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Arkansas Author Bill Yates
bill yates / 13 September 2021 / 0 Comment


A few years ago, I started writing down some of my favorite memories about my childhood and shared them on a blog I called “Growing Up In Waldron.” After maintaining the blog for about a year, it occurred to me that I had enough material written down to publish in book form.  I contacted Morris Publishing, a business in Nebraska that prints books self-published by the author, and my first book, Growing Up in Waldron, became a reality. Later, I had enough stories for a second book, and that became Beautiful Beulah Belle and Other Tales.

Back in the 1980s the Southwest Times-Record carried a story written by local historian Walter Watts about Pearl Turner, a little three-year-old girl who disappeared into the wilds of the White Oak Mountain region in Western Arkansas in 1923.  The story stayed with me, and about 5 years ago I started researching it on the Internet.  I was surprised to discover that papers all over the United States printed articles about the desperate search for little Pearl.  The more I researched, the more I realized that this story would make a good book.  As I sat out to write Pearl’s story, I reached out to what became a tremendous resource to me, The Pebley Center in the library at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith.  Within five minutes of searching microfilm of old newspapers, I came across a photograph of Pearl’s entire family.  That was just the beginning of the material I gathered from the Pebley Center, and Shelley Blanton, the archivist for the Center, found dozens of additional stories about the search and the aftermath. 

I was able to publish Pearl – Lost Girl of White Oak Mountain in 2020, and the response has been beyond belief.  So many people of Waldron, my hometown, as well as Booneville and Magazine have told me about their parents or grandparents who actually helped in the search for little Pearl. The story itself has, over the years, taken on almost legendary status, and many individuals have their own ideas about the outcome of Pearl’s disappearance.  I love hearing those stories, and I hope everyone enjoys reading the incredible story of Little Pearl.

These books are available at Mercantile on Main in Booneville, and are also available in both paperback and Kindle formats on


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