Thursday, December 20, 2018

Little Rock's Families from Asch: Their Emigration and First Years in Pulaski County

This paper, with some additional appendices, can be read and downloaded from this link 


The following is part one of the story of several families who emigrated from Asch, a small city and district in Austria’s Bohemian region, to Pulaski County before the Civil War. The emigration started when two single men from Asch fled Austria after the failure of the 1848 revolution. These two men – John Adam Reichardt and John Christopher Geyer -- were the first members of their families to make their homes in Pulaski County. Others followed. In all, three Geyer families, one large Reichardt family, and one Penzel family, plus Wolfgang Wunderlich, a single man from Asch, settled in Pulaski County from 1850 to 1854. In all, by 1857, at least 28 emigrants from Asch had moved to Pulaski County (although two had moved away by that time). This group contributed to a sizeable increase in the number of Germanic emigrants in the county that, according to the 1850 census, numbered only about 136 men, women, and children.

The emigrants from Asch spent the years before the Civil War adjusting to their new home. Some were farmers living in rural Pulaski County and others found jobs in Little Rock. Wherever they were living, they got caught up in the War and the families, like the rest of the nation, had divided loyalties: a few Asch emigrants or their spouses served in the Union Army; more of them were in the Confederate Army. Of all the Asch emigrants, Charles Penzel, a private in the Southern army, was most affected by the war: he was twice wounded, once severely, and he spent the last year of the war as a prisoner.
Postcard showing Geyer Cafe in Asch
Part one of the story of the families from Asch ends as the Civil War was coming to a close. The violent and tumultuous times must have been discouraging for them. However, their fortunes were about to change. As will be discussed in part two of this story, when the war ended, the families from Asch prospered, mainly as merchants, and they, along with their spouses, their children, and their children’s spouses, became the core of the city’s small, but influential, protestant – mainly Lutheran -- German immigrant community that for three decades had an outsized impact on Little Rock’s economic development, social life, and local government.

Arrival of the Families from Asch

From 1848 to 1857, at least 28 emigrants moved about 5,000 miles from their homes in or near the Bohemian city of Asch to Pulaski County.1  Twenty-seven of them were members of five families and one was a single person who married into one of the families a few years after arriving in Little Rock. The families were:

The Johann Martin and Eva Katharine [Kuenzel] Reichardt family. Johann Martin (1800 – 1884) and Eva Katharine (1800 – 1858) emigrated to Arkansas along with four sons and three daughters.2  John Adam Reichardt (1825 – 1884), the oldest son, was the first to arrive in Little Rock, fleeing arrest for participating in the failed 1848 Austrian revolution.3  He arrived in Arkansas in late 1848 or early 1849. His brother Christopher (1823 – 1881) soon followed him, traveling with Anna Catherine Penzel, who was, or was soon to be, his wife. They reached New Orleans aboard the Columbus on October 31, 1850, then continued their trip to Arkansas.4  Another brother, George (1832-1910), crossed the ocean from Bremen to New Orleans on the Columbia, a ship that arrived on May 19, 1852. Two years later, in 1854, Johann Martin and Eva Katharine journeyed to the state with three daughters, Adelina Margaret (1834 – 1909), Louise (1837 – 1910) and Fredericka (1842 – 1911), and a young son, Edward (1844 – 1883). They departed Bremen on August 18, 1854 and arrived in New Orleans on October 23rd aboard the Johannes, then headed by boat to Little Rock.5  In Asch, Johann Martin had owned a wool textile mill that he sold before leaving.6

The Johann Michael and Sophie Marie [Ludwig] Geyer family. Johann Michael (1790 – 1856) and Sophie Marie (1791 – 1873) and three of their children emigrated to Pulaski County. Their oldest son, John Christopher Geyer (1819 – 1878), was the first of the family to arrive. Like John Adam Reichardt, he left Asch after the collapse in Austria of the 1848 revolution during which he had “led a company of revolutionists.” After a short stay in Philadelphia, he traveled in 1849 to central Arkansas, where he lived briefly in Pulaski County before he bought land along the Arkansas River in Conway County, a few miles southeast of Lewisburg.7  Johann Michael and Sophie Marie followed their son to central Arkansas in 1852, departing from Bremen on the Rebecca, arriving in New Orleans on October 26, then continuing to Little Rock. With them came their son John Erhardt (1832 – 1919), and daughter Sophia (1836 – 1916). The family traveled in relative luxury, occupying a cabin on the ship’s deck.8  Johann Michael had worked as a butcher in Asch.

The Johann Michael (Papa) and Anna Margaretha Geyer family. Also aboard the Rebecca in October 1852 was the Johann Michael (1811 – 1892) and Anna Margaretha (1810 – 1876) family. However, this Geyer family had a less comfortable trip across the Atlantic, traveling in steerage. In addition to the parents, other family members aboard the ship were their son John Christian (1845 – 1930) and four daughters, Anna Margartha (1841 – 1870), Ernestine (1838 – 1934), Alvina (1847 – 1927), and Emilie (1850 – 1926). Johann Michael had been a farmer in Asch. In his later years, this Johann Michael became widely known in Little Rock as “Papa Geyer,” the owner of a popular beer garden near the Arsenal, and I will refer to him by that name to differentiate him from the older Johann Michael Geyer.

Although the two Johann Michael Geyer families were certainly kin to each other, evidence supports the conclusion that the older Johann Michael was not the father of the younger Johann Michael. For one thing, the younger Johann Michael was born in 1811, but the older Johann Michael did not marry until 1818. Also, none of the obituaries of the members of either family suggested a close kinship between the two families. Likely, the older Johann Michael was the uncle of the younger one or the two men were cousins.

Isaac Geyer and his son George. Isaac (1814 - 1887) and George (1836 - 1880) traveled together from Asch to the United States in 1853. They crossed the Atlantic Ocean, departing from Bremen, on the Heinrich von Gagern, a ship that landed in New Orleans on October 12th.9  The two men were likely related by kinship to the two other Geyer families that settled in Pulaski County, but the nature of the kinship is unclear. Both men were farmers.

The Johann Christof and Maria Elizabeth Penzel family.  Johann Christof (1800 – 1857) and Maria Elizabeth (1803 – 1865) were the parents of Anna Catherina Penzel (1825 – 1870) and Charles Ferdinand Penzel (1840 – 1906). According to a family history published in the Pulaski County Historical Review, Johann C. and Maria E. crossed the Atlantic in 1848 with their newly married daughter and son-in-law Christopher Reichardt.10  However, this story is contradicted by ship records showing that Christopher and Anna Catherina took the Columbia to New Orleans in 1850 and that her parents were not passengers on the ship. In fact, the year Johann Christof and Maria E. emigrated to Arkansas is a mystery: I have found no record of their trip to the United States. The main evidence of their presence in the Pulaski County in the 1850s is the tombstone of Johann C. showing he died there on July 17, 1857. That year, their teenage son Charles Ferdinand (1840 – 1906) emigrated to the United States. His Wanderbuch (an official record of his work places in Bohemia) shows that he did not leave Asch before the end of March 1857, and it is not known if he made it to Pulaski County before his father died.11  Although the occupation of Johann Christof before he came to the United States is not known, it is known that Penzel families were “minor nobility” in the Asch area.12

The single person who emigrated from Asch during this time was Wolfgang Wunderlich (1834 – 1901), who was unmarried when he traveled to the United States in 1852. His trip from Bremen to New Orleans was taken with George Reichardt on the Columbia, arriving on May 19th. In 1857, he would later marry Louisa Reichardt, George’s sister.

In addition to the members of the families from Asch who arrived in Central Arkansas before the Civil War, at least two other emigrants from Asch settled in Pulaski County after the War.13  One was Christopher C. Geyer (1847-1900), a young farmer who arrived in 1866 and settled on land near Isaac Geyer in southern Pulaski County. The other was Adam C. Penzel (1859-1932), a butcher, who emigrated alone to Little Rock in 1879.14  Both of these Asch emigrants spent the rest of their lives in Pulaski county. Their relation to the families already in the County is not clear from the available evidence.15

Although the only documented relationships among the members of the families from Asch were the marriage of Christopher Reichardt and Ann Katherina Penzel followed by the marriage of Louise Reichardt and Wolfgang Wunderlich, other kinship relations – close and distance – undoubtedly existed. They were inevitable: the Geyer, Penzel, Kuenzel, Ludwig, and Wunderlich families had deep roots in the Asch area, and intermarriages between families with those surnames had taken place for more than a century.16  Whatever their kinships, the families certainly knew each other before they came to the United States, and their emigration to the Pulaski County suggests they had either agreed to emigrate to the same area or were mutually influenced to settle near each other.  If nothing else, they probably found comfort in having people they knew living near them as that adapted to their new situation.
Photo of John Christoper Geyer
Likely, the decisions of John A. Reichardt and John C. Geyer to settle in central Arkansas influenced others from Asch to do the same. But an unanswered question is why the two men chose to emigrate to such an out-of-the-way place. Of the 2,000 to 10,000 48ers who fled Germany and Austria in the wake of the collapsed revolutions, most emigrated to cities such as St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Milwaukee where large numbers of German-speaking immigrants already lived.17  In contrast, when Reichardt and Geyer arrived in Pulaski County, only about 559 of Arkansas’ 162,797 free residents (.034%) and about 136 of Pulaski County’s 4,538 free residents (3.0%; the county had another 1,119 enslaved residents) had been born in a German, Austrian, or Swiss “state.”18  These two Asch refugees were – the best I can tell – the only 48ers who settled in Arkansas, and they were among only a few who ended up in Deep South states.19

Whatever reason they had for emigrating to a place with so few German-speaking residents, once in central Arkansas, Reichardt and Geyer probably wrote letters home that encouraged their families to emigrate there. Perhaps more such letters were sent by Christopher Reichardt and Anna Katherina Penzel Reichardt after this married couple settled in the county.

The arrival of the families from Asch in Pulaski County increased the number of German-speaking immigrants in the county by nearly twenty percent, and the new arrivals were important additions to the community not only because they were educated and had some wealth, but also because the family members included eight young unmarried females and eight bachelors. Such unmarried women were welcome in a place that had a sizable number of single men in its small German/Austrian-born population.20  Also the unmarried men from Asch, once they established themselves, were attractive to the daughters in families that had emigrated earlier to the area. 

First Years in Pulaski County

The 1850s were a time for the new emigrants from Asch to adapt to their new country. The first arrivals, John C. Geyer and John A. Reichardt, remained in Pulaski County for only a short time. As mentioned, Geyer bought a long stretch of riverfront land in Conway County and started farming there. After a few years in the county, Reichardt married Anna Margareta Spindler and moved with her to Boonville, Missouri.

