Washington County Arkansas Genealogical Society
It is the objective of the Washington County Arkansas Genealogical Society to collect and preserve genealogical and historical information with a focus on Washington County, Arkansas. We wish to encourage and provide training to those interested. We champion ethical and accurate research and publication of genealogical and historical information.
“Interest has been phenomenal for the last three months,” Gay Bland of the Rogers Historical Museum told the members of the Washington County Arkansas Genealogical Society on February 12, 2006. Beneath the waters of Beaver Lake are the remains of Monte Ne, a resort founded by William “Coin” Harvey in 1900. Only a few bits and pieces of the resort and its buildings are normally visible along Arkansas Highway 94 scattered in the trees along the lakeshore. But sometimes the lake recedes making more of the remains visible. 1997 was the last time the lake was low enough to see any of the remains of the Amphitheater. This year several rows of the stone seats and some of the stage are visible.
Before Coin Harvey built the resort at the turn of the twentieth century, the little town, located about 5 miles east of Rogers, was known as Silver Springs. It was large enough to have a tavern and a gristmill, which was owned by the father of Betty Blake who later married American humorist, Will Rogers.
In 1901 Mr. Harvey opened Hotel Monte Ne and built a lagoon that lay between the hotel and the railroad station. He brought a gondola from Venice, Italy and used it to bring guests from the station to the hotel, advertising the only resort where “the gondola meets the train.” In 1906, Missouri Row Hotel, a log hotel designed by A. O. Clark who was an architect of renown who later designed many of the outstanding buildings of Northwest Arkansas, was built, and in 1909, Oklahoma Row, another log hotel, was added. The resort was an upper class facility that competed with those found in the Adirondack and Pocono Mountains. It had all the amenities which included golf courses, tennis courts, dancing, fencing, an indoor pool and fine dining with evening entertainment.
By the 19-teens tourism had begun to change with the advent of the automobile. Families no longer traveled by train to vacation resorts, nor did they stay the summer as was once the trend. They came by auto, and the stay was considerably shorter. Mr. Harvey organized the Ozark Trails Association in 1913 to promote better roads and adequate marker for them. Of course most of the signposts showed the distance to Monte Ne. The days of the resorts, however, were numbered. Hotels of the type of those at Monte Ne saw a small renaissance in the late 20’s and 30’s, but, by World War II, they had died completely.
The story of Monte Ne is not just the story of an early twentieth century resort; it is also the story of “Coin” Harvey. William Harvey was born in 1851 in what would become West Virginia. He lived in Ohio, Colorado, Utah and Illinois before coming to Northwest Arkansas where he became the founder of resorts and tourism. He was a teacher by age 16 and a lawyer, passing the bar, by age 19. He was also a real estate developer, a mine owner, an author and a politician. In Chicago in the 1890’s, he was a member of the Free Silver Movement promoting the silver standard and free coinage of silver. He was a colleague of and a supporter of another Free Silver proponent, William Jennings Bryan. It was while he was campaigning for Mr. Bryan’s presidential run that Coin Harvey came to Northwest Arkansas.
By the 1920’s he began to believe that the fall of civilization was eminent. The amphitheater and the pyramid, an obelisk that would survive natural disasters and contain a time capsule for future generations, became his focus. The giant amphitheater, whose ruins are beneath the lake today, was just the foyer for the pyramid. The pyramid was never built even though locals sometimes refer to the amphitheater as “The Pyramid.”
In 1932 at the age of 80, he ran for President of the United States on the Liberty Party ticket. He finished last, claiming not a single state’s electoral votes. He was a man whose time and views had passed. He died in 1936 and was buried at Monte Ne in a concrete vault next to his son, who had died years before. Coin Harvey’s grave and that of his son were moved to higher ground prior to the building of Beaver Lake and the flooding of the original site.
Beaver Lake was formed when the dam on the White River was built in 1967.
It was the last of the dams built on the rivers feeding the Mississippi in
order to control flooding. The creation of Beaver Lake has contributed, more
than any other single thing, to the growth of Northwest Arkansas. Monte Ne
has disappeared, except that is, when the lake is very, very low.
