Six holly trees were planted in 1920 on Henderson State University’s South Lawn to honor five students and faculty member who lost their lives in World War I.
The creation of the living memorial was part of a nationwide campaign to honor the lives lost in the war. Henderson’s holly grove is the last surviving memorial in the state.
A re-dedication ceremony will be held Nov. 11 at 10 a.m. where a plaque listing the names of the servicemen will be unveiled. Following the ceremony, the first floor of Huie Library will be open for a reception and guests are invited to view the World War I exhibit currently on display.
The holly grove is located near Huie library by the bell.
Henderson’s History Club will also sell “Eternal as the Holly” t-shirts. The university’s alma mater references the holly grove with the verse “Eternal as the hollies.”
The Arkansas World War I Centennial Commission is working to place a memorial tree in every county.
For more information, contact David Sesser at firstname.lastname@example.org or 870-230-5318.
Holly Tree Memorial Biographies
Compiled by Kenneth Angell
with help from Aubree Jackson
Second Lieutenant James Crowe was called “Pat” by his friends, and by all accounts he made many of them. He was born in Sheffield, Alabama, on March 4th, 1889. After graduating from Vanderbilt in 1911, Pat moved to Arkadelphia to teach science and coach football at Henderson. He then embarked on a career as a journalist, first as a reporter at the “Commercial Appeal” in Memphis , then as an editor for the “News” in Hattiesburg Mississippi , and finally as the assistant drama editor for “The Sun” in New York. In 1917 Pat was living in Brooklyn and working at the National Bank of Commerce as a writer for their promotional magazine. The US entered the war in April, and two months later Pat enlisted in the Army Air Service, Signal Corps. After flight training, he was shipped to France as a cadet in the 15th Foreign Detachment, and stationed at Tours. Seven months later, Pat received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. He wrote many letters and short stories during this time, several of which were published in a collection after the war. The friendly and outgoing pilot was well received by the locals, who complimented his cooking, his talent for interior design, and his love of music. Two months later, while training at the 3rd Aviation Instruction Center, Pat fell 7,000 feet from his plane and died on September 29th, 1918. It is likely that he was practicing spiral turns at the time, and he was flying a fast plane. Pat is buried in the Saint Mihiel American Cemetery in France.
Private Murray Moore was born in Little Rock on October 8th, 1898. He lived on Main Street here in Arkadelphia, and in 1918 joined the freshman class at Henderson. Moore was a member of the Student Army Training Corps, an organization similar to today’s ROTC. As part of “Company H”, he received the rank of Private, boarded in SATC barracks on campus, and trained for Army service. Following the end of the war, “Company H” remained on campus as a unit for another month, and was, allegedly, the source of an outbreak of light hearted school pranks. During this time Murray contracted either meningitis or pneumonia, and died on December 14th, 1918. Henderson-Brown’s chapter of the SATC was discharged the same day. Murray is buried just down the road in Rose Hill Cemetery.
Private Robert Jackson was born on June 9th, 1889, in Malvern. After a stop in Little Rock, his family settled in Camden, where they lived on Adams Street. Robert grew up there, and in his early twenties went to work for Wells Fargo as an express messenger. After college at Henderson, he was drafted in 1918 into the 20th Engineers Regiment, 8th Battalion, Company F. He sailed for France, arriving on March 10th after a two week voyage. A few days later, Company F was loaded into boxcars and transported over the course of four days to Étalans, near the Swiss border. The 20th Engineers were a Forestry regiment, and Robert spend the next six months developing forests, harvesting trees, and milling lumber for war construction projects. Towards the end of the summer he contracted pneumonia, and died at Camp Hospital No. 12 in Valdahon on September 29th, 1918. Robert is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Camden.
Sergeant Jesse C. Joyner was born on January 1st, 1893 in Richmond, Arkansas. He lived there until 1912 when he joined the freshman class at Henderson. Jesse registered for the draft in August of 1917 at Ashdown, where an observant clerk described his hair color as “not bald”. He was eventually drafted into the 39th “Delta” Division, 141st Machine Gun Battalion, Company B. The Delta division was made up of National Guard troops from Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. After training at Camp Pike and at Camp Beauregard, Louisiana, Jesse departed for France aboard the HMT Kursk in August of 1918. Upon his unit’s arrival in France, the 39th became a Depot Division, which is responsible for training replacements. The Division was eventually stripped of most of its personnel for replacements during Argonne offensive. Jesse’s battalion remained intact, however, and began training to become Anti-Aircraft Machine Gun Battalion. They were still in training when the war ended. In January of 1919, Jesse was transported back to the United States, where he was hospitalized in Washington DC for the Army describes as a brain tumor. He died after an operation on March 22nd, 1919. According to the Arkansas Gazette, Jesse’s body was to be brought to Richmond where “the Masons will take charge of the funeral on Sunday.” However, further attempts to verify Jesse’s burial site have not been successful.
Seaman 2nd Class Jerry Grant Collins was born on October 11th, 1897 in Ola, Arkansas, where he lived until moving to Arkadelphia for college. There isn’t much record of his time at Henderson other than his name appearing in the yearbook. In fact, even his draft card has been difficult to find. Jerry joined the US Navy Reserve Force in 1918. He served aboard the USS Rhode Island, which conducted anti-submarine patrols up and down the East Coast. Jerry contracted influenza despite strict quarantine efforts. He was transferred to the U.S. Hospital Ship Mercy, where he died just off the coast of Hampton Roads, Virginia, on September 22nd, 1918. He is buried in Ola at Sandlin Cemetery. After Jerry’s death, the Navy paid the American Railway Express Company to ship his effects back to his father in Ola. However, upon delivery, several items on the shipping list were missing. Jerry’s father sued the company for damages. The case was decided in his favor and he was awarded $55.
Private Jack Doby Tidball was born in Dobyville, Arkansas on April 29th, 1890, and grew up in Fayetteville. In 1915, he moved to Arkadelphia and enrolled at Henderson-Brown. Jack was active in campus life and was the starting right tackle on the football team. As a caption in the 1917 yearbook puts it, “Jack claims a place near Fayetteville as his home, but for some reason can’t stay away from Henderson-Brown. He plays football like he does ‘society’, with his whole heart in the game. There is NO doubt about Jack being back next year.” Unfortunately, Jack was not back next year. In 1918 he was called up in the July Replacement Draft. After initial training at Camp Pike, he was placed in Company I of the 32nd “Red Arrow” Division and departed for France. There he fought in the Battle of Argonne Forest, where his division was the first to break the German line. In what the Almanac of WWI calls a daring raid, Jack’s regiment captured 10 German machine gun emplacements in the process of taking Côté Dame Marie, a strategic hilltop. Most sources agree that it was during this mission, on October 16th, 1918, Jack Tidball was killed in action in heavy machine gun and shell fire while taking and defending that hill. He is buried in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in France.