Freda Cruse Hardison is the featured speaker at the upcoming meeting of the Hardy History Association speaking about the Trail of Tears – Benge Route “The Only Route to Follow This Path and Why.”  Hardison’s family arrived in Arkansas in 1794 and is on the 1817 Cherokee Census of Arkansas. Based on research and interviews, she will share the background of the Benge Route, which is named for the Cherokee leader, Captain John Benge, who organized the trek and led it through this section of Arkansas.  The presentation is Thursday, March 7th at 5:30 p.m. in the Johnson Center located at 304 Johnson Street in Hardy.

Hardison was born and raised in Stone County near the White River.  As a child, Hardison’s mother would bring her to Hardy, Mammoth Spring, and Cherokee Village and tell stories of their family. She is a graduate of Mtn, View High School and the University of California, San Diego. Hardison retired in 2005, after spending nearly 20 years as a child welfare caseworker and supervisor in Arkansas. She began interviewing her community elders and has published “Voices of Our People,”  “Places of Our People,” and “Frank and Jesse James – Friends and Family” which won the Governors Award, Arkansas Folk Life Award and Sons of Confederate Veterans Literary Award. Her  most recent publications include “Birth of the Ozarks 1794-1839 Trail of Tears” and “51 Days with Grandpa.”

She is currently putting in a General Store and Vendors Mall in Calico Rock on historic Main Street at the river bridge. Her research, writing and love of history will provide for an interesting presentation.  Books authored by Hardison will be on sale at the meeting.  Please bring a friend to the March 7thpresentation. For more information call the Hardy History Association at (870) 847-3295.

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