Sunday, May 4, 2008

Featured Manuscript Collection: May

Ruth Yingling Rector Papers
MSS 05-10

Ruth Yingling Rector, a researcher of genealogy and history, was born July 5, 1921, in White County, Arkansas. Her family name is an Americanization of the German name Jüngling. On January 31, 1942, she married Joseph Lee Rector, Jr., of Conway, Arkansas, who was later Chief of Radiation Therapy at St. Luke’s Hospital, Kansas City, Missouri.

Rector spent a good portion of her life researching, collecting data, and writing genealogy for the Rector, Yingling, Adcock, Clark, Shelby, and Hilger families, as well as many other families who were involved in the settling of Arkansas. This Collection contains her extensive research materials, including primary documents from Germany and several areas of the United States, research notes, published materials, and correspondence.

The centerpiece of the Collection is the material concerning the 1833 Rheinhessen Emigration Society. Rector chanced on this story while investigating her ancestor, Sebastian Jüngling, who came to Arkansas in 1847 and settled in White County near the family of his sister and brother-in-law, John and Catherine Hilger, who were part of the Society.

Certification by Bremen City Senate of the Olbers (ship) for trip with Rheinhessen Emigration Society, 1833
Location in Collection: Series III, Subseries V, Box 1, File 2
Click to Enlarge

This group of approximately 250 people planned to establish a colony in Arkansas that would be German in character and culture, but with the political freedom they had lost hope of having in Germany. Although their plans began to go awry even before their ship landed in New Orleans, 140 people, or approximately 60 families, continued on to Arkansas, arriving in May of 1833. Unable to find land for all of them to settle in a group, they scattered throughout Central Arkansas.

Rector worked diligently for almost twenty years to identify members of the group, determine why they had left Germany, and trace their experience after they arrived in 1833. Her research includes such materials as letters written back to Germany by Gustav Klingelhöfer and his wife Louisa, an article written in 1836 describing farming conditions in Arkansas, and information about the founding of Las Vegas, New Mexico. The materials highlight everyday life in Arkansas in territorial and early statehood years, including the international connections already at work.

Gustav Klingelhöfer's Tombstone
Location in Collection: Series IV, Subseries I, Box 2, File 29, Slide 6
Click to Enlarge

Rector wrote about her research for the Arkansas Gazette and the Arkansas Times, as well as various genealogical journals. Work on a planned book about the 1833 immigrant group was cut short by the onset of illness. She died on April 8, 1999, in Reno, Nevada.

Contributed by Shirley Schuette, Manuscripts Department


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