Howard County Courthouse

The Howard County Courthouse is located on 421 North Main Street. It stands at the gateway of downtown Nashville (Howard County), which encompasses the city’s commercial and government districts. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the two-story building as architecturally and historically significant, as it stands as a visible result of the New Deal policies of the 1930s. The National Park Service added it to the National Register of Historic Places on June 14, 1990. At the county’s creation in 1873, the Nineteenth Arkansas General Assembly made Center Point (Howard County) the county seat due to its convenient geographical location. Meanwhile, the economic hub centered on Nashville, with cotton, wool, and peaches driving economic output. After the Arkansas and Louisiana …

Van Buren County Courthouse

The Van Buren County Courthouse in Clinton (Van Buren County) is situated in the hilly terrain of northern Arkansas. It was built with local materials from a quarry outside of Dennard (Van Buren County), with walls made of reddish sandstone. The smallest courthouse in the state, it measures just 100 feet by 43 feet, with a basement. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP) recognizes the building as historically significant as a New Deal–era public works project, and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 13, 1991. After Van Buren County was established on November 11, 1833, the county elite housed the first two courthouses in one-room log structures near the now-defunct community of Mudtown, whose …

Washington County Courthouse

The Historic Washington County Courthouse at the corner of College Avenue and Center Street in Fayetteville (Washington County) is a four-story building in the Richardson Romanesque style. Built in 1904, it is located in the commercial district of the city. It has noteworthy features, such as the steeple that rises above the city, a mural honoring Washington County casualties in World War I, and a bell original to the building. Bill and Hillary Clinton’s marriage certificate was issued at the courthouse in 1975. In the 1990s, most county business moved to a new facility, but the historic courthouse continued to serve the county in some capacities. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 23, 1972. …

Center Point (Howard County)

Center Point was the first county seat of Howard County, serving in that capacity from 1873 until 1905. Although it is near the geographical center of the county, it received its name when the post office was established in 1849 because the crossroads at that location served as the central point of trade in southwestern Arkansas west of Washington (Hempstead County). Center Point in the twenty-first century is a small unincorporated community at the intersection of State Highways 4 and 26. Around 1818, Robert Messer, with his wife and two daughters, traveled by river to Fulton (Hempstead County) and then by land into the forested wilderness of southwestern Arkansas. Messer built a log cabin near a spring at the present …

Paraclifta (Sevier County)

Paraclifta was the first county seat of Sevier County. An 1850 plat shows fifteen families living in Paraclifta. At this time, however, only the historic Gilliam-Norwood house remains. Sevier County was formed on October 22, 1828, eight years before Arkansas became a state. The county was, at that time, a vast area comprising what is now Sevier, Polk, Little River, and Howard counties. A board of commissioners consisting of George T. Boring, Joseph Ladd, James Holman, David Clark, and Levi Davis was assigned the duty of permanently locating the county seat. They established the county seat at a site that later became Paraclifta. The first courthouse was built of logs at a cost of $150. The second, however, was built …

Howard, George, Jr.

George Howard Jr. was a trailblazing African-American attorney and judge in the second half of the twentieth century. After becoming one of the first black graduates of the University of Arkansas School of Law, he pursued a career dedicated to the expansion and guarantee of civil rights for all citizens. He became the first African American to be appointed to numerous Arkansas judicial posts, including the Supreme Court of Arkansas. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1994. George Howard Jr. was born on May 13, 1924, in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) to George Howard and Sara Howard, who was a public school teacher. He received his early education in Pine Bluff but left home to serve …

Yancey, John Howard

John Howard Yancey was one of Arkansas’s most colorful war heroes. His actions in the South Pacific in World War II and the Korean War garnered him two Navy Crosses, a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts. He was a champion of civil rights in the late 1950s and early 1960s in Arkansas. John Yancey was born on April 27, 1918, in Plumerville (Conway County) to Mary and John Benjamin Yancey, who owned a gas station; his younger brother, John Benjamin Yancey Jr., became a Little Rock (Pulaski County) police officer. He attended what is now Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) but left college in 1942 to join the Marine Corps as World War II was beginning. After basic …

