Our board secretary, Donna Clark, recently presented and spoke about the various parts of the library and museum to the story's author, Terry Ropp. Donna is a wonderful representative for TL&M and is featured in several of the photos in the article.
Pictures from Ozarks Farm and Neighbor, April, 2021
Local resident Virgil Talbot (1927-1998) believed in saving history. He belonged to several historical societies and though was adopted by Cherokees, was the first non-Native American to belong to the Cherokee National Historical Society. His dream was to establish a library and museum with emphasis on Cherokee and local history, including materials from Northeast Oklahoma and Northwest Arkansas. Beginning with his ever-growing personal collection at his home on Flint Creek in Delaware County, Virgil opened the Talbot Library and Museum in 1990 on a donated 2-acre property in Colcord. The main library/museum building was totally constructed by volunteer labor.
“Many visitors come from out-of-state, as well as locally, to use our Walkingstick Research Library because our library contains many rare materials on Cherokee and other local history and genealogy,” Donna Clark, volunteer and secretary of the museum’s Board of Trustees, said.
While Talbot’s is a research library with no materials available for checkout, connecting people with the past, both personal and general, is one of their goals. Board member Teresa Allcorn remembers a few years ago, when a couple came in from out of state to research the wife’s father, a policeman in the small town of Watts, Okla., in the 1920s. She hadn’t known him as a child and was looking for any scrap of information that would connect her with him.
“We happened to have an obscure book written by A. D. Lester describing daily life of Watts in the early 20s,” Teresa said. “As the woman looked through the book, she shrieked saying she had found him. Literally in tears, she read of her father and his job as the policeman. She left that day knowing more than she ever had about her father, and we were left knowing that our mission preserving bits of history is worth the effort.”
The facility is rightfully proud of being totally self-supporting, which means with no federal, state or local funding. It is run by a 12-member board with members volunteering at the museum as well, taking care of the grounds, the exhibits and other organizational tasks. Donna has volunteered at the museum for 25 years, with her deep interest in genealogy and research as her initial motivation. The Talbot Bookstore, an important part of the museum’s income, contains new and used books, covering Cherokee, Oklahoma, and Arkansas history and genealogy. These books are available for purchase on their website. Additionally, The Talbot Library and Museum has also published the T.L.&M Genealogy magazine since 1996 with two issues per year the current publication rate.
“Grace Puffinbarger has been our loyal office assistant for 18 years and our only paid employee,” Donna explained. “We couldn’t have done this without her.”
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(About Ozarks Farm & Neighbor: Ozarks Farm & Neighbor was first published on Sept. 1, 1998, and was originally mailed to livestock-tax payers in nine counties in Missouri. We have now more than quadrupled our coverage area and continue growing, reaching more than 61 counties across the Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma Ozarks. Ozarks Farm & Neighbor has quickly become the Ozarks’ most read farm newspaper.
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