Christopher and Anna Katherina Reichardt took up farming on land near Granite Mountain Springs, a few miles due south of Little Rock. They eventually settled on a farm near the Primrose Cemetery, living close to several other German-speaking immigrants.21  When Christopher’s parents, Johann Martin and Eva Katherine Reichardt, arrived in 1854, they bought a farm near their son and daughter-in-law, and lived there with their three daughters and son. In 1856, Christopher claimed a 43-acre homestead in the Primrose area, then he added acreage to it in 1859 (44.0 acres) and 1861 (38.2 acres) by purchasing land cheaply from the federal government.22 When Eva Katherine -- Christopher’s mother and Johann Martin’s wife – passed away on July 26, 1858, she was buried in the Primrose cemetery near her home.    

Although the exact year of their arrival in Pulaski County is not known, Johann Christof and Marie Elizabeth Penzel made a home sometime in the 1850s in the Primrose area near their daughter Anna Christina Penzel Reichardt.23  Upon John Christof’s death in 1857, he was buried at the Primrose cemetery and Marie Elizabeth, the 1860 census showed, moved in with her daughter’s family.

Isaac and George Geyer also settled on farms near Granite Mountain, but not by the Primrose cemetery. Their farms were within a couple of miles of the Christopher and John M. Reichardt farms and were in the same township (Union Township).

Papa Geyer and his family did not locate in the Primrose community or in Union Township. Instead, he acquired a farm in Big Rock Township, a few miles north of Granite Mountain and further to the west of the city. He and his family lived there until the start of the Civil War.

Johann Michael and Maria Sophie Geyer, after reaching Pulaski County in 1852, made their home in Little Rock where their son John Erhardt and daughter Sophia had settled. Johann Michael was the first of the Asch immigrants to pass away, dying on November 20, 1856, and was buried in Little Rock’s Mt. Holly cemetery. After he died, his wife Maria Sophie moved in with the family of her daughter Sophia, who had married Joseph C. Schader in 1853.

Four of the young men who emigrated from Asch made their homes in Little Rock. John E. Geyer – the son of a butcher – quickly found employment as a butcher, working for Louis (Loui) George’s butcher shop. After a few years there, he acquired George’s butcher shop in a partnership with his brother-in-law Joseph C. Schader. Later, near the end of the decade, John E. opened a tannery.24

George Reichardt, who had been a classmate of John E. Geyer back in Asch, also lived in Little Rock when he was not driving cattle from Texas to sell in California. Later In his life, he told stories of how he had made a big profit with his first cattle drive when beef was scarce in California, but had lost money on his last drive because by that time the state had plenty of local beef.25  When not driving cattle, he worked as a merchant in Little Rock and lived in a boarding house there.

Wolfgang Wunderlich, who had learned carpentry in Asch before emigrating in 1852, worked as a cabinet maker after settling in Little Rock. In 1856, he joined the U.S. Army for a five-year enlistment, serving as a carriage maker at the Little Rock Arsenal.26

Charles Penzel, after arriving in Little Rock in the middle of 1857, found a job as a carpenter, working for Henry Fisher (Fischer), a German immigrant who had for many years owned a saloon in the city and was at the time a successful “master carpenter.” The 1860 census showed Penzel living with Henry and Catherine Fisher and their eight children whose ages ranged from 2 to 20 years. (Catherine was a sister of Loui George.)

As the 1850s progressed, several of the unmarried Asch emigrants found husbands and wives. The first to marry was Sophia Geyer who, as mentioned earlier, wedded Joseph C. Schader in 1853. Born in 1830, He came in 1840 with his parents to Little Rock from Hesse-Darmstadt. The 1850 census showed him living with Loui George and his family. He also worked for George’s butcher shop. He moved in the early 1850s to Napoleon, Arkansas for a brief time, where he opened a business. Shortly after returning to Little Rock, he married Sophia and in 1854, as mentioned above, bought Loui George’s butcher business in a partnership with John E. Geyer, Sophia’s brother.27

In 1856, Isaac Geyer married Kisirah Nail, who had been born in Alabama. They lived on Geyer’s farm in Union Township.

In 1857, six members of the families from Asch got married. They included George Geyer, who married Kasey (family name unknown) and John Christopher Geyer, who, living on his farm in Conway County, married Nancy Adeline (family name unknown). Both Kasey and Nancy Adeline had been born in the United States. Both families continued to live on their farms.

The other marriages in 1857 were:

March 30:  John Erhardt Geyer married Helene Marie Eliza Struve, born in 1835, who had emigrated in about 1847 from Hanover with an older sister, Amelia (1829 – 1858), and an older brother, August (1831 – 1876). They had settled in Little Rock where her brother had become a merchant.  
April 16: Ernestine Geyer married Ferdinand Baer, a German emigrant who was a carpenter and undertaker.  Baer, born in 1825, had emigrated from Baden-Wuerttemberg to the United States in 1854 and settled in Little Rock that year, starting his own business.28

June 30: Adelina Reichardt married Frederick Kramer, an emigrant from Halle or its vicinity in Prussia’s Saxony. Born in 1829, he came to the United States in 1848 and on July 27, 1857 completed a five-year enlistment in the U.S Army during which he had been stationed in Indian Territory (Oklahama). Three months after the marriage, he rejoined the U.S. Army to be a carriage maker at the Arsenal.29

October 24. Louisa Reichardt married Wolfgang Wunderlich, one of the emigrants from Asch. A carpenter, he had joined the U.S. Army on May 31, 1856 and was stationed at the Little Rock Arsenal as a carriage maker with army’s ordinance division.30

The last marriage before the Civil War was on April 16, 1860. Anna Margaretha Geyer, Ernestine’s sister, married Francis J. Ditter, a man more than twice her age. She was his second wife. His first wife had been Amelia Struve, who had died in 1858. Amelia was the sister of Eliza Struve, who had married John E. Geyer in 1857. Ditter was born in Baden in 1817 and had emigrated to the United States in the 1840s.  He had joined the U.S. Army on May 18, 1846 and was sent to the Little Rock, classified as a carriage maker. He had married Amelia on February 22, 1849. When he completed his five-year enlistment on May 15, 1851, he and his family remained in Little Rock to open a business that made and sold carriages, coffins, and other such goods, plus provided undertaking services.31

As 1860 -- the last full year before the start of the Civil War -- ended, the families from Asch had made progress in adapting to their new home. They had bought farms or found jobs. started families and businesses and established themselves as solid citizens. Likely they missed some aspects of their lives in Asch: Pulaski County had no Lutheran Church for them to attend and lacked the social clubs and organizations that had been available in their previous home. Also some of them who lived on farms were isolated from the larger population because they did not speak English.32  Nevertheless, the Asch immigrants had planted promising roots in their new homeland, and those who had married had added at least fifteen babies to the community of Asch emigrants.

The Civil War Arrives

When the Civil War arrived in 1861, the families from Asch were not united in their loyalties. Two of the immigrants joined Union forces and three of them, plus the husbands of two women from Asch, volunteered – at least briefly -- for the Confederate Army, even though no members of any of the Asch families, nor of the new families created by marriage, owned slaves. Most Asch emigrants managed to avoid serving in either army.

The most pro-Union family from Asch was the Reichardt family. The oldest son, John Adam, volunteered for the Union army, and despite being in his late 30s when the war started, served as a commissary sergeant for the 29th Missouri Volunteer Infantry.33  Also, Wolfgang Wunderlich, the husband of Louisa, served in the Union Army. He rejoined the army following the completion of five years at the Little Rock Arsenal and spent the war years outside of Arkansas serving in the ordinance department of the Union Regular Army.34  
Newspaper Photograph of George Reichardt
Other Reichardt family men did not serve in either army. Christopher had a large family to support and would have been an old recruit. Edward was only sixteen when the war started and was able to avoid the army in the years that followed. George was a prime age to be a soldier when the war started, but his whereabouts during the war is not mentioned in his obituaries or other stories about him.  I have found no records showing that he served in either army. Perhaps he was in California during the war years.35

Kramer, the husband of Adelina, had joined Little Rock’s militia, the Capitol Guards in 1860 after he left the U.S. Army to start a grocery store. When the war started In 1861, he resigned from the Guards just before the unit was incorporated into the Confederate Army as Company A of the Sixth Arkansas Infantry Regiment.36  However, in an advertisement published in the Arkansas Gazette in May, 1861, after the war had started, he and his business partner, Ferdinand Sarasin, announced they would be selling all of their goods so they could close their grocery store and join the Southern army.37  Although Kramer never became a rebel soldier, he professed support for the Southern cause. 

Papa Geyer’s family had little involvement in the Civil War. His son, John Christian, born in 1845, was too young for military service when the war started, and stayed out of service as he grew older. The spouse of his daughter Ernestine, Francis Ditter, the former U.S. Army soldier, was over 40 years old when the war started and did not join an army. His other son-in-law, Ferdinand Baer, was 34 years old when the war started.  Like Kramer and Sarasin, he had been in the Capitol Guards, but had left it before it became part of the Confederate Army. Nevertheless, he served briefly in the Confederate Army:  The main evidence of his service is a claim submitted by Anna Margareta, his widow, in 1928 for a confederate army pension. Also, documents show “F. Baer” and “Ferdinand Joseph Baer” was a soldier in Company A of the 13th Infantry Regiment of the Arkansas Militia, but list no dates of service.38  Baer’s obituary did not mention any service in the Civil War.

Some members of the other Geyer families supported the confederacy. John Erhardt Geyer, the son of the deceased Johann M. Geyer, along with his brother-in-law Joseph Schader, the husband of Sophia Geyer, served, briefly, in the Confederate Army. John E. joined Company A of the 6th Arkansas Infantry, the former Capitol Guards, but after serving a month was, according to his obituary, “on request of his officers, detailed to take charge of his own tanyard in Little Rock, and he helped to supply the Confederate army with leather materials, of which it was greatly in need….” Geyer operated his tannery until September 1863 when Federal troops entered the city. They arrested him and, according to his obituary, he was a war prisoner for a short time.39  (John Erhardt’s older brother, Christopher, was 38 years old when the war started and did not join either army.)

