The Newton County Historical Society was founded in December 1953, by Walter Lackey, Mandy Hickman, Albert Raney, and Beecher Moss and others. It was reorganized in 1977, by Columbus Vaughan, Jack McCutcheon, Rhonda Teter, Leland Smith and others.
Incorporated in 1981 as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, its mission is to collect, preserve, promote interest in, and to disseminate historical and genealogical material relating to Newton County and the surrounding area.
The offices of the Historical Society are housed in the Bradley House Museum located at 403 W. Clark Street in Jasper, just four blocks west of the Jasper Conoco station, on the corner of Clark and Daniels street.
Due to migration of some of the former residents, the Societys membership is spread over the entire United States.
The Newton County Historical Society publishes an annual magazine, the Newton County Homestead which is free to its members. It has previously published two volumes of Newton County Family History, as well as reprinted two out-of-print books relating to Newton County History. The Museum also provides an ever-expanding library for regional family research.
In 1994, the Historical Society acquired the Chaney Log House which once was located at a former Butterfield Stage stop in Osage and served as a post office. This house, which may have seen the Trail of Tears and survived the Civil War, now sits on the museum grounds. Although its restoration has not been completed due to lack of funding, it is still one of the most photographed houses in Jasper, and local school teachers use it as a teaching tool for some of their classes.
Future Society plans include finishing the reconstruction of the Chaney house, and moving parts of the exhibits which fit into that era into the cabin - items such as a rope bed, loom, spinning wheel, plows, and items of that nature. An herb garden with plants native to Newton County is also planned.
The Society's struggle to stay viable in its mission to provide an archive for history and genealogy for the people of Newton County has not been easy. Support from those with roots in Newton County is vital. The members are The Society; and "more hands makes for lighter work", is an old Newton County saying.
For information on becoming a part of this great work, contact the office of the Newton County Historical Society at 870-446-6247, or come to the meetings, which are held on the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Museum, at 5:00 p.m. Everyone is invited.
During the months of April through October, the Bradley House Museum is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11 a. m. to 4 p. m., then Tuesdays only during November and December. Admission is by donation.