A President’s Birthday
On April 30, 1789, George Washington, standing on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York, took his oath of office as the first President of the United States. "As the first of every thing, in our situation will serve to establish a Precedent," he wrote to James Madison, "it is devoutly wished on my part, that these precedents may be fixed on true principles."
Born at Popes Creek, Westmoreland County, Virginia in 1731/1732 to planter,
Lawrence Augustine Washington and his second wife, Mary Ball, he learned the
morals, manners, and body of knowledge requisite for an 18th century Virginia
gentleman. He was the oldest of 7 seven full siblings, but had at least 4
older half siblings. Young George had two intertwined interests: military
arts and western expansion. At 16, he helped survey the Shenandoah lands for
Lord Fairfax. He was commissioned a Lieutenant Colonel at the age of 22 in
1754, fighting in the first skirmishes of what became the French and Indian
In 1759 he married Martha Dandridge Custis, a widow, and devoted himself to a busy and happy life managing his lands around Mount Vernon and serving in the Virginia House of Burgesses. Like many of his fellow planters, Washington felt exploited by British merchants and hampered by British regulations. As the quarrel with England grew more acute, he moderately but firmly voiced his resistance to their restrictions and taxes.
When the Second Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia in May 1775, Washington, a Virginia delegate, was elected Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. He took command of his ill-trained troops at Cambridge, Massachusetts on July 3, 1775, then embarked on a war that was to last six grueling years.
Washington considered the best strategy against the British was harassment. He reported to Congress, "we should on all Occasions avoid a general Action, or put anything to the Risque, unless compelled by a necessity, into which we ought never to be drawn." Through many Revolutionary War battles, he would fall back slowly and then strike unexpectedly. Finally, in 1781 with the aid of French allies, he forced the surrender of General Cornwallis at Yorktown.
Although Washington longed to retire to his home at Mount Vernon, he soon realized that the new nation under its Articles of Confederation was not functioning well. He became a prime mover in convening the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia in 1787. When the new Constitution was ratified, the Electoral College unanimously elected George Washington President of the United States.
Much to his disappointment, two parties were developing by the end of his first presidential term. He retired at the end of his second term, feeling old and weary of politics. In his farewell address, he urged his countrymen to forswear excessive party spirit and geographical distinctions, and in foreign affairs, he warned against long-term alliances. (To read the entire speech go to: http://usinfo.state.gov/usa/infousa/facts/democrac/49.htm)
Washington enjoyed less than three years of retirement at Mount Vernon. He died there of a throat infection on December 14, 1799.
Did You Know?
During the 1800s, one of the biggest official winter celebrations was the annual observance of George Washington's birthday. Even before his death, the Washington's Birthday Bash and accompanying Birth-night Ball were celebrations in New England and elsewhere in the new nation. They were sometimes loud and rambunctious events. The celebrants were usually to be found at the local taverns although some preferred the hospitality of the homes of prominent citizens in the area. It sounds, just a little, like their current-day descendents on News Years Eve or Super Bowl Sunday. Don’t you think?
Take this little true-false quiz to test your GW knowledge.
1. George Washington wore a white wig to hide his receding hairline.
2. The story about young George, the hatchet and the cherry tree is pure fiction.
3. Very little is known about his childhood, which is the way he wanted it.
4. He was only a fair military tactician and a terrible speller.
5. He wanted to abolish lotteries, card games, and horse races.
6. He had a terrible temper.
7. He lived frugally.
8. He became surveyor of Culpeper County at the age of 23.
9. He and Martha had 12 children.
10. He was 6 feet 3 and weighed more than 200 pounds.
11. He was born to great wealth.
12. His name is given to the nation's capital, one state, 33 counties, seven mountains, nine colleges, and 121 post offices.
Historic February Dates /Birthdays
1587: Mary, Queen of Scots, was beheaded for treason on February 8. Mary was made Queen of Scotland at only a week old, widowed at eighteen and executed by the age of forty-four. She would marry three times after Scottish parliament annulled her engagement to Prince Edward of England, thereby setting off a war between England and Scotland.
