On Saturday, April 25, 2020 at 2:00 pm at the Hobbs State Park visitor center there will be an enlightening and significant program on the life of Aaron” Rock” Van Winkle. Rock was Peter Van Winkle’s former slave who after the Civil War as a freedman became his business partner. There have been numerous programs given on Peter Van Winkle and his famous saw mill, but there has never been a program solely dedicated to Aaron “Rock” Van Winkle and the outstanding reputation that he achieved while working at the Van Winkle saw mill.
We usually think of slavery in a plantation or agricultural setting, but in Van Winkle Hollow at the present-day Hobbs State Park, slavery in the 1850’s was happening in an industrial setting. Although not unique, it was not the norm.
Jerry Moore and Chris Huggard, instructors at Northwest Arkansas Community College, have completed extensive research on “Rock”. They have found descendants of black Van Winkles in NW Arkansas, Nebraska, and California. These individuals will be coming to Hobbs State Park for this distinctively special program. Descendants of white Van Winkles will be there as well. This will be a one-time, historic get-together that you will not want to miss.
Jerry and Chris have submitted an article on Rock for publication in the Arkansas Historical Quarterly. The article will appear this year. The program on April 25, 2020 expands on the content of that article and will tell Rock’s story.
The attachment is the only known photo of Rock (circa 1872). He is with Van Winkle family members on the front porch of the two-story white house at 303 Arkansas Street in Rogers that was torn down in 2019. Rock was a welcomed and beloved part of the Van Winkle family.
Where: Hobbs State Park visitor center located on Hwy. 12 just east of the Hwy. 12/War Eagle Road intersection.
When: Saturday April 25, 2020 at 2:00 pm
Cost: Free – the public is invited
This program is a continuation of the Hobbs State Park Speaker Series. For more information on Hobbs programs, trails, picnicking, or meeting room rental: Call: 479-789-5000