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«Copyright By Jamie Chad Brandon The Dissertation Committee for Jamie Chad Brandon certifies that this is the approved version of the following ...»

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Jamie Chad Brandon

The Dissertation Committee for Jamie Chad Brandon certifies that this is the

approved version of the following dissertation

Van Winkle’s Mill:

Mountain Modernity, Cultural Memory

and Historical Archaeology

in the Arkansas Ozarks



Maria Franklin, Supervisor


Samuel M. Wilson


John Hartigan, Jr.


Richard R. Flores ___________________________

George Sabo, III

Van Winkle’s Mill:

Mountain Modernity, Cultural Memory and Historical Archaeology in the Arkansas Ozarks by Jamie Chad Brandon, B.A., M.A.

Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Texas at Austin in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy The University of Texas at Austin December, 2004 UMI Number: 3150548 Copyright 2004 by Brandon, Jamie Chad All rights reserved.

UMI Microform 3150548 Copyright 2005 by ProQuest Information and Learning Company.

All rights reserved. This microform edition is protected against unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code.

ProQuest Information and Learning Company 300 North Zeeb Road P.O. Box 1346 Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346 For T. J.

Acknowledgements As with any research such as this there a number of people to thank. I would, of course, like to thank my committee—Drs. Maria Franklin, Samuel Wilson, John Hartigan, Richard Flores and George Sabo—for their support and tolerance. They have, in varying ways and in varying aspects, helped and encouraged me to complete this work.

Maria Franklin and Sam Wilson, in particular, have supported me and my work throughout my career at the University of Texas. I could not have asked for better mentors.

Thanks are also due to George Sabo for allowing his research station’s resources tobe used during the project, encouraging students from his historical archeology class to participate in the excavations, sponsoring the 2001 Van Winkle archaeological field school, and his never-failing support of my work and my professional development.

I would like to the institutions and agencies that funded and supported the fieldwork. A portion of these investigations and this dissertation were made possible by a cost-share agreement between the Arkansas Archeological Survey, the Little Rock District of the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. A great debt is owed certain individuals who negotiated this agreement and navigated the many pitfalls that occur any time multiple state and federal agencies engage in a joint endeavor. Christopher Davies, Dr. Thomas J. Green, Steve Chryrchel, Mark Clippinger, Dr. George Sabo, Dr. Robert C. Mainfort, Sean Harper and many others were all instrumental to the process.

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encouraged and supported me in my research. Dr. Robert Mainfort, Randall Guendling, Mary Kwas, Kathy Cande and many others have offered sage advice and support. I would like to acknowledge Jami Lockhart for conducting extensive geophysical explorations at Van Winkle’s Mill on multiple occasions and Jared Pebworth and Mike Evans for their efforts at mapping and assisting with the archeo-geophysical investigations. Thanks also go to Dr. Patrick Martin of Michigan Technological University for participating in the Van Winkle’s Mill cost-share project and offering his insightful advice on industrial archaeology.

A large debt is owed to Jerry Hilliard, the station assistant at the UAF Station of the AAS, who elsewhere I have called “the guiding spirit” behind the Van Winkle’s Mill project. Jerry not only introduced me and James Davidson to the Van Winkle’s Mill archaeological project in 1997, he has always supported and actively aided the archaeological investigations. He has also keep James and I busy on a number of other “side projects” during our stints at the University of Arkansas and the University of Texas. He has also, incidentally, always been a true friend.

Thanks to all those students, AAS employees and other volunteers who helped out during the various excavations 1997-2003: Ben Adams, Jenny Bales, Lorna Beard, Brynn Berry, Michelle Berg Vogel, Carrie Berryman, Robin Bowers, David Bowman, Mary Brennan, Queszarrah Bunch, Minnie Burford, William Chesser, Pritam Chowdhury, Edma Delgado, Robert Depper, Jason DeWitt, Clark Donat, Lela Donat, Carl Drexler, Donna Edgemon, Gregory Edgemon, Randall Guendling, Stacey Gustafson,