1809: Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States, was born on February 12 in Kentucky. Lincoln opposed the expansion of slavery and oversaw the Union war effort during the American Civil War. He was assassinated on April 15, 1865 at Fords Theater in Washington, DC.
1867: Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder was born on February 7, in Lake Pepin, Wisconsin. Wilder drew from her own experiences when, beginning in her 60s, she penned her classic book series Little House on the Prairie. She died on February 1, 1957
1874: Ernest Shackleton was born on February 15, at Kilkea House, County Kildare. He was best known for leading a twenty-seven-man expedition to Antarctica aboard the Endurance which became lodged in ice. The crew lived onboard ship and then on the ice for nearly two years. Against all odds, the entire crew survived.
1932: Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was born February 27, in London, England. The family relocated to Los Angeles to escape World War II when Elizabeth was seven. By the time she was ten, her first film There's One Born Every Minute was being released.
Everybody Has A Story To Tell
Whence Cometh Our Genes is the title of the family history recently published by Catherine Shreve Foster. Catherine, one of five children, is the second child and second daughter of Ralph and Janie Wilson Shreve. She and her siblings were all born in Farmington in Washington County within a few miles of where she now lives. Her great-great-grandfather, Wilson Shreve, settled on the land in the mid 19th century that is still owned by family members. Her maternal ancestors traveled the Trail of Tears from Ashville, North Carolina the 1830’s to be settled in the Indian Territory, in what is today, Oklahoma.
When asked why she decided to write the stories of her family, she replied that if she didn’t do it, the stories might be lost forever after she was gone. Her daughter, Nancy, bought her a tape recorder to record the stories that she and her brother Bill had been telling at family gatherings for many years. “I put it in the living room, and then I could just sit down and talk into it whenever I saw it or remembered it.” As the tapes were filled, Nancy took them to a transcriber who convinced her that the pages should be turned into a book. Getting the book published was not easy, and there were a few failures before the final finished item was ready. The books were given as gifts to her children and grandchildren and to her living siblings. One of the first comments on the original piece, before the final rewrite, was that it sounded so “Arkansas.” After some edits and rewriting, the final draft was finally ready when another family member commented that it didn’t sound like Catherine! At the present time, she has no plans to place the book in the Family Histories sections of local libraries, as Catherine feels that the stories are too personal, and it is not necessary for the public to know them for now.
Some of her favorite memories that she is willing to share with Family Links are of her childhood. She said that although the family was poor, they really didn’t know it, even though everyone had to work. If her parents saw a need or a way to help others, they were always willing to do it. Her father sometimes bought shoes for a neighbor’s family because the family needed them. Her mother always had her dinner table set with pretty tablecloths and napkins because no one was more important to her than her family. “Mother even put her good Fostoria glasses on the table, because Daddy liked to drink from them.” Catherine enjoyed playing in her brothers’ tree houses after school, and, on Saturday, she went with her mother to the Women’s Market in Fayetteville to sell dressed chickens, produce and cottage cheese to the town folks. The Women’s Market was the forerunner of today’s Fayetteville Farmers’ Market on the square. Her father owned Hardy Flowers of the Ozarks, which he started in 1919. The seed company had orders from all over the world including New Zealand, Geneva Switzerland, and even the Royal Botanical Gardens of Kew, near London. The company ended during the depression
Both of Catherine’s grandmothers passed down many of the stories in her book. “Grandmother Shreve was a little, tiny woman with an 18” waist, but she was a strong-willed, hard worker. Grandpa Shreve was a surveyor, and he was gone a lot. She ran the farm. She would buy a new hoe every spring, and, by fall, the head would be worn down to the nub from hitting the hard stones in the strawberry fields. When she hired a farm worker, she said that she could tell if they would be a hard worker by just looking at them. If they had shiny knees on their britches they were hard workers, but if the seat of their britches was shiny they weren’t!”
Her Indian Grandmother Wilson listened to her own inner voices and dreams, once sending her husband back to the family farm because she felt intuitively that the new tenants were not taking care of the farm or the personal items in the house. She was right even to her description of their misuse of her cook stove. Grandmother Wilson and most of her children had received Indian Land from the government in Indian Territory. Her husband, “who was a white man,” asked for all of the land to be connected so that it made up a good size farm which they farmed for many years. Not all of the Wilson children received land lots because some of them were toolates. They were born too late to get the free land!