De Queen (Sevier County)

De Queen, a railroad town founded just a few years before the start of the twentieth century, is the county seat of Sevier County and also the county’s largest city. De Queen is located at the intersection of two major U.S. highways: U.S. 71, which runs north to south, and U.S. 70, which runs east to west. Post Reconstruction through the Gilded Age De Queen owes its existence to the arrival of what eventually became the Kansas City Southern Railroad, which connects Kansas City, Missouri, with Gulf Coast ports at Port Arthur, Texas. The railroad was the vision of Arthur E. Stilwell, a Kansas City businessman who wanted to build a line from Kansas City to the Gulf of Mexico …

Fort Smith (Sebastian County)

Fort Smith shares its status with Greenwood as the county seat of Sebastian County. Early in the history of Arkansas and the city, Fort Smith was an important point of contact to the American West. It is now home to large manufacturing plants; St. Edward Mercy Medical Center and Sparks Regional Medical Center, which provide healthcare to residents beyond the confines of the city; and the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. Fort Smith was for a long time the second-largest city in Arkansas after Little Rock (Pulaski County) but, after the 2020 census, was ranked the third-largest, with Fayetteville (Washington County) now the second. Pre-European Exploration No indigenous peoples appear to have had permanent settlements at the time of …

Murfreesboro (Pike County)

Murfreesboro is the county seat of Pike County, which lies in the southwest corner of Arkansas and is an area of tremendous geological diversity, with regard to both soil and minerals. In addition to mining for diamonds and mining for quartz, other gems and minerals such as amethyst, garnet, jasper, calcite, barite, lamproite, and banded agate can also be found in the area. About 100 million years ago (the Mid-Cretaceous Period), the Gulf of Mexico coastline ran across the middle of Pike County. Murfreesboro, being in the southwest corner of the county, was under water. A volcanic explosion spewed ash and molten rock toward the sky and created an eighty-acre crater. The turbulent rotations of the earth caused diamonds to work their way to …

Marianna (Lee County)

Marianna, the county seat of Lee County, is situated along the L’Anguille River in eastern Arkansas. It has long been primarily an agricultural community, a center especially for cotton production, and also has a history that highlights many of the troubles of the Arkansas Delta region, both in economy and in race relations. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Marianna was founded as the village of Walnut Ridge in 1848 by Colonel Walter H. Otey. Its name was changed to Marianna four years later, and, by 1858, the city was relocated three miles downstream on higher ground and where the L’Anguille River was navigable throughout the year. Steamboats connected the young city to important Mississippi River ports such as Memphis, Tennessee, …

Pine Bluff (Jefferson County)

Like Jefferson County, Pine Bluff is a historical offspring of Arkansas Post (Arkansas County)—the first European foothold in Arkansas, founded in 1686 by the French and built near the mouth of the Arkansas River. The city thrived during the last part of the nineteenth century due to its status as a cotton center and river port. The city was hit hard, however, by flooding, drought, and economic depression in the early twentieth century, although World War II proved to be an economic boon to the city, which opened a munitions arsenal during the war. Despite possessing a rich history and being home to a university, the city was in decline by the beginning of the twenty-first century, facing population loss …

Newport (Jackson County)

Newport is a rural community with deep agricultural ties. Its location on the White River at the transition from the Ozark foothills to the Delta flatland is ideal as a northeast Arkansas crossroads for road, river, and rail traffic. Newport’s economy, based upon natural resources, had strong growth through the first half of the twentieth century and the postwar era. Pre-European Exploration through Early European Exploration Newport is located on a wide bend in the White River where it leaves the Ozark hill country and enters the Mississippi Delta flatlands.  It was an ideal crossing point for animals (including deer, bear, and occasionally bison) and for the tribal hunters that followed them.  Native people, likely ancestors of the Quapaw, resided …

Nashville (Howard County)

Nashville is the county seat of Howard County in southwest Arkansas. A regional center for agriculture and transportation, it has also become the location of several manufacturing enterprises and was the location of the first Dillard’s department store. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood No evidence of pre-European settlement in the Nashville area exists, although stone tools found in the area indicate that the Caddo did travel through the site and hunt there. The first European explorers in the area were hunters who would have seen forested hills watered by two small creeks. Isaac Cooper Perkins, a farmer and Baptist missionary, was the first to settle in the place that would become Nashville. Although his earliest land grant is dated 1836—the year …

