The Texarkana Museum System invites you to “Dear Congregation,” a special Living History program at the Ace of Clubs House museum, 420 Pine Street on Saturday, June 25, from 2 pm to 4 pm.

This program will feature dramatic readings of letters from the Reverend James Wilson Moore collection housed at the Wilbur Smith Research Library. Admission is free but seating is limited, so pre-registration is required. Reverend James Wilson Moore (1797-1873) was a Presbyterian minister from Pennsylvania who arrived in the Arkansas Territory on January 25, 1828, as a missionary to the “lawless” settlers of Little Rock, Arkansas. He was tasked with establishing the first Presbyterian church in the new territory, earning his title as the Father of Arkansas Presbyterianism.

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Moore ministered to many of Arkansas’ first politicians and lawmakers, including Governors Izard and Pope. He counted Secretary of State Robert Crittenden as a friend along with many others who helped establish the state. In 1840, he moved to Oakland Grove, Arkansas and where the family established a homestead they named Ruralia. All of Moore’s 8 children were there, including his son Henry Moore, former owner of the Ace of Clubs House.

“Henry eventually made his way to Texarkana and purchased the Ace of Clubs House in 1894. The letters and journals we have that relate to J.W. Moore were donated by Henry’s daughter-in-law and grandson, Henry Moore III. It’s an amazing window on the early history of Arkansas.”

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Among Reverend Moore’s correspondents were fellow missionary Cephas Washburn, who established the Dwight Mission School for Native American children after the Trail of Tears in the 1820s. He also received letters from Charles Fenton Mercer Noland, famous for his satiric “Pete Whetstone” stories of the 1840s.

Donations accepted and will benefit the Texarkana Museums System Wilbur Smith Research Archive. For more information, call 903-793-4831 or email AceofClubs@TexarkanaMuseums.org.

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