Catherine has traced her Shreve lineage to immigrant Daniel Sheriff in Rhode Island in the 17th Century. Catherine’s father, Ralph, was the only child of Alfred Walter and Nancy Catherine Shreve; Alfred Walter was the son William Franklin Shreve who was the son of Wilson and Barbara Mock Shreve. Wilson and Barbara Shreve first lived a few miles south of what is today, Fayetteville, and then they obtained a land grant for the farm where their descendents now live. “All Shreve’s in the US are related,” says Catherine, and some have been well known in history. Joshua Shreve was a surveyor with George Washington, and the town of Shreveport, Louisiana was named for Captain Henry Miller Shreve, a snag boat captain who cleaned out the waterways so that the rivers feeding the Mississippi could be safely navigated.
Catherine’s Trail of Tears lineage is through her mother, Janie Wilson daughter of Claude Wilson, and Nancy Catherine Witt. Nancy was the daughter of Felix Witt and Isabella Jane Ghormley. Isabella was the daughter of Elizabeth Taylor who was at least ¼ Cherokee and daughter of Andrew Taylor and Jennie Bigby, the daughter of James Bigby and Kitty Wa Sa of Ashville, North Carolina.
Catherine has 3 children, 7 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. All of her family lives in the area. Catherine and her husband, Bill, live on part of the original Shreve farm. She stays busy in many ways. She makes beautiful, hand-stitched quilts of unbelievable fineness, which she donates to help raise money for the Indian Missions; she teaches the Cherokee language and alphabet to children with a Cherokee heritage, and she volunteers at the Indian Oaks Mission in Twin Oaks, Oklahoma. She has taught three generations of Shreve women to sew and to do the beautiful embroidery that she learned from her mother. She is currently, patiently watching the first embroidery work of her little 4-year-old great granddaughter. She used to make braided rugs but is no longer engaged in that activity.
Everybody has a story to tell, but not many feel that they are up to the task. Too often, those stories get lost because of indecision and doubt. Catherine is an example to all that… “Anything you want to do, if you want to do it hard enough, you can do it.”
100 Years Ago or There ‘Bouts
Time was when the obituaries in the local papers were more than just a notice from the funeral home. Many times, they were eulogies from family friends and relatives. The following eulogies were taken from The Fayetteville Democrat shortly after the death of Fannie Pollard Quarles Polson in 1889.
Polson, Fannie Pollard Quarles- It was said by Israel’s wisest king
that the day of death is better than the day of birth. The wisdom of this
saying was fully realized in the recent death of Mrs. S.F. Polson, who for
weeks and months had been the subject of indescribable sufferings. “It
is finished’ and “free at last” were the thoughts that instinctively
came to the heart, when death, which had so long seemed so near and yet so
far, finally held the dear sweet lady in his strong embrace. Her sickness
began more than a year ago and stubbornly and steadily pushed on its course
like the resistless tide of a mighty river, overleaping and sweeping away
every barrier. The most skillful physicians, the most devoted and tender nurses
fought the disease at every point and spared no pains to arrest its onward
march; yet it was all in vain. The subject of this notice was the daughter
of the venerable and gifted Dr. Thomas J. Pollard, the oldest, best known
and most highly respected citizen of Fayetteville. She was born in Versailles,
Ky. March 6, 1831. When an infant her parents moved to Palmyra, Missouri,
a town noted for the wealth, culture and hospitality of her people. In 1839,
just fifty years ago, she came with her parents to Fayetteville; here she
grew to womanhood and here most of her long and useful life was spent. She
attended Georgetown Female College, Ky., where she graduated July 21, 1848.
This was one of the best institutions of learning in the country and was presided
over by Thornton F. Johnson, one of the most eminent educators of his day.
