Entries - Starting with J

J. B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc.

J. B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., based in Lowell (Benton County), is Arkansas’s largest trucking company and one of the largest transportation logistics providers in North America, acting as the agent for the companies whose goods they are shipping. This Arkansas-based company employs 14,667 people and operates 9,688 tractors and 24,576 trailers, with annual revenues exceeding $3.7 billion. Company founder Johnnie Bryan Hunt was born in 1927 in rural Cleburne County and left school after the seventh grade to work in his uncle’s sawmill. He spent his early adult life working jobs that ranged from picking cotton to selling lumber to driving a truck and eventually to serving in the Army. After returning from the Army in 1947, Hunt’s first business venture …

J. H. Miller

The stern-wheel steamer J. H. Miller joined the Union navy’s Mississippi River Squadron and served under charter on the Mississippi River and its tributaries during the Civil War, including expeditions on the White River. The capture and destruction of the J. H. Miller illustrates the ongoing battle for control of significant interior rivers in the Trans-Mississippi Department, almost a year after Union forces took control of Little Rock (Pulaski County). In February 1864, the J. H. Miller, displacing 130 tons, began chartered service on the Mississippi River and its tributaries. According to Captain Stephen R. Harrington of the Fifth Kansas Cavalry, reporting from camp thirty miles from Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) on the north bank of the Arkansas River, an …

J. R. Poisson v. Etienne d’Avril

J. R. Poisson v. Etienne d’Avril is a purported opinion of the Arkansas Supreme Court that was published as an April Fool’s Day joke by Associate Justice George Rose Smith on April 1, 1968. In the opinion, he declares that a fictional Arkansas statute (the “Omnibus Repealer”) abrogates all statutory law in Arkansas but does not affect the common law. George Rose Smith was known for his wry sense of humor. He was a grandson of Uriah Rose, the founder of the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock (Pulaski County), and served as a partner in the firm until his election to the Arkansas Supreme Court in 1948. He holds the record as the longest-serving justice in the history of …

J. V. Bell House

The J. V. Bell House stands at 303 West Cherry Street in Jonesboro (Craighead County). Built in 1895, the Bell House stands as an example of the typical Victorian-era residence, with its high, multiple roof suggesting a Queen Anne influence, and its cut-out stars and moons and sunburst ornamentation incorporating a distinct Oriental flavor. The Bell House was entered on the National Register of Historic Places on November 7, 1976. John Vernon Bell moved to Jonesboro in the late 1800s and owned and operated one of the city’s first bookstores. Later, he became secretary of Jonesboro Savings and Loan. In 1919, Thomas Hardy purchased the house from Bell. Hardy added two rooms to the upstairs, thus boxing in the back …

Jackson County

  Jackson County is in northeast Arkansas. Although the land rises somewhat in the west, most of the county is flat, low river bottom. Since the late 1800s, the county’s largest town has been Newport, the county seat. No single event of great importance has thrust Jackson County into a place of prominence, but it has nonetheless proven to be a crucial component of Arkansas history and culture. European Exploration and SettlementNative Americans called this area home as far back as 10,000 years ago. Evidence of their existence is found in the nearly 600 archaeological sites known to exist in Jackson County. Some researchers have claimed that famed explorer Hernando de Soto passed through the area that would become Jacksonport …

Jackson County Courthouse

The Jackson County Courthouse, built in 1892, is located on 208 Main Street in downtown Newport (Jackson County). The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the three-story building as architecturally and historically significant as a fine example of a preserved Victorian-era building in the county and as one of the oldest courthouses in the state. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 18, 1976. When construction of the Cairo and Fulton Railroad came through in 1873, the previously impoverished river town of Newport found itself in an economic boom, with a new flow of people and commerce arriving from across the country. The railroad also replaced the river as the way to move goods and people. …

