Tag Archives: Arkansas

22nd North Arkansas Ancestor Fair

3 Jun

The 22nd North Arkansas Ancestor Fair will be held Friday, June 3rd and Saturday, June 4th, in Marshall , AR.  This year the theme will be the Civil War Sesquicentennial, and the talks on Friday will be about what happened in 1861 in North Arkansas and about researching Confederate and Union Soldier ancestors.  Saturday will be devoted to family historians swapping information, but there will also be the opportunity to get help writing family reminiscences about the Civil War.

The North Arkansas Ancestor Fair is the longest running genealogical event of its kind in North Arkansas.  It has two sections:  on Friday, there are speakers who talk about subjects of interest to genealogists and family historians; on Saturday family genealogists are provided tables and chairs so they can visit and swap information with the public, who have com to see what information is available.  North Arkansas county genealogical and historical societies have tables to offer information, publications for sale and to attract new members.

This year, there will be enough seating for both Friday and Saturday events so that advance registration is not necessary, but early arrivals will get the best seats, or table locations.  Friday’s talks will be held at the new VFW building, located just north of the Stoplight, and Northeast of Highway 65.  Russell Baker, Arkansas History Commission-Retired and perhaps the most knowledgeable person on Arkansas research, will speak from 9:30am on “Finding Confederate and Union Ancestors”.  He will also have a fillip on results of DNA tests on a couple of Newton/Searcy county families.  Friday afternoon, James Johnston, Searcy County historian, will tell about what happened in Searcy and surrounding counties in 1861.  This will include the formation, betrayal and capture of the Peace Society and the Chain Gang that took them to Little Rock.  This will be followed by a discussion group where attendees will be invited to tell their family stories of the Chain Gang.  Friday’s lectures cost $7.50 for a half day or $10.00 for all day, which will be collected at the door.  The Discussion Group is free and everyone is encouraged to attend.

Friday night there will be a Mixer Dinner – place to be announced – where folks can mingle, visit, meet new-found kin, and get a start on Saturday’s ancestor hunting.  There is usually some musical entertainment as well.

Saturday’s Genealogical Swap Meet at the Searcy County Civic Center on Zack Road is free all day for providers who want table and chairs for their information and wares and for the public who only want to browse.  The doors are open at 8:00 am to set up for providers of information and wares, and are open at 9:00 am for the public.

The Ancestor Fair has drawn as many as 500 in years past, but recently the numbers have declined.  However, the sponsor, Searcy County Historical Society, expects the Civil War Sesquicentennial theme will attract over 200 visitors this year.

Additional information is available at the Ancestor Fair website.  www.ancestorfair.us ,or from Shirley Gray at shirleysdream@windstream.net or 870-448-3308

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FLASH FLOOD WATCH NOW IN EFFECT THROUGH SUNDAY MORNING…

21 May

A flash flood watch for Southwest Missouri is now extended through Sunday morning because of all the rain from Friday.  A meterologist with the National Weather Service says 1 to 2 1/2 inches of rain fell across the area.  The runoff will cause rivers, creeks and streams to rise.  Folks downstream from Table Rock and Beaver Lakes could see more water as the Army Corps of Engineers may release the excess.  Expect the rain to stick with us.  There’s a daily chance of showers and thunderstorms through the middle of next week.

THE FLASH FLOOD WATCH IS NOW IN EFFECT FOR

* PORTIONS OF SOUTHEAST KANSAS AND MISSOURI…INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING AREAS…

IN SOUTHEAST KANSAS…BOURBON…CHEROKEE AND CRAWFORD.

IN MISSOURI…BARRY…BARTON…BENTON…
CAMDEN…CEDAR…CHRISTIAN…DADE…DALLAS…DENT…DOUGLAS…GREENE…HICKORY…HOWELL…JASPER…LACLEDE…LAWRENCE…MARIES…MCDONALD…MILLER…MORGAN…NEWTON…OREGON…
OZARK…PHELPS…POLK…PULASKI…SHANNON…ST. CLAIR…STONE…TANEY…TEXAS…VERNON…WEBSTER AND WRIGHT.

* THROUGH SUNDAY MORNING.

* ADDITIONAL RAINFALL WILL BE POSSIBLE FROM LATE THIS AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT AS MORE THUNDERSTORMS MOVE ACROSS THE AREA. HEAVY RAINFALL ON ALREADY SATURATED SOIL COULD LEAD TO FLASH FLOODINGAS WELL AS RIVER FLOODING.

* LOW LYING AREAS NEAR CREEKS AND STREAMS AND LOW WATER CROSSINGS WILL BE ESPECIALLY SUSCEPTIBLE TO FLASH FLOODING.

THOSE CAMPING OR FLOATING ON AREA RIVERS SHOULD CLOSELY MONITOR RIVER LEVELS AND BE PREPARED TO SEEK HIGHER GROUND.

