Volume 1, Number 1 Fall1961
AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY PROJECTS UNDERWAY
To many people, it has long been a matter of regret that there was no organized effort being made to preserve the unique and colorful history of the upper White River Valley Ozarks.
It remained for an individual to take action to start "the ball a-rolling. That individual was Mr. Elmo Ingenthron, Taney County Superintendent of Schools, whose avocation is the recording of local history. In the spring of 1961, Mr. Ingenthron called a public meeting to consider the formation of an historical society. From this meeting came the planning of such an organization, the election of temporary officers empowered to act as they deemed advisable, and the framing of a constitution and set of by-laws needed for formal organization.
The scope of the organization was discussed at that first meeting and at later executive meetings. There is a county historical society in Carroll County, Arkansas, and one in Greene County, Missouri. Insofar as is known to us, there are no others in the upper White River Valley. Instead of limiting the group to Taney County, Missouri; it seemed better to organize a society interested in the geographical area of which Taney County is a part, without regard for county or state boundaries, since these were not factors in the early area growth. An area society could serve as a parent organization for local or county groups where interest was sufficient, as is the case in Carroll County, Arkansas, one of the counties represented on the Board of Directors of the White River Valley Historical Society.
The first formal meeting of the society as a whole was held on June 25th, at The School of the Ozarks. At that meeting, in recognition of his contributions and ability, Mr. Ingenthron was elected to be the first president of the White River Valley Historical Society. Dr. Donald Welsh, Assistant Editor of the Missouri Historical Review, was the principal speaker at the meeting. Sufficient interest in his subject matter relating to navigation of the White River was expressed to warrant it being chosen as the basis for the first feature article of the quarterly. This issue carries the article.
Two projects were selected to take precedence over the many activities the Society plans for the future. One was the publication of a quarterly. In a small way, this issue is evidence of progress in that direction. The other project is the large task of marking appropriately the sites of interesting and significant historical events Since the Society is thus far dependent upon membership dues for funds, it was decided that public-spirited individuals or groups would be asked to finance the erection of markers, while the Society took care of the details of purchase and furnished accurate information. With the dedication of the new Rock Bridge marker, there is concrete evidence of progress in this project, also.
At the closing of the Roll of Charter Members, published in this issue, one hundred eighty- four names are listed. The majority are residents of the upper White River Valley, as would be expected, but membership is by no means restricted geographically. The states of Illinois, Texas, Washington, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kans as, Oregon, Connecticut and Montana are already represented, giving evidence of the wide spread interest in our area.
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