Joseph Schader, John E.’s brother in law and former business partner, perhaps participated in the war on the Southern side. Although his name cannot be found on a comprehensive list of soldiers in the Civil War, his obituary stated that he was “in confederate service…being connected with hospital service.”40  

In the third Geyer family, Isaac – in his 50’s – was too old for military service, but George volunteered in February 1862 for Woodruff’s Battery in the Arkansas Artillery, then served as a private in Marshall’s Battery (also known as the Pulaski Battery) of the Arkansas Light Artillery. His length of service is not given in the military records I located.41

Of all the emigrants from Asch, Charles Penzel experienced the war most intensely. Although he had arrived in the United States only a few years before the war started, he volunteered for service in September 1862, fought in several battles, was twice wounded, and was held as a prisoner of war for more than a year. His service was described in his obituary:

[Mr. Penzel] entered the ranks of the Confederacy as a private in Company A, of the Sixth Arkansas [Infantry]….During the war Mr. Penzel was in the thick of the fighting, was wounded at Shiloh, severely wounded at Chickamauga, and there captured. He was taken to Chattanooga where he remained for five months, after which he was taken to Rock Island, Ill., where he was held a prisoner of war until the close of hostilities.42

Among his wrenching experiences during the war, he lost his friend Henry Fisher Jr., son of Henry and Catherine Fisher, with whom Charles had lodged before the start of the war.43  Both he and Henry, plus Henry’s younger brother (Charley) were in the same company, the former Capitol Guard.  The anguish caused by Henry’s death was apparent in a draft letter dated January 10, 1863 from Wartrace, Tennessee, that he penciled in his Wanderbuch. He wrote:

It is with sorrow this time to write the sad news about the death of Henry who fell on the 31st day of December in the battle of Murfreesboro. He fell in the first charge as I have heard for I was not in the battle myself. I am detailed to serve since the middle of November in the commissary department. It was on the second when I heard of him but was not permitted to go to the battlefield to take care of his body. I anscious [sic] waited to see Charley [another son of Henry Sr.] who was engaged in the hospital but on the third we received orders to leave Murfreesboro….I only felt my heart filled with sorrow mourning the loss of a friend who fell for his country not even able to do anything for him.44   

Nine months after the Battle of Murfreesboro, Penzel suffered a traumatic wound at Chickamauga, on September 20, 1863, that “came near ending his existence.” As described in his obituary, “He was struck in the mouth with a large ball, which passed through his head, coming out at the base of the skull.”45   According to the story told by his great grandson, the poet Charles Penzel Wright, Jr., the bullet entered his mouth as he yelled “charge.”46  The wounded Penzel was captured and stayed in captivity until the end of the war. Soon after he arrived back in Little Rock, he signed, on June 24, 1865, a loyalty oath.47  He was ready to move on in his life.
Newspaper photograph of Charles Penzel accompanying 1909 Obituary
As the Civil War was ending, it would have been reasonable for the families from Asch to have second thoughts about their decisions to leave their homes in Asch to settle in the new world. The war had brought them hardships and divisions. It had placed their family members in opposing armies. It had disrupted their hopes for better lives for themselves and their children. Fortunately for them, although they did not know it at the time, their luck had already begun to change.

As Little Rock prospered in the years following the war, the families from Asch would find great success as merchants in the city. The first and biggest step toward future accomplishments was the opening of a grocery store on Little Rock’s Main Street in November 1863, a couple of months after the city had been occupied by Federal troops. The store’s name was the Kramer & Miller Family Grocery Store and Bakery, and it would enrich several of the Asch families and prepare others to open their own successful stores. From this foundation, the Asch families would become leaders of the protestant German community in Little Rock and would make important contributions to the economic, religious, and social life of the city in the decades following the Civil War.


1. In the 1850s, Asch was a city and district on the western edge of Bohemia, a region in the Austrian-Hungarian empire. Then, as now, the city was located near the north end of a narrow peninsula – a finger-shaped protuberance – that extends into Germany. To its north, west, and east, the city was and is located just a few miles from German borders.

In a census conducted in 1858, the population of the city of Asch was 7,420. The larger district of Asch that included the city and surrounding area, had a population of 23,589 (source: ). Most of the city and district residents spoke German and had German ancestry. A 1921 census found that ninety-nine percent of Asch’s population was considered to be “German” (Statistický lexikon obcí v Čechách (Statistical handbook of the municipalities in Bohemia), part of the Statistický lexikon obcí v Republice Československé (Statistical handbook of the municipalities in the Czechoslovak Republic), 2nd ed., vol. 1 (Prague, 1924). See  .

After World War I, Asch became part of Czechoslovakia. The spelling of the city name was de-Germanized, changed to “Aš.” In the 1930s after Hitler seized power, German nationalists wanted “Sudetenland” -- areas in Czechoslovakia, like Aš, in which most residents were ethnic Germans – to be brought into Germany, and in 1938  Germany’s Nazi regime forcibly annexed Sudetenland into the Third Reich. After the end of World War II, the new government in Czechoslovakia forced almost all ethnic Germans living in the Sudetenland to leave the country. The population of Aš.changed from 22,930 in 1930 to 11, 378 in 1947. The city’s population in 2016 was 13,227.

2. These emigrants from Asch had, mainly, traditional German names with German spelling. After they came to the United States, most altered their names to conform with English usage. For example, Johann became John, Christof became Christopher, and Edvard became Edward. 

With few exceptions, I use the Americanized names of the emigrants. Among the exceptions are the first names of the parents of the families who came to the United States with their children. Thus, I refer to Johann Martin Reichardt and Johann Michael Geyer, but substitute John for Johann when referring to their various sons. 

The spelling of some names change from source to source. The main problem is the interchanging of “a” and “e.” For example, the name of one Reichardt daughter is sometimes spelled “Adaline” and sometime “Adelina.”  Similar differences in spelling can be found with the names of Margaretha, Catherina (Katherina), and Sophia, with “a’s” and “e’s” changing. In other places, the “K” is changed to “C” (e.g., Carl instead of Karl) and “pf” changed to “f” (Christoph to Christof).

3.  John Adam Reichardt’s role in the 1848 uprising was not mentioned in a biographical sketch on the Reichardt family written by Fay Hempstead in his Historical Review of Arkansas (vol. 3, pp. 1534-1535), nor was it mentioned in his obituary. It was noted decades later in a 1929 newspaper article about the celebration of Carl Schurz Day. This article asserted, fancifully, that John A. Reichardt had fled to the United States with Carl Schurz, one of the leaders of the 1848 revolution who later was a Union Army general and then had a distinguished career in public service in the United States. According to the article:

In 1848, Carl Schurz took an active part in the revolution in Germany…. With him in the revolutionary movement was John Adam Reichardt who later came to this country with Schurz. Mr. Reichardt came to what is now the city of Little Rock, while Schurz went to Wisconsin, and later made his home in Watertown, Wisc.

Schurz, fleeing arrest following the collapse of the 1848-49 uprising, first went to Paris and then to London before emigrating to the U.S. in August 1852. John Adam had already been in Arkansas for a couple of years by the time Schurz arrived in Wisconsin. “Carl Schurz Day to be Observed.” Arkansas Gazette, March 3, 1929, p. 45.

Fay Hempstead. 1911. Historical Review of Arkansas: Its Commerce, Industry and Modern Affairs, Volume 3. Lewis Publishing co. pp 1534-1535.

4. The couple married soon before or soon after the two arrived in Arkansas. On the ship’s registry, she is listed as “Catherine Penzel” with the name “Christopf Reichardt” following hers, suggesting they were not married at the time.  New Orleans, Passenger Lists, 1813-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2006. (See Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New Orleans, Louisiana, 1820-1902; Series: M259; Roll #32)

5. All the information on the ship journeys of the Asch families from Bremen to New Orleans was found through searches of the following data base: New Orleans, Passenger Lists, 1813-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2006.

Also see, Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild: Ship Johannes

6.  According to a newspaper article published in 1939, Johann M. Reichardt had owned a “woolen mill” in Asch, a textile manufacturing center. The article says he sold the mill “in order that he might come of the United States.” See Lucy Marion Reaves. “Glimpse of Yesterday.” Arkansas Gazette, December 10, 1939, p. 23.

On the passenger list of the Johannes, his occupation was listed as “Oeconom,” which probably means economist.

7. John Christopher Geyer “commanded a military organization in the [1848] revolution and was compelled to flee to the US,” according to Fay Hempstead. 1911. Historical Review of Arkansas, vol. 2. Lewis Publishing co. p. 753.  (Available at )  His role in the 1848 revolution (“he led a company of revolutionists”) was mentioned in the obituary of his younger brother, John E. Geyer. See “Pioneer Merchant of the City Succumbs.” Arkansas Gazette, Dec. 29, 1919, p. 2.

The 1860 census showed Geyer living in Welborn Township in Conway County; in 1870 his home was in nearby Howard Township. In 1875, he was appointed postmaster of Plummers Station, a stage coach and train stop in Howard Township. In 1880, Plummer Station was incorporated as Plumerville.

8. New Orleans, Passenger Lists, 1813-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2006.  (See Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New Orleans, Louisiana, 1820-1902; Series: M259; Roll #36)

9.  The exact relationship of these two men is not documented. Their ages and the fact they traveled together suggest they were father and son. See New Orleans, Passenger Lists, 1813-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2006.  (See Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New Orleans, Louisiana, 1820-1902; Series: M259; Roll 38)

10. See Mrs. Arthur R. Connerly. 1964. “The Christopher Reichardt Family.” Pulaski County Historical Review, 12, pp. 51-53.  According to this article by a descendent of the Christopher Reichardt Family, “The first of the Reichardt family to come to America was Christopher. He lived with his parents and brothers and sisters in a small town called Asch, in Bohemia, Germany, and was in love with Miss Anna Penzel of the same town.”

The article then tells the story of how Christopher made it to the United States:  “… [the] Penzels were coming to American by sailship, of course, and Christopher wanted to come along. He begged and pleaded with Father Penzel, but Mr. Penzel didn’t think it was wise for a young couple, unmarried, to be so long on the ocean together. Finally Father Penzel said, ‘Well if you young people want to marry before we go, Chistropher may come along.’ So, at 4:00 o’clock in the morning, just before the ship sailed, Christopher and Anna were married. And they came to American in 1848.”

In considering the accuracy of this story, note that Asch was in Austria, not Germany; John A. Reichardt was likely the first in his family to travel to the United States, arriving in 1848 or 1849; and ship records show that Anna Catherine and Christopher sailed to the United States in 1850 and the father and mother of Catherine Penzel were not listed as passengers on the ship (see footnote 4). 

11. Penzel’s Wanderbuch shows, with a dated entry, that he was in Asch in March, 1857. His father, Johann Christof Penzel, died in Little Rock on July 17, 1857. (The Wanderbuch is an item in the Penzel family collection, BC.MSS.11.01, Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Arkansas Studies Institute.)

12. Charles Penzel Wright, Jr., the great-grandson of Charles F. Penzel, referred to his great grandfather as “minor nobility” in an interview published in The Paris Review in 1989. Wright achieved renown as a poet, serving as U.S. poet laureate in 2014-2015 and winning the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1998.  See J.D. McClatchy (interviewer). “Charles Wright. 1989. The Art of Poetry No. 41.” The Paris Review, issue 113, Winter.  (accessed on-line). 