Hope (Hempstead County)

Hope is on Prairie De Roan in southwest Arkansas. It is divided by Union Pacific Railway tracks traveling from northeast to southwest and is the birthplace of William Jefferson Clinton, the fortieth and forty-second governor of Arkansas and the forty-second president of the United States. Hope received national attention when Clinton closed his nomination acceptance speech at the 1992 Democratic National Convention with the words, “I still believe in a place called Hope.” Reconstruction through the Early Twentieth Century The town developed as the Cairo and Fulton Railway (predecessor to the Union Pacific) tracks were being laid from Argenta (now North Little Rock (Pulaski County)) to Fulton (Hempstead County). The first passenger train pulled into “Hope Station” on February 1, …

Mountain Home (Baxter County)

Mountain Home, a small town whose origins date back to the early nineteenth century, is located in north-central Arkansas on a plateau in the Ozark Mountains. The natural beauty of nearby Norfork and Bull Shoals lakes and the surrounding countryside has attracted tourists from around the country for many years. In addition, educational institutions have always played a prominent role in the life of the community. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The town was originally known as Rapp’s Barren or Talbert’s Barren, apparently named in honor of the first permanent white settler, Henry Rapp, who settled in the region around 1810. The word “barren” referred to the open prairie land, which had few trees and was thought to be infertile. …

Sevier County

Sevier County is located in southwest Arkansas and borders the state of Oklahoma. The county is located at the northern limits of the Gulf Coastal Plain. Sevier County has four rivers, each of which is impounded by a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lake. The Little River forms the southern boundary, while the Saline River borders the east side of the county. The Cossatot River and Rolling Fork River both flow from north to south. Pre-European Exploration Artifacts indicate that human activity in Sevier County dates back as much as 10,000 years; for most of that time, they lived by hunting and collecting foods. The county’s rivers and streams, especially the Rolling Fork River and the Little River, provided a …

Pike County

Pike County sports a greater geological diversity that any other part of the United States. It is also home to the Crater of Diamonds State Park, an ancient volcanic crater and the eighth largest diamond deposit in the world. This is the only site where the public can search and keep what they find. Pre-European Exploration through Early European Exploration About 100 million years ago, during the Mid-Cretaceous period, the Gulf of Mexico extended to the middle of Pike County. The southern half of the county was under water. A volcanic explosion occurred during this period, leaving a crater of about eighty acres in area. The turbulent rotations of the earth caused diamonds to be pushed up to the surface …

Little River County

Carved out of parts of Sevier County and Hempstead County, Little River County was established in 1867 by an act of the Arkansas legislature. The new county gave citizens a shorter and easier journey to their county seat of government. Because of the area’s close proximity to the Little River, which flows into the Red River near Texarkana (Miller County), it took the name of Little River County. This county is located in the southwest corner of the state and is surrounded by Sevier, Hempstead, Howard, and Miller counties in Arkansas and by counties in Texas and Oklahoma. The two rivers form major parts of the boundary of Little River County. The land in and around Little River County is …

Hempstead County

Hempstead County, located in the southwest corner of the state, was organized in 1818, before Congress established Arkansas Territory. The Missouri territorial legislature had created three counties from Arkansas County—Hempstead, Clark, and Pulaski. The county was named for Edward Hempstead, the first delegate to Congress from Missouri Territory. It has been the home of four Arkansas governors: Augustus H. Garland, Daniel Webster Jones, William Jefferson Clinton (later a U.S. president), and Michael Dale Huckabee. European Exploration and Settlement Early Spanish and French explorers traded with the Indians, and it is possible that Hernando de Soto’s 1539–1542 expedition visited this area. Archaeologists have found evidence of Caddo Indian villages and mounds. The Caddo were known to hunt along the Red River …

