Erasing Boundaries: The Forgotten History of Territorial Lawrence County in the Trans- Mississippi West 1815- 1836

Recovering a Forgotten History

Once Steve Saunders of Imboden overlaid the 1815 footprint of Lawrence County over a regional map of the Ozarks uplands it became obvious that retrieving the settlement history of this vast region would be a major challenge.

Steve, Dr. Blake Perkins of Lynn, Robert A. Myers of St. Louis, Missouri, and Joan L. Gould of Fayetteville had independently researched this elusive and complex history for years. But now they are combining their efforts to create a website where the story of territorial Lawrence County will unfold chronologically. With support from descendants of founding families and regional organizations, the research team is retrieving a history that has often been buried deeply in shadows of the past.

Presented here is a downloadable PDF introduction for the project entitled Erasing Boundaries: The Forgotten History of Territorial Lawrence County in the Trans-Mississippi West 1815- 1836. The work does not unfold quickly but additional progress reports will be provided in future months.

January 2023 Offers New Perspectives on Lawrence County Settlement

In a downloadable PDF entitled De Mun and Company on “Blackwater”, Erasing Boundaries contributors offer new perspectives on the land claims and commercial activities of the De Mun, Janis, and Lemieux families who settled on Black River prior to the creation of Lawrence County.

LCHS Quarterly Meeting – Sunday July 10th, 2022 at 2:30 pm

The Lawrence County Historical Society will hold its quarterly meeting at the Powhatan Historic State Park on Sunday, July 10th at 2:30 p.m.

After a short business meeting, Taylor Harbin will give a presentation on the murder of A.W. Shirey of Minturn in 1910.

Taylor Harbin is the Archival Assistant at the Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives (NEARA) in Powhatan. He received his MA in Historic Preservation from Southeast Missouri State University in 2014 and moved to Arkansas in 2019. Before he transferred to the Archives he worked at Powhatan Historic State Park as a Museum Program Assistant, and first became acquainted with the Shirey murder while researching the old jail.

LCHS meetings are open to the public.

LCHS Quarterly Meeting – Sunday July 11th, 2021 at 2:30 pm

The Lawrence County Historical Society will meet at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday,  July 11th 2021 at the Historic County Courthouse at Powhatan.

When the Times Dispatch was sold in 2019, the Historical Society reached out to John & Renee Bland about the huge collection of photographs stored in the basement of the TD building and they gifted all of the images to the Society. This collection consisted of literally thousands of images in 46 boxes dating circa 1969 to 2009.

We then reached out to NEARA in Powhatan to store the images for us in their climate controlled facility and now have drafted an agreement with NEARA to permanently store the images at their location where they will be available to anyone for research once cataloged.

It has always been our intent to invite the Blands to a quarterly meeting to thank them for their generous contribution, but have been unable until this time because of Covid.
Please put this on your calendar and make an effort to come to this meeting and thank the Bland’s personally.

Fatme Myuhtar-May, the director of NEARA, will also be presenting some current Lawrence County research being done at the facility that will be very interesting.

Fatme Myuhtar-May will talk about Andrew Springer, who was lynched for rape in Powhatan, Lawrence County, in 1887. He was a white man and there was no doubt about his racial identity at the time of his lynching, as reflected in widely circulated press publications about his death. Nevertheless, he came to be regarded as black both in local lore (e.g., in Goodspeed’s 1889 Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Northeast Arkansas and local memory) and in later records of his lynching (e.g., Richard Buckelew’s List of Lynching in Arkansas, 1860-1930). Myuhtar-May uses original court documents, housed in the Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives, and newspaper publications to tell his story in a piece of research, titled “How a White Rapist Came to Be Regarded as Black: The Case of Andrew Springer.” Very little beyond the lynching is known about Andrew Springer, including where he was from and where he is buried. Because he is the only person to have ever been lynched in Lawrence County, Springer has become the subject of visitors’ fascination in the Powhatan State Historic Park during their annual October Ghost Tour.