13.  More emigrants from Asch made the journey to Little Rock, but my research has not discovered their fates. Six such emigrants were on the Columbia with George Reichardt and Wolfgang Wunderlich in 1852. They were Johann Precht, age 20, a weaver from Asch, and Adam and Margaretha Heilman, both age 40, who were traveling with two small children from Rossbach (now Hranice), a small city a few miles north of Asch. On the ship’s list of passengers, Precht and the Heilmans specified Little Rock as their travel destination. Other travelers from Asch heading to Little Rock were Christine Jäger, age 28, who traveled with the Johann M. and Sophia Geyer family on their 1852 transatlantic trip. Also on board the ship was John Wolfbrell, age 20, from Asch. In the ship’s records, he listed Arkansas as his destination. On the 1854 ocean journey of the Reichardt family, Maria Pfeiffer, age 20, from Asch, was listed as traveling with them to Arkansas.

14. Adam Penzel departed on March 19, 1879 from Hamburg traveling to New York on the Silesia. See New Orleans, Passenger Lists, 1813-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2006. 

15. Adam Penzel apparently was not closely related to Charles Penzel, whose obituary in 1906 did not mention Adam, who was by that time a successful and well-known Little Rock butcher, as a relative. Also, Adam was not a pall bearer at Charles Penzel’s funeral. Adam Penzel did name his first son “Charles.” See “Last Rites for Charles Penzel.” Arkansas Democrat, February 20, 1906, p. 8.

16. Several connections by marriage among the Geyer, Wunderlich, Kuenzel, and Penzel families can be found when exploring genealogy websites. However, Reichardt was an uncommon last name in Asch, suggesting that Johann Martin was born elsewhere and had moved to Asch from Germany.

17. Estimates of the number of 48ers who emigrated to the United States range from 2,000 to 10,000. Either of those numbers is small compared to the estimated 200,000 Germans who emigrated contemporaneously to the United States from 1848 to 1850. Despite the relatively small number of 48ers who came to the U.S., they had a tremendous impact on the nation as politicians, writers, newspaper editors, and opinion leaders, and through their participation in the Union Army during the Civil War.  See the following books: Carl Wittke. 1952. Refugees of Revolution: The German Forty-Eighters in America. University of Pennsylvania Press and Don Heinrich Tolzmann. 1998. The German-American Forty-Eighters, 1848-1998. Indiana German Heritage Society.

To sample present day assessments of 48ers, see the following:  Kent Logson. From Rebels to Democrats – A New Assessment of an Old Relationship. German-American Relations from 1848 to Today. Gustav-Stresemann-Institute e.V Bonn Symposium, Berlin, March 19, 2018, accessed at

18. Jonathan J. Wolfe. 1973. “The Peopling of Pulaski: Pulaski County Population Sources and Composition 1830-60.” Pulaski County Historical Review, 21, pp. 51-52.

Shirley Sticht Schuette. 2005. Strangers to the Land: The German Presence in Nineteenth Century Arkansas, A Thesis submitted to the Graduate School University of Arkansas at Little Rock in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Public History, pp. 35-38.

19. Several other emigrates (e.g., Frederick Kramer) came to United States in 1848 and 1849, but they were not refugees fleeing Europe in the aftermath of the Revolution. Of course the political and economic conditions that led to the 1848 Revolution were also factors that led to increasing emigration from German and Austrian states.

20. The 1860 census showed that 63 single men born in Germany or Austria were living in Pulaski County.

21. All of their nearby neighbors were from Germany or Austria. Among them were the families of George Blank and Daniel Rauch, who, according to the 1860 census, were from Austria, and the George Peil family from “Germany.”

The Primrose cemetery was established in 1843 on land donated by George Peil after he buried a son there. In 1867, the Primrose Baptist Church was built on land next to the cemetery. See Jefferson I. Dorough. 1983. “George Daniel Peil and Early German Immigrants in Pulaski County.” Pulaski County Historical Review, Fall, pp. 55-57. Also see, 

22. Information on the land granted and sold to Christopher Reichardt is found in a search of this data base: United States, Bureau of Land Management. Arkansas, Homestead and Cash Entry Patents, Pre-1908 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA:, 1997.

23. Fay Hempstead. 1911. Historical Review of Arkansas: Its Commerce, Industry and Modern Affairs, vol. 3. Lewis Publishing co. p. 1534. (Available at 

24. Fay Hempstead. 1911. Historical Review of Arkansas: Its Commerce, Industry and Modern Affairs, vol. 2 Lewis Publishing co. pp. 753-754. (Available at )
For more on Louis George and his family, who had come to Little Rock in 1833 as part of the Mainzer Emigration Society, see Dan Durning. 1975. “Those Enterprising Georges: Early German Settlers in Little Rock.” Pulaski County Historical Review, 32(2), June, pp. 21-37. 

25. “Geo. Reichardt, Old Citizen, Dead.” Arkansas Gazette, June 15, 1910, p. 7“George Reichardt was one of the leading business men of Little Rock.” Arkansas Gazette, Nov. 7, 1931, p. 56; and “George Reichardt (obituary).” Arkansas Staatszeitung, June 17, 1910.

26. Wunderlich enlisted on May 21, 1856. U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007. 

27. See “Married.” Weekly Arkansas Gazette, Nov 11, 1853, p. 3 and “Jos. C Schader. Pioneer Resident Passed Away Yesterday.” Arkansas Democrat, Nov. 14, 1902 p. 2. Also see “Mrs. Sophia Schader (obituary).” Arkansas Democrat, January 3, 1916, p.6. 

28. Ferdinand Baer Sr. (obit). Arkansas Democrat, February 15, 1912, p. 10.

29. For more on Kramer, see 

30. The last three of these four 1857 weddings were conducted by Washington L. Lewis, a Pulaski County Justice of the Peace.

After their marriages, Louisa and her sister Adelina lived with their husbands in the Little Rock Arsenal barracks until October 1859 when Kramer was allowed to leave the army before the expiration of his five-year term. The Wunderlich family stayed in the barracks until his release from service, effective February 1, 1861, just a week before the commander of the Little Rock Arsenal surrendered it to avoid an attack by an enraged mob.  See David Sesser. 2013. The Little Rock Arsenal Crisis, The History Press. 

When Kramer left the army, he and Adelina moved to a living space above the grocery store he had opened on Main Street in November 1859 with his friend Ferdinand Sarasin, a German immigrant.

31. Note that Kramer had taken the same duties as a carriage maker at the Arsenal that Ditter had had previously. In early 1857, when Kramer had moved to Little Rock as his first term as a soldier was ending, he had applied for U.S. citizenship. Ditter was one of men who signed his application, attesting to Kramer’s good character.

Four of the men who married women from Asch had in common their work as carriage makers and carpenters. Ditter, Kramer, and Wunderlich served as carriage makers at the arsenal, and Ditter, Baer, and Wunderlich made and sold carriages, coffins, and other wooden products.

32. When the 1860 census was taken, the report noted that the members of the Christopher and Johann Martin Reichardt households could not read or write English. However, the lack of English skills was not a big problem for them. Most of their nearby neighbors had also immigrated from Germany or Austria, so it was possible to socialize with them in German. Also, when they needed supplies or other goods, they could get them at Little Rock stores that were owned and operated by German immigrants.

33. Information on John Adam Reichardt’s service was mentioned in testimony he gave on behalf of Issac Bott, a German immigrant living in Little Rock, who had filed a claim in hopes of getting paid for a load of sugar that Federal troops had taken from him in September 1863.  See U.S. Southern Claims Commission, Disallowed and Barred Claims, 1871-1880 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007.

34. National Park Service. U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc., 2007.

35. One of Christopher and Johann Martin’s neighbors, George Blank, listed in the 1860 census as being from Austria, lost one of his sons, George, who was killed while serving in the Union Army in 1865. He is buried in the Little Rock National Cemetery.

36. See Calvin L. Collier. 1961. First In – Last Out: The Capital Guards. Pioneer Press (Little Rock).

37. The advertisement, dated May 31, 1861, was headlined, “War! War! War!” and declared in the first sentence, “Both of us are anxious to join the army and hereby announce to be public that we offer our entire stock of Groceries and Provision at moderate cost.”  The ad, published in the Weekly Arkansas Gazette, was signed, “Sarasin & Kramer.”

38. “F. Baer” appears in a search of records in National Park Service. U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc., 2007. According to a history of the Capitol Guard, “F. Bear” was a member of the Guard who left just before it was incorporated into the Confederate Army. Another soldier, this one named George Baer, was in Company A of the Arkansas Sixth Regiment (the former Capitol Guard). He was killed in action on June 27, 1864 at the battle of Kennesaw Mountain in Georgia. His relation to Ferdinand Baer, if any, is not known. Collier, First In – Last Out, p. 115.

39. See “Pioneer Merchant of the City Succumbs.” Arkansas Gazette, December 29, 1919, p. 2 and
“Funeral of Pioneer Business Man Tuesday.” Arkansas Democrat, December. 29, 1919, p.1. Also see Fay Hempstead. 1911. Historical Review of Arkansas, vol. 2. Lewis Publishing co. p. 753-754 (Available at ). 

Kramer was, at least briefly, a partner in this tannery, as shown in an advertisement published in the Arkansas Gazette on March 8, 1862.  It stated:  Wanted: A good tanner and currier, to whom the best wages will be given. Enquire at the Tan Yard of Geyer & Kramer.”

40. “Jos. C Schader. Pioneer Resident Passed Away Yesterday.” Arkansas Democrat, Nov. 14, 1902 p. 2.

41. See 

42. “Chas. F Penzel Passed Away This Morning.” Arkansas Democrat, Feb. 17, 1906, p. 1 and “Charles F. Penzel Died Suddenly.” Arkansas Gazette, Feb. 17, 1906, p. 1. 

43. Henry Fisher (Fischer) was born in 1818 in Altenburg, Saxony. He emigrated to Arkansas in 1837 and married Anna Catherina George on Feb. 14, 1839. She was a member of the George family (Loui George's sister) that had emigrated to Little Rock in 1833. Henry and Catherina named their first son, born in 1840, Henry. 

Henry Fisher Sr. died on June 13, 1868 leaving a large family behind. “Died.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, June 16, 1868, p. 3.

44. This draft letter was written in Penzel’s own hand in his Wanderbuch, which he must have carried with him when he was a soldier. Remarkably it was written in English even though German was the native language of both him and Henry Sr.  According to a history of the Capitol Guards, Henry Miller was “killed on his feet” in fierce fighting early on December 31, 1862 during the battle of Murfreesboro (also known as the Battle of Stones River).  During the same day of fighting, Peter Hotze, another German immigrant from Little Rock, was wounded when he was “blown off his feet” by an artillery shell and Capt. John Fletcher, who was commanding Company A, was shot in both legs. Calvin L. Collier. 1961. First In – Last Out: The Capital Guards, Pioneer Press (Little Rock), pp. 60 – 65. 

