Updated: Jul 10, 2022
Raconteur: a person who tells stories and anecdotes with skill.
Rackensack: Since the 1840's, the informal, derogatory, historical, treasured, and antiquated name for Arkansas
Today is the start of something I have looked forward to for a long time. My partnership with Joyce Faulkner in telling the tragic story of Julia Bourland and Maud Allen has resulted in a space to blog, post historical information, announce programs, preview writing projects, and much more! I appreciate the opportunity to work with so many talented, Red Engine Press authors, all who have rich stories to tell. I will use this space also to post audio files of lectures and programs as they become available. For those who don't know me as well, here is a bit of bio, for introduction purposes. I am currently Assistant Professor of History and Director of the Drennen-Scott Historic Site for the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. This August will begin my 19th year. Previous to that, I was an interpretive park ranger and historian for the National Park Service at Fort Smith National Historic Site. Prior to that I taught high school level history at Fort Smith Christian School, along with driving the bus, sponsoring student council, and coaching basketball, baseball and track. I hold two undergraduate degrees from the University of Arkansas, a masters from the University of Oklahoma and I am a PhD candidate at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas. I have fought forest fires in California and worked details at Shiloh, Wilson's Creek, Pea Ridge, Vicksburg, and Chalmette battlefields. I have trained at the Presidio in San Francisco and at Harpers Ferry in West Virginia. I took 4 student groups on tours of Washington DC. More recently, I served on the committee that lobbied for the US Marshal's Museum. I have served extensive terms on the boards of Preserve Arkansas and the Arkansas Historical Association. I have been interviewed by the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, the Smithsonian Channel, AETN and PBS. I was a humanities scholar and content advisor for Grammy winner Larry Foley's documentary film, Indians Outlaws Marshals and the Hanging Judge, which has won accolades across the country. I have authored two books, more articles than I can count, chapters in others books, podcasts, and grant applications for upwards of 8 million dollars for preservation work.
I am profoundly grateful to have spent my whole career doing something related to teaching, interpreting or preserving our collective past. At present, I live with my wife Renee, (33 years)
my dog Ace, and enjoy spending time with our 4 sons and daughters in law, 5 grandchildren and other extended family.
I am an Arkansawyer, born, raised and educated, I love history, facts, anecdotes, and the detective like search for who did what, when. If you enjoy any of those things, follow this space, there will be lots more to come!