After graduating she returned to Fayetteville where she was married to William
R. Quarles March 27, 1850. Ten years after this event she was left a widow
with five children, her husband dying August 18, 1860. Only two months after
the death of her husband she buried her babe beneath the roses. After 25 years
of widowhood she was married to Dr. W.D. Polson, Sept 14, 1885. She brought
sunshine and gladness to the home of the Dr. and his motherless children and
now that the shadow has again come over their hearts they have the deepest
sympathy of a large circle of friends. Mrs. P was a member of the Christian
Church in Fayetteville for forty years. R. [Fayetteville Democrat 3/15/89]
editor’s note: Family Links does not know the identity of the author
of this tribute.
Editors Sentinel: You have already announced in your columns the death of Mrs. S.F. Polson which occurred at her home in this city on the 9th instant and promised a more extended notice by one who had known her for many years. I had been personally acquainted with her for nearly forty years and had better opportunities to learn her true character than any one else of her many friends in Fayetteville who survive her unless it her own immediate family and relatives. In 1849, just forty years ago, she was the belle of the little village of Fayetteville, having just returned from a female seminary in Kentucky were she had graduated with honors and her many accomplishments and personal charms soon won for her the admiration of everyone who came within the circle of society in which she moved. In 1850, when it was announced that William R. Quarles, a young gentleman lately from Tennessee, was soon to be married to the beautiful and accomplished Miss Fannie Pollard, he was congratulated by his friends on having won such a prize. Mr. Quarles was then the junior partner in the dry goods firm of James Sutton & Co., which at that time had a larger retail trade than any house in the State outside of Little Rock. On the 8th day of March 1852 I commenced clerking for this firm and was taken by Mr. Quarles to his house to board and on that day received my first introduction to his young and accomplished wife whose first child-Emma- was a baby ten months old. I was received into her pleasant home where I remained for nearly four years a regular boarder and no sister could be more kind or thoughtful of the comfort and pleasure of a brother than was that grand woman to me and other young men who also boarded at her home. There were four other young men boarding there during the summer and fall of 1852, viz: A.J. McIlroy who was clerking for James Sutton, and three students of Arkansas College-James Johnson and Buck Rogers, now of Fort Smith and W.D. Polson; whose wife she became 35 years later in life and whose home and heart are so desolate and sad by reason of her death. Jack McIlroy died in the confederate army in Little Rock in 1863; Capt. Jim Johnson, Buck Rogers, Dr. Polson and myself are all that are left on the once happy group that daily surrounded her table, feasting upon the choice viands with which it was always laden and presided over by her care and pleasant speech as to make all happy and contented and feel that it was indeed home. Her husband she adored and his and her children’s happiness and pleasure were her chief delight. Her devotion to her husband and long, patient and tender care of him during his protracted illness which resulted in his death in 1860 were subjects of remark by every one who came about her home. Left a widow with four small children to provide and care for, she went to work in earnest to do her whole duty and right well did she perform the task. The war came on soon after her husband’s death and thus was quickly swept away all the property that she and her husband had accumulated during the ten years of their prosperous and happy married life and she was compelled to work hard and undergo many privations and hardships during the four years of the war in order to feed and clothe her children and others depending upon her for sustenance. It is often remarked that “those were days to try men’s souls,” and the saying is true; but the ladies of the South had souls to be tried, too and they were tried, and the noble soul of this good woman was tried and triumphed over all obstacles and came out like gold tried by the fire. All the male relatives and friends upon whom she had any claim for protection or support, had to leave Fayetteville and she was left to take care of her home and her helpless children. She opened a boarding house and did her own work, cooking and waiting upon her boarders, some