The Pea Ridge Historical Society
Pea Ridge, Arkansas
Volume 2,  Issue 1
NEWSLETTER

Joe Pitts, Editor
January 2006

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Meetings of the Society are on the 4th Tuesdays of each month, at the Pea Ridge High School Library, at 6:00 p.m. The Pea Ridge Historical Society was organized October 23, 2003 by a group of persons interested in preserving and sharing the history of Pea Ridge, Arkansas.

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The Pea Ridge Historical Society exists to research, preserve and communicate the history and heritage of the City of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, its citizens, and its surrounding communities, especially the areas within the Pea Ridge School District.

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Pea Ridge, Arkansas has 154 years of history, and is now growing at an unbelievable rate. The city has witnessed a rich variety of historical events, [some of national significance], notable people, education milestones, business enterprises, and evolving customs and traditions.  The people of Pea Ridge have worked and struggled to build a sturdy way of life through times marked by opportunity, hardship, and the crises of war.

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      Pea Ridge Historical Society
      P.O. Box 276
      Pea Ridge, Arkansas 72751-0276

            http://www.prark.org/

            prhistsoc@prark.org

Officers
Mary Durand, President
Jerry Nichols, Vice President
Marcia Cothran, Secretary
Augusta Bradley, Treasurer

Board Members
Diane Bone                   Matt Jines
Martha Ruth Hall             Joe Pitts


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A primary goal of the Historical Society is to establish and operate a museum of Pea Ridge area history, as a means of preserving, publicizing, displaying and interpreting records, artifacts, photos, maps, and oral histories. Also, we desire to acquire properties having historical significance for the purpose of preservation.

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The Historical Society seeks to coordinate efforts with such organizations as the Pea Ridge School District, the City of Pea Ridge, Pea Ridge National Military Park, and other organizations devoted to historical interests in Benton County and Northwest Arkansas.

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The Pea Ridge Motto

Anchored in the Past, Rising to the Future


An Earlier Sign on Highway 72 South

Pea Ridge, the Biggest Little City in Arkansas





OUR VISIT TO THE LOWELL MUSEUM

On November 12, a number of the members of the Historical Society gathered on the Pea Ridge High School parking lot and formed a car pool to go and see the Lowell Historical Museum. Glen Nolan Jones, the Director of the Lowell Museum, escorted the group through the very interesting displays. The museum was filled with fascinating old objects contributed by the citizens of the Lowell community. Glen said he has been overwhelmed by the interest taken in the museum by the good people of Lowell.

Glen also said that he has enough artifacts and relics to fill another building, and that he is working toward that goal. He also said that the volunteering has been great, and he hopes soon to have enough volunteers to keep the museum open daily.

Glen's grandmother, Minnie McDonald Jones, was a first cousin of Charles Pitts, the father of one of our members Joe Pitts. In the 1980s, Minnie wrote weekly letters to the Rogers Daily News about her growing up in the Rogers and Lowell areas.

What we learned in visiting the Lowell Museum would indicate that we should redouble our efforts in getting our museum into operation, knowing that the good people of Pea Ridge will respond.

Pea Ridge, the "Biggest Little City in Arkansas", needs a museum!



NEW MEMBERS

Welcome to our two newest members, Robert Howard "Bob" Pitts, and his sister, Helen Marie (Pitts) Arnn.

Bob was born on January 15, 1918 on Mike Buttram's Southern Slopes Orchard Farm, located two miles east of Pea Ridge.

Helen was born November 30, 1930, on what is known as the Case place, a mile and a half southeast of Pea Ridge. Helen is the youngest of the Choc and


Phoebe Pitts family, and she had the protection of eight older brothers.


PRE-CHRISTMAS PROGRESSIVE DINNER

On Tuesday evening, December 13, the Historical Society joined in a Pre-Christmas Progressive Dinner. Several members were in attendance and all enjoyed the evening, visiting and talking of old times. The first stop was at the home of Jerry and Nancy Nichols for an appetizer, which was well-planned and served by Nancy. The next stop was at the Jim and Margaret Cheek home for salads, all of the finest quality. Then we went to the beautiful home of Morris and Marcia Cothran for some of the best soup ever served. The last stop was the Henry and Mary Durand home, and the most delicious desserts. It was a well planned evening, and enjoyed by all.


