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The Desha County Historical Society (DCHS) was founded in January 1969 at the county courthouse in Arkansas City (Desha County). The four charter members were C. C. Stuart, Mildred Stroud, Mary Gayle Tutt, and Pat Sherland. Later, the group decided to incorporate the organization, and a certificate of incorporation was issued to the Desha County Historical Society by the office of the Secretary of State on May 29, 1973. Since its inception, the society has gathered historical documents and a few artifacts. These items are located at the McGehee (Desha County) library in the Desha County Historical Society Research Room.
The first issue of the society’s publication The Doctors of Desha County was published in 1969. From 1973 until 2000, the society published annually Programs of the Desha County Historical Society. In addition, the society published four special editions: The ’27 Flood in Desha County, Arkansas; Arkansaw Indians in Desha County, Arkansas; Inside View of the Japanese American Evacuee Center at Rohwer, Arkansas, 1941–1945; and River Towns, River Boats, River People, Desha County Arkansas. The society has also placed signs commemorating important events and sites, marking the old town of Napoleon (Desha County), a previous county seat in Watson, the first church and school in McGehee, and the Flood of 1927 in Arkansas City, among others.
Over the years, the members of the society worked to preserve and publish as much of the county’s history as possible. Program meetings were well attended and followed by an excellent annual publication. However, publication and meetings were temporarily suspended in 2000. In 2009, the society was reorganized with thirty-two members. The society meets quarterly, rotating to different sites in the county.
For additional information:Desha County Historical Society. http://www.deshacountyhistorical.org (accessed August 21, 2009).
Programs of the Desha County Historical Society. McGehee: Desha County Historical Society (1974–).
Helen PenningtonPine Bluff, Arkansas
Last Updated 5/17/2010
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