The beginning of Newton County Historical Society was on December 6, 1953 by a group including Walter Lackey, Mandy Hickman, Albert Raney, Beecher Moss, Charles Hunt, Richard Hunt, Charles "Red" Villines, and Pearl Hudson.  The Society was revived in 1977 by a group including Columbus Vaughn, Rhonda Teter, Jack C. McCutcheon, Leland Smith and Thomas House. In 1981 the society was incorporated as a 501(c) (3) non-profit corporation. Its mission and purpose is to collect, preserve, promote interest in, and to disseminate historical and genealogical material relating to Newton County and the surrounding area.

In 1989 a grant from the US Forest Service allowed the Society to create the Newton County Historical Museum which was housed in the old Washateria in Jasper.  This space was donated by its owner, Betty Blackwell Erwin. In 1991 Dr. W. A. Bradley's family home and office, located on Clark street, was purchased through a donation from his grandson, Mr. William Stiritz, and the Museum became known as the Bradley House Newton County Historical Museum.

The Historical Society's office and genealogy library are located in the Museum. The Library's shelves hold information not only about families from Newton County but also has records from several adjoining counties.

Some highlights of our collection and exhibitions in the Bradley House Museum include: the first telephone switchboard in Newton County; the original set of post office boxes from Lurton's post office; Indian artifacts and a collection of labeled fossils; an extensive collection of historic photographs; early farm implements and home furnishings.

In 1995, the Newton County Historical Society began reconstructing the Chaney House, a two-story, double-pen log cabin, on the grounds of the Museum. Future plans include completing the restoration of the Chaney House, and preparing it for exhibition.

The Newton County Historical Society's main goal is to collect, preserve, and display the history of Newton County. We are striving to interpret those documents, relics, and artifacts typical of the historical and cultural heritage of the area and make them available to the public through museum exhibits, books, oral histories, newsletters, and any other way possible.

Some of the Society's publications are: Two volumes of Family Histories; The Newton County Homestead, published from 1959, to 1984; and the Newton County Historical Society Newsletter, published from 1985 (Volume 1) to 2006 (Volume 22). Beginning with Volume 23, the Newsletter was revised and became the Newton County Homestead. A membership in the Newton County Historical Society includes the Newton County Homestead which is printed annualy. Membership dues are $15.00 per calendar year.

The Museum is located at 403 W. Clark street and is open April 1, through October 31, Tuesday through Thursday, 11:00 a.m.– 4:00 p.m., and November through December, on Tuesdays only. Donna Dodson is the Museum hostess and office manager. The Phone Number is 870-446-6247. The mailing address is PO Box 360, Jasper, AR 72641.

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© Newton County Historical Society 2003, 2013


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