Friday, October 23, 2015

TOP STORY >> ‘Tales from Beyond’ in Lonoke

Leader staff writer

The Lonoke County Museum will present “Tales from Beyond,” a living history of the county’s influential residents of the past, at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7 at the museum, 215 W. Front St in Lonoke. Refreshments will be served. Admission is $8 per person or $15 for two. The event is a fundraiser for the museum.

“The spirits just come through here,” museum director Sherryl Miller said.

“People can learn what life was really like from those who lived here from ‘their’ own mouth,” she told The Leader.

“‘Tales from Beyond’ are always fun and educational with a little humor,” Miller added.

Coming back from the past are:

James Yates Davidson, who will be portrayed by Garry Moore of England. Davidson was born in 1922 in Little Rock. He started school at England and was orphaned at age 8. His is a rags-to-riches story. He went from changing flats at a service station to being a successful inventor of cable television, connecting his first paying subscriber in Tuckerman in 1948. Davidson died in October 2012 at the age of 90.

Lois Dupree Henry will be portrayed by Leanna Rich of Lonoke. Henry was raised on a farm in the Central High area. She later taught school in England. She will talk about her experiences as a girl growing up in rural Lonoke County.

Elsijane Trimble Roy will be portrayed by state Rep. Camille Bennett (D-Lonoke). Roy was born in April 1916 in Lonoke. She passed away in 2007 at age 91 and was an Arkansas woman of many firsts.

She was the state’s first woman circuit judge, Supreme Court justice and federal judge in the Eighth Circuit Court. Roy retired in 1999 after 21 years on the federal bench.

In fourth grade, she decided to become a lawyer. Roy was valedictorian for the Lonoke High School Class of 1934. She attended the University of Arkansas Law School and was the only woman to graduate in the Class of 1939.

Roy practiced law in the private and public sectors in Lonoke.

Frank T. Bunton, portrayed by his son, Frank Jr. Bunton, moved to Lonoke in 1945 to be principal of the Lonoke Colored School.

He made changes to help the school and the community. One of those was renaming the school to George Washington Carver School. Bunton retired in 1968. He passed away in 1982 at the age of 75.

Andrew Jackson (A.J.) Walls will be portrayed by his grandson, former state Rep. Walls McCrary. Walls was a county sheriff, a county judge and a state legislator. He lived in southern Lonoke County. He was born in 1862 and died in 1950.

Hetty Jane Dunaway will be played by Tina Boyles, a Forrest City high school teacher. Dunaway was born in Austin in 1879. She was a popular stage actress on the East Coast. She established the Dunaway Gardens 30 minutes south of Atlanta. It was her husband’s plantation where she started a theatrical training center for producers, directors and performers from the 1920s to 1940s. It was a vacation spot for celebrities, including Minnie Pearl, who got their start at the gardens.

Louanna James will be brought to life by Lonoke School Superintendent Suzanne Bailey. James was a hotel proprietress, a landowner and a school teacher. She was born in 1845. James owned a hotel in Lonoke in 1884.

John Hallum will be portrayed by Tom Holman. Hallum was born in 1833 on Tennessee.

He was a lawyer, author and judge. He had seven children. As a lawyer, he was often paid with land and even a gold mine in Colorado.

William H. Eagle will be portrayed by Lonoke County JP Bill Ryker, who married into the Eagle family. Eagle was born in 1835 in Lonoke County. He was a landowner and owned a mercantile store.

The Eagle family had many branches. There is a tale of them being involved in the shooting of hog thieves in 1873 and a shooting on a Lonoke main street in 1898.