Keelboat Aux Arc to travel the White River in March from Batesville to Jacksonville State Park

Old Independence Regional Museum received a press release from Early Arkansas Reenactors Association about the March Keel Boat event:

For the first time in over a century a replica of a boat that brought goods to what was Poke Bayou, and now Batesville, will travel the White River from Batesville to Jacksonport State Park.  The keelboat Aux Arc (pronounce Ozark) will leave riverfront park on Thursday March 22nd and arrive at Jacksonport on Friday March 23rd.  The keelboat and crew will arrive at the Park on Wednesday March 21st.  On Wednesday, the public is invited and welcome to view the boat and talk to the crew about their previous adventures and the role that a keelboat played in the development of North East Arkansas.  The Aux Arc, built by members of the Early Arkansaw Reenactors Association (EARA), was launched in June of 2004 and has traveled numerous water ways in Arkansas, Florida, and Louisiana.  The Aux Arc was built to replicate the down river voyage of the Dunbar-Hunter Expedition of 1804/05, which explored the Ouachita River to the hot springs.  To that end, beginning in 2004, and yearly after that, the Aux Arc began traveling from Camden, Arkansas the Ouachita River.  Traveling 80 to 100 miles each year, the Aux Arc reached the Mississippi River in 2011.  Come and join us on Wednesday and then again on Thursday morning to send us off on our trip.  For more information contact Ed Williams, 501-944-0736 ( or visit the EARA website at:


Ginger Smith joined OGTC in 2014 as a volunteer, and has lived in this area since 1972 when she moved to be near her parents, the late Doss and Vivian Burgess. Her late father was Independence County Appraiser and any time family, whether kids or grand kids, came to visit for even a short time, he would take them to A.D. Hill’s grocery store, and get them a soda pop and candy bar, see the talking bird there, and end up “checking out the great White River.” All the kids and grands have played on the banks there, picnicked, and played on the old train. Ginger is adamant, since she moved to Batesville, there is just no other place to raise a family. Her love for the area and desire to help promote it in her professional capacity led her to seek volunteering, and Charlie Morris, whom she met when she was a typesetter at the Daily Guard Newspaper, put her in touch with Cathy Drew, Executor Director of OGTC. She has been on board since then and says she has loved everything she has done and is proud to represent North Central Arkansas.
The last 20 years of her employment she worked for the late County Judge David Wyatt, West Elementary School Principal Jerry Harris, and Circuit Clerk Claudia Nobles and Judge John Kemp. At the Guard Office she says she made friends for a life time, and then the West Elementary teachers, students, and their families grew close to her forever. Her last job she was hired in a newly created position to collect felony fines and restitution. She was so proud that after three years she more than tripled the annual revenues that she retired! Her part-time retirement job was with the ortho docs, Drs. Allen and Angel where she also met many people from all over the area, and made another set of new friends! She is a published writer and has also written feature articles for the Batesville Guard TV Guide and the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
She has a daughter, Misty Long Sparks, son-in-law Dloyd Sparks, and three grands, Dalton Lee, Victoria Lynn and Anna Rose, who own her heart, and three more heartbeat grands, Nico and Corbin of Washington, and a late granddaughter, Ginger Savannah. Her late husband, Ken Smith, was the Batesville Postmaster.
Totally retired now, Ginger offers her time and writing abilities to OGTC as she travels around the state and visits with so many nice folks, writes reviews, and tries to be a worthy representative for Ozark Gateway Tourism. She is a people person who really cares for all God has blessed us with in our beautiful state of Arkansas in the United States of America.