DC museum: an enjoyable afternoon browse

Have you got the winter doldrums or cabin fever yet? The truly cold weather hasn’t really set in, as of today, but I fear it’s coming. I have a suggestion for a good winter project for you, or at least, an enjoyable afternoon browse. 

If you have never visited, come and check out the Drew County Archives. The Archives is located in the little white house directly behind the museum and faces West College Avenue. It is open on Friday and Saturday afternoons from 2 to 5 p.m. 

We have a most pleasant and knowledgeable archivist Mrs. Bettye Kellum. Other museum employees, primarily Claudia White, also help out on her weekends off. Betty herself is a treasure trove of information about Drew County and southeast Arkansas, in particular. 

Most visitors to the archives come to do genealogical research. The facility is the premier place in the county for that type of information. It has scores of microfilm, maps, journals, paper clippings and files dealing with a multitude of local subjects and characters. There is a card catalog that has all these materials indexed and can tell you where to begin your search. Let’s look at a general summary of the materials held in each category. 

We’ll begin with our extensive microfilm collection. On film we have the census records beginning in 1830 from selected southeast Arkansas counties. We have miscellaneous issues of the Advance Monticellonian beginning in 1932. We have records from two local Presbyterian churches—Mt. Zion Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church. We also have some records on the O’Neill family. You are welcome to examine any of the microfilm. Unfortunately we do not have—and we do need—a copier that is connected to the microfiche machine.   

We also have a large number of historical journals. We have all issues of the Drew County Historical Journal and the Ashley County journals and select journals from surrounding areas. We also have The Arkansas Historical Quarterly from 1957 through the turn of the century. We have numerous other journals and books that are invaluable as genealogical research aids. 

We have numerous books that cover such topics as census records, county histories, family histories, war records, county records; such as cemetery records, marriage records, mortality records; and school records of Drew County rural schools before consolidation (from 1932 through 1979).

We have a large map storage area that has several local maps, old pictures, and special editions of the centennial Advance Monticellonian. 

Our vertical files are a treasure trove of individual histories, articles and mementos of special times, places, and events in Drew County history. These are my personal favorite because I can find a file on most topics I am researching. 

We have three files of old pictures of people, homes, businesses, schools, etc. in Monticello and Drew County. 

On the walls are hung more old pictures of Drew County people and places. There is a copy of the 1904 and 1920 land plat maps of Drew County among other items. 

There is a fine collection of audiotapes featuring interviews and programs given to the Drew County Historical Society.

I know I have likely left out many, many references that would be invaluable if one were to research their family roots. I have just tried to mention the things the casual observer might find more interesting.

Still we have many helpful, and yes, interesting materials in the Drew County Archives for the experienced genealogist or the casual reader of historical information. When I have time, I would love to go to the card catalog or vertical files and just pick a topic, as “Jerome” or “Winchester”, etc., look up the information on hand and just sit and read! If you get a chance, or have a topic you are interested in, come take a look! It would be a quiet, pleasant way to spend a cold, wintery Saturday afternoon! 

The 2013 Drew County Historical Journal has arrived. If you are a member of the Drew County Historical Society, you are entitled to a journal. If not, they cost $10.00 per copy at the museum. If you still haven’t gotten yours, call or come by the museum on any Friday or Sunday between 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. We will also mail you a journal in exchange for a check for $12.50 that covers postage.

If I can get my copy this week, I’ll review this year’s journal for you to whet your appetite. Come and visit the Drew County Museum and Archives!

The Advance-Monticellonian

Mailing Address:
PO Box 486
Monticello, AR 71657

Street Address:
314 Main Street
Monticello, AR 71655

Phone: 870-367-5325
Fax: 870-367-6612


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