MUSEUM PROSPECTS

On Thursday, December 16, three members of the Historical Society, Jerry Nichols, J.W. Jordan and Joe Pitts met with Mayor Jackie Crabtree to look through the historic E.H. Building on North Curtis. The building is no longer being used by the Sorority, and is basically vacant.

The roof needs replacing, and windows and other parts of the structure need renovation, but renovation should be a manageable task.

Mayor Crabtree stated that the city is cautious about leasing because of problems other cities are having, but is interested in negotiating a practical agreement with the Historical Society. The issue will be discussed in the Society's January meeting.


MEMBERSHIP RENEWALS

It's time to renew your membership in the Historical Society.  Your participation is essential in helping our Society function successfully.  Help us carry through on the vision for preserving and sharing the history and heritage of the Pea Ridge area by

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renewing your Historical Society membership. Simply make your check for $10.00, payable to the Pea Ridge Historical Society, and mail to P.O. Box 276, Pea Ridge, AR 72751-0276.


WHO LIVED IN OUR AREA BEFORE OUR ANCESTORS CAME?

Archeologists from the University of Arkansas tell us that the first people to occupy the area were Bluff Dwellers or Rock Shelter Indians. By the artifacts, arrow heads, rock hammers, and crude knives which have been found, they can actually tell which Indians were here first. They also note that for each period of time there was a vast improvement in their relics. During this time several families lived together because the caves or shelters under bluffs were larger. These shelters were always near to a clear spring of bubbling water.

Also, unearthed skeletal remains of bodies tell much about the people themselves. From the skeletons it was learned that the Bluff Dwellers were short, having a sturdy body and strong teeth and jaws. Those people over thirty years of age were plagued by arthritis, probably due to the way they had to live. The bones, joints, and teeth revealed many things about the early inhabitants long before dental records were thought of.

Many Indian relics were picked up without noting the area they came from. In the Eden's Bluff area east of Rogers, the University found many artifacts before the area was covered by the filling of Beaver Lake. It has not been determined what happened to the Bluff Dweller Indians.

Next came another group of Indians known as Mound Builders. The Mound Builders were more prevalent in our area, although many of the mounds were destroyed by our ancestors, either not knowing their significance, or by cultivating the ground in

such a manner that would level them out.  It was indicated that these Indians were a fun-loving people.  They loved to hunt, fish, and even to put out gardens in the summer.  This may have been because the population was such that they didn't have to be over-protective of their hunting grounds.  Archeologists report that pieces of pottery unearthed from the mounds not only were skillfully produced, but beautifully decorated; revealing an artistic flair and skill much improved over the Bluff Dwellers.


The Mounds Indians were in this area long before the earliest explorers came, as seen in the fact that some of the mounds were covered by huge trees with deep roots. Undisturbed mounds east of Siloam Springs gave the University of Arkansas many artifacts to study. Among them were skeletons surrounded by pieces of pottery, copper rings, bracelets, and shell beads.


It is not known exactly how long the Indians who occupied the area that became northwest Arkansas were here before our ancestors arrived. We have learned that the Osage Indians were roaming on lands north of the Arkansas River. They were roving bands, very venturesome, and known to delight in making war on their neighbors.

The Quapaw Indians also roamed northwest Arkansas. They were a fearless, happy people who were more settled than the Osage. They loved fishing, hunting and a more peaceful way of life, unlike the fighting Indians. From the makeup of the Pea Ridge area, it is thought that it fits the mold of the Quapaw Indian. We do know that the Indians of this area were more settled and were actually farmers in their way. The wild peas in this area took many years of preparation and somehow had to be cultivated. The state of Arkansas was named for the Quapaws. Arkansas means "downstream people".

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SOME OF OUR EARLY AND LEGENDARY
SETTLERS OF THE OUTLYING DISTRICTS
OF PEA RIDGE


Rev. J. Wade Sikes, with his father, Robert Sikes, and family, came to Arkansas in 1853, and settled east of Pea Ridge. He later moved to Cross Hollows and served as postmaster. Wade was a Baptist preacher, teacher, postmaster, and avid fox hunter. He was instrumental in starting Baptist Churches in the area, such as the Pleasant View Baptist Church southwest of Rogers.