Jackson County Historical Society

The Jackson County Historical Society (JCHS) was created primarily in response to the planned destruction of the county’s old courthouse at Jacksonport (Jackson County). In late 1961, an organizational meeting for a historical society was called. At this meeting, it was announced that the former courthouse at Jacksonport would be razed for the bricks. Lady Elizabeth Luker, whose ancestors were among the founders of that old river town, became the face of the fledgling historical society and led the way for the restoration of the old courthouse for use as a museum. The Jackson County Historical Society was formally chartered in April 1962 at Newport (Jackson County), with Luker as the first president. While the JCHS was interested in preserving …

Jackson, Gertrude Newsome

Gertrude Newsome Jackson was a local activist in the Marvell (Phillips County) area who, along with her husband, Earlis, played a central role in the local civil rights movement. She has been widely recognized for her long-term efforts on behalf of the community’s young people and its minority members. Gertrude Newsome was born on November 7, 1923, in Madison, Illinois, to Mitchell and Lillie Newsome. When she was seven, her paternal grandfather died, and the family moved to Gum Bottom, an area in Phillips County, Arkansas, near the Turner community, so that her father could help operate the family’s small Arkansas Delta farm. One of eleven children—six boys and five girls—she got her early education in Marvell, walking miles to …

Jackson, Joseph Walter (Joe)

Joseph Walter (Joe) Jackson was a talent manager best known as the father and manager of his children’s careers, including the Jackson 5, Michael Jackson, and Janet Jackson. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2011. Joseph Walter Jackson was born on July 26, 1928, in Fountain Hill (Ashley County). He was the oldest of five children of Samuel Joseph Jackson and Crystal Lee King. His father was a schoolteacher. Jackson remembered that his father was one of few African Americans in the area to own a car. The elite status earned his father the nickname of “Professor Jackson.” Much of Jackson’s childhood was spent in Arkansas. However, when his parents separated, he left Arkansas at the …

Jackson, Keith Jerome

Keith Jerome Jackson is a former college and professional football player and current radio broadcast color analyst for University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) football. Jackson began working with the Arkansas Razorback Sports Network in 2000. Jackson is the founder of P.A.R.K (Positive Atmosphere Reaches Kids), a nonprofit after-school recreational and educational program for students. Keith Jackson was born on April 19, 1965, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and grew up in a single-parent home with his mother, Gladys Jackson. He went on to become a successful high school athlete, earning letters in football, basketball, and track at Little Rock Parkview High School. A highly recruited football player, Jackson chose to play for head coach Barry Switzer at …

Jackson, Travis Calvin

Travis Calvin Jackson was one of six native Arkansans elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He played for the New York Giants and was considered the best National League shortstop in the 1920s. Noted for his defense (which earned him the nickname “Stonewall”), he was also considered a clutch hitter. Travis Jackson was born on November 2, 1903, in Waldo (Columbia County) to William Calvin Jackson, a storekeeper, and Etta Farrar Jackson. As a teenager, Jackson played for a team at Ouachita Baptist College (now Ouachita Baptist University) and for a semipro team in eastern Arkansas, where Little Rock Travelers manager Kid Elberfeld scouted him late in the 1921 season. Baseball was beginning to be played on Sundays …

Jacksonport (Jackson County)

Jacksonport is a town in central Jackson County, located about one-half mile from the confluence of the Black and White rivers and three miles northwest of the county seat of Newport (Jackson County). Its location at the convergence of two navigable waterways enabled Jacksonport to thrive in a time when river transport was the most reliable method of transportation in Arkansas. Its twenty-first-century circumstance as a remote community on the White River belies the true history of Jacksonport; in the mid-nineteenth century, much of the trade throughout northern Arkansas and southern Missouri was facilitated via this once-bustling river town. Its importance as a trade center began to diminish when Jacksonport was bypassed by a railroad built through Jackson County in …

Jacksonport State Park

Jacksonport State Park lets visitors relive nineteenth-century Arkansas history—including the days of the pioneers, steamboats, the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Victorian Age, and the Industrial Revolution—through its various exhibits and interpretive programs. The 1872 courthouse serves as a museum, and the last sternwheeler riverboat to ply the White River is permanently moored nearby. Due to its location near the confluence of the Black and White rivers, Jacksonport became a trading center during the 1820s and thus was significant for the early settlement and economic development of Arkansas. The first steamboats arrived in 1833, and the town grew around the landing site. Jackson County, established in 1829, moved its seat of justice from Augusta (now in Woodruff County) to Jacksonport in …

