Artifact of the Week — October 13, 2022

John Francis Green was born March 3, 1841, in Darlington County, South Carolina.

During the Civil War, Green was a Confederate major serving in Georgia under General G. T. Anderson and, eventually, General Robert E. Lee. The war was not easy on Green; he was wounded five times, including being wounded in Malvern Hill, Virginia, in 1862. Green was present when General Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia.

Green married Hanna Jane “Janie” Law in 1866. Together they had four children: Mary, James, John, and Thomas. All three sons became reverends.

At the height of reconstruction, the Green family moved to Hope, Arkansas, and are counted as one of the founding families. Janie died in 1883, and John remarried. His second wife was Ruth Kirkpatrick.

Ruth was a French and algebra professor at Arkansas College, and may have been one of the first female faculty members at that institution. While Ruth was teaching, an opening for a new professor by vacating Professor Thomas Jefferson Stubbs enticed John to join the college in 1888. Green taught until 1890 when he resigned due to poor health. He died in 1922 in the town of Hope, Arkansas.

John Francis Green
John Francis Green

This picture was graciously donated by Mr. Tony Perrin. The back of the picture is enscribed “My teacher/Mr. Jno. Green”. How often do students keep pictures of their teachers? Think about that. It certainly says a lot about Lyon College.

OIRM is honored to work with Lyon College to curate an exhibit celebrating 150 years in education. The museum’s exhibit committee has worked with organizer Pam Palermo and Drs. Brooks Blevins and Terrell Tebbetts to create a visual account of Lyon’s history. The exhibit includes many artifacts from Lyon’s collection and a few complimentary pieces from OIRM’s collection. Complimentary text panels outline Lyon’s evolution through time and highlight notable alumnae who impacted both Lyon College and the world. OIRM hopes this is one of many collaborations to come with Lyon College.

Come celebrate Lyon’s sesquicentennial with OIRM by viewing our exhibit! And join Lyon this weekend (October 14-16) for their annual Scottish Festival and homecoming. Admission is free to ScotsFest. Visit Lyon’s web page for additional information.

Lyon College is providing all patrons of its weekend festivities with a free pass to Old Independence Regional Museum. Take advantage of this fantastic deal, and we will see you at the museum!

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Artifact of the Week — October 6, 2022

In the early evening of September 15, 1904, in front of the City Hotel, Independence County Sheriff Jeff D. Morgan was shot and killed by Robert Causby.

How did this tragedy occur?

Sheriff Morgan, age 31, was on Main Street to question Mr. Causby, age 21, who was a wanted fugitive. Mr. Causby had escaped Izard County’s jail three years previous by knocking a prison guard out cold, then surreptitiously wound his way to Iowa. Mr. Causby original charge was grand larceny and burglary After being absent from the state, Mr. Causby recently returned to Arkansas to visit family. When he arrived in Batesville, suspicious citizens notified Sheriff Morgan.

Mr. Causby was spotted in front of City Hotel. Sheriff Morgan asked his name, and Mr. Causby hit the ground running. As he ran, he pulled out a .38 caliber handgun, whipped around, and shot Sheriff Morgan.

An eyewitness quickly retrieved Sheriff Morgan’s handgun and, with a crowd of other concerned citizens, pursued Mr. Causby, who ran into a barn. Citizens surrounded the barn and threatened to burn it to the ground.

Upon his surrender, Mr. Causby was charged with Sheriff Morgan’s murder. Mr. Causby was to be transported via train to Newport, but a row in front of the local jail by concerned citizens led to a near lynching, so the plan was dismissed.

Mr. Causby attempted to starve himself nearly to death prior to his hanging, wishing to become so weak he would not physically be able to climb to the gallows. While in jail, he was under constant threat of lynching by the citizens of Batesville as well as from Sheriff Morgan’s hometown of Salado.

Pictured is the .38 caliber Bisley Model Colt single-action pistol Mr. Causby used in this tragedy.

.38 caliber Bisley Model Colt single-action pistol
.38 caliber Bisley Model Colt single-action pistol

Learn more about this fascinating tale and other exciting stories from Batesville’s past on Friday, October 14. The Old Independence Regional Museum is hosting “Mayhem on Main Street” as a walking tour to highlight 17 spectacular sites in 90 short minutes. Times of departure are 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm and will commence at Maxfield Park. Adult tickets are $20 and 12 and under tickets are $10. Come learn about Batesville’s spookier side!

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Artifact of the Week — September 29, 2022

We received an interesting request from Jacksonport State Park this month for a new exhibit they will be showcasing beginning in October.

Of the items requested, we supplied Jacksonport’s exhibit with these two lunchboxes.

Virgil Young Cook lunchbox
Virgil Young Cook lunchbox
V. Y. Cook lunch box (open)
V. Y. Cook lunch box (open)

Virgil Young Cook was a veteran of the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. He joined the Confederate army at the tender age of 14. His father also leaned toward Confederate feelings and allowed his son to continue his military career.