Rev. J. Wade Sikes and his brother owned the land on which the city of Rogers was built. Wade was the first mayor of Rogers, and his brother B.F. Sikes was the first postmaster.

Mat "Red" Cavness first lived near Pea Ridge, and later moved to Bentonville. Mat and his descendents have been in city and county politics ever since.

Enoch Trott settled near Sugar Creek southeast of Pea Ridge. He was known to have owned a Trading Post and Saloon in what became the town of Brightwater.

James Wardlow settled on Sugar Creek south of Pea Ridge and built a large log house. He owned many acres of land in the Sugar Creek area.

Wiley Foster lived just west of Little Round Mountain. The first skirmish of the Battle of Pea Ridge was fought mostly on the Foster farm. Wiley had two brothers with him, and Granville Medlin. The Foster girls were school teachers for many years.

Lewis Pratt settled near the Elkhorn Mountain at what is now known as Winton Springs. His family intermarried with the Winton family.

George W. Miser was in Arkansas when the treaty with the Indians was signed in 1826. He staked out a large spring southwest of Pea Ridge, then

returned to Blount County, Tennessee. He married three months later and started farming on his wife's homestead. Twelve years and nine children later, he returned to the "Pea Patch", as he called it. He eventually acquired 1460 acres of the Pea Patch. George W. Miser started a Methodist Church, school, and campground near the big Miser Spring. The campground and church were named the Segal Church. It was burned down in 1855 by Union soldiers, and never rebuilt. George W. Miser and his wife bought the ground for his nephew, Rev. Elijah H. Buttram, to build the Buttram's Chapel and School. It was built in 1860.

William Ruddick was also in this area when the treaty was signed in 1826. He staked out a spring near what is now the Elkhorn Tavern, then returned to Illinois. In 1832 he moved his family to Arkansas, built a log cabin near the big spring, and later built the first Elkhorn Tavern. The Twelve Corners Baptist Church was started in the log cabin home of William Ruddick.

William Mahurin, a brother-in-law of William Ruddick, came to Arkansas in about 1833. He built a log cabin next to that of William Ruddick. He later homesteaded land between Garfield and Gateway.  Elder Mahurin was an original member of the Little Flock Regular Baptist Church constituted in 1843, and became one of the church's early pastors.  The church continues today as the Little Flock Primitive Baptist Church.  He also later helped establish the church at Providence, two miles south of Garfield.  William Mahurin and his two brothers have many descendents living in this area today.

H.H. Patterson and two brothers, William Marsh, John Lee, and the Morgans were also early settlers at Pea Ridge. The Patterson's, Lee's, and Morgan's have many descendents in the area today.

The first newspaper in Pea Ridge was The Advertiser, started by I.H. Baxter in 1905.  It lasted nearly a year.

The next newspaper was The Pea Ridge Pod,
founded by William Beck in 1913.  It lasted about two years.

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The Pea Ridge Graphic was founded January 1, 1966 by John and Maggie Edmond. One year later it was sold to Earl and Billie Jines, and the name was changed to the Pea Ridge Graphic-Scene. The paper is still in existence today, though having gone through several name changes and owners. Today it is known as The Times of Northeast Benton County. Published in affiliation with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the paper serves Pea Ridge, Garfield, Avoca, Gateway and Lost Bridge.


MILDRED WALKER, LONG-TIME RESIDENT

Pea Ridge lost one of its long-time citizens on December 20. Mildred Walker, wife of retired Pea Ridge rural mail carrier Max Walker, died at her home on Tuesday, at age 85. She was born in Pea Ridge on July 5, 1920, the daughter of Luther Nelson Martin and Gertrude Avis Woods Martin, and was a life-long resident of Pea Ridge. She was educated in the Pea Ridge Schools, and worked for a time for her father in the family's grocery store at the downtown intersection in Pea Ridge. She was later employed at Stroud Mercantile in Rogers.

Mildred was married to Max Walker on November 3, 1940. They were parents to one daughter, Betty Avis Walker.