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Kunetka, Melody Kinnard, Don Lee, Sam Littrell, Christy Longlois, Doyle Loughren, Shannon McElmurry, Robin McMullen, Amanda Melton, Kevin Miller, Pathe Miller, Michael “Buffalo” Morgan, Kim Newman, Michael O'Connell, Lydia Rees, Amy Reynolds, Jennifer Richardson, Allyssa Riley, Suika Rivett, Barbara Scott, George Stair, Heide Stair, Mark Still, Melissa Stroud, Will Taggert, Katherine Taylor, Maria Tavaszi, Edward Tennant, Chris Torantali, Alicia Underdown, Greg Vogel, Leslie Walker, Susan Wheatley and Deborah Weddle. My apologies to those who I have forgotten to include here.

Thanks to my colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin: Kerri Barile, Whitney Battle, Peggy Brunache, Paula Sanders, Sean Maroney, John Schafer, Rissa Trachman, Mary Jo Galindo, Mindy Boninie, Chet Walker, Clay Schultz, Nesta Anderson, Nusrat Chowdhury, Jemima Pierre, Leighton Peterson, Keisha-Khan Perry, Scott Webel, Carmen “Apen” Ruiz, Dan Sharp, Galeet Dardashti, Ronda Brulotte, Brandt Peterson and many, many more who helped me, challenged me, encouraged me, critiqued me, and had more than a few beers with me. Thanks also to my colleagues (and some of my students) at the University of Arkansas: Greg Vogel, Michelle Berg Vogel, Edward Tennant, Mary Brennan, Leslie Walker, Brynn Berry, Robin Bowers, Bryan Renfro, Maria Tavaszi, Alicia Valentino, Carl Drexler, and many others.

A debt is also owed to the authors of the two works which inspired my approach:

Remembering the Alamo (Richard Flores) and Memories of Revolt (Ted Swedenburg).

Their works have been both informative and inspiring. Additionally, I would like to

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descendants who have been also incredibly helpful and provided a wealth of information about the history of their families.

I cannot begin to stress the debt I owe my family—Jerry and Jeanette Brandon, Arch and Mae Brandon, Dorris and Billie Deason, A.J. Brandon, and now Mike Hilton and Davis Brandon See—for their support and tolerance throughout my life. I would have never thought I could accomplish a project such as this if you hadn’t been there, and I apologize for the long absences caused by my work on this project.

I would definitely be remiss if I did not thank James M. Davidson who has literally been working with me on the Van Winkle’s Mill project since “day one.” It is really as much his project as it is mine. Aside from being one of the best research partners an archaeologist could ask for, he has been one of my best and closest friends. From our meeting in 1996, he has spurred me on to do more and better work. We have worked together on Van Winkle’s Mill, Juliette Street in Dallas, Eagle Mountain Lake, the Peel House, Cross Hollows and countless other small research projects. I can only hope that our partnership will continue in some form well into the future.

Finally, and most importantly, thanks to T. J. Vestal. There are not words for the support, love and understanding that she has given me throughout graduate school. For all of that, and much more, this dissertation is dedicated to her.

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The Arkansas Ozarks hold a particular place in our collective cultural memory. A place that is decidedly rural, anti-modern and white. This dissertation explores how these notions came to dominate our historical consciousness and uses the archaeological excavations carried out at Van Winkle’s Mill (3BE413) between 1997 and 2003 as a platform to challenge and complicate our notions of the history of the Ozarks. Van Winkle’s Mill was a thriving Northwest Arkansas sawmill community from the 1850s through the first decades of the twentieth century. The mill’s founder, Peter Van Winkle, was a regionally important industrialist who identified with both the modern Victorian ideologies and those of the Confederate South. Enslaved labor made up a portion of the mill’s labor force before the war, and several freedmen families continued to work at Van Winkle’s Mill following emancipation. Topics covered by this dissertation include an analysis of the role of popular culture in the formation of cultural memory, a landscape analysis of the mill community, an examination of symbolic consumption by the mill’s African-American workers and a critique of efforts to interpret the mill’s history to popular audiences.