Jacksonport, Affair at

A brief engagement along the banks on the White River, this event was part of a Federal push to disrupt Confederate recruiting and organizational efforts in northern Arkansas.   Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Black of the Third Missouri Cavalry (US) led his command north from Little Rock (Pulaski County) in late November 1863. Passing through Old Austin (Lonoke County), the Federals joined a unit of Arkansan Unionists in engaging an enemy force. Pushing the Confederates back to Bayou Des Arc, Black dispersed the enemy before moving on to Searcy (White County). On November 21, Black sent a battalion under the command of Major John Lennon to Jacksonport (Jackson County) with orders to capture the ferry across the White River. About 100 …

Jacksonport, Attack on

Having moved to Jacksonport (Jackson County) from Batesville (Independence County) in April 1864 to improve supply allocation, communication, and potential access to reinforcements, Colonel Robert R. Livingston’s camps were attacked by a combined Confederate force commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Joseph B. Love on April 20, 1864. The attack was unsuccessful. Commanding the District of Northeastern Arkansas, Union colonel Robert R. Livingston was finding his post at Batesville difficult to maintain due to a lack of resources aggravated by guerrilla harassment of foraging expeditions. Over time, it became clear that movement down the White River to a more practical location such as Augusta (Woodruff County), or even as far as DeValls Bluff (Prairie County), was necessary. Leaving 450 men in Batesville, …

Jacksonport, Skirmish at

aka: Augusta Expedition (April 22–24, 1864)
On April 24, 1864, the advance guard of Colonel Robert R. Livingston’s column returning from an expedition to Augusta (Woodruff County) briefly engaged elements of J. H. McGehee’s Regiment of Arkansas Cavalry outside of Jacksonport (Jackson County). After a short skirmish, Livingston’s column returned to Jacksonport as planned. Moving from Batesville (Independence County) to Jacksonport, Colonel Livingston, commanding the District of Northeastern Arkansas, had planned to fortify a camp and gather much-needed supplies there before marching on to Augusta to clear supply lines further and obtain reinforcements. On April 20, 1864, Livingston’s men successfully defended Jacksonport from a surprise attack by Confederates. Later that night, he received a dispatch from Brigadier General Christopher C. Andrews in Augusta requesting that Livingston …

Jacksonville (Pulaski County)

Jacksonville is located twelve miles northeast of Little Rock (Pulaski County) in the central part of the state. Little Rock Air Force Base (LRAFB) is located within the city limits of Jacksonville. Louisiana Purchase through Early StatehoodThe first known settlers to move into the area were two Revolutionary War veterans, Jacob Gray Sr. and his brother Shared. The brothers had come from Williamson County, Tennessee, and settled in an area northeast of where the Daniels Ferry Road crossed Bayou Meto, about twelve miles northeast of Little Rock. Some of the men of the family with some of their slaves arrived the winter of 1820–21 and were followed by the rest of the family members and the remaining slaves by the …

Jacksonville Museum of Military History

The Jacksonville Museum of Military History in Jacksonville (Pulaski County) sits on the original grounds of the World War II–era Arkansas Ordnance Plant (AOP) administration building and is located twenty minutes north of downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County), just off of Highway 67/167. The museum explores significant war and home-front activities dating from the Civil War through the Cold War, and also includes current and ongoing military engagements. The Jacksonville Museum of Military History first opened its doors in May 2005 with the mission to educate the public about the important contributions made by both the civilian workforce and the military in historical and current conflicts. The museum is funded by private donations, grants, and the Jacksonville Advertising and Promotions …

Jacob Wolf House

The two-story log structure known as the Jacob Wolf House stands on a hillside overlooking the juncture of the White and North Fork Rivers in the present-day town of Norfork (Baxter County). It was constructed in 1829 as the first permanent courthouse for Izard County in Arkansas Territory and is the oldest public structure in Arkansas. Before permanent Anglo-American settlement occurred, the juncture of the White and North Fork rivers was the site of early fur-trading activities. From 1819 to 1828, numerous villages of Shawnee and Delaware Indians were located nearby. Trade with these Indian tribes prompted Jacob Wolf to establish his homestead at the mouth of the North Fork River in 1824. In 1825, he was granted a license …