Conway County

Conway County was established by an act of the territorial legislature on October 20, 1825, from land taken from Pulaski County. It was named for Henry Wharton Conway, a member of the Arkansas Territory’s delegation to Congress. At the time, it comprised 2,500 square miles and included most of the present Conway, Faulkner, Van Buren, White, Cleburne, and Perry counties and part of Yell County. Located in the Arkansas River Valley, Conway County’s geographic structure ranges from the ridges of the Ozark foothills in the extreme northwest to the rich lowlands near the Arkansas River—a quite varied topography. The county’s native hardwood and pine forests have been a resource for the timber and recreation industries. Cotton was grown in the …

Public Works Administration

The U.S. Congress passed the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) on June 16, 1933, as part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal to combat the effects of the Great Depression and the ensuing failures of businesses across the country. As part of the act, the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works—called the Public Works Administration (PWA) after 1935—was established on June 16, 1933, to provide grants and loans to finance public works projects that would help “promote and stabilize employment and purchasing power.” Across the country, the PWA funded some 34,000 projects between July 1933 and March 1939, expending $6 billion over the lifetime of the agency. President Herbert Hoover had sought to establish a public works division within …

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic

Editor’s note: This entry will be subject to regular updating and revision as the pandemic continues. The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) began sweeping the world beginning in late 2019. The virus created a large-scale public health crisis and caused some countries to quarantine entire regions—or, in the case of Italy, the entire nation. The pandemic also cratered the economies of many nations throughout the world. The virus was first detected in Arkansas in March 2020. COVID-19 is an infectious disease closely related to the original SARS virus (SARS-CoV), which produced a worldwide epidemic in 2002–2003; the virus that causes COVID-19 is, in fact, designated SARS-CoV-2. The name stems from the virus’s appearance in electron micrographs, exhibiting a crown (corona) shape. …

Stuck, Elmer Axtell

Elmer Axtell Stuck was an architect based in Jonesboro (Craighead County) who founded the firm that became Stuck, Frier, Lane & Scott, Inc. Several of his designs were listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Elmer A. Stuck was born on February 2, 1900, in Jonesboro, the son of Bessie M. Axtell Stuck and Elmer Charles Stuck, owner and operator of the Jonesboro Brick Company and the Stuck Lumber Company. Though he had been groomed to take over the family business with his brother Howard, Stuck chose to pursue architecture, graduating from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1924. While Stuck was in school, he worked from 1921 to 1923 in the offices of William B. Ittner, who …

Perryville American Legion Building

aka: Doyle-Leach Post American Legion Hut
The Perryville American Legion Building at 408 West Main Street in Perryville (Perry County) is a single-story, Rustic-style structure built in 1933–1934. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 5, 1990. Perryville’s American Legion post was named for two Perry County World War I soldiers: Luther Doyle of Aplin (Perry County), who died of pneumonia at age twenty-five on September 14, 1918, and Daniel L. Leach of Houston (Perry County), who served in 164 Company of the Transport Corps and survived the war. In the early 1930s, members of the Doyle-Leach Post sought funding from the federal government for assistance in constructing a building to house their activities. The United States provided $2,500 for the …

Campbell, John

John Campbell was a Searcy County pioneer after whom the historic community of Campbell was named. He also served in both houses of the Arkansas General Assembly and was a second lieutenant during the Mexican War. John Campbell was born on May 9, 1806, in Warren County, Tennessee, to James Campbell and Lucy Howard Campbell. Campbell became a colonel in the Tennessee militia while still in his twenties; he was usually called Colonel Campbell by his friends and neighbors. On July 29, 1835, he married Ann Blassingame in McNairy County, Tennessee. Following the birth of their son Charles Henry Campbell on September 4, 1837, the family traveled by ox cart on a six-week journey across the Mississippi River and up …

De Queen Bee

The De Queen Bee was established by printer Walter A. Boyd and lawyer J. W. Bishop of Nashville (Howard County). The newspaper has been serving De Queen (Sevier County) and the surrounding areas since June 4, 1897. Some sources report that the partnership began when Boyd and Bishop were sitting on the courthouse steps in Nashville discussing the future of the developing railroad town of De Queen. Seeing the new town as an opportunity, they decided to start a newspaper, naming it the De Queen Bee. A subscription was one dollar a year, with the paper being published every Friday. The partnership lasted for only three issues before the paper was sold to E. C. Winford. Leadership of the paper …

