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Local History Buffs Turn Out for Book Release Party

Michael Boyink/Herald Cinita Brown signs a copy of Dear Descendants. Cinita wrote the books introduction and was largely responsible (along with Ken Brown) for making it publicly available.

Michael Boyink/Herald
Jane’s Beauty Shop was abuzz with talk of family trees, old stomping grounds, and memorable events in Ava’s past.

by Michael Boyink /

Early last Saturday afternoon, most of the Ava Square was quiet. Maybe it was the sunny mild weather. Maybe it was prom preparations. Maybe it was spring allergies.

But just off the square, the parking lot at Jane’s Beauty Shop was almost full. And for a couple hours, a steady string of people walked in and out.

While inside, it wasn’t a haircut or a perm visitors were after. It was a copy of Dear Descendants, a collection of memories about Ava and Douglas County originally written by the mother-daughter team of Columbia Mankin and Orla Vaughn. 

Michael Boyink/Herald Geneva McCullough (left) looks on as Cinita Brown (center) and Ken Brown discuss a point in the Columbia Mankin memior Dear Descendants. The book release party was held at Jane’s Beauty Shop in Ava on Saturday, April 27th.

Columbia and Orla finished their work in the late 1950’s, and for decades after the book stayed mostly in the hands of other family members.

In 2018, local historians Ken W. Brown and Cinita Brown began the task of digitizing Dear Descendants and making it available online. 

Michael Boyink/Herald
(From Left to Right): Sharon (Singleton) Sanders, Shirley (Singleton) Smith, Faye Singleton, and Geneva (Keeton) McCullough pose with their copies of Dear Descendants. All four women lost ancestors in the Civil War fight described in the book.

Saturday was the celebration of that task being complete. Local history buffs descendants of people mentioned in the book came out to chat with Ken and Cinita, and purchase their own signed copy of Dear Descendants.

Copies of Dear Descendants are available to purchase online by visting