Jacobs, John Hornor

John Hornor Jacobs is a novelist whose fiction spans different elements of the horror, science fiction, supernatural, and fantasy genres. Jacobs’s home state of Arkansas features prominently in many of his works, though he has lamented the difficulty of gaining popularity in the state. Jacobs, who also works in advertising, is a strong proponent for supporting local art and artists. John Hornor Jacobs was born on January 5, 1971, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to lawyer John Jacobs and his wife, Mary Sue Hornor. He has one sister. As a kid, Jacobs loved to frequent bookstores and libraries. He attended Central High School and received a BA in English from Lyon College in Batesville (Independence County). He also attended the …

Jacoway, Henderson Madison

Henderson Madison Jacoway was an Arkansas politician who represented the state’s Fifth District in Congress for six terms. First elected to the Sixty-Second Congress, he served from March 4, 1911, until March 3, 1923. Henderson Jacoway was born in Dardanelle (Yell County) on November 7, 1870, to William Dodge Jacoway and Elizabeth D. Parks Jacoway. Jacoway attended the local common schools before graduating from Dardanelle High School in 1887. He went on to Winchester Normal College in Winchester, Tennessee, earning his degree in 1892. He then entered Vanderbilt University’s law department, where he completed his degree in 1898, graduating as valedictorian. He was admitted to the bar the same year and started a private practice in Dardanelle. In 1893, Congress …

James A. Dibrell House

The James A. Dibrell House at 1400 Spring Street at Daisy Bates Drive in Little Rock (Pulaski County) was constructed in 1892. It is part of the twenty-four-block Governor’s Mansion Historic District, a residential neighborhood built in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries located in the Quapaw Quarter (an area loosely encompassing the boundaries of historic Little Rock). The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 13, 1978. The home was constructed by real estate agent H. A. Bowman as a speculation for Dr. James A. Dibrell, who became an early president and dean of the Medical Department of the University of Arkansas (now the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences). Upon graduating from …

James C. Tappan House

aka: Tappan-Pillow House
The James C. Tappan House, with a present-day address of 717 Poplar Street, in Helena-West Helena (Phillips County) was completed in 1859 by James C. Tappan, a highly regarded Confederate general and successful attorney and politician. Tappan purchased the house in 1858 while it was still under construction, and he directed its completion. It was built on a high brick foundation on a hill overlooking the Mississippi River and the levee. At the time of its construction, it was the only home for a radius of several city blocks. Originally enclosed by a picket fence, the home was the focal point of a compound that included a kitchen building, a smokehouse, slave quarters, and other outbuildings. The two-story house is …

James E. M. Barkman House

The James E. M. Barkman House, constructed in Arkadelphia (Clark County) in about 1860, is an example of a transitional Greek and Gothic Revival–style house. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, the building is now owned by Henderson State University. James Barkman was the son of Jacob Barkman and Rebecca Davis Barkman, who settled along the Caddo River in 1811. One of the earliest settlers in what became Clark County, Jacob Barkman owned a variety of businesses and worked as a planter. James Barkman was born in 1819 and followed his father into farming. The younger Barkman was successful and quickly accumulated wealth. In the 1860 census, the family of James Barkman included his wife, Harriet; …

James, Douglas Arthur

Douglas Arthur James served as a professor of biological sciences at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) from 1953 to 2016. He was considered the authority of the birds of Arkansas, co-authoring Arkansas Birds with Joseph C. Neal in 1986, and became one of the state’s leading conservationists in the second half of the last century, helping to start the Arkansas Audubon Society in 1955 and the Arkansas Audubon Society Trust in 1972. He arranged the first meeting of what would become the Ozark Society, which was responsible for saving the Buffalo River from damming. Starting with studies of scrubland birds in northwestern Arkansas, James expanded to studying scrubland birds in Africa, Nepal, and Belize. He was …

James, Henry (Lynching of)