Mildred was a member of the United Methodist Church of Pea Ridge, where she had taught Sunday School, played piano, and served with the United Methodist Women's group. She was also a member of the VFW Auxiliary. Her daughter, Betty Avis Greene, preceded her in death.

She is survived by her husband of 65 years, Max Walker, of the home; by one sister, Martha Lee Westberg, of Springdale; by her son-in-law, Haryle L. Greene of Pea Ridge; two grandsons, Matt Greene of Great Britain and Travis Greene of Rogers; and by three great-grandchildren.

She was laid to rest at the Pea Ridge City Cemetery.

Mildred Walker's life linked many long-time family names at Pea Ridge, some of whom have been residents of the area since the mid-nineteenth century such names as the Walker, Martin, Lee, and Wood families.

SOCIETY SEEKS NON-PROFIT STATUS

Pea Ridge Historical Society is in the process of applying for official status as a non-profit organization under Section 501.3c of the IRS Code. Non-profit status becomes an urgent issue as the Society moves closer to being able to establish a museum of Pea Ridge history. This will be helpful for arranging funding for the beginnings of the museum project, as well as securing on-going financial support for other programs carried on by our organization. Mrs. Billie Hickman is taking a lead with the paperwork and legal steps necessary in making application for non-profit status.


ON THE CALENDAR

The JANUARY meeting of Pea Ridge Historical Society is to be held at the High School Library, Tuesday, January 24, at 6:00 p.m. On the agenda will be some organizational issues, including discussion of a prospective museum site. The evening program will be a showing of selected video histories.

Our FEBRUARY meeting is to feature a program on "Railroads of Benton County", arranged by Jerry Nichols and J.W. Jordan. The meeting will be held at the High School Library, Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 6:00 p.m.

The MARCH Historical Society meeting is set for Tuesday evening, March 28, 6:00 p.m., at the Pea Ridge High School Library. The program is to be on the "Pea Ridge Canning Plant".


Our APRIL gathering will be a social event, a great traditional Egg Roast, at the home of Augusta Bradley on Leetown Road. Mark your calendar for Saturday, April 8, at 5:30 p.m.

The MAY regular Historical Society meeting is to be on Tuesday, May 23, 6:00 p.m., at the High School Library. The program will focus on "Our Poultry Industry."

Our JUNE monthly meeting is set for Tuesday, June 27, 6:00 p.m. at the High School Library. The program for the evening is to be "Our Dairy Industry."

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In JULY, our monthly meeting is set for Tuesday evening, July 25, 6:00 p.m., at the High School Library. The evening program is on the lives of Joe and Maude Rouhlac, long time Pea Ridge educators and community leaders.

The AUGUST monthly Historical Society meeting is to be on Tuesday evening, August 22nd, 6:00 p.m., at the Pea Ridge High School Library. The program will focus on Buttram's Chapel, which played several important roles in Pea Ridge beginnings.

For SEPTEMBER's meeting, we will have to do with "Making Apple Butter." That goes waaay back. We will meet at the Cothran home on Hayden Road north, date and time to be announced.

Programs for OCTOBER, NOVEMBER, and DECEMBER 2006 have not yet been set. Watch for information in future issues of the newsletter.


HOW CAN YOU HELP THE PEA RIDGE
HISTORICAL SOCIETY?


AREA ONE: Membership and Participation
Become a participating member of the Society.

Your interest, presence, volunteer efforts, dues, and ideas will help us function as a historical society.

AREA TWO: Artifacts and Information
Do you have items from earlier ways of life in the community that you could donate or make available to the Historical Society for museum display?

Could you tell your family's story of life in the Pea Ridge area?

Do you have photos, maps, letters, records, newspapers or clippings that preserve memories of events in family or community?

Have you done geneology research on your family which could be shared with the Historical Society?
Do you have information and ideas that might become articles for the newsletter?

AREA THREE: Help Establish the Museum
We will need volunteers, funds, leaders, and workers. Could you help with fundraising efforts? Could you volunteer time to help organize and set up museum displays? Could you volunteer time to become a guide for museum visitors? Handle clerical tasks? Pass the word about our needs.

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Pea Ridge Historical Society
P.O. Box 276
Pea Ridge, AR   72751-0276

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