A Tale of Two William Shores

Coming SOON! “Around the County,” new collection of articles about the history of Washington County.

From the first chapter:

Among the earliest settlers of Washington County were two men named William Shore. Distantly related in the Shorr lineage which arrived in the British American colonies by 1750, these two men seem not to have known of each other’s presence in this county. They each set about making a place for themselves. The first, William Dahl Shore, enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1833 and served in Co. H, U. S. Regiment of Dragoons (subsequently 1st U. S. Cavalry Regiment) as they occupied Fort Gibson “employed in scouting among the Indians, especially along the Missouri frontier, a portion of the regiment going to Nacogdoches, Texas, for the purpose of keeping off white trespassers from the Indian country, and preserving peace between whites and Indians and among the Indians themselves; also in building wagon roads and bridges.” Once he’d served his three year term, W.D. Shore bought land at Taney (later Brentwood) and served as the first postmaster.

The other William Shore stayed only ten years on his land along the western boundary of Washington County before leaving with the Lewis Evans Company for the California gold fields. In the process, he quickly saw that providing meat and other supplies for the miners produced greater wealth than mining and adjusted his enterprise accordingly. Some of his siblings remained in the county.

These two William Shores, both entrepreneurs and adventurers, illustrate the type of men who helped create this county.

(Pictured: In the right foreground stands a subaltern of the First Regiment of Dragoons; in the left foreground is an ordnance sergeant-of which there was one on every Army post. By H. Charles McBarron, Jr.)

May be an image of 3 people and people standing

Award Winning Article!

I am pleased to announce that I have been awarded the 2018 Walter J. Lemke prize by the Washington County Historical Society for my article on Jesse Gilstrap. The article will appear in the Fall edition of Flashback, the Society’s quarterly journal.

In 1852, Jesse Mumford Gilstrap settled in Washington County, Arkansas, with his wife and three children. He had ventured to the county earlier; his first child was born here in 1848. An adventurous and passionate young man, in 1850 Gilstrap had trekked westward to join the gold rush while his wife awaited him at her family home near Carthage, Missouri. Back from his adventure and a few dollars richer, he returned to Washington County where he immediately invested some of his earnings in a partnership in one of the county’s earliest mills. In 1856, took full ownership. Then as the winds of war heightened, Jesse spoke out on behalf the Union cause. In 1862, he gathered a company of fellow patriots to form the first company of the 1st Arkansas Cavalry. Jesse went on to serve in the state senate before his untimely death in 1869.

Jesse’s story tumbled out of my research for my new release, The West Fork Valley: Environs and Settlement Before 1900. As I studied early settlers, then the first mills, then the Civil War, Jesse’s name kept popping up. It was a pleasure to connect with a descendant who provided photographs and more details about this man and his family.

I consider Jesse the real winner of this award. I am only the messenger.