Marie Williams Begins Work on Garden ResearchPosted: September 7, 2012
We’re super excited to have Marie Catherine Williams, a senior at Arkansas Tech University, as our first co-researcher for the Garden book/research. She’s typed up a great introduction about herself and her research interests, which you can read below.
As the semester progresses she’ll be contributing more to the research and keeping us updated on what she’s learning.
To read more about the work Marie will be doing go here.
Hi! My name is Marie Cathryn Williams. I live in Russellville with my husband, our son and we are expecting our second son this November. I am a History major at Arkansas Tech University. I am graduating this December with my Bachelor’s Degree and plan to start Graduate School at Tech in January of 2013 in order to continue my research on the rural women of Arkansas. I am currently working on recording the life stories of the rural women of Pope County. I plan to document as many oral histories of older, rural women as I can. These are vital in understanding and preserving our past as both the women and men of Arkansas. Without their record an entire way of life would be lost. The generations of the future, including my own, would not have the lessons of their elders that are so important to our future. As a historian I have dedicated my own future to ensuring these women’s stories are preserved. I plan to develop and take this work farther as I continue my education and research.
My connections to rural Arkansas run deep. The paternal side of my family has been rooted in the Hector area for generations. This part of my family has worked and depended on the land in one way or another for as far back as I can tell. My maternal grandparents came to Arkansas from Chicago, Illinois, in the 1970s. They quickly took up gardening, raising livestock, and raising a family near Oark, on the Little Mulberry. My interest in history, especially local history, came from both my deeply rooted Southern side as well as my grandparents that took to their adopted home. I married into a Southern family, much like my own, one side from Newton County and the other tracing an Indian ancestry to Oklahoma. They also practice old traditions, including keeping the Bluegrass-Gospel music tradition alive. Scattered throughout my personal history, that includes living in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and Texas are those Southern family members who although unrelated by blood also impacted my upbringing. These connections keep me grounded and committed to preserving the stories of a people, rural Southerners, and a culture that faces extinction in the minds of young people.
I am eager to begin my work with the McElroy House. The mission of preserving the tradition of gardening and growing while educating young people on this tradition is one that needs to be accomplished. Gardening is an essential part of rural life and sadly one that is often left to older generations. I hope to help the McElroy House open the door to a new generation of gardeners who can learn from the past, as well as develop this skill for the future.