45. Chas. F Penzel Passed Away This Morning. Arkansas Democrat, Feb. 17, 1906, p. 1.

46. See J.D. McClatchy (interviewer). “Charles Wright. 1989. The Art of Poetry No. 41.” The Paris Review, issue 113, Winter.  (accessed on-line).

47. The naturalization papers are in the following collection:  Penzel, Charles F. papers, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Grace Reese Adkins, Fred D. Huckelbury, and the Rise and Decline of Fayetteville's Christ's Church, 1938-1981

(Note this blog entry is a long paper. To read it off line, you can download it as a word file (without pictures) at this link: )

When the Fayetteville Library bought the old City Hospital complex, it acquired a former church building located on West Rock Street, just south of the present library. The building and the parsonage next to it had been purchased in 1981 by the hospital, which had then filled in the tree-lined ravine separating the former church grounds from the hospital grounds, destroying City Hospital Park and its sea of buttercups.[1] The hospital then paved everything.
Former Christ's Church building viewed through the
southern windows of Fayetteville Public Library, 2015 
Made of light-colored bricks with a glass cross embedded in its front exterior, the old church building merited little notice as part of the hospital. During the three-plus decades the hospital owned it, the building served many mundane purposes. When it was torn down this summer, its fate was mostly unlamented. However, its destruction was a sad occasion for those of us who remember it as it was in the 1950s when it housed Christ’s Church and vibrated with the fervor of its pastor Fred Huckelberry. And we recall with equal sadness the missing wood-frame house just west of the church where Grace Reese Atkins, the church’s former minister, eminence grise, and soul, had lived.
            With the demolition of the former church building, the repository of many memories disappeared. The church’s ghosts are now homeless. However, even with the old church building gone, the church’s story should be preserved to fit into the mosaic of Fayetteville’s history. Toward that end, the following is a short history of the church known from 1952 to 1964 as Christ’s Church and the people who breathed life into it.

Grace Reese Atkins and Central Christian Church: 1933 – 1950

The church that later became Christ’s Church started on June 11, 1938, in the home of Emma Lehman where a small congregation held “cottage services” until January 1939, when it rented a meeting room on Center Street, just off the town square, and adopted a church charter that created Central Christian Church.[2] Like the First Christian Church on College Avenue, established in 1848, the new church adhered to the principles of the Disciples of Christ, but Central Christian did not officially affiliate with it.[3]
As part of the American Restoration Movement, Central Christian Church declared itself to be non-denominational and non-sectarian. It was part of no organizational hierarchy. Its charter stated that the Bible is the inspired word of God and that Jesus is the son of God, and it pledged to “follow the pattern of the New Testament Church” in all matters. Members of the church were expected to make decisions about the plain meaning of words in the New Testament to govern the church and guide its doctrine. 
The driving force in creating the new church was Grace Reese Adkins (1884-1973), who had moved from Mondovi, Wisconsin to Fayetteville in 1902 with her recently widowed father, Edwin Reese; four brothers; and four sisters. She had been a precocious child, learning to read before she started school (“though no one knew how or when”) and writing poetry when she was eight. She later recalled, “My childhood seemed to revolve around books, scissors, and pastepots.”[4]
In her first years in Fayetteville, she worked as a teacher, and she also sometimes attended the University of Arkansas.[5] She joined First Christian Church, where Nathaniel Madison Ragland was the pastor. During those years, she furthered her deep belief in and zeal for the Christian Church at least in part through her interactions with H. S. Mobley, the district evangelist of the Christian Church of Northwest Arkansas.[6]
In 1909, she married Ary Archer Atkins (1886–1964) of Winslow, and the couple lived there until returning to Fayetteville in 1920. While in Winslow, she and Ary had a daughter, Mildred Grace (1910–1991) and a son, Harold Reese (1914–1986).[7] The 1920 census showed that she, Ary, and their two children lived at 234 Block Street in Fayetteville. She listed her occupation as a magazine writer. Ary worked as a manager of Budd’s Department Store.[8]  
Mrs. Atkins used her extraordinary energy, drive and intelligence in work related to her three main interests: religious education of young people, writing, and the Restoration Movement. Her efforts in youth religious education were evident in 1917 when she was president in the district Sunday School Association. In 1919, she became secretary of the Washington County Sunday School Association and, as head of the section addressing Sunday schools for children, helped planned its annual conventions at the University of Arkansas.[9]  After moving back in Fayetteville, she rejoined First Christian Church and was for many years the superintendent of the children’s division of its Sunday schools.[10]
Mrs. Adkins not only sought to improve religious instruction for youth locally, she also used her skills as a writer, poet, and composer to produce instructional and inspirational materials for students and teachers nationwide. While living in Winslow, she had written a book with the racy title, The Sex Life of Girls and Young Women, that the Standard Publishing Company, a religious publisher, issued in 1919. The book focused on biblical teachings of what girls and young women should know and what they should not do. An academic reviewer writing for the journal Social Hygiene, described the book as “A very unscientific, stupid, and well-intentioned book.”[11]
Mrs. Adkins also wrote didactic fiction and non-fiction for magazines, mainly those affiliated with the Restoration Movement, such as Christian Standard, The Lookout, and The Restoration Herald.  For example, she had a serialized novel, titled “The Challenge,” published in the Christian Standard magazine in 1921 and an article on education. “What We Must Do About Johnny,” published in 1923 in the same magazine.  During that time, she was also composing music. Two of her early songs, The Bumblebee and Lullaby, were published in the September 1919 issue of the Progressive Teacher and Southwestern School Journal.
Some of her activities in the late 1910s and 1920s were outside the church. With her interest in writing and music, Mrs. Adkins joined the Author’s and Composer’s Society of Arkansas. A bulletin issued by the organization in 1918 noted that she was expanding a serial novel she had written, titled The Girl of the Ozarks, and it would be published as a book.[12] At a 1921 meeting of the Society, she recited her new poem, “The Ozarks.”[13]  Also during the 1920s, she also was active locally in organizations such as the Jefferson School Parent-Teacher Association and the Fayetteville chapter of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, of which she was elected chapter president.[14]
In the late 1920s, Mrs. Adkins became unhappy with the First Christian Church. She later recalled, “Old historic First Church had long since lost its candlestick…. It had become a place of departed glory, which wrung the hearts of those who loved the Gospel. I worked actively there for 13 years, seeking in every way short of fruitless strife to lure it back to Scriptural ways, but to no avail.”  She decided, she said, “[T]o quietly slip away,” adding, “There was no strife, no cleavage, I just slipped out quietly, to do what I could where I could.”[15]
            In 1927, while still attending First Christian, she initiated an annual summer bible camp. Its purpose was to assemble young people in a rural setting for a week or two of religious instruction and fun activities. She named the gathering the Bethany Bible Camp.[16] During the same summer, a church in Willowby, Ohio also held its first bible camp for the same purpose, and that camp, the Erie Side Bible Conference, is credited in a history of Disciples of Christ bible camps as being the church’s first. The Bethany Bible Camp is not mentioned. In the years that followed these pioneering efforts, bible camps became regular and important features of Christian Churches.[17]   
As Mrs. Adkins was quietly slipping away from her church home in Fayetteville, she began working in the early 1930s as a “community missionary in rural centers,” assisting small groups and churches in small towns and rural parts of northwest Arkansas.[18] She wrote about those days,
“…I began working out through the rural districts, as opportunity offered, ministering to small, discouraged groups, and drawing the youth into camp fellowship. I was ordained as a Christian worker and found many open doors – which men were making no effort to enter. But always I was hampered by the lack of home base here in Fayetteville to work out from, which would stand for the Book and the Gospel.“[19]

            To remedy the problem of lacking a proper home church, Mr. Adkins helped found the tiny Central Christian Church.  She described the early days of the church:
The evangelist-leader I had so persistently prayed for failed to come. So, at long last, we started services in a home [in 1938], with just two widows and their small families to help. The depression still had the country in its grip. My husband was the only man we had for many years…. But somehow we carried on…. After a few months of services in a home, we moved to a hall, and were hard pressed to pay the rent. Few attended…. We lost one of our best charter members, and almost our only paying member, because we would not take a sectarian position on holiness. But we held on.[20]

From 1939 until 1950, Mrs. Adkins served church minister, although others briefly stepped into the role at different times. During those eleven years, she was Fayetteville’s only full-time female minister. An article published on January 27, 1940 in the local paper observed, “Central Christian Church is the only local church with a regularly employed woman pastor. By preference she omits the title ‘reverend.’”  Her guiding principal as minister was stated in the church announcement published weekly in the local paper: “In essentials unity; in non-essentials liberty; in all things, charity.”
Northwest Arkansas TImes, Feb. 4, 1938
As minister of the Central Christian Church, Mrs. Adkins continued directing the annual Bethany Bible Camps, and she started holding each June an annual vacation bible school at the church. The bible camps continued under her direction until 1950, and she managed the church’s vacation bible schools until 1960.[21]
Even as she was preaching, organizing Bible camps and vacation bible schools, and conducting her own bible training courses in the 1930s and 1940s, Mr. Atkins continued studying, writing, and composing. A scholar of the Restoration Movement, she intensely studied the writings of one of its founders, Alexander Campbell, and kept close watch on its development. She sometimes wrote serious articles based on her research. One example is her article in the December 1948 issue of The Restoration Herald titled “Who Are the Church?” She also continued to write fiction: Her favorite was titled, “Bread Alone,” that was serialized in The Lookout, a Christian magazine for young people, in 1933.[22]  Another serialized story, “The Choice,” was published weekly in the The Outlook, from April 30 to June 25, 1950.  In addition, Mrs. Adkins wrote materials for special church services. Her program for celebrating Mother’s Day was published in a small book in 1949 by Standard Publishing Company.[23]  
Her poetry gained some attention outside of church channels through a column titled “Ozark Moon” that appeared regularly in the local paper from 1935 into January 1940. The column was written by Walter Lemke (“Uncle Walt”), the chair of the University of Arkansas journalism department, and it featured poems submitted by local poets. Mrs. Adkins, using the pseudonym Priscilla, regularly corresponded with him, and he had high regard for her poetry. He wrote:
Priscilla has been sending in verses from time to time which are distinguished by vivid vocabulary, expert construction and other earmarks of good verse. One quality of Priscilla’s poems, however, defies analysis. She sees things that we don’t see. Of if we do, we’re not aware of them.…We don’t know Priscilla except through the column…. She must be a grand person, so we’ll her a grade of “A” on her poetry and an “A-plus on her faith…”[24]  

