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Book details
  • Genre:HISTORY
  • SubGenre:Social History
  • Language:English
  • Pages:130
  • Paperback ISBN:9798889551485

A Mistaken Issue - THE FOUR-MILE LAW!

How the Jonesboro Missionary Baptist Association Began

by Richard L. Hartness, Sr.

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As the sub-title reveals, this book is a story about how the Jonesboro Missionary Baptist Association began, starting from a "mass meeting" of members from seven Craighead County, Arkansas, churches in 1898, and growing in the number of churches until around 1920.
Using primary and secondary sources (listed in the bibliography), this book begins with the regional tour of a Baptist missionary, Brother William Nutt, into the area of northeast Arkansas in the late 1830s. Then, the reader is introduced to Elder John Pearce, whose desire was to form an association of Missionary Baptist churches from those early churches and mission points. The third chapter (same as the book title) describes the legal and religious background that divided area Missionary Baptist into two separate camps over their perception of how a purely political circumstance should be dealt with when considering the fellowship among the area's Missionary Baptist churches. After seven local churches had associational fellowship withdrawn from them, the next chapter describes the steps taken to create another association within northeast Arkansas. This sectional division spread statewide. So, the next chapter describes a state-wide split in 1902 that found the Jonesboro Association siding with the group identified as Landmark Baptist. Chapter Six details the courses charted by the Jonesboro Association in keeping with their agreed upon Constitution, Rules of Decorum, and Articles of Faith. The final chapter deals with the early organizational summary of the Association. There are several photos of the main characters placed near the text where they are first mentioned. Finally, four appendices share the activities of the main character, John Mace Rains; a list of the first ministers in the Association, those messengers indicated present at the 1898 organization, and the organizational documents mentioned earlier.
About the author
Richard L. Hartness, Sr., a Wynne, Arkansas native, is a three-time graduate of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro (BS-68, MA-78, MA-14). While pursuing a career in supply chain management, he served as president of both the Northeast and Central Arkansas Purchasing Management Associations. Simultaneously, he pursued his passion for local history. He is the charter president of both the Cross County and Mississippi County Historical Societies, and has had memberships in the St. Francis, Poinsett, and Faulkner County historical societies, as well. He enjoys public speaking, historical research, and writing. He has had articles published in A History of the Jonesboro Association of Missionary Baptist Churches; On Point: The Journal of Army History; and various newspaper, county historical journals, booklets, and anthologies. His local history books can be found on www.Hartnesspublications.com. In 2012, the Cross County Chamber of Commerce named him their Distinguished Citizen of the Year. He was an adjunct professor of history for East Arkansas Community College for nearly a decade. He serves on the board of the Friends of the Arkansas State Archives, Arkansas Delta Byways, the A-State Alumni Association, and historian for the Jonesboro Association of Missionary Baptist Churches. He is a former president of the NE AR Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), and currently serves as the first vice-president of the Arkansas Council of MOAA Chapters. At his alma mater, he serves as the commander of the A-State ROTC Alumni Bn., where he received his Army commission (during the Viet Nam era) in August 1967 and an Army Commendation Medal in 1968, during active duty in Germany. Hartness credits his maternal grandmother for sparking his interests in local family stories and Arkansas history topics, including stories about a bygone steamboat riverport, a Confederate Arkansas county, the first Black professors at A-State, a lifelong search for his biological father, and the biography of a U.S. Army Major General. Recently, he ghost-wrote a memoir for a well known elderly widow of Wynne, Arkansas. Hartness and his wife, Herberta, live in Jonesboro, Arkansas, where their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren keep them involved in the here and now.