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Rogers Historical Museum  


Photo of the Month

Rogers Centennial Posse



“What’s with all the scraggly faces, anyhow?” The Rogers Democrat posed this simple question in January 1981, but much more was afoot in the town of Rogers than a widespread outbreak of facial hair. Rogers marked its centennial in 1981 with community celebrations, festivals, and nostalgic and fun activities that celebrated the notion of the “old days.” One activity revolved around the collective community contest of growing beards—at least by the men—by the May 1981 centennial anniversary of the founding of Rogers (which as we all know occurred on May 10, 1881 with the arrival of the first Frisco train).

Pictured at right is the official judging of beards by bonnet clad women and one male representative. The contest entry fee was only 50 cents and the judges included Maxine Creech, Vicki Wells, Kenneta Rasmussen, Vic Bradford, and Bob Johnson. It should be noted that many women also chose to don bonnets as part of the celebration and in honor of their heritage. On May 11, 1981, also recognized as “Iron Horse Day,” Dr. Robert Matlock presented the grand prize for the best beard to Dale Mortenson.

While the contest was organized in good-natured fun, it was also “well regulated and strictly policed.” Many men stepped forward to perform their duty as good citizens and were sworn in as duly appointed Deputies of the Rogers Centennial Posse. The Posse served to bring in or fine law breakers who flouted the beard and bonnet rule, which said that men were to wear beards and women were to sport bonnets. Children were not exempt and expected to be seen in an engineer’s cap, a bandanna, or a fake beard.

“Coercible” citizens who violated the law could easily find themselves fined the grand sum of 50 cents or incarcerated in the local jail, which was a nearly clean horse trailer loaned to the Posse for such use. However, permits for shaving could be purchased for one dollar at local pharmacies and bonnet permits could be acquired at the Farmers and Merchants Bank. This was a tradition that carried over from the Rogers Diamond Jubilee in 1956, when at that time the bearded men were known as the Brothers of the Brush.

Members of the Posse included Ed Houston, Gene Ramsey, Dan Rayniak, Charlie West, Walter Prowell, Robert Storey, Francis Billings, Guy Wallis, Rick Murphy, John Mack, Perry Butcher, H.K. Scott, Rob Brothers, Steve Roberts, Forrest Slavens, Jim Reeves, and Rob Brothers’ “cardboard wonder horse” called “Corrugate.” Ed Houston served as the High Sheriff and Francis Billings was named as the Low Sheriff. Armed with Daisy repeating air rifles and pistols, a Posseman discharged his sidearm into the ceiling of the Chamber of Commerce following the swearing in ceremony. And as the Posse “rode out,” Low Sheriff Francis Billings was assigned the important task of “Official Centennial Pooper Scooper,” who followed Rob Brothers and his cardboard horse Corrugate around town.

Arrests were made in the course of their duties. A May 10, 1981 Rogers Democrat article reported the arrests of two individuals. Marshall Bailey was apprehended for ignoring the beard law and Beck Scott was captured following his daring theft of the Centennial Jail. It was found near 13th and Walnut Streets after Deputies followed their noses to the site. Both individuals were brought to justice in a mock hanging in Frisco Park.

Although a questionable light was thrown on High Sheriff Ed Houston’s time in office based on his reputation as a “crooked Texas Longhorn fan,” the complaint was anonymous and he was eventually pardoned of all charges of wrong doing by the Centennial Committee. Looking back, one can only imagine the wildness of the streets of Rogers during those days as bearded men ranged free. We certainly owe the Posse a debt of gratitude for contributing a great deal of fun and enjoyment to an important event in the history of our community.
 