On May 14, 1892, Henry James was lynched in Little Rock (Pulaski County) for an alleged assault on five-year-old Maggie Doxey. According to the Arkansas Gazette, it was the first time in twenty years that “Little Rock [had] witnessed a mob or an attempt at enforcing mob law in this city.” James, described in some newspapers as a twenty-two-year-old “mulatto,” was originally from Augusta, Maine, but had moved south three years earlier. He worked for a time as a waiter in Hot Springs (Garland County), but for the two weeks prior to his murder, he had been working for the family of Charles Johnson in Little Rock. According to the Arkansas Gazette, the family found him to be “a faithful …

Jameson, Jordan (Lynching of)

Jordan Jameson, an African-American man, was burned to death on November 11, 1919, on the town square in Magnolia (Columbia County) for having allegedly murdered the local sheriff. Only a handful of lynchings in Arkansas were carried out by means of burning the victim while alive, most notably the 1892 lynching of Ed Coy in Texarkana (Miller County), the 1919 lynching of Frank Livingston near El Dorado (Union County), and the 1921 lynching of Henry Lowery in Mississippi County. At the time of the lynching, Jameson was described in newspaper reports as fifty years old and living four miles west of Magnolia. The 1880 census records a Jourdan Jameson, born about 1872 and living in Magnolia at the time, while …

Jamestown (Independence County)

Jamestown of Independence County is a small community located approximately eight miles southwest of Batesville (Independence County) at the foot of Jamestown Mountain near Jamestown Creek. During its heyday in the late nineteenth century, it was a thriving area commercial center respected for its educational opportunities. A settlement began to develop near Jamestown Creek as early as 1844 when Daniel James, an early settler, promoted the area through land speculation. Still, no real town existed until after the Civil War. In 1869, the local Methodist congregation constructed a meeting house that also served as a Masonic hall at what was then called Alderbrook. Because the building was described as “an ornament to the village,” it was decided that a more …

Janes, Roland

Roland Janes was a well-known session guitar player who worked with Sam Phillips at the legendary Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. He was elected to the Southern Legends Entertainment & Performing Arts Hall of Fame and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame. His guitar is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Roland Janes was born on August 20 ,1933, in Brookings (Clay County) to R. D. Janes and Mary Pearl Janes; he had three brothers and three sisters. Janes learned to play guitar and performed in country bands with his cousins while living in Arkansas. His parents divorced when he was about ten, and his mother moved to St. Louis, Missouri; he shuttled back and …

Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center

The Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center located in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) is one of four nature centers owned and operated by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC). It interprets the natural environment of the Arkansas River Valley, as well as expands upon the mission of the agency, which is to manage the fish and wildlife resources in Arkansas while providing an enjoyable experience for visitors. The 14,000-square-foot nature center is located on 170 acres of land typical of the river valley, along with a twelve-acre manmade lake. The facility features exhibits interpreting the natural history of the area, and nature trails around the property give visitors a first-hand view. The four nature centers built by the …

Japanese American Relocation Camps

After Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, and America’s subsequent declaration of war and entry into World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the War Relocation Authority (WRA), which selected ten sites to incarcerate more than 110,000 Japanese Americans (sixty-four percent of whom were American citizens). They had been forcibly removed from the West Coast, where over eighty percent of Japanese Americans lived. Two camps were selected and built in the Arkansas Delta, one at Rohwer in Desha County and the other at Jerome in sections of Chicot and Drew counties. Operating from October 1942 to November 1945, both camps eventually incarcerated nearly 16,000 Japanese Americans. This was the largest influx and incarceration of …

Jasper (Newton County)

  Jasper was established as a village along the Little Buffalo River by 1840. Today, it is the hub for outdoor enthusiasts enjoying the Buffalo National River, one of the last free-flowing waterways in the United States, and the Ozark Highland Trail. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood At least three different stories are told about the origin of the name Jasper. One oft-repeated legend says that Cherokee Indians traveling west on the torturous Trail of Tears gave the town its name after being surprised by the village’s warm hospitality. A second version of this same story tells of a precious ring, containing a jasper stone, given to the postmaster in gratitude for care given to the Cherokee travelers. Yet another …

