilm I need while I am there.

And I hate wanting "this" newspaper for "that" time period and finding out that those are the issues that were missing when the newspaper was filmed decades ago.

I *really* wish Arkansas would come into the digital historic document preservation age.

The Arkansas History Commission has scads of microfilm. And back-up copies. On more microfilm, of course.

Some of it is really, really bad. I told one of the staff that as I returned four reels of completely unreadable film.

Yes... he sighed. I know.

Not only do we not digitize our own shit our own selves, we don't want anyone else doing it either.

There are explanations at just about every historic newspaper website, including the subscription and free ones, about why selected states have so few newspapers online.

The states won't grant access to the folks making the digital copies.

So far, it looks to me like Arkansas will grant limited access to its newspapers, if the newspaper was a flash-in-the-pan, and just a few issues were published.

Or if it stopped publishing a century ago.

So I do what I can to help out.

As I do find old newspaper articles about my family history, I also copy interesting stuff from the same issue.

And little by little, I am digitizing all that stuff in this blog in entries I call bits and pieces.

I know - it's a mere pittance.

But more than we had before.

The journey is good.

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I have five special cousins in my family tree - Sarah Elizabeth Dunlap, her sisters Rebecca Jane and Louisa, and their first cousins (double cousins, they were), Prudence Angeline and Georgiana Dunlap.

They are my second cousins, three times removed.

But that's not why they are special.

They were the only members of their 20 member extended family to survive the Mountain Meadows Massacre, a mass murder on 11 Sep 1857 that some current day historians call the first 9/11.

I have seen photos of my survivor cousins as adults, and read accounts of the night terrors and problems with readjustment that the 17 surviving children had when they were rescued and returned to their families in Carroll County, AR by Capt. James Lynch and the United States Army. Some of them had been abused and neglected by the Mormon families with whom they were living after the massacre.

Sarah's story just tore at my heart.

She was not thirteen months old when her entire family over the age of 7 was murdered. During the melee, she was shot in the arm, and seated close to her father in the wagon, received gunpowder burns to her eyes as he tried to save his family.

Since she, her sisters, and two young cousins were thought by the Mormons to be too young to identify their attackers, they were spared for a life as servants to Mormon families into which John Lee placed them.

The wounds to her flesh were never treated properly, and as a result, Sarah never regained full use of her arm. Due to untreated infection from the gunpowder burns to her eyes, she also was blind.

It was the wounds to her spirit that scarred even more deeply.

Capt. James Lynch is credited with the rescue of the children of the Baker/Fancher wagon party, a year after the massacre.

What he witnessed moved him deeply, and he stayed in touch with and visited the survivors for the rest of their lives.

When the Dunlap sisters heard that Capt. Lynch had become seriously ill, they were concerned, and Sarah Dunlap wrote to him, offering to come help him and be his nurse. In the meantime, Lynch's health improved but the correspondence continued. The couple were married on December 30, 1893, when the groom was 74 and the bride 37.

Capt. James Lynch

James Lynch took care of Sarah for the rest of her life. She died on 13 Nov 1901, and was buried in the Hampton Church of Christ Cemetery in Calhoun Co., AR.

Lynch died nine years later in 1910, and was buried beside her.


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Dee Burris Blakley

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