 

More Photos of the Month

People:
Rogers Academy Class of 1896
Applegate Family
Bingham, George H.
John Black and Hugh “Tater” Black
Blackburn, J.A.C.
Blaylock, Sarah
Carter, C. Jimmie
Clarke, A.O.
Curry, Dr. William Jasper
Decker, Charles
Felker, William R.
Ford, Edsel
Funk, Erwin
Harvey, Coin
Hawkins, Harold and Frank Jr.
Hill, Fred
Jacobs, Thomas
Keck, Jack
Key, Vera
Kirksey, Birch
Lingle, Greer
Lockhart, Tracy
McNeil, Tom
Means, Joe
Morgan, Tom
Morsani, Al
Myler, John
The Sagers
Sikes, J. Wade

J.L. Shinpaugh, Rogers City Marshal
Steele, John Bell and Mary Van Winkle
Thaden, Louise
Rice, Dr. Rufus S.
Rogers, Betty Blake
Rogers, C.W.
Rogers Dough Boys
Rogers, Will

Tribble, Letsie
Truman Boling, Master Builder

Vick Will

Places:
Beaver Dam
Beaver Lake
Butterfield Trail
Camp Joyzelle
Confederate Monument
Coin Harvey’s Spring Lake and Falls
Lake Atalanta
Monte Ne
Old Highway 12 Bridge
Park Springs Park
War Eagle
The Amphitheater at Monte Ne
Silica Mining
Frisco Tunnel at Winslow
Wonderland Cave in Bella Vista
The Ozark Bluff Dwellers
Fisherman's Camp
Kruse's Gold Mine
Highway 71
Hanging Tree

Businesses:

The Apple Industry
Callahan's Station
Cattle Ranching
Coca-Cola Bottling Company
Daisy Manufacturing
Decker Motor Co.
Dyke Lumber Co.
Hailey Motor Co.
House of Webster
McNeil Chevrolet
Munsingwear
Poultry Industry
Pressing Sorghum Cane
Rogers Champion
Rogers Hardware Co.
Rogers Transfer & Storage
Suzie-Q Malt Shop
Wal-Mart

Wendt-Sonis

Schools:
Rogers Academy
Rogers High School
Sunnyside Elementary School

Buildings:
The Applegate house
112 South First Street
Bank Of Rogers Building
Benton County Jail
B.F. Sikes Log Cabin
Central Methodist Episcopal Church
J.B. Steele House, 303 South First Street
Juhre Building (1894)
Golden Rule Building (circa 1894)
Lane Hotel
Love's Sanitarium
Mutual Aid Union Building
Palace of the Ozarks
Rogers City Hall
Rogers City Jail
Rogers Milling Company
Rogers Opera House
Rogers Post Office
Rogers Wholesale Grocery Company
The Key Wing
The Stroud Building (1899)
The Victory Theater
James and Sally McDaniel Home

The Stroud Home
The Tribble House
The Rocky Branch School

Organizations:
206th C.A. A.A
Home Demonstration Club
Rogers First Elks Lodge
Rogers Garden Club
Women's Study Club/Mas Luz Club
Benton County Possum Hunters
Rogers High School Football Team 1921
Rogers High School Marching Band 1942
936th Field Artillery Battalion in the Korean War
1960's Rogers High School Spirit
Arkansas State Guard in WWII

Events:

Apple Blossom Festivals
Benton County Fair
Bolin Murder Inquest 
Ozark Golden Jubilee
Rogers Centennial Posse
Rogers Diamond Jubilee (1956)
Santa's Rocket Sleigh
Sledriding
The Arrival of Santa Claus (1945)
The Brightwater Train Wreck (1907)
The Great Car Skate on Lake Atalanta (1940)
Thanksgiving (1904)
The Last Reunion of Pea Ridge Veterans

Other:

Baseball
Cars
Chemical Engine
Christmas Memories
Frisco Railroad
Halloween
Mining in Northwest Arkansas
Natural Resources
Rogers' Congregational Church
Rogers Fire Department
Rogers Police Cars
St. Mary's Hospital
Tobacco and Benton County
Still Busting near Bentonville
Roadwork
John Boat
Quilts
Tall Tree Tales

Civil Defense in the 1960's
Early Cars
Rogers Yuletide
Brick Streets
Rural Road Work

 


 

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