Jasper, Rickey Lane

Rickey Lane Jasper is the highest-ranking African American ever to serve in the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He has also had a career as a minister, serving as a pastor at his church in the United States while pursuing seminary studies both at home and abroad. He is a member of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. Rickey L. Jasper was born in Parkdale (Ashley County) on July 28, 1963. His mother, Louisie Mae Grayson, and her husband, Kirt Grayson, raised him and his siblings in the small town. He graduated from Hamburg High School before heading off to college. Although he had planned to join the military after graduation, the academically inclined Jasper instead decided to join his …

Jayhawkers and Bushwhackers

aka: Bushwackers and Jayhawkers
aka: Guerrillas (Civil War)
Jayhawker and bushwhacker designate the principal warring parties in the Civil War’s guerrilla conflict, although the names were not unique to Arkansas and actually predated the war by many years. While their application and meaning were never precise—a problem compounded by being woven into postwar folklore—they generally bore negative connotations. Originally, “jayhawker” referred to Union sympathizers, “bushwhacker” to Confederate sympathizers, but the distinction lost much of its meaning in the chaos of war. “Jayhawker” originated in Kansas, and according to some authorities, it came into use in the late 1840s. The name was inspired primarily by the predatory habits of the hawk, but it implied, too, the noisy, mischievous nature of the jay. The combination became the “jayhawk,” a bird …

Jazz Music

  With New Orleans, Louisiana, and Kansas City, Missouri, emerging as the booming urban epicenters of jazz music and inevitably spilling this music and culture across interstate lines, Arkansas began to see a number of touring “territory bands” sprout up around the state in the late 1910s and early 1920s. Some of the first included Sterling Todd’s Rose City Orchestra; the Quinn Band out of Fort Smith (Sebastian County); and the Synco Six out of Helena (Phillips County), led by banjo player Gene Crooke. All three bands were at some point joined by Arkansas’s first major jazz musician, pianist Alphonso E. “Phonnie” Trent. Trent played with the Rose City Orchestra and the Quinn Band during his teenage years before eventually …

Jean Laffite’s Espionage Mission

Jean Laffite was a well-known smuggler and privateer (considered a pirate by some) who operated in the Gulf of Mexico. A hero of the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, Laffite undertook a secret espionage expedition in 1816 that traversed the Missouri Territory (later the Arkansas Territory) on behalf of the Spanish. Lafitte was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in November 1815 at the same time that his friend, architect Arsene Latour, was in town to supervise the proofing and printing of Historical Memoir of the War in West Florida and Louisiana in 1814–1815. As a Spanish agent interested in Spain’s territory north and west of the Louisiana Purchase, Latour may have been instrumental in convincing the impoverished Lafitte to join him …

Jeannette, Gertrude Hadley

Throughout her career, Gertrude Hadley Jeannette was a playwright, producer, director, and actress with roles on Broadway. Involved in the civil rights movement, she also became a rare woman taxicab driver in New York. Retired after a seven-decade theater career, she remained active in the New York theater scene. Jeannette was a member of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. Gertrude Hadley was born in Urbana (Union County) on November 28, 1914, to Willis Lawrence Hadley and Salley Gertrude Crawford Hadley. She attended Dunbar High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and had plans to attend Fisk University. Instead, she eloped in 1934 to New York City with Joe Jeannette II, a prizefighter and president of the Harlem Dusters, a motorcycle club. …

Jefferies, Oscar (Lynching of)

In 1887, a black teacher named Oscar Jefferies from Brownstown (Sevier County) was shot to death by a group of men because he eloped with Ina W. Jones, the daughter of a wealthy white farmer. According to newspaper accounts, Oscar Jefferies, “a fine looking colored man,” arrived in Brownstown from Oswego, New York, in June 1887 to take over the “colored academy.” After his arrival, he paid considerable attention to Ina Jones, who was described as the daughter of “one of the largest plantation owners in the counties.” She welcomed his attentions, and despite her parents’ threats, in late September, she told her friends that she was going to marry Jefferies the following Sunday, October 2. When her parents heard …

