PEA RIDGE There are numerous ways by which people make their mark on the world.
Some construct buildings.
Some pass along knowledge to others. Some live lives having a spiritual impact on others. I’m thinking that Mr. Joe P.G. Roulhac did all three of these. He was a school teacher, a carpenter and builder, a mail-carrier and an influential churchman. His life, which spanned the years 1882 through 1950, left a considerable impact on the Pea Ridge community.
I first knew of Mr. Roulhac as a man that my Dad talked about from time to time. As I recall, Mr.
Roulhac had at one time been a mail carrier for the Pea Ridge rural route. In the early 1940s, I think Pea Ridge had only one rural mail route. So, we lived on Route 1, Pea Ridge, Arkansas. Back then there were no zip codes, and Arkansaswas abbreviated as Ark., not as AR. Before his retirement in 1947, Mr. Roulhac and his wife Maud Roulhac lived on a small farm about a quarter of a mile north of today’s high school campus. The house and barn were located where the road makes a right turn to the east, on the way to the City Park. His farm included the housing development on Todd Circle, having its northern boundary at Hickman Road, and its eastern boundary at Chapman St.
Mr. Roulhac was not a big farmer, but he was a multitalented man who seemed to be able to do many things well.
Both Mr. and Mrs.
Roulhac had long school teaching careers reaching back into the days of our numerous outlying rural schools, and the days of the Masonic College in Pea Ridge. The Roulhacs saw the Pea Ridge School District through a major construction project in 1930. Under Mr. Roulhac’s supervision, the old Pea Ridge College building was taken down, and the one-story modern school building in which so many of us attended school was constructed in the summer and fall of 1930. I have been told that Mrs. Maud Roulhac taught for a time in the Sassafras School, which was located northeast of Pea Ridge near the Owen Wood farm, and that Mr. Roulhac early in his career taught at Corinth, Providence and Garfield, prior to coming to teach at Pea Ridge. From the late 1920s until 1946, Mr. Roulhac was the Pea Ridge School principal, and Mrs.
Roulhac taught in the high school.
My friend Joe Pitts remembered Mr. Roulhac as a good math teacher and a stern disciplinarian, but as a teacher who could discern what a boy or girl was capable of attaining, and who would work hard to help them reach their best potential. When I started to school in the fall of 1946, Mr. Roulhac was still our school principal. I think the 1946-1947 school term was his last year in that post.
For 1947-1948, I think a Mr.
Duffy became principal, and the Roulhacs retired and moved to a house in town. They lived in their later years in a house just north of the Pea Ridge Church of Christ. Their only son, named after his father, passed away in 1934 at age 25. Mr. Roulhac died in 1950, but Maud Roulhac lived a long life, until 1972.
They are buried at thesouth edge of the Pea Ridge City Cemetery.
Back in the early 1940s, when my dad was building the big barn on our farm, he brought Mr. Roulhac onto the job as an architect and advisor. The structure of the barn, as designed by Mr. Roulhac, has been a fascinating study for me. I think one could learn quite a bit about geometry and trigonometry by studying the bracing and structural support that Mr. Roulhac designed into our barn.
I have noticed that after standing for many years, a Joe Roulhac building will still be straight and sound.
You won’t see sagging roofs, bulging sides, leaning walls or failed braces.
I know of two Joe Roulhac barns in the Pea Ridge area, both constructed in the 1940s, which are still standing, and still serving practical purposes. One is the big barn on the Nichols farmnorth of Pea Ridge, and the other is the red barn on the Martha Ruth Hall farm east of Pea Ridge on Ark. Hwy.
72. Both barns were built using locally sawn oak lumber, and both have been in use for nearly 70 years.
Mr. and Mrs. Roulhac were also deeply involved in the establishment of the Pea Ridge Church of Christ in 1922. The church building which Mr. Roulhac helped build at that time served the church’s congregation for many years, until it was replaced by today’s larger structure some years ago. I have long been fascinated by Mr.
Roulhac’s versatility, his technical and mathematical accomplishments, as well as his leadership capacities, his human interests and his spiritual influence in the community.
Contact Jerry Nichols by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 621-1621.
Community, Pages 6 on 10/14/2009
Print Headline: Now & Then: Mr. & Mrs. Roulhac contributed much to community and school