Claiborne, Harry Eugene

Harry Eugene Claiborne, a native of McRae (White County), was a lawyer, politician, and later a federal judge in Las Vegas, Nevada. Claiborne became known nationwide in 1986 as the first sitting federal judge to be sent to prison and the fifth person in American history to be removed from his or her position through impeachment by the U.S. Senate. Harry Claiborne was born on July 2, 1917, in the Lebanon community just outside McRae. His father, Arthur Smith Claiborne Jr., was a cotton farmer, and his mother, Minnie King Claiborne, was a schoolteacher. Early on, Claiborne gained a reputation in McRae for his speaking ability, and he would often accompany his grandfather to view court proceedings at the White …

Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives (SARA)

The Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives (SARA) in Washington (Hempstead County) began as a local archival collection and is now a branch of the Arkansas State Archives (previous called the Arkansas History Commission). Its purpose is to preserve material relevant to the history of twelve southwestern Arkansas counties: Columbia, Hempstead, Howard, Lafayette, Little River, Miller, Nevada, Ouachita, Pike, Polk, Sevier, and Union. In 1975, the Washington (Arkansas) Bicentennial Celebration Committee began making plans for the town’s participation in the upcoming national festivities. To commemorate the event, the committee members decided to raise money to purchase research books for a local library. Mildred Smith, an educator in Washington, sought the advice of Dr. John L. Ferguson, director of the Arkansas State Archives, on …

Plumerville Conflict of 1886–1892

During the late 1880s, electoral politics in Conway County turned violent, resulting in serious injuries and several deaths. In the Plumerville (Conway County) community, actions such as voter intimidation and the theft of ballot boxes were flagrant and seemingly condoned by public officials. The violence became widely known and was the subject of a federal investigation after the assassination of a congressional candidate, John Clayton. A pattern of local political affiliations and latent hostilities toward other factions developed and remained well into the twentieth century. While the political conflict renewed itself after the 1884 election, the underlying causes date back to the pre–Civil War days. Conway County was a small version of Arkansas in terms of geographic culture and economics. …

Preston, Alice L.

Alice Luberter Walker Preston was an African-American schoolteacher who was instrumental in the peaceful integration of Murfreesboro (Pike County) city schools in 1965. Over her lifetime, she left an enduring legacy in the field of education in Arkansas. Alice Luberter Walker was born on December 16, 1907, in Paraloma (Howard County), the first of two children born to Lizzie Walker and the Reverend R. W. Walker. Because there was no high school for black students in Paraloma or nearby Nashville (Howard County), her family made arrangements for her to live with a cousin, the Reverend Bennie Neal, and his family in Fort Smith (Sebastian County), and she attended Fort Smith High School. She later stayed with a cousin in Hope …

Mining

Mining is defined as the extraction of valuable minerals or stone (mineral resources) from the earth, usually from an ore body, vein, or bed. Materials mined in Arkansas include base metals, iron, vanadium, coal, diamonds, crushed and dimension stone, barite, tripoli, quartz crystal, gypsum, chalk, and bauxite. Mineral resources are non-renewable, unlike agricultural products or factory-produced materials. Mining in a wider sense includes extraction of any non-renewable resource, including petroleum, natural gas, bromine brine, or even water. These resources are recovered by extractive methods that differ from those of normal surface or underground “hard rock” mining methods. Early settlers in the Arkansas Territory used several local mineral commodities. These included galena (lead ore), hematite and goethite (brown iron ores), saline …

New Deal

In many ways, Arkansas experienced the hardship of the Great Depression of the 1930s even before the stock market crash of 1929. In the 1920s, it led the nation in per capita indebtedness. As an agricultural state, Arkansans was affected by low crop prices, which left people unable to pay taxes. Schools and roads deteriorated. Without funding for road construction, some towns found themselves isolated and cut off from the rest of the state. Arkansas also suffered as it alternated between both drought and floods—the Flood of 1927, followed by the Drought of 1930–1931 and the Flood of 1937. Banks failed, wiping out savings and ready cash. Many Arkansans lost their land, being forced to become tenant farmers. Others could …

