03May/16

Full Scale Model of the Sultana

Full scale model of the doomed Sultana at the Sultana Museum in Marion, Arkansas

Full scale model of the doomed Sultana at the Sultana Museum in Marion, Arkansas

The interim Sultana Museum in Marion, Arkansas houses a scale model of the doomed steamboat. The Sultana rests just outside the city limits of Marion and provides visitors with interpretation of the events that led up to the explosion of the boilers late one April night in 1865. Known as the worst maritime disaster in U.S. history, the story of the Sultana can be read in one or all of several books written on the topic.

The museum is housed downtown in a small building with limited space for a historical event of this caliber. It is an absolute shame that not more of the public knows about this event that led to the horrific deaths of nearly 2,000 soldiers going home after being a prisoner of war in hellish places including Andersonville. Look closely at the model and imagine there being several thousand people stacked and packed onboard this boat while going upstream with bad boilers.

At some point, everyone should go out of their way to visit this museum. The list of passengers spans the length of two full walls in the exhibit. They also have excellent books on the topic. Start Googling and researching this event for yourself today!

02May/16

First Annual Sultana Festival A Success

First Annual Sultana Heritage Festival

First Annual Sultana Heritage Festival

The first annual Sultana Heritage Festival in Marion, Arkansas held this past weekend was a success. With downpours and isolated flooding in the region, history buffs braved the uncertain forecast for what was a really good event in the way of remembering the tragedy that unfolded on the Mississippi River on April 27, 1865.

Seen in the photograph is Dr. Curt Fields as Lt. General U.S. Grant with his detail behind him. Living historians were on hand for photo opportunities and military drill and salute to the nearly two thousand souls lost aboard the Sultana.

Plans are being made for a new Sultana museum in the near future. The current museum, located near Military Road in Marion, is in the background of the photo.

01May/16

Arkansas Toothpick Big Announcement

Arkansas Civil War: A Military Atlas

Arkansas Civil War: A Military Atlas

We have been threatening to come out with a big announcement by the end of April. Yesterday while at the First Annual Sultana Heritage Festival in Marion, Arkansas, Arkansas Toothpick PUblishing, LLC is proud to announce the publication of one of the best Civil War resource published in recent history! The new book, entitled “Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas” is in its final edits and will be available to the public by the end of May. We are shooting for Memorial Day.

This volume of Civil War history features full color maps that cover the entire state and is based on the 1864 Confederate Engineers map drawn by cartographer Richard Venable. The original is in the National Archives. The atlas features the state as it has never been seen. This is the first time anything to the scale has ever been accomplished in Arkansas.

To receive a free post card that features the legend for the atlas, simply email your name and address to info@arkansastoothpick.com. For those looking for a Father’s Day gift for that Civil War buff in your life, hang tight, as the book should be available very soon!

28Apr/16

First Annual Sultana Festival This Weekend

Sultana docked in Helena, Arkansas

Sultana docked in Helena, Arkansas

Marion will commemorate the 151st anniversary of the explosion and sinking of the steamboat Sultana, the largest U.S. maritime disaster in history, with the Sultana Heritage Festival April 30 and May 1 on the courthouse square in Marion.

The Sultana, a river steamer, was carrying more than 2,000 freed Union prisoners of war, along with cargo and private passengers, upstream in spring flood season when her boiler exploded and she burned and sank just north of Memphis, on April 27, 1865. An estimated 1,800 people – more than on the Titanic – died in the disaster.

The anniversary heritage festival will feature living history demonstrations, period craftsmen, Civil War authors and book-signings, a period church service on Sunday afternoon, buggy rides on the nearby Marion Lake trail, interim museum tours, and a presentation of plans for the permanent museum, on which construction is scheduled to begin later this year. Saturday evening will wind up with a concert by 52nd Tennessee Regimental Band, a group of Civil War enthusiasts from Memphis, followed by a preview showing of the documentary, “Remember the Sultana,” at the Marion Performing Arts Center. The band will also perform concerts during the day on the courthouse square Saturday.
Additionally, Curt Field will bring his impersonation of General U.S. Grant to the festival, and will be on hand Saturday on the grounds to visit with attendees. Other scheduled appearances include Donald Harrison portraying a Civil War era doctor and Diane Bonhert, presenting a Civil War medicine woman demonstration.

Saturday’s itinerary also includes a free history lecture series at Trinity in the Fields Anglican Church, located adjacent to the square. Lecturers include Frank Barton, Judge John Fogleman, Jimmy Ogle, Jan Thomas, Michael Lejman, and Jerry Potter.