Upon his retirement, Mr. Cook moved to Arkansas. He was a successful business entrepreneur with M. F. Thomason (Cook & Thomason) until selling his share of the business to Mr. Thomason to work as a railroad agent. His job was to convince the authorities of a need for a mainline railway from Jacksonport to Bradford.

Mr. Cook founded the town of Olyphant, and made his home on 2300 acres, calling his land Midland Holm. He raised crops, cattle, and horses.

He moved to Batesville and built the Cook-Morrow house at 875 Main Street, where he lived until his death in 1922. At the time of his death, Mr. Cook was the richest resident of Independence County.

The second is a metal child’s lunchbox, green with a blue thermos. The thermos is firmly held in place with a curved metal bar. Dated from the 1950s, this lunchbox features a collapsible chrome handle and toggle fasteners. Unfortunately the owner of this lunchbox has been lost to time.

Lunch box with thermos
Lunch box with thermos
bottom of the lunch box
bottom of the lunch box
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Artifact of the Week — September 22, 2022

Surgeon's Kit - CSA

A Confederate States of America (CSA) surgeon’s medical kit with 10 instruments used by Dr. L.A. Dickson during the Civil War. (See his biography in Goodspeed’s North Central Arkansas book.) Written on the back of the kit is the name R.C. Newland. R.C. Newland was Dr. Robert C. Newland of Batesville. His wife was Nancy Newland, a future Batesville postmaster. Robert C. Newland and Nancy H. Woodland were married June 5, 1832 in Washington, Indiana. Robert C. Newland died circa 1846.

Dr. Dickson, who originally owned this surgeon’s kit, practiced medicine in Jamestown, Arkansas, in 1879, with his partner Dr. Jeffery.

CSA Surgeon's Kit
CSA Surgeon’s Kit

The rather large, foreboding knife in the surgeon’s kit was a bone knife. During the Civil War, painkillers were in short supply and a huge percentage of amputations were performed without anesthesia or painkillers. The knives and scalpels were similar to what is in use today, and the pointed instrument is a pick, often used during the Civil War for bullet extraction. The Civil War was a harbinger for the minie ball, which was made of lead and could easily poison a soldier and lead to not only one amputation due to lead poisoning, but several if the poison lingered past the amputation site.

Find out more about the effects of lead and other chemicals and elements we thought were innocuous until they were proven otherwise by attending the “Poisons to Potions” class on October 1, 2022, from 9:00 – 12:00. Cost is $10 a person.

At this class, we will not only talk about mercury, laudanum, radium, and other medical aids believed to cure almost any ailment, we will also be visited by Ms. Vicky Schoeneweis as she presents her old-fashioned medicine cabinet.

Dr. Sam Taggart will also join us to promote his book, Country Doctors of Arkansas. We will have his book for sale and Dr. Taggart has agreed to autograph any books sold!

Dr. Taggart is in the midst of writing another book about doctor stories. If you have a compelling story about your local Arkansas doctor you wish to share, please contact Cathy Shonk at Better yet, meet Dr. Taggart in person on October 1!

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Artifact of the Week — September 15, 2022

This year Lyon is pulling out all the stops for celebrating its 150th anniversary. With a black- tie gala, the Arkansas Scottish Festival, Lyon College’s homecoming and legendary bagpipes, Lyon has something for everyone! Lyon College is also proud to partner with the Old Independence Regional Museum which will host a Lyon college history exhibit. Check out for more information on events and dates!

The 1929 Index, yearbook for The Student Government Association of Arkansas College

1929 Year Book for Arkansas College
1929 Year Book for Arkansas College

This beautiful green hard-cover edition of The Index has Dorothy Dowzer’s name written on the inside cover. Donated by Frances Rogers, this item has a unique feature: it has pictures of a celebrity within it!

Miss Iris Aileen Dobson was Queen of Arkansas College’s First Homecoming
Miss Iris Aileen Dobson

On page 65 is written

“In the early afternoon a parade of artfully decorated floats and cars traversed the streets of Batesville, ending at Daffin Field, where Miss Iris Dobson, with appropriate ritual, was crowned Home-Coming Queen. Following the ceremony, a football game between the Arkansas College Panthers and the Jonesboro Aggies took place. Between halves a mock football game was staged by the Freshman boys.”

Fame did not end at this coronation for Miss Dobson, however. She was also active in Alpha Phi and the Harlequin Little Theatre, which served her well.

Miss Dobson as Home-Coming Queen 1929
Miss Dobson as Home-Coming Queen 1929

After her studies at Arkansas College, Miss Dobson married Thomas Adolf Korn in 1929 and subsequently became an actress. Her credits include her best known role as Anna Craig Alden on “Little House on the Prairie”. She had a recurring role in “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” as well as several film appearances. Her film career spanned from 1971 until 1982, when she died at age 75.     

Lyon College is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year with exciting activities and exhibits. Among these are a tour of Lyon and the surrounding community, culminating with a tour of a curated exhibit of interesting Arkansas College artifacts from its earliest days. Come by the museum from October 14 – 23 to see our Arkansas College display!

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