Drew Co. Historical Society holds October meeting
The Drew County Historical Society met on Sunday, October 12, 2014 in the Drew County Museum. Historical society president Tommy Gray called the meeting to order at 2:30 p.m. He noted that “as we get older, we realize the importance of history.” Gray introduced the speakers for the meeting, Drew County Museum commissioners Connie Mullis and Zack Tucker.
Mullis announced that Judy Bynum won the drawing for the Yeti cooler. Bynum donated the cooler back to the museum. Mullis also discussed the needs of the museum, including painting and a new electrical system. She encouraged individual to join the Drew County Historical Society and to serve on the Drew County Historical Society Board.
Mullis introduced the subject of the meeting, a new collection donated by Douglas Pope, Jr. Pope donated memorabilia from his father’s service in the United States Navy during WWI. She explained that museum commissioner Zack Tucker had taken the initiative to create a new display in the museum based on the donation.
Zack Tucker noted that his interest and involvement in historic preservation began when he was in high school in Marked Tree. For the new museum collection, he selected relevant military pieces already in the museum from the WWI era (1914-1918) and created a display in the first floor hallway of the museum with the Pope collection as the centerpiece. The memorabilia is from Douglas Pope Sr. service during the war. The donation included three scrapbooks with pictures, a letter to Pope’s mother, and a daily journal of his time on the U.S.S. Arkansas.
Tucker noted that after the armistice in Nov. 1918, Pope was furloughed in London for three months. This provided him with a unique opportunity to tour London before returning home to Monticello, Arkansas. Pope’s service began in the Navy serving on the U.S.S. Arkansas. He was then transferred to foot combat in France and Germany. While serving with a group of soldiers in Germany, the soldiers captured a German flag and decided to divide it among them as a souvenir. Thus, one of the artifacts in the collection is a small cutting from a German flag.
Other artifacts gathered from the museum and included in the new display included a Navy uniform, and army uniform, a German gas mask complete with instructions in German, and a combat helmet with trench artwork. Tucker noted that chemical and trench warfare were new for WW I. Adolf Hitler was gassed as a soldier in WWI. Soldiers spent many days at a stretch in trenches with little to occupy their time. One diversion was to create trench artwork, such as the example in the museum where a soldier has painted a scene and words on his helmet.
After the conclusion of the presentations, attendees had the opportunity to tour the new display. The historical society officers also reminded the group that the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP) will be holding a “Walks through History” program at the Taylor House and Cemetery on Highway 138 near Winchester on at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014.