THE ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS ANNOUNCED THAT RELEASES FROM BEAVER AND TABLE ROCK LAKES MAY BE INCREASED AS A RESULT OF ADDITIONAL HEAVY RAINFALL. THOSE DOWN STREAM FROM THESE DAMS INCLUDING LAKE TANEYCOMO SHOULD BE PREPARED TO TAKE PROPER ACTION IF INCREASED RELEASES ARE REQUIRED.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A FLASH FLOOD WATCH MEANS THAT CONDITIONS MAY DEVELOP THAT LEAD TO FLASH FLOODING. FLASH FLOODING IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION.

YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS BE ISSUED.

New company serves up Float Trip Pickles

19 Apr

Carving its way through the Missouri Ozark Mountains is the spring fed and crystal clear, North Fork River.

In 1992 my brother and I took our father, Jerry Sr., to the North Fork for his first float trip.  The “float trip” became an annual ritual for “Senior” and five others.  Over the years, we have enjoyed the timeless beauty of the river, the thrill of jumping into Rainbow Spring and shooting the rapids, and the great times spent with family and friends.  The float trip has included many other rituals such as, Senior insisting on a red canoe, frosty beverages, fireworks, grilling of fine steaks a/k/a “the good meat”, and a gallon of the “float trip pickles”. (more)

Float Trip Pickles website.

Bee options for all

29 Mar

Making honey – total involvement

Beekeeping is all the rage these days, and my friend Pam is one of the many who’s become “Hooked on bees in suburbia.”  That’s my story of her first year of beekeeping, including the highs, the lows, and the enormous worries that go along with it.  I’m calling this the “total involvement” option because that’s what it seems to demand.  I say, better Pam than me!

Making honey, with help
But for people who don’t have the time or cajones to deal with bees themselves, there are people who’ll come and tend their hive for them, for a modest fee or for just the honey.  But why would you have bees if you don’t get to keep the honey?  To pollinate your garden, and for the fun of having a hive without all the responsibility.

(more)

Ozarks Persimmon Wine

24 Mar

Take a walk through most any Ozarks forest and you will find a persimmon tree. Once you find them what do you do? Make persimmon wine of course. Persimmon trees grow from 25 to 50 feet high and are distinctly male or female in gender. Their fruit is typically globular and small, from 1 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Domestic persimmons can reach 4 inches or more. They have 4 woody calyx lobes at the base, are quite astringent until ripening around October, and then are very sweet and juicy. They ripen to an orange to orange-purple (the domestics turn almost red) and persist on the trees until absolutely ripe, which may not occur until early winter or after the first freeze. After ripening, the fruit will drop or can be shaken from the tree.

Persimmons make a fine, slightly fruity wine, but it will be ruined if any unripened fruit are utilized. The large, red domesticated Oriental persimmons make the best wine with a delicate, amber color, but the wild natives also make a good-tasting, although somewhat brown colored wine.

PERSIMMON WINE

     

  • 3 lbs ripe persimmons
  • 2 1/2 lbs finely granulated sugar
  • 1 tblsp acid blend
  • 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
  • 7 pts water
  • 1 crushed Campden tablet
  • 1/2 tsp yeast nutrient
  • 1 packet Montrachet, Pasteur Red or Champagne yeast

Wash the persimmons, cut into quarters and mash the seeds out with your hands. Mash the pulp well, put into primary, and add half the sugar, the acid blend, yeast nutrient and crushed Campden tablet. Add water to total one gallon. Stir well to dissolve sugar, cover, and set aside. After 12 hours add pectic enzyme and recover. After another 12 hours, add yeast. Ferment 5-7 days, stirring daily. Strain through nylon sieve. Do not be concerned if a lot of fine pulp gets through; it will precipitate out. Add remaining sugar, stir very well, then transfer to secondary while leaving about three inches headroom. Fit air lock and set aside. Rack every 30 days until wine clears and no additional lees are laid down (4-6 months). Stabilize only if you feel the need to sweeten the wine before bottling. This wine should age in the bottle a year.

Persimmon trees are available through Stark Bro’s in Louisiana, MO. if you want to get serious. Mention this article and Stark Bros. will give you a 10% discount for a limited time of course!

Related story:

Dehydrating Persimmons

Persimmon fruit trees are great additions to your backyard garden, and the fruit makes a delicious, healthy snack for the whole family. I love growing fruit trees in my yard, and the persimmon tree is both attractive and easy to maintain in my climate.  In fact, the American Persimmon is native to North America, so it naturally fits right in! [read more]

Hiking the Buffalo River Trail

8 Mar

I read more than my share of blogs, I keep close contact with good friends and thought I would share a few of my daily reads with you. This is one I read, follow and subscribe to. It’s done by close friends Neil and Jessica Kohler. They are former Springfieldians now living in Columbia where they go to school and work.

