Two markers commemorating Faulkner County’s involvement in the American Civil War and its aftermath were dedicated during the Faulkner County Museum’s open house. The markers came about as a response to the request from the Arkansas Civil War Commission that each Arkansas county designate an area that played a part in the Civil War. The commission’s marker program was established to work with counties to tell stories of how the Civil War affected the state’s communities.
A committee formed of members of the Faulkner County Museum and the Faulkner County Historical Society chose two areas in Faulkner County that will tell these stories with historical markers. These structures were funded by the historical society and generous donations from museum members. The markers will be placed permanently at Cadron Settlement Park and at Conway’s Oak Grove Cemetery.
At the ceremony Chris Odom, Treasurer of the Oak Grove Cemetery Board, related the story of a meeting of both Union and Confederate Civil War veterans at the cemetery in a ceremony of reconciliation between the Union and the Confederacy (see photos, below). The marker’s text also recognizes the Faulkner County men who fought with Col. A. R. Witt’s companies which he organized for the 10th Arkansas Infantry. After the war, veterans of both the Union and the Confederacy held a reconciliation celebration on Decoration Day, May 30, 1890, by marching from downtown Conway to Oak Grove Cemetery. Col. Witt was buried in Oak Grove in 1903.
Dr. Ken Barnes, Professor of History at the University of Central Arkansas, told of the multiple uses of the Cadron area, which is now Cadron Settlement Park, in its strategic place along the Arkansas River. Confederate forces used Cadron as a base in the war’s early years, and Union troops were here after taking Little Rock in 1863. The site was valuable for the saw and grist mills nearby, the telegraph line that ran to Little Rock, and the ferry. Union troops were stationed at Cadron in 1864 and 1865, stockpiling supplies for soldiers, and watching for movements of troops toward Missouri. Hundreds of Confederates surrendered here in 1865.
Some descendants and relatives of Col. A. R. Witt attended the ceremony, and many stories were shared during the afternoon. These markers will be installed at their designated places soon, but in the meantime they will rest at the museum. For more information contact the museum at 329-5918, or the commission’s Web site, arkansascivilwar150.com.
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