            Mrs. Adkins' poetry was -- like her -- pithy, austere, and efficient, usually with short sentences in short paragraphs. She often wrote poems in bunches. For example, she wrote series of short poems on, among other topics, birds (“Notes on Ornithology”), jobs (“Vocational Lyrics”), her childhood (“Leaves from Childhood’s Diary”), and musical instruments (“About Musical Instruments”). Mrs. Adkins viewed writing poetry for “Ozark Moon” as “pleasant relaxation in a strenuous life.”[25]  
In 1938, a small press in Gilbert Arkansas published a short volume on her poetry titled Fragments of a Song.  Also, some of her poems were published in a 1941 book featuring the short bios of writers in the Ozarks and examples of their work. One of her poems in that book was titled “Housewives”:
Your problem, which no mere man understands,
Demands consummate art —

The endless Martha tasks upon your hands,
When you’ve a Mary heart.[26]

Beyond her articles, stories, and poems. Mrs. Adkins also wrote numerous hymns. Six of those were published in different hymnals.[27] A version of one, “I’ll Wish I Had Done More,” published in 1948, has been adapted for choirs and featured in recent years in several European churches.[28] One performance with over 300,000 views on YouTube is located at this link:
Even as Mrs. Adkins ventured into the arts, her focus remained on her ministry. After meeting from 1939 through 1941 at the old Woodman Hall building, located at 112½ Center Street, Central Christian Church moved in January 1942 to a tiny building at 203 S. School Street, near the City Hospital, that had previously been used at different times as a barbershop and as a restaurant. As the move was made, church members also were progressing toward having their own church building. They purchased land nearby on West Rock Street in 1943. Even with meager resources, the church was able to build a basement on its West Rock Street land, starting it in late 1945 and completing it in 1946. When it was finished, they began holding services there while planning to build an auditorium over it.[29]

The Arrival of Fred Huckelbury and the Rise of Christ’s Church
While meeting in the West Rock Street basement in 1949, the congregation began searching for a full-time minister to replace Mrs. Adkins, but it had difficulty finding one because the small church could pay only a pittance from its collected tithes. In all practicality, the church needed a minister who could attract enough members to pay his salary and its other costs.  
Fred Huckelbury at Christ's Church, mid 1950s
On July 31, 1950, a 37-year-old business man from Fort Smith came to conduct evening services at Central Christian Church, and wowing its members, he was invited back to preach at the next Sunday morning service.[29] The man, Fred Donald Huckelbury (1912–1987), had been born near Van Buren into a large family. He had followed the path of his father, a salaried laborer, and, after finishing three years of high school, had worked at Lauck Lumber Company in nearby Mena. He had been elected to represent the company’s Sawmill and Timber Workers Union, and in that capacity had negotiated with the mill’s owner during a 1937 strike.[30]  
Huckelbury, who married Indianola Faye Branham of Fort Smith in 1932, had moved with his family to California in the late 1930s. The 1940 census showed him and Faye, plus three children, living near Los Angeles. According to his draft board information, he worked as a finisher for the Air Light Venetian Blind Co. and was never drafted.  
Sometime in the post-war 1940s, Huckelbury and his family had moved back to Van Buren, where he worked for the Sun-Tilt Venetian Blind Co. in Ft. Smith. (He may have owned the firm.) While earning a living by making and selling venetian blinds, he had apparently prepared himself for the ministry. However, he was not the minister of any church in the Fort Smith – Van Buren area in the late 1940s and early 1950s.[31]
Fred Huckelbury with Faye Huckelbury in Christ's Church. mid 1950s
Whatever training for and experience as a minister Huckelbury had before he visited Fayetteville in 1950, they were more than enough: it turned out that he was very good at it.  This thin, tall (6” 2”), intense man with wavy hair impressed listeners with his talents as an orator and dazzled them with his musical abilities as he played different instruments.[32]
Huckelbury was not a hell-fire bible thumper and jumper like those found in many fundamentalist churches at the time; he spoke clearly, firmly, and eloquently, delivering a reasoned message in a smooth, deep voice. His scripture-based sermons appealed as much to the listeners’ intellect as to their gut, even as they delivered a firm message of right and wrong.
Many Central Christian Church members, especially its spiritual leader, Mrs. Adkins, thought Huckelbury was a good fit for the church, and church members hired him to be their minister. Mrs. Adkins later observed, “[I]n the time of our greatest need, [God] sent Fred Huckelbury, a young businessman from Fort Smith to help us.”[33] 
Huckelbury took over the ministry in early 1951, though he continued to commute from Fort Smith for some months after that. The first year of his ministry was difficult, but the Church had started growing. Mrs. Adkins described the first year as follows: “Satan sent every device to hinder – sickness, broken bones, business difficulties – everything. But under his ministry, after months of grueling, heartbreaking effort, the tide began to turn.”[34]
Central Christian Church took a big step forward on November 11, 1951, when it held its first church service in the newly completed auditorium that had been built over the West Rock Street basement. It continued to expand and improve the building during the next few years, adding an organ, a baptistry, and a back wing. In 1952, the church’s name was changed to Christ’s Church, likely to emphasize its strictly non-hierarchical, non-denominational character.
Newly Built Christ's Church, December 1952
 Fueled by the tireless evangelizing of the charismatic preacher, who was supported by the prodigious work of Mrs. Adkins, Christ’s Church rapidly increased its membership, adding 77 new members from September 1951 to August 1952, 33 by baptism and 44 by transfer. Part of the church resurgence was stimulated by a lively multi-night revival that Huckelberry held in November, 1951.[35]  
As the menu of activities offered to church members of all ages grew, new members continued to join the church week by week. For example, the Church Bulletin for March 21, 1954, reported that in the previous week the church had added nine new members, four through transfers from a Baptist church and five through baptism.[36]
A picture of the church building published in the local paper on Dec. 24, 1952, included the claim that Christ’s Church had more baptisms in the preceding year than any other Christian Church in Arkansas. That claim was evidence of the growing success of the small church.
Through the efforts of Mrs. Atkins, who resided in the house just west of the church at 429 West Rock Street, Christ’s Church had multiple programs for children. In 1952, the church’s daily vacation bible school, directed by Mrs. Adkins, enrolled 61 children and it continued to grow each year that followed during Huckelberry’s ministry[37]  Aside from programs for children, the church had special programs for teenagers (including a harmonica club) and college age adults, plus it had a men’s group, a women’s group and bible study for all adults. The church even offered “university-level bible courses” through the Arkansas Bible Institute it created in 1954.[38] The Institute was headed by Mrs. Adkins and the courses were taught by Paul C. Davis (1904–1986), a former public school teacher and former state representative who was at the time the elected Washington County Clerk. In 1953, the church also began publishing its own journal, The Gospel Challenge, edited by Mrs. Adkins.[39]
Drawing of Christ's Church, Northwest Arkansas Times,
December 23, 1961
From the beginning of Huckelbury’s ministry, the church had continued the outreach programs that had been initiated earlier by Mrs. Adkins when she had been the church’s pastor. and had expanded them. Huckelbury and church members held rallies and conducted church services in rural parts of the county. Three church members became ordained ministers to assist churches outside Fayetteville. To extend the church’s reach, it began in 1952 a weekly Sunday morning radio program on KRGH.
As the church began to take off in 1952, Mrs. Adkins was mightily pleased with what she saw. She was, at last, realizing her dream. She wrote in Fall 1952:
…there is something peculiarly fresh and different in …Christ’s Church.  Somehow, in some measure, we have been able to capture the vital essence of the Early Church. We have done it partly by avoidance of stilted forms and customs – by “practicing in non-essentials, liberty.” And by lots of knee work. Just lots and lots of it. Little by little, our dreams of a Scriptural congregation are coming true. And the church is spilling over into the country around, through radio programs, and rural services and rallies, and the tireless efforts of Fred Huckelberry…. Cars from the church go out with him, and almost every night is full.[40]

My experience with the church started in the first part of 1954, when I was in the first grade. My mother had drug me to the church after she, my dad, and I moved to a City Housing apartment located just a few blocks from West Rock Street. In the summer of 1954, I attended Christ’s Church’s daily vacation bible school. I would also attend the summer bible schools in the three years that followed. My main recollections from those early experiences are marching into and out of the church building with a column of kids as a piano pounded out “Onward Christian Soldiers, Marching as to War” and making the trip down the perilous path to the City Hospital Park in the ravine behind the church. There we could (at last!) play. I also recall watching a peculiarly fussy and peripatetic older lady orchestrate everything, apparently worrying about every detail.  
Certificate acknowledging completion of the
1954 Vacation Bible School at Christ's Church 
That fussy lady, her hands always moving with nervous energy, was Mrs. Adkins, and during the dozen years I was active in the church, I spent considerable time with her, mainly in her classes and in practices for various church programs (Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.) she was directing. I remember her as a no-nonsense purpose-driven woman, never particularly warm or harsh. Certainly, I was impressed with her large living room, crammed full of books, papers, and a piano, where we would often meet. It struck me as a place from the distant past where serious reading, thinking, and reflection took place, and I liked being there.
In the years after I joined the church, its growth and vigor of the church continued apace. The pastor and church members, I recall, talked of a “spirit-filled” church, a church “on fire” for Jesus. However, in 1956 it suffered a setback. I am not sure what happened or why, but two men – brothers Odean (1918 – 1977) and Odell (1916 - 1991) Carnes -- who were church elders left the church with their families.[41]  In early 1956, Odean – a barber by trade – was pastor of Parkdale Baptist Church in Fayetteville and a year later was the minister of a church with the name “Central Christs Church” that met a few blocks from Christ’s Church. Some church members left Christ’s Church to follow the Carnes bothers.
Despite this division in the church, Huckelbury continued to fill the church until his departure at the end of January 1958.[42] When Huckelbury left Fayetteville, he moved to Julesburg, Colorado, where he became minister of the Julesburg Church of Christ. In early 1960, he moved from Colorado to Corinth, Mississippi, where he became pastor of the Harper Road Christian church and an evangelist with the Christian Evangelizers Association, an organization created by Cecil Todd (who had been a minister at the Christian Church in Fort Smith in the late 1950s). The Association had its headquarters in Joplin, Mo.  A newspaper story in 1960 described the organization as follows:
The Christian Evangelizers Association features national evangelists, Cecil Todd and Fred Huckleberry, singing evangelist, Midget Lowell Mason, and the well-known Blackwood Brothers Quartet as well as the Statesman and Prophets Quartets.

