The Society's Beginning

In the summer of 1974, Miss Mary Maude Gallagher thought it was time for Johnson County to have a historical society. While researching numerous features on the county's history, she determined that all areas of the county had a heritage worthy to be preserved. Joining forces with Mrs. Lillian Mickel, another local researcher, and Dr. Robert Basham, a history professor at the College of the Ozarks (now the University of the Ozarks), an organizational meeting was set for the 19th of August at the library of the College. 1 2

A second meeting was held on the 26th of August attended by 22 interested citizens. Mrs. James West, from a Crawford County historical group, assisted Miss Gallagher organize the essential matters of forming a society. A nominating committee was appointed consisting of Alice Ann (Mrs. Eugene) Harris, chairman, and Greta Gene (Mrs. James) King and Russell Tolbert. Bill Parker, Mrs. Medeiros, Mrs. Nora Clark, and Russell Tolbert were chosen to man a booth at the Johnson County Fair. The booth was to contain a large display of old pictures and $3.00 memberships would be available. The group planned to publish either a monthly or quarterly periodical.3 4

Dr. Basham was selected to serve as the first president of the newly formed Johnson County Historical Society. Other officers elected were Mary Maude Gallagher, vice-president; Roy G. Parks, Jr., associate professor of Social Sciences at the college, secretary; and James Robert Fontaine, member of the West Central Arkansas Planning and Development Commission, treasurer. Miss Gallagher was also appointed editor of the organization's magazine. Larry Myers was to serve as parliamentarian and Mrs. Mickel as the official historian. 5

Among the projects the group hoped to accomplish were sponsoring the publication of a book on Spadra Creek and development of adjacent towns, co-sponsoring the placement of descriptive markers, cooperate in the publication of a special Bicentennial edition of the Graphic, and cooperate in purchasing, restoring and furnishing of a historic landmark home. 6


  1. "Organizational Meeting For County History Society Planned", Graphic, (Clarksville, Johnson Co., AR), 15 August 1974, clipping from Vertical File Collection [VF] of the Johnson County Public Library, Clarksville, AR.
  2. "Historical Society To Present Program", Graphic, (Clarksville, Johnson Co., AR), 6 September 1974, VF.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Mickel, Lillian "Historical Society Has Second Meeting", Graphic, (Clarksville, Johnson Co., AR), 29 August 1974, VF.
  5. "Dr. Basham Is Elected To Head Historical Society", Graphic, (Clarksville, Johnson Co., AR), 12 September 1974, VF.
  6. Ibid.

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