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Arkansas Society

    The Arkansas Society was organized by Lewis Edwin Neff, Deputy Governor of Oklahoma, who was serving as General Membership Chairman.  Mr. Neff found that he could not accomplish his purpose in organizing the Arkansas Society by correspondence, so started off in his car and spent several weeks visiting prospects in various parts of Arkansas. This effort was made at a sacrifice of his own time and money.
    On Thursday, April 8, 1954, at a luncheon meeting at the Marion Hotel in Little Rock, the Charter was presented to the new Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of Arkansas. The group was addressed by Governor General, Col. Waldo Morgan Allen. Following the address, Governor General Allen presented the Charter to the new Society. There were 30 Charter members, six of whom were transfers from other State Societies. Of the 30 members who had signed the petition requesting a Charter, 20 were present.
    Few of those present had known each other before, as they came from all over the State, some driving over 200 miles to get there. By the time the meeting was over, all were well acquainted and filled with enthusiasm for their new Society. Splendid publicity and picture of the Charter presentation were published in the Arkansas Democrat the day after the meeting.

AR State Charter members
Capt. Rufus Chester Harding,USN (Ret.) Mrs. Marion L. (Gladson) Brown
Mrs. Cahterine L. (Smith-Greer) Knorr Mr. Sam Tyler Steel
Mr. Carlton Lee Chambers, Jr. Mr. John Oliver Caldwell
Mrs. Priscilla (Lloyd) Neil Mrs. Kathryn (Bettis) Phillips
Miss Mary Virginia Harding Miss Elizabeth Ann Caldwell
Mrs. Mary Frances (Harding) Newbern Miss Louise Ellen Plank
Mrs. Frances Virginia Leaming Mrs. Jessamine (Plank) Smith
Mr. Adolph Helmuth Sickel Mr. Frederick William Sickel 
Mrs. Helen L. (MacDonald) Brannan Mr. Edward Helms Leaming
Mr. William Holder Kennedy Mr. Lloyd Bolivar Sickel
Mr. Adolph Hoarce Sickel Miss Helen Elberta Hoffman
Mrs. Fern W. (Hoiffman) Owen Mrs. Lucia (Wright) Whitlow
Mr. Alexander Silliman Smith Mrs. Beulah (Keene) Bassett
Mrs. Ada (Colgrove-Hadfield) Rixse Mr. Jimmy Keene Bassett
Mrs. Myrtle H. (Stubbs) Bradley Miss Ellie Thomas Tatum

    Several of our State Charter members served as officers for our State Society as well as the National level.  The first DGG was Charter member Mrs. Marion (Gladson) Brown.  She held that position in 1954, 1957, and 1960.  The first AG was Charter member Mrs. Catherine (Smith-Greer) Knorr.  She held that position in 1954. Mrs. Knorr served as AR State Governor from1957 to1960.  Charter member, Mrs. Jessamine (Plank) Smith served as AG in 1960. She served as DGG in 1963.  She also served as AR State Governor from 1963 to 1966.

Other members who served our state society as well as National

    Duane A. Cline was the DGG for Arkansas in 1987 and 1991. He was elected to the second highest office on the General Level in 1993 when he was elected to office of Assistant Governor General.  Mrs. Ruth M. (Flagg) Oberhelman served as AG in 1987 and 1991. She served for many years as DGG starting in 1993.  In 1976, the Arkansas Society was recognized with the membership award from the General Society for the largest percentage in membership increase of any state that year.   Arkansas Society received a certificate and its name was engraved on the silver Norman Joy Greene Award Bowl which is on permanent display at the Mayflower House and Museum in Plymouth.  The Arkansas Society won that award again in 1991, and was awarded another certificate in addition to having its name engraved on the Norman Joy Greene Bowl for a second time.

    The Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of Arkansas began with a group of about 23 Pilgrim descendants, all who relocated to our state.  They applied for and received a charter on April 8, 1954.   Since our charter, AR Society has been proudly served by the following AR State Governors:

1954-55 Capt. Chester R. Harding
1955-57 Mrs. Arthur S. (Marion) Brown
1957-60 Mrs. Herman A. (Catherine) Knorr
1960-63 Mr. Frank B. Morgan
1963-66 Mrs. Edward P. (Jessamine) Smith
1955-69 Mr. Lawrence L. Brown, Sr
1969-72 Mrs. Robert L. (Myrtle) Bradley
1972-75 Mrs. Adelbert J. (Marjorie) Webb
1975-76 Mrs. Robert J. (Ruth) Cuff
1976-78 Col. Lawerence L. Browne, Jr. (ret.)
1978-81 Mr. Charles D. Deraleau
1981-84 Miss Helen E. Hoffman
1984-87 Mrs. William B. (Virginia) Sharp
1987-93 Mr. Duane A. Cline 
1993-96 Mrs. Otto (Ruth) Oberhelman 
1996-99 Mrs. Richard (Lael) Finch
1999-02 Mr. Alan C. Cline
2002-05 Col. Duane E. Vandenberg (ret.)
2005-08 Mrs. Randy P. (Kathlyn) Brown
2008-11 Mrs. James E. (Gale) Markley
2011-14 Mrs. David N. (Linda) White
2014-15 Mr. Charles H. Clark

Present  Governor  Mr. Jimmie D. Weber

    Four of our State Governors also have served as officers at the National Level.  Mr. Frank B. Morgan served as Assistant General, Mrs. Edward P.(Jessamine) Smith served as Deputy Governor General, Mr. Duane Cline served as National Assistant Governor General and Mrs. Otto (Ruth) Oberhelman served as National Deputy Governor General.