A limited number of picnic basket lunches will be available on Sunday prior to the period church service scheduled for 2 p.m. with the Rev. Tom Letchworth. For more information or to preorder a picnic basket, which contains lunch for two, call the Marion Chamber of Commerce at 870-739-6041.
In 2015, Marion opened its interim location of the Sultana museum in an historic building on the Crittenden County Courthouse Square, while developing plans for the permanent facility nearby within the city government complex. The festival will also feature an unveiling of the formal plans for the new facility by the designers, The Haizlip Firm of Memphis.

The remains of the Sultana are now buried about 30 feet beneath a soybean field inside the levee about four miles east of downtown Marion. Ancestors of several Marion residents, including Mayor Frank Fogleman and former City Clerk Frank Barton, helped rescue survivors from the floodwaters following the explosion.

More information about the festival, including a detailed itinerary, is available at www.marionarchamber.org or by contacting the Marion Chamber of Commerce, 870-739-6041. Inquiries regarding booth space and exhibition registration should be directed to Tracy Brick at the Marion Chamber, 870-739-6041, tracy.brick@marionarkansas.org.

28Apr/16

Arkansas history professional development for teachers‏

Civil War Hub of Arkansas

Civil War Hub of Arkansas

The Department of Arkansas Heritage is presenting a professional development in Little Rock from 9 – 4 on Wednesday, June 29. Teachers can receive 6 hours of Arkansas history professional development credit.

Attendees will learn about Arkansas history, discover free teaching resources and leave with hands-on materials from the Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Delta Cultural Center, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and the Old State House Museum. Topics covered will include Arkansas history, geography, American Indians, natural resources and symbols.

The workshop will take place at the Tower Building, located at 323 Center Street in downtown Little Rock.

Registration is free, but you must sign up at http://www.arkansasheritage.com/Learn/teacher-workshops. Attendance is limited to the first 30 registrations.

For questions, email Allison Reavis at allison.reavis@arkansasheritage.org or call at 501-324-9346.

To view other professional developments DAH will be presenting across the state, visit http://www.arkansasheritage.com/Learn/upcoming-teacher-workshops.

23Apr/16

Big News For Arkansas Civil War Buffs From Arkansas Toothpick

Arkansas Toothpick Publishing

Arkansas Toothpick Publishing

The Arkansas Toothpick is pleased to announce officially that we now have a publishing company, “Arkansas Toothpick, LLC” as of April 22, 2016. The first book to be published under the new publishing company will be one of the most significant books ever published on the topic and will provide students for years to come a serious resource on Arkansas in the Civil War, which will be officially announced at the first annual SULTANA festival on April 30 in Marion, Arkansas.

We are not necessarily accepting many manuscripts to be published through our new publishing company quite yet, but if you do have a manuscript that you want our team to see for possible future publication, email it to info@arkansastoothpick.com or mail it to 1212 Yorkshire, Helena, AR 72342. We only consider books on the Civil War in Arkansas. Nonfiction only.

To see what the first book published under the new Arkansas Toothpick Publishing, LLC will be, come on over to Marion, Arkansas on April 30! We will be handing out Civil War prizes and marketing material on the new book. The only hint we can give is that NOTHING like this exists right now and will be one of the most sought after resources on the topic. We are awaiting the final printed proofs from our printer and if everything looks good, the book will go public. We just want to make sure everything is good before we let you all know.

Also be sure to join our TWITTER and receive updates and battlefield photos nearly every day. We have almost 12,000 followers! Our TWITTER is @arktoothpick

21Apr/16

Call for Papers: 2016 Arkansas Archeological Society Annual Meeting

Call for Papers: 2016 Arkansas Archeological Society Annual Meeting
El Dorado Conference Center
September 30 – October 1, 2016

Across time and place: Archeology and community in the south central United States

Civil War Hub of Arkansas

Civil War Hub of Arkansas

Join us for a new “twist” on the Arkansas Archeological Society’s annual meeting on September 30 – October 1, 2016 in El Dorado, Arkansas. This year, in addition to accepting papers on Arkansas archeology, we are also seeking submissions from across the south central United States centered around two distinct but related themes: (1) regionality and trade; and (2) community-based archeology. With archeologists conducting research on sites that range from 10,000 years ago to the more recent past in Arkansas and the surrounding states, the organizers are seeking papers that examine processes of social interaction, regionality, and methods of working with descendants.

Theme 1: Artifacts provide information on chronology, trade, and barter, individual habits or global trade patterns, and can be “read” at the level of the feature, site, or region. For this theme, we encourage papers that examine patterns of trade interaction and a regional scale of analysis. Archeologists, across time from early prehistoric to the more recent past, have become increasingly concerned with regional analysis focusing on the interconnections between different archaeological sites in order to develop a better sense of social relations and interregional trade.