Jefferson County

  Named for former president Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson County has survived devastating floods, economic depression, and the Civil War. It is home to the Pine Bluff Arsenal, and it was the home of Willie Mae Hocker, the designer of the official state flag. Jefferson County began as the state’s major entry point for early European explorers and steamboat travel up the Arkansas River, and a major railroad route went through it into the heart of the state. Towns that make up the county are Altheimer, Humphrey, Pine Bluff, Redfield, Sherrill, Wabbaseka, and White Hall. European Exploration and Settlement On June 18, 1541, Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto led the first Europeans into southeast Arkansas. Although the exact location and routes …

Jefferson County Historical Society

The Jefferson County Historical Society officially began on August 20, 1961, when a group of twenty-five people attended an organizational meeting at the Simmons Bank Community Center in downtown Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). At the meeting, David W. Wallis was elected temporary chairman and Hilda Metz was elected temporary secretary. A committee consisting of David Perdue, Bess Jenkins, and Jerry Fuess was appointed to nominate officers of the society. On September 10, the society met again and elected its first group of officers: Sam M. Levine, president; David Wallis, first vice president; Bess Jenkins, second vice president; and Edwin Boles, secretary-treasurer. A constitution and bylaws were also established at this meeting. The first issue of the Jefferson County Historical Quarterly …

Jeffords, Edd

Edd Jeffords was one of the most visible figures in the Arkansas counter-culture movement centered in Eureka Springs (Carroll County) during the 1970s. In addition to organizing—along with Bill O’Neill and a host of others—the Ozark Mountain Folk Fair in 1973, Jeffords founded the Ozark Access Catalog, organized the Conference on Ozark In-Migration, and created the Ozark Institute (OI). Edd Jeffords was born in Rector (Clay County) on November 28, 1945, to Roy and Sylvia Jeffords; he had two sisters. After his father died and his mother fell into poor health, Jeffords moved to Washington State, where he graduated from high school in 1963. From 1963 to 1967, Jeffords served in the U.S. Air Force, working in public information and …

Jeffress/Phillips Music Company

The Jeffress/Phillips Music Company, located in Crossett (Ashley County), is one of the five remaining seven-shape gospel publishing companies in the United States and is the sole seven-shape gospel publisher in the state of Arkansas. While known best as a rural tradition, shape notes, sometimes referred to as character or patent notes, are visual cues that act as points of reference, creating a unique notational style composed of geometric figures. This teaching mechanism led to the development of a rich and varied canon of American folk hymnody notated and practiced in shape notes, of which seven-shape gospel music comprises one specific tradition. Successor to the Jeffress Music Company, Jeffress/Phillips Music is a family-run operation. William Nolin Jeffress, founder of the …

Jegley v. Picado

Larry Jegley v. Elena Picado, et al. was a 2002 decision by the Arkansas Supreme Court that struck down Arkansas’s sodomy law, which criminalized homosexual behavior. It was the first time that the Supreme Court removed a legal prohibition against homosexual relationships, and the decision was cited many times the next dozen years by state and federal courts in several states that invalidated such laws. Sodomy laws preceded American independence. The colonies criminalized homosexual acts, which were often death-penalty offenses. Sodomy was a felony in every state until 1962, when states began to liberalize the laws. In 1975, Arkansas attorney general Jim Guy Tucker submitted a lengthy bill to the Arkansas General Assembly that overhauled and recodified the state’s criminal laws. The …

Jehovah’s Witnesses

Since early in its history, the religious movement known as Jehovah’s Witnesses (or the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society) has been represented in Arkansas. As of 2009, Arkansas has 110 English-speaking and 24 Spanish-speaking congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses, with a total membership estimated at 10,000 adherents. Jehovah’s Witnesses tend to be noted especially for their outreach through door-to-door visits (featuring distribution of their literature, Watchtower magazine) and through their occasional conflicts with society related to questions of patriotism, health, and religious observances. The origin of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is closely tied to the work of Charles Taze Russell, who was strongly influenced by the Adventist movement in the United States in the nineteenth century. He concluded that most Christian churches …