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2.3 Mill related persons and families listed in the 1860 US Census. 65

2.4 Mill related persons and families listed in the 1870 US Census. 66

2.5 Mill related persons and families listed in the 1880 US Census. 67

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4.5 Artifacts recovered from Feature 31, general surface collection. 168

4.6 Artifacts recovered from testing at Feature 31 (without nails). 169

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1.3 Students portraying historical figures at Van Winkle’s Mill for the Rogers Historical Museum’s open house, 2003.

Standing left to right: Aaron Anderson Van Winkle, Peter Van Winkle, Temperance Van Winkle, Mary Van Winkle.

Kneeling left to right: a confederate soldier and J. A. C. Blackburn. 7

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4.9 Artifacts recovered from Feature 27. a) alkaline-glazed stone ware; b) molded ironstone; c) ironstone base with maker’s mark;

d) hand-[painted whiteware; e) patent medicine bottle with hand-tooled lip; f) ceramic doll leg; g) mule shoe; h) hand-forged hook. 164

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4.11 Artifacts recovered from Feature 31. a-b) wagon axle “box”;

c) “L” bracket; d) wagon bolster plate; e) wagon strap bolt. 168

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4.20 Results of geophysical survey at Feature 33 (possible slave quarters). 181

4.21 Extent of 2001 test excavations at Feature 33 (possible slave quarters). 181

4.22 View of the boiler platform (left) and the flywheel support (right) during the 2003 spring break excavations in the mill complex. 184

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6.3 A sample of some of the children’s toys recovered from Feature 9 Excavations: a-c) transfer print alphabet plate Fragments; d-h) porcelain doll fragments; i) cast iron cap pistol Fragment; j) a porcelain marble; k-l) bakelite children’s rings. 238

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6.5 Small objects recovered from Feature 9 excavations:

a) a copper “shield” nickel; b) a “Granger Twist” tobacco tag excavated from Feature 9; c) a pristine “Granger Twist” tobacco tag for comparative purposes (from the collection of the author). 239

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Archaeology is often about what is no longer there—at least what is no longer visible on the surface of things. I was reminded of this one day while standing in the narrow Ozark hollow known as Van Hollow. It was a pretty, temperate day in the late spring of 2003. The sunlight was filtering through the green leaves of the abundant sycamore trees near the ruins of a large saw and gristmill once known as Van Winkle’s Mill. Now the area was being developed, and interpreted as an historical site, as a part of the Hobbs State Park and Conservation Area.

When archaeological investigations of the Van Winkle’s Mill site began in 1997, Van Hollow (an abbreviated form of Van Winkle Hollow) was an overgrown jungle, with few discernible features. The mill had been destroyed around the time of First World War in order to salvage its metal for scrap. The White River was dammed in 1966 in order to create Beaver Lake, which flooded the northern portion of the hollow. The Van Winkle house, home of the mill’s owner Peter Van Winkle, was torn down in 1969.

Although the lake rarely floods as high as the location of the house site, time and the destructive forces of nature have slowly caused the site to deteriorate. Due to the site’s accessibility, looting has also occurred; including the scavenging of bricks from the house site and the removal of large limestone blocks from the raised formal garden.

Today, the site offers visitors only glimpses of what it once was. The only discernible surface features include the steps leading up to the elevated garden (Figure 1.1), a limestone spring house, the old Huntsville or Van Winkle Road, which ran in front of the house, and the foundation of the steam engine and boilers (Figure 1.2).

In its day, however, this mill was described as “the most extensive lumber business in the southwest” (Fayetteville Sentinel February 15, 1882). Additionally, the mill served as the anchor for a small community whose lives were connected with the mill in many different ways⎯the owner and his family, lathe operators, bookkeepers, sawyers, teamsters, store operators, blacksmiths, unskilled white wage laborers, enslaved AfricanAmerican laborers before the war and free black laborers after emancipation all lived and worked in the narrow Ozark hollow between the 1850s and the early-twentieth century.

By 1997, all that was left of this mill was the large limestone foundations for the platform that, in the nineteenth century, housed the three cast iron boilers and the steampowered engine that ran the mills. Around this platform were several other features related to the mill. To the west was a deep but narrow trench approximately three meters deep with a wall built of massive pieces of cut limestone extending from the trench’s west face. This trench was where the mill’s legendary flywheel was mounted.

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