Woodruff County Historical Society
On June 8, 1972, a group of citizens met in Augusta (Woodruff County) to plan the organization of a county historical society to gather and publish historical information about Woodruff County and its people. A nominating committee was selected, and the committee met on July 12. At the second meeting, officers were elected, and articles of incorporation were prepared and adopted. The board of directors met at the Woodruff County Library on July 25 and approved the constitution and by-laws of the newly formed Woodruff County Historical Society. The papers of organization were filed with the Secretary of State’s office on August 28, 1972.
The first publication of the society, Rivers and Roads and Points In Between, was published in fall of 1972. The thirty-two-page booklet was the first issue in the society’s quarterly publication. Membership dues were $5 per year and included a subscription to the quarterly. Copies sold for $1 each, plus ten cents for postage.
The first executive committee consisted of President Adelia Kittrell Sr., Vice-president Dale McGregor, Secretary-Treasurer Beulah Chalfant, advisor Wayne Rupe, editors Francis McGregor and Davis Fitzhugh, art editor Mrs. David Philyaw, and board of directors members Mable Massey, Curtis Houston, Irene Rayner, Marguerite Coleman, James Smith, and Margaret Gregory. The first guest speaker at the fall meeting in October 1972 was John Ferguson, director of the Arkansas History Commission (now called the Arkansas State Archives).
When the second issue of Rivers and Roads was printed in winter of 1973, the society boasted a charter list of fifty members. By the time the summer issue was published, more than 300 people had joined and the society was “on a sound financial basis.”
In fall of 1976, Kittrell stepped down as president and was replaced by Curtis Houston, who was replaced in 1977 by Eugene Wright. In 1979, Roger Smith was elected president of the society and remains in that office as of 2012. The 1976 Rivers and Roads and Points In Between received the Award of Distinction as the outstanding county journal in Arkansas at the annual state meeting of the Arkansas Historical Association. Membership dues went up for the first time in 1981 to $6. Problems with illness, deadlines, and finances arose in 1987, and no issue of Rivers and Roads was published that year. The 1988 issue was published as an annual with 118 pages.
A new editor, Lela Knight Ashburn, took over in 1991 and edited Rivers and Roads until 2000, when the historical society ceased publication for four years. In 2004, Paula Harmon Barnett was named editor, and the annual book was changed to a larger format, allowing for bigger print and photos. The price of the annual book and of memberships went up in 2010 to $15 as printing and mailing costs increased. In order to avoid an apparent gap in publication, the journal printed in 2004 was titled “Volume 28, 2001/2002.” The combined numbering continued until the 2007 issue.
As of 2012, the executive committee consists of President Roger Smith, Vice-president Kip Davis, Secretary-Treasurer Shirley Fields, editor Paula Barnett, and board of directors members Faye Dell Knight, Kathryn McClain, Mary Alice Culbreath, Betty Fowler, and Gary Telford.
For additional information:
Barnett, Paula Harmon. “Editor’s Note: Things Are Different.” Rivers and Roads and Points in Between 27 (2001/2002): i.
Kittrell, Mrs. John B. “Organization of the Woodruff County Historical Society.” Rivers and Roads and Points in Between 1 (Fall 1972): 2.
Paula Harmon Barnett
Last Updated: 06/08/2016