of whom were Federal Officers whom she regarded as enemies to the land and people she loved most dearly, yet she treated all with uniform kindness and courtesy. And notwithstanding the fact she was battling for Southern rights, those Federal officers were kind and obliging to her, treating her with the utmost respect and civility. They knew her to be a true lady and respected her as such. She was never afraid to speak her true sentiments and never failed to befriend her southern friends when opportunity offered and yet she was respected by the union officers who appreciated her as a true and noble woman. When the war ended and her friends returned from the South, destitute and homeless, she did all that a brave noble woman could do to assist them. I speak from personal knowledge of her hard struggle during the war to support her own family and others less able to work and I know of my own personal knowledge of her devotion to duty and to her Southern friends during those terrible days, that not tried men’s but women’s souls. No children had a more loving, self-sacrificing mother than the children of Mrs. Quarles. And a truer friend, braver or purer woman than she is seldom found in any land. As to her Christian virtues, her devotion to her church and Sabbath school, others have written who are more familiar with her Christian life, all of which I endorse most fully. Her friend of thirty-seven years. J.H.V.H. Fayetteville March 17, 1889 [Fayetteville Democrat 3/29/89] editors note: J.H. VanHoose
Historical Causes of Death
Submitted by Barbara Lewis
In case you ever wondered why a large number of your ancestors disappeared
during a certain period in history, this might help explain it. Epidemics have always had a great influence on people and as well, the genealogists trying to trace them. In many cases people who simply disappear from records died during an epidemic or may have moved away from the affected area. Some of the major epidemics in the United States are listed below:
1657 Boston- Measles;
1687 Boston- Measles
1690 New York- Yellow Fever
1713 Boston- Measles
1729 Boston- Measles
1732-3 Worldwide- Influenza
1738 South Carolina- Smallpox
1739-40 Boston- Measles
1747 CT, NY, PA, SC- Measles
1759 North America [areas inhabited by white people]- Measles
1761 North America & West Indies- Influenza
1772 North America- Measles
1775 North America [especially hard in NE]- Unknown epidemic
1775-6 Worldwide- [one of the worst epidemics] Influenza
1783 Dover, DE- "extremely fatal" Bilious Disorder
1788 Philadelphia & New York- Measles
1793 Vermont- a "Putrid" fever & Influenza
1793 VA- Influenza [killed 500 in 5 counties in 4 weeks]
1793 Philadelphia- Yellow Fever [one of the worst epidemics]
1793 Harrisburg, PA- Unknown [many unexplained deaths]
1793 Middletown, PA- Unknown [many mysterious deaths]
1794 Philadelphia, PA- Yellow Fever
1796-7 Philadelphia, PA- Yellow Fever
1798 Philadelphia, PA- Yellow Fever [one of the worst]
1803 New York- Yellow Fever
1820-3 Nationwide "Fever" [started at Schuylkill River & spread]
1831-2 Nationwide- Asiatic Cholera [brought by English emigrants]
1832 NY City & other major cities- Cholera
1837 Philadelphia- Typhus
1841 Nationwide- Yellow Fever [especially severe in the south]
1847 New Orleans- Yellow Fever
1847-8 Worldwide- Influenza
1848-9 North America- Cholera
1850 Nationwide- Yellow Fever
1850-1 North America- Influenza
1852 Nationwide- Yellow Fever [New Orleans-8000 die in summer]
1855 Nationwide- Yellow Fever
1857-9 Worldwide- Influenza
1860-1 PA- Smallpox
1865-73 Philadelphia, NY, Boston, New Orleans- Smallpox; Baltimore, Memphis,
Washington DC- Cholera; A series of recurring epidemics of Typhus,
Typhoid, Scarlet Fever, Yellow Fever
1873-5 North America & Europe- Influenza
1878 New Orleans- Yellow Fever
1885 Plymouth, PA- Typhoid
1886 Jacksonville, FL- Yellow Fever
1918 (high point year)- Worldwide Influenza- more people were hospitalized
in WWI from this epidemic than wounds. US Army training camps became death
camps with an 80% death rate in some camps.
Susan Young in March
Susan Young from Shiloh Museum will be the featured speaker at the March 12, 2006 meeting of WCAGS. She will be speaking on "Folk Art Tombstones in Ozark Cemeteries." Come join us to hear this interesting and entertaining program. WCAGS meets the second Sunday of each month (except May) at The Headquarters House, 118 E. Dickson, Fayetteville Arkansas from 2:00-4:00 pm. We look forward to seeing you.
Happy Hunting Y’all
Jeanne Tackett, editor
Answer to the January Question: What is on those donated city lots in Springdale
Arkansas? Shiloh Museum of Ozark History