Theme 2: From Historic Cane Hill to the Society’s Training Program at Richard’s Bridge, archeologists are working with descendant communities. These descendants may live in the same communities in which we are working or they may be hundreds of miles away. For this theme, we are seeking papers that discuss how archeologists are working with community members or how community members participate in the archeological research.

And, of course, we would also encourage papers that span both themes.

To complement these themes, there will be a panel discussion on working with descendant communities. In addition, Dr. Stephen Silliman, a native Arkansan and an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, will be the keynote speaker of this year’s Arkansas Archeological Society meeting. Dr. Silliman is a historical archeologist who looks at the cultural continuities and changes in Native American groups as they navigated the social, political, and economic challenges of European and Euroamerican colonial activities across the North American continent from the 1600s to today. His Eastern Pequot Archaeological Field School is a collaborative Indigenous project that envisions archaeology with, for, of, and by the Eastern Pequot.

We hope you will consider participating in this exciting meeting in El Dorado, Arkansas. Deadline for the submission of papers is: August 15, 2016. Send your title and abstract to Marilyn Knapp at mxj02@uark.edu.

Sponsored by Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville. http://libinfo.uark.edu/specialcollections/

20Apr/16

Arkansas History Commission Receives Grant‏

Civil War Hub of Arkansas

Civil War Hub of Arkansas

Little Rock – The Arkansas History Commission and State Archives has been awarded a grant in the amount of $24,387 by the Arkansas Humanities Council.

The grant, given for the project, “The Essence of Arkansas: Using Archival Records to Document Arkansas’s Culture,” will support the funding of programs and events throughout 2016.

Each year, the History Commission hosts a variety of free programs and events for the public. This year’s events include “African American Arts in Arkansas,” “The Roots of German Foodways in Arkansas,” “Using Archival Records to Save Historic Structures,” “Arkansas’s Home Run: The History of Major League Training in Hot Springs,” and an Arkansas Folk Music Legends workshop.

Dr. Lisa K. Speer, Director of the Arkansas History Commission said of the grant award, “We are so grateful to the Arkansas Humanities Council for its continued support. This funding allows us to offer a wide variety of free, quality public programs that we otherwise would not have the funding to do on our modest state appropriation. I am particularly excited about the diversity of our 2016 public programs, which will explore a variety of aspects of Arkansas culture including food, music and sports. I think we’ll have something to offer everyone.”

The Arkansas History Commission and State Archives, located in Little Rock, is the official state archives of Arkansas and maintains the largest collection of historical materials on Arkansas in the world.

15Apr/16

Time is running out to register for the April 30th symposium at the Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives

Civil War Hub of Arkansas

Civil War Hub of Arkansas

The Arkansas History Commission and State Archives, the Arkansas Genealogical Society, and the Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives Foundation, Inc., will be hosting their annual history symposium on Saturday, April 30, 2016, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the 1914 Schoolhouse at Historic Washington State Park. The symposium’s theme, “Discovering Your Story, “ will feature speakers, James G. Jones, Dr. Daniel F. Littlefield, and Arkansas History Commission staff members Melissa Nesbitt and Jane Hooker.

Topics will include DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy, American Indian Family Stories: Fact or Fiction, Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives: Guide to Historical and Genealogical Records, and New Services and a New Face: The Arkansas History Commission Today.

The seminar is free but registration is required. Teachers can earn up to four professional development hours through attendance. Registration is limited and deadline for registration will be Monday, April 25. Check-in will begin at 9:15 a.m., the morning of April 30. Lunch will be provided for attendees.

For more information about the symposium or to register, contact us at history.commission@arkansas.gov or call us at 501-682-6900.

Sponsored by Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville. http://libinfo.uark.edu/specialcollections/

15Apr/16

Steamboat Sunday in Helena

American Queen Steamboat in Helena

American Queen Steamboat in Helena

If you have never seen the Civil War sites in Helena and you are looking for something to do with the whole family, then come on over to Helena, Arkansas this Sunday from 9am until noon. Hundreds of passengers will be on the largest steamboat on the Mississippi River and the Civil War sites (Fort Curtis and Freedom Park) will have living historians to help interpret the Civil War in the Arkansas Delta. It will be a great time to visit some of the local shops downtown and grab some lunch on Cherry Street. If you are interested in becoming a living historian or if you would like more info on becoming a volunteer tour guide at some of the Civil War sites in Helena, email us at info@arkansastoothpick.com.