Christian Evangelizers hold large tent revivals in various cities and help to establish new congregations of Churches of Christ in those cities. They have been televised and have also been on nation-wide radio programs.[43]

Todd later changed the name of the organization to Rival Fires Ministry and became a well-known tele-evangelist. The organization still exists and is headquartered in Branson, Mo. It is uncertain how long Huckelberry remained affiliated with Todd and his ministries.[44]
For most of the rest of his life, Huckelbury was the pastor of Harper Road Christian Church in Corinth, and he also periodically conducted revivals for churches in other states. He retired in 1984 and passed away in Corinth in 1987. He and Faye are buried at Fairview Cemetery in Van Buren, Arkansas.
One of Huckelbury’s legacies is Rock Solid Ministries, an organization that conducts Christian Church revivals throughout the United States. It has two evangelists, both of whom live in Corinth.[45]  One of them is Tom Weaver, Huckelbury’s grandson, the son of David and Donna Faye Huckelbury Weaver, who were married in 1949.
The Rock Solid Ministries website cites Huckelbury, “a mid-Twentieth Century Restoration Movement Evangelist who held hundreds of revivals and baptized thousands into Christ,” as an inspiration for its work.[46] It has posted on its website recordings of six sermons that Huckelbury delivered on radio in Corinth in the early 1960s. The sermons can be heard at this link:

Christ’s Church After Huckelbury

When Fred Huckelbury left Christ’s Church in early 1958, it was a thriving church with healthy membership and diverse activities.  It held Sunday School before the main Church Service. It had Sunday evening, Wednesday night, and Friday night services, plus many “fellowship opportunities” for its members. It had a weekly radio program. However, time would show that much of the success of the church had been due to Huckelberry and his formidable talents.
The man who followed Fred Huckelbury had big shoes to fill. The Church picked Sterling McBee (1922 – 1993) He was an earnest man who graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1952. He had the style and eloquence, but not the charisma, of Huckelbury. Also, he was handicapped in his efforts to continue the vitality of the church by the fact that he lived thirty miles away in Huntsville and had a full-time job there as supervisor of the local Farmers Home Administration office. He simply could not devote the same amount of time to develop the church as Huckelberry had.
Sermons by Sterling McBee at
Christ's Church
Perhaps it was unhappiness with his performance that caused in 1960 a major split in the church that resulted in Mrs. Adkins leaving it. Or maybe, Mrs. Adkins had doctrinal disagreement with McBee. Whatever her grievance, by the middle of 1960, she had left Christ’s Church – the church to which had devoted much of her life -- to join the recently created Central Christian Church. Several other church members joined the seventy-six-year-old woman in the exit, and her departure was a grave blow to Christ’s Church, which nonetheless carried on with a diminished flock.[47]  
McBee remained as the church’s minister until November 1963, when he was transferred from FmHA’s office in Huntsville to its office in Warren. The church selected Carroll Cole (1901–1973) as its next minister. He came to Christ’s Church from Anniston, Missouri, where he had been pastor of a Christian Church. Soon after he took over as minister in early February 1964, Christ’s Church merged with Central Christian Church, and Mrs. Adkins rejoined the church on West Rock Street. Its name was changed to Central Christian Church.
Although eighty years old and in poor health, Mrs. Adkins played the piano at church services every Sunday, taught bible classes, and directed special church programs.[48] She continued her church-related activities until 1967, when she moved to Illinois to live with her daughter, Lois Johnson. She passed away in 1973 and is buried in Fairfield Memorial Gardens in Fayetteville.[49]
Carroll Cole remained as pastor of Central Christian Church for less than two years, leaving in September 1965. The men who followed him as minister of the church at West Rock Street were as follows:
Edward R. Baker (June 1966 – February 1968)
Charles Pickett (November 1968 – October 1970)
Carroll Cole (October 1971 – July 1973) (passed away Dec. 1973)
Sterling McBee (February 1974 – March 1976)
Herman Paden (April 1976 – 198?)

These pastors presided over a diminished church whose slow downward attendance trend was sometimes interrupted by enthusiasm created by a new pastor, church rallies, and other special events.[50] Despite their best efforts, none of the ministers was able to recapture the magic of the Huckelberry years.
            In 1981, the church’s pastor was Herman Paden, who had occupied the pulpit for nearly five years after he had replaced McBee (who had in 1973 returned to be the church’s pastor, leaving again in 1976).  Paden and the church were approached by City Hospital directors about their desire to buy the church’s West Rock Street buildings and land. The hospital intended to expand and to do so it needed the church’s property.
The Northwest Arkansas Times reports the sale of the church building to the City Hospital,
August 15, 1981
When the church resisted selling the building that had been its home for thirty years, the hospital threatened to initiate condemnation proceedings. In early August, 1981, a week before the governing board was to vote to file condemnation papers, the hospital and church reached an agreement:  The hospital would buy for $130,000 a church building at 904 West 15th Street that belonged to the Pentecostal Church whose members were about to move into a new church building. The hospital would then trade the 15th Street church building for Central Christian Church’s West Rock Street properties.[51] The deal was made, and Central Christian Church left its building on South Rock Street. It held its first services at its new location on November22, 1981.[52]  
            Central Christian Church still meets weekly and will celebrate its 80th birthday in 2019. Its church building now is located at 3264 North 48th Street in Springdale and its long-time pastor is Ed Cowan.[53] The congregation is a small one.


While the destruction of a soulless building can be painful for people who recall the efforts that were required to create it, the hopes and dreams of the people who populated it, and the dramas played out in it, the loss become deeper when memories accompany it into oblivion. In the case of Christ’s Church, and of the city hospital that bought it, the memories associated with these institutions should not be lost; their stories belong in the narrative history of the city.   
            Sometime in the next few years, the Fayetteville library will construct new buildings over the land long occupied by the church and hospital. It will offer space and programs that, no doubt, will be the envy of most cities. As this wonderful addition to the city contributes to the learning of its citizens and enhances the enjoyment of life of all who visit it, the library should find ways to tell the story of the institutions that preceded it in its new location and to honor those who made those institutions important elements of the city’s past. 


1. Mrs. Grace Reese Adkins, whose short biography is presented in this paper, would have been deeply disturbed by the destruction of City Hospital Park, had she lived to see it. She wrote about the beauty of the flowers in the park in letters to the editor of the Northwest Arkansas Times in 1960 and 1962:

There is a beauty spot in Fayetteville which few people know anything about, namely a lovely colony of buttercups in City Hospital Park, which increase in size from year to year…I first discovered this colony in the early spring 1920, when I was a patient in the City Hospital. I looked out of my window and saw the small patch of yellow on the green slope of the hillside. Many years later we bought a home on the edge of the park, and there they were still, but in greater numbers. Each year they carpet a larger area….You ought to see them. They are close to West Street, in a swale where the ravine flattens out and the sun creeps in. 

Letter to the editor. Northwest Arkansas Times, April 22, 1960, p 3; also see, Letter to the editor. Northwest Arkansas Times, March 20, 1962, p. 16.

2. For a brief history of the church, see “Central Christian Church.” Northwest Arkansas Times, December 12, 1981.

3.  For a history of the Disciples of Christ, see . A history of Fayetteville’s First Christian Church can be found at this link:

4. Florence Woodcock McCullough. 1945. Living Authors of the Ozarks and their Literature. Self-published, pp. 3.

Also, Mrs. Adkins’ description of her move to Fayetteville in 1902 with her family is found in a letter to the editor she wrote, published in the Northwest Arkansas Times on May 6, 1969, p. 4.

5.  Mrs. Adkins alludes to her work as a teacher in a short summary of her life that she wrote in 1945 for her entry in Living Authors of the Ozarks and their Literature (see footnote 4.)  She wrote, “It was only a step from public school teaching to the field of Christian education.”  In a letter to the editor of the Northwest Arkansas Times dated July 24, 1964, Mrs. Adkins wrote about attending an Arkansas history course at the University of Arkansas during the first decade of the 1900s.

6. According to Thomas Elmore Lucy, known as the “Globe-Trotting Poet-Humorist of Arkansas,” who was popular in the state’s Chautauqua Circuit, H. S. Mobley (his first name was “Hazel, which he understandably did not use) arrived in Washington County about the same time as Mrs. Adkins to be the “district evangelist of the Christian Church in Northwest Arkansas.” He traveled by horse and buggy to rural areas of the county to hold “brush arbor” revivals and other services. For a while, Lucy had accompanied him as song leader for some of the services. According to Lucy, Mobley had “outstanding personalities among his converts” such as Grace Reese Adkins, “author and community missionary in rural centers.” Thomas Elmore Lucy, “The Shining Cave,” Arkansas Gazette, June 23, 1946, p. 37.

Mobley (1869 – 1946) left this work as a full-time evangelist before 1910. The census that year showed him living in Prairie Grove and working as a “traveling agent” for a farmer’s organization. In 1920, he was farming in Prairie Grove and working for a program to help farmers improve their crops. The census that year showed that Edgar L. Reese, Mrs. Adkins brother, was among the people living on his farm. Mobley spent some years in the 1920s in Washington D.C. as a lobbyist for farmers and later traveled as a speaker for International Harvester Co.  In the late 1920s, he returned to farming in Prairie Grove and was elected nineteen times to one-year terms as president of the Washington County Farm Bureau. He regularly served on the state board of the Farm Bureau during these years.
7. In 1925, Mrs. Atkins had another daughter, Lois Margaret (1925 - ?).

8. Advertisement. Northwest Arkansas Times, March 2, 1923, p. 3. According to Mrs. Adkins, her husband was “a quiet person, not given to public work.” Grace Reese Adkins. 1952. “Rugged Paths to Victory.” The Restoration Herald, vol. 17 no. 1, September, pp. 5, 7.

9. “Fourth District S.S. Convention August 27.” Fayetteville Daily Democrat, August 22, 1917, p. 3; “County Sunday School Convention May 26-27.” Fayetteville Daily Democrat, May 24, 1919, p. 1; and “County Sunday Schools to Meet Here Tuesday.” Fayetteville Daily Democrat, June 27, 1921. Mrs. Adkins was president of the district Sunday school association and secretary of the county association.

10. “Sunday Rally Day at First Christian.” Fayetteville Daily Democrat, Sept. 27, 1922.

11.  H.W.D. 1920. “Review of the Sex Life of Girls and Young Women.” Social Hygiene, vol. 6, p. 303. Accessible through Google Books.

12 “Initial Bulletin Issued by Society.” Arkansas Gazette, December 29, 1918, p. 16. Also see,
“Authors and Composers Society Holds Meeting.” Arkansas Gazette, January 8, 1919, p. 1 and “Appears in New Dress.” Arkansas Gazette, Feb 8, 1920, p. 45. I have not identified the magazine in which the serialized novel was published nor found any evidence it was published as a book.

For more about the society, which had an active membership of 122 in 1921, see a summary article in the July-August 1921 issue of the “The Arkansas Writer.” The article reprint is in C. Fred Williams, et al. (eds.). 1984. A Documentary History of Arkansas, University of Arkansas Press, pp. 198–199. 