Jenkins, Ferguson Arthur (Fergie)

Fergie Jenkins was a major league pitcher in the 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s. Over his nineteen-year major league career, the six-foot-five-inch right-hander established a reputation for consistency and durability. Jenkins pitched for the Arkansas Travelers in 1963, 1964, and 1965, and was only the second African American to play for the Travelers. He won a Cy Young Award in 1971 and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991. Ferguson Arthur (Fergie) Jenkins Jr. was born on December 13, 1942 (although some records say 1943, Jenkins has always maintained that it was 1942) in Chatham, Ontario, Canada. He was the only child of Ferguson Arthur Jenkins Sr. and Delores Jenkins. Growing up in Chatham, Jenkins was a …

Jenkins’ Ferry State Park

Location: Grant County Size: 40 acres Jenkins’ Ferry State Park, in Grant County on the Saline River, commemorates a Civil War engagement that was part of the Camden Expedition of General Frederick Steele. The park contains interpretive exhibits, as well as a picnic area and a boat ramp for access to the river. The name of the park comes from Thomas Jenkins, who established a ferry on the Saline River in 1815. By 1861, at the beginning of the Civil War, the ferry was being operated by Jenkins’s sons, William and John DeKalb. In March 1864, General Steele led approximately 14,000 troops out of Little Rock (Pulaski County) to join in the Union army’s Red River Campaign. The goal of …

Jenkins’ Ferry, Engagement at

The Engagement at Jenkins’ Ferry occurred April 29–30, 1864, when Confederates caught the Federal army retreating from Camden (Ouachita County) near the Saline River. After intense combat, the Union troops crossed the river and returned to Little Rock (Pulaski County). The Camden Expedition had not gone well for Major General Frederick Steele. Poor logistical conditions and an increasing Confederate presence in southwestern Arkansas led to the abandonment of his planned invasion route toward Shreveport, Louisiana. Shifting eastward and capturing Camden, Steele hoped to find the logistical support necessary to continue his movement toward northwestern Louisiana. From Camden, Steele dispatched troops to obtain supplies. On April 18, 1864, the first foray resulted in the disastrous loss of some 301 combatants and …

Jennette (Crittenden County)

Jennette is a largely African-American town in western Crittenden County, located north of the Shearerville (Crittenden County) exit on Interstate 40. Jennette is variously spelled Jeanette, Jennettee, and Jenette. The location of what is now Jennette was swampy hardwood forest until early in the twentieth century, when the Edwards Fair Lumber Company, based in Crawfordsville (Crittenden County), cleared the land. Various drainage ditches were dug to make the cleared land suitable for farming. The origin of the name Jennette is unknown. Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church was established in Jennette around 1900. A post office opened in Jennette in February 1904 and continued operating until May 1927. A school was organized on the Baptist church property in 1908. The school …

Jennings, Roscoe Greene

Roscoe Greene Jennings was one of the eight founders of the Arkansas Industrial University Medical Department, now the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). Roscoe Jennings was born in Leeds, Maine, on June 11, 1833, the fourth son and fifth child of Perez Smith Jennings and Johanna (Lane) Jennings. His great grandfather, Samuel Jennings of Salem, Massachusetts, had held an important office under King George III of Great Britain but, after the Revolutionary War, had lost his property and moved to Maine to farm. Young Roscoe grew up working on a farm there in the summer and attended school during the winter. He later traveled and taught school to support himself and his continuing education. Jennings apprenticed in medicine …

Jericho (Crittenden County)

Jericho is a town in Crittenden County. It is located on State Highway 77 a few miles north of Marion (Crittenden County) between Interstate 55 and the Mississippi River. Jericho’s population is largely African American. Jericho was settled in the 1840s by riverboat captain Stephen Stonewall James and his brother John C. James, who built the first gin and sawmill in Jericho. They named the settlement for the city mentioned several times in the Bible. Other settlers joined the James brothers, establishing sawmills and planting orchards on their farms. One settler reportedly also operated a wine press. During the 1880s, the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway (often called the Frisco) built rail lines through Crittenden County toward West Memphis (Crittenden County) …