Civil War Markers and Memorials

Across the state of Arkansas, many markers and memorials commemorate the events of the Civil War. Some are located at or near the locations of significant events of the war, while others are located near county courthouses or in cemeteries. Some markers and monuments remain well-maintained, while others have disintegrated due to neglect and vandalism. In some cases, damaged markers and memorials have been replaced, and some monuments have been removed or relocated. Most of the earliest memorials were established in cemeteries where Civil War soldiers are buried. These cemetery markers can be found in Fayetteville (Washington County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), and Camden (Ouachita County), as well as other places. Other early markers of Civil War events were placed …

Rackensack Folklore Society

The Rackensack Folklore Society was organized for the purpose of perpetuating the traditional folk music of the people of Arkansas, particularly in the mountainous area of the north-central part of the state. Stone County, located in the area, was unique in having music-making families throughout its boundaries who founded the base of the Rackensack organization. The society was begun by Lloyd Hollister, a doctor, and his wife, Martha. They came from the Little Rock (Pulaski County) area in 1962 and settled in the Fox (Stone County) community. Hollister set up his medical practice in Mountain View (Stone County) with Howard Monroe, a noted surgeon in the area. The Hollisters attended various musical sessions in the Fox community and joined in the …

Nashville Sauropod Trackway

The Nashville sauropod trackway, which may be the largest dinosaur trackway in the world, was located near Nashville (Howard County). The most unusual thing about the Nashville trackway is its size, but it also represented, for over twenty-five years, the only evidence of sauropods in Arkansas other than bone fragments found nearby. This discovery has greatly informed the scientific study of sauropods and other dinosaur trackways. A trackway is a path of preserved footprints left by dinosaurs. There are between 5,000 and 10,000 assorted tracks on the Nashville trackway, most of which have been identified as having been made by sauropods. Some species of sauropods are the diplodocus and the titansaur. Sauropods had long necks and long tails and walked on all …

Evans, Dale

aka: Frances Octavia Smith
Dale Evans was an actress, author, and songwriter who was raised in Osceola (Mississippi County), where she attended school for the first time and met her first husband. She rose to fame as America’s “Queen of the West” (sometimes called “Queen of the Cowgirls”) alongside her fourth husband, Roy Rogers (“King of the Cowboys”). She starred in movies, television shows, and evangelical Christian programs. Evans wrote twenty-eight inspirational books and composed many songs, including the popular song of faith, “The Bible Tells Me So,” as well as the iconic American standard, “Happy Trails.” Dale Evans was born in her grandparents’ home at Uvalde, Texas, though her family lived in Italy, Texas. Her father, Walter Smith, was a middle-class farmer who …

Religion

The number of people in Arkansas who believe in and practice a religious faith has always been high, with the greatest percentage identifying themselves as Christian and Protestant. Numerically, the largest denomination in the state is now Baptist, including its Southern, Missionary, Free Will, Primitive, and other branches. Because of privacy issues and the separation of church and state, it is difficult to arrive at exact statistics pertaining to church membership or affiliation. The U.S. government’s Census of Religious Bodies was discontinued in 1936. Early Religion in Arkansas Prior to European contact, little is known of Native American—in Arkansas, the Quapaw and Caddo groups—religious traditions. Attempts at reconstructions based on archaeology and later ethnography have been made, but recorded accounts …

Trieber, Jacob

Jacob Trieber of Helena (Phillips County) and Little Rock (Pulaski County) was the first Jew to serve as a federal judge in the United States. Serving from 1900 to 1927 as judge for the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas, he became known in judicial circles as a “genius as lawyer and jurist.” He presided over more than 1,000 cases annually, kept his docket current, and had time to serve many assignments outside his own district. He issued nationally important rulings on controversies that included antitrust cases, railroad litigation, prohibition cases, and mail fraud; some of his rulings, such as those regarding civil rights and wildlife conservation, have implications today. His broad interpretation of the constitutional guarantees of the …

Searching By:

Howard County Courthouse
New Search