13. Note, Arkansas Gazette, January 30, 1921, p. 29 and Note. Arkansas Gazette, February 2, 1921, p. 4.
The February 1, 1921 meeting featured authors from Northwest Arkansas. Both Mrs. Adkins and Thomas Elmore Lucey, mentioned in footnote 6, made presentations at the meeting.

14. “P.T.A. to Hold Social Meeting.” Fayetteville Daily Democrat, June 16, 1922, p. 2 and “District W.C.T.U. Meeting Held at Fayetteville.” Arkansas Gazette, March 19, 1930, p. 2.

15. Grace Reese Adkins. 1952. “Rugged Paths to Victory.” The Restoration Herald, vol 17(1), pp. 5, 7.

16. Bethany, a town mentioned in the New Testament, was the home of Lazarus, who – according to the Bible -- was resurrected by Jesus four days after he died. Bethany is also the West Virginia city that was home to Alexander Campbell and is the name of the college he established there in 1840.

17. Mrs. Adkins stated specifically that her camp was first held the same year that the Erieside Camp first met. She wrote, “I tried to strengthen the churches of the county through their youth by organizing Bethany Bible Camp, the same year Erieside was started. But while it did much good, it could not turn the tide of apostasy in the churches.” Grace Reese Adkins. 1952. “Rugged Paths to Victory. The Restoration Herald, vol 17(1), pp. 5, 7.

The following is from a 1948 newspaper article, likely based on materials written by Mrs. Adkins, that briefly told the history of the Bethany Bible Camp:

Bethany Bible Camp was one of the two first camps in the modern Christian Service Movement for young people. The other was located in Erieside, Ohio. Both camps started in 1927 without knowledge of each other and have served as models for many years until the number of the camps now totals 197 in the United States.

The main idea behind the service camps is education in Bible scriptures and preparation for Christian work on a non-sectarian basis. A large number of recruits for full time gospel and missionary work enter Bible colleges each year from the services camps.

The first site of Bethany Bible Camps was at Wesley, and the school house there was used for assembly, tents for dormitories, and the improved outdoor kitchen for cooking. It has also been held at Brentwood, West Fork, Farmington, and the Adkins home north of Fayetteville, where tents, garage, basement and barn lofts were combined to provide dormitory accommodations.

For the past three seasons the camp has been held at the Highland Community building with tents used for sleeping. A permanent camp ground has been acquired nearby, but it is not yet ready for use.

“Bethany Bible Camp Pioneered in Modern Christian Service Movement for Youth.” Northwest Arkansas Times, June 24, 1948, p. 8.

For a discussion of Christian Church camps, see the entry on “Camps” by Reuben G. Bullard in the Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement, edited by Douglas A. Foster, published in 2004 by Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

18 “Community missionary in rural centers” was Lucy’s description of Mrs. Adkins (see footnote 6). Lucy knew Mrs. Adkins through the Arkansas Authors and Composers Society of which both were members in the early 1920s and through mutual association with H. J. Mosely and his family.

19. Grace Reese Adkins. 1952. “Rugged Paths to Victory.” The Restoration Herald, vol 17(1), pp. 5, 7

20. Grace Reese Adkins. 1952. “Rugged Paths to Victory.” The Restoration Herald, vol 17(1), pp. 5, 7

21. See these articles for descriptions of various Bethany Bible Camps and vacation bible schools:

“Farmington.” Northwest Arkansas Times, July 15, 1941, p 2.
“Bethany Bible Camp to Open July 10.” Northwest Arkansas Times July 9, 1942 p 4.
“Bethan Bible Camp Plans Reading Course.” Northwest Arkansas Times Aug 6,1942.
 “Bethany Bible Camp to be Held at Devil’s Den.” Northwest Arkansas Times, June 9, 1945, p. 3.
“Preparations Made for Bible Camp of Christian Church.” Northwest Arkansas Times July 20, 1946, p. 2.
“Guest to Speak at Central Christian.” Northwest Arkansas Times July 5, 1947, p. 2.
“Youth Week is scheduled at Bible Camp.” Northwest Arkansas Times July 10, 1948, p. 2.
“New Course to be Featured on Bethan Bible Camp Program.” Northwest Arkansas Times July 9, 1949, p. 2.

 “25 Enrolled at Church Bible School.” Northwest Arkansas Times, June 5, 1944, p. 7.
 “Central Christian Church to Have Bible School.” Northwest Arkansas Times June 2, 1945, p. 3.
“Christian Bible School Continues.” Northwest Arkansas Times, June 29, 1946, p. 2.
“Evangelist [Billy James Hargis] to Hold Meetings Here.” Northwest Arkansas Times May 24, 1947, p. 2.  Note. Northwest Arkansas Times, May 31, 1953, p. 2.

22. Mrs. Adkins mentioned this story as her favorite in her entry in Florence Woodcock McCullough. 1945. Living Authors of the Ozarks and their Literature. Self-published, pp. 3-4. (See footnote 4.)

23. The title was Standard Mother’s Day Program Book. SeeWork of Local Pastor Published.” Northwest Arkansas Times, April 30, 1949.

24 “Ozark Moon: Lines of Doctrine.” Fayetteville Daily Democrat, Nov. 14, 1935, p. 4

25. Florence Woodcock McCullough. 1945. Living Authors of the Ozarks and their Literature. Self-published, pp. 3-4.  (See footnote 4.)

26. This poem was published in Florence Woodcock McCullough. 1945. Living Authors of the Ozarks and their Literature. Self-published, pp. 3-4. It is based on a story in the New Testament (Luke) about Jesus visiting the house, located in Bethany, of sisters Martha and Mary. While Martha was distracted by preparing a meal, Mary sat and talked at length with Jesus. Martha was not pleased.

28. Other songs in hymnals include “This is the Way the Wind Doth Blow,” “‘Tis Written in his Word,”  “All Through the Day while I am at Play,” “Under the Snow,” and “The One that the Children Love.”

29. Note. Northwest Arkansas Times, July 21, 1950.  Note. Northwest Arkansas Times, Aug. 7, 1950, p. 5

30. “Lumber Plant Resumes Work.” Northwest Arkansas Times, Aug 2, 1937, p. 9.

31. I found no records that document his preparation for the ministry. A search of Fort Smith city directories and the city’s newspaper for the years 1949, 1950, and 1951 provided no record of Huckelberry serving as the minister of a church in the Fort Smith-Van Buren area during these years.

32. An article in the Northwest Arkansas Times reported that he would be speaking to the “Fayetteville Bible Mission” and described his as follows: “Mr. Huckleberry is known as a forceful speaker and talented musician. He will bring with him a number of instruments, which he will play at the service.” “Rev. Fred Huckleberry (sic) to Speak at Mission.” Northwest Arkansas Times, June 30, 1951, p. 2.

 One of Huckelberry’s sisters was Mrs. Isabel French, who wrote a weekly column, “Hills of Home,” for the Arkansas Gazette for more than two decades. “’Hills of Home’ Writer Dies (Mrs. Isabel France).” Arkansas Gazette, Feb. 24, 1963

33. Grace Reese Adkins. 1952. “Rugged Paths to Victory.” The Restoration Herald, vol 17(1), pp. 5, 7.

34. Grace Reese Adkins. 1952. “Rugged Paths to Victory.” The Restoration Herald, vol 17(1), pp. 5, 7.

35. Grace Reese Adkins. 1952. “Rugged Paths to Victory.” The Restoration Herald, vol 17(1), pp. 5, 7.
Also, “Fred Huckleberry (sic) Revival Service.” Northwest Arkansas Times, Nov 26, 1951, p. 2.

36. One of the members added through baptism that week was Bernice Durning, my mother. 

37. “Picnic Announced for Christ’s Church DVBS.” Northwest Arkansas Times, June 12, 1952.

38. See these articles:
“Berean Class Organized at Central Christian.” Northwest Arkansas Times, Jan 26, 1952 p. 2.
“Halloween Party Given at O’Dean Karnes House.” Northwest Arkansas Times, Oct 31, 1952 p. 2.
“Skating Party Given by Christ’ Church.” Northwest Arkansas Times, June 16, 1953, p. 2.
“Christ’s Church Has Bible Institute Work.” Northwest Arkansas Times, March 27, 1954, p. 11.
“Christ’s Church to Re-Open Bible Class.” Northwest Arkansas Times August 28, 1954.
“Boys of Christ’s Church Organize Harmonia Club.” Northwest Arkansas Times, Nov 11, 1954.

39. “Mrs. Adkins Editor of Gospel Challenge.” Northwest Arkansas Times, June 3, 1953.

40. Grace Reese Adkins. 1952. “Rugged Paths to Victory.” The Restoration Herald, vol 17(1), pp. 5, 7.

41. Both were elders when the church installed new officers for the coming year in late September 1955. “Christ’s Church.” Northwest Arkansas Times, Sept.24, 1955, p. 3.  After preaching at a local Baptist church during most of 1956, Odean Carnes was the minister of Central Christs Church when it opened its doors 425 South Government Street near the beginning of 1957.  

42. I was probably the last person that Huckelberry baptized at Christ Church. It was his last Sunday there on January 28, 1958.

43. “Daniel Schantz Joins Evangelizers.” Wilmington News-Journal (Ohio), Jan 11, 1960, p. 6. Note: Reading the article it is unclear because of poor punctuation whether Huckelberry or “Midget Lowell Mason” was the “singing evangelist.” It was Mason, who later was known as the “world’s smallest gospel singer.”  “Lowell Mason Will Sing at Service.” Joplin Globe, December 31, 1975, p. 10. 

47. My mother and most long-time members stayed at Christ’s Church. I was attending church at the time of the split, but as a teenager, I did not pay much attention to what was going on and why.

48 Central Christian, Northwest Arkansas Times Nov 7 1964 and New Bible Class. Northwest Arkansas Times Feb 5, 1966, p. 5, I was in the Thanksgiving church program she directed in November 1964.

49. “Obituary: Mrs. Adkins.” Northwest Arkansas Times, January 11, 1974, p. 2.
50.  As the list shows, Carroll Cole, who departed as minister in September 1965, returned six years later to again take on the ministry. He fell ill in Summer, 1973 and passed away in December. He was followed by Sterling McBee, the man Cole had replaced in January 1964.

51. “Hospital, Church Settle Property Dispute.” Northwest Arkansas Times, Aug. 15, 1983, p. 1.

52. “Central Christian Church.” Northwest Arkansas Times, December 21, 1981.

53. Tresa McBee Riha. “Returning to the familiar.” Northwest Arkansas Times, January 8, 2000. My mother continued attending the church until health issues intervened in 2013. My dad joined the church in the late 1990s and attended with my mother.