Hiking The Buffalo River Trail by Kohler Created!

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A couple weeks ago a friend of mine messaged me on Facebook and asked if I wanted to go backpacking that upcoming weekend. Considering it was the middle of January, I was a bit wary at the thought of waking up to subzero temperatures. This group of friends have been known to backpack in sub 32 degree temperatures, and even sleep without a tent when it is in the single digits! Not only was my gear not really up to the task of extreme temperatures, but my courage wasn’t either.

As luck would have it, that particular weekend a warm front came through, warmer than any we’d had all winter, and the day time temperatures were in the upper 50s! Jessica had to stay home with a mountain grad school homework, but she told me to go anyway. I’m glad I did, the hike was just the escape I needed from the long winter.

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We hit the trail early Saturday morning. For those of you not familiar with the BRT, here is a quick overview of the trail. There is a lot of wildlife and amazing views on the hikes in Arkansas and I don’t think it gets as much credit where its due. A full 36 miles if you do it all, but this weekend we would be taking on a mere 15-17miles of the trail.

During the hike we tracked our progress with the multiple GPS devices among the crew. Here is a map of our hike to reference.
View Buffalo River Trail – Steel Creek to Boxley in a larger map

Even though hiking in January meant little foliage and tree cover, it allowed us to see amazingly clear views of the river and the hills around.

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There were even a few surprises like this little sinkhole/cave we decided to check out.

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As the miles rolled behind us, 9.1 the first day to be exact; it started getting a bit later in the day and we needed to look for a good place to camp, one hopefully with a water source nearby. We came atop one of the hills/mountains and found a flat peak, however the only water source was over 300 feet of elevation drop below us.

My brother Ben and our friend Nathan took on the task of trekking down the steep gorge and getting 2.5 gallons of water (heavy!) and then climbing back up. Kudos to them, I highly doubt I would of had the fortitude to do that after the full day of hiking.

Our camp:

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I had canned soup and a hot dog for dinner. There were many different meals going on that evening. Some pastas, some rice dishes. If you have never heard of a JetBoil it is an extremely versatile cooking system that is lightweight and very efficient. Jessica and I used them on both our Colorado and Montana trips to cook many great dishes.

Nathan brought this awesome wind-up radio. I have to get one of these. It is great to get some tunes with the conversation around the camp fire sometimes. No batteries required. Wind it up for 60-120 seconds and get nearly an hour of radio. How cool is that?

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The morning came a lot earlier than I would have liked. However I did sleep well thanks to our awesome sleeping pads. Ever since we purchased them I have not felt the ground ever again on our camping trips. To see all of our favorite gear, check out this post!

Coffee in 60 seconds with the JetBoil and Starbucks VIA is a life saver on early camping mornings.

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I told you that they sleep without a tent. Crazy, but when you imagine the weight savings to your pack, it’s definitely tempting to try.

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We packed up and headed back out, immediately coming across a great view. Here’s a shot of my brother Ben and I. Can you tell we’re related?

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Another 7.3 miles to the end of our trek. Overall, I really liked the part of the trail we did. There were a lot of elevation changes that challenged me, but there was also a good amount of flat area where you did not have to stare at your feet and could enjoy looking around a little more.

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I was certainly tired by the end of the second day, but it felt good to get exercise that challenged every one of my muscles. It’s a great workout when you are hiking with 30-40lbs or more on your back. Beats the gym any day!

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End shot of our group.

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This weekend I may be heading down to do another weekend of backpacking. Stay tuned!

Neil

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Visit Neil and Jessica on…

Current River – The Vanishing Ozarks

26 Feb

The Vanishing Ozarks from Missouri History Museum on Vimeo.


This film by my estimation was produced  somewhere between 1958-1961 after seeing the Pontiac on the ferry.  It was hard to quickly research the year, the shot went by pretty quickly but I know I am in the ballpark as there were a couple of early Volkswagon’s spotted as well on the riverbank.

By the third decade of the twentieth century, the loss of the forest resulting from the hinterland development threatened traditional ways of living along the Current River even more than had the many social and economic changes of the lumber and railroad era. Timber, the resource that attracted the railroads and many people to the Current after 1880, showed signs of playing out soon after 1900. The forest was the foundation of the uplander culture. It housed the game that the uplander hunted and fed the hogs that the hill families ate. The uplander-frontier culture’s economic tradition was based on a reactive relationship with nature. Before the introduction of large-scale lumbering, the settlers made few visible changes to the natural environment. Their hunting practices helped to deplete much of the big game but their open range livestock grazing had little impact on the forest. The loss of so many trees through unbridled lumbering, however, damaged the natural and thus the cultural habitat of the traditional homeland.

Some Ozark and state leaders saw tourism as the economic salvation of the region. The early development of modern recreation on the Current and Jacks Fork rivers accompanied the introduction of railroads into the southeast Missouri Ozarks. There were two trends in the growth of recreation. First, the railroad and lumber companies encouraged sport hunting and fishing. The depletion of the wildlife and the exodus of the large pine lumber corporations limited this activity and, by 1914, the promotion of recreation began focusing on attracting tourists to the areas scenic beauty. Although tourism boomed around the springs of southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas during the previous century, it was slow to develop in the more isolated Courtois Hills. Unlike lumbering and hunting, tourism was an unfamiliar concept to most residents of the Current River region.

Urban businessmen formed several hunting and fishing clubs and built cabin retreats on the Current River after the Current River Railroad laid its tracks to the mill of the Missouri Lumber and Mining Company. In 1888, the year that the railroad was completed, businessmen from St. Louis, Kansas City, and Springfield, Missouri, established two clubs. Sportsmen in St. Louis chartered the Current River Fishing and Hunting Club with a five-dollar membership fee. Another group from Springfield and Kansas City organized the Carter County Fishing and Shooting Club and charged its members twenty dollars to join. The Current Local reported that the club had 125 members and that Alex Carter, a leading political figure in Carter County, appeared to be the only member from the county. The incorporators of the club were mostly officials of the Kansas City, Ft. Scott, and Memphis Railroad, the parent company of the Current River Railroad. With lumber from the Grandin mill, the members built a clubhouse six to eight miles south of Van Buren on a bluff overlooking the Current.

In 1912, another Springfield group incorporated a club, Shannon County Hunting and Fishing Club, and built cabins on the Jacks Fork. Again, as the purpose of the corporation stated, it solicited an exclusive membership:

“The object and purpose of this club shall be to furnish facilities for bringing together as often as may be, gentlemen in commercial, manufacturing and professional pursuits throughout Southern Missouri for educational, and for recreation and improvement . . . [and] to develop the mental and moral faculties of its members.”

The Shannon County Hunting and Fishing Club out lasted the other organizations and continued to exist into the 1980s.

The records of the Carter County Fishing and Shooting Club described something of the logistics and recreation activities of late nineteenth century float trips down the Current and Jacks Fork rivers. Because of the club’s association with the Kansas City, Fort Scott and Memphis Railroad (later part of the Frisco line) and because of this railroad’s partnership with area lumber companies, club members had ready access to the main KFS&M lines and the lumber trains. The sportsmen often traveled by train to Chicopee or to Chilton and from there headed the short distance downstream to the clubhouse. The favored pastime was floating and fishing down the rivers and, at least until 1930, most parties recorded in the club registry their catch and sometimes highlights of their trips. A 1907 entry by sportsmen from Carthage, Missouri, stated:

Put in Jack’s Fork about 3 miles above Eminence May 24, 1907, and floated to Club House. River about 18 inches high. Caught 60 bass, one jack salmon, one shad. Saw first engine cross Jack’s Fork. E. B. Jacobs caught a double consisting of two 3-pound bass. Had a fine time and good ride with Andy Pitman (guide) in gasoline boat.

This brief trip record noted an important transportation improvement furnished by the lumber railroad crossing the Jacks Fork. Before the construction of the tram in 1907, the fishing parties heading for the upper Jacks Fork had to depart the KFSM track at Birch Tree or Winona and travel overland by wagon to the river. They then floated downstream in canoes or johnboats, the latter was most common on the Current. The early johnboats were built of pine planks sixteen to twenty-four feet long. They were narrow (often three feet wide), flat bottomed, with slightly beveled sides. “Bow and stern [were] blunt, and the bottom at both ends tapered upward so that the boat [could] be swung easily in the current by a boatman operating with a single paddle from the stern.” Boards for making boats were carried to the departure point, along with the other sporting gear, and local woodsmen/carpenters built the boats on the spot for the fishing parties. The club records indicated that members organized float trips of varying lengths. Some excursions started up at Round Spring, on the Upper Jacks Fork, at Van Buren, or a number of other locations.

During the last two decades of the nineteenth century, the tallies of fish caught boast of the Current and Jacks Fork as a “fisherman’s paradise,” but a marked decline appeared after 1900. In 1946, Charles Callison, secretary of the National Wildlife Federation, demonstrated the decline by examining the number of fish caught by members of the Carter County Fishing and Shooting Club during the decades 1890-1940. The last column of the table, displaying a person’s average catch per day, reveals two dramatic declines: first, after 1900, the catch dropped from 13.5 to 7.3 and then, after 1920, fell from 8.8 to 5.9. The number of recreational fishing trips, themselves, decreased sharply during the Great Depression decade of the 1930s. Yet the trend reflected more than just the extensive removal of fish by sportsmen. The gigging and illegal dynamiting of fish by the residents of the Current River basin also contributed to the decline.

(Excerpt From the National Park Service)