Entries - Starting with K

K. Hall and Sons

K. Hall and Sons is a longstanding black-owned business on Wright Avenue in the Central High School Neighborhood Historic District of Little Rock (Pulaski County). Originally founded as a produce store, it now also encompasses a restaurant and a wholesale food distribution business. The Hall family was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2016. K. Hall and Sons was founded by Knoxie Hall Sr. and Estella Marie Crenshaw Hall. Knoxie Hall was born on September 13, 1924, while Estella Hall was born on November 24, 1927. They married on December 16, 1944, and went on to have seven children. Knoxie Hall owned and operated several different businesses, including a carwash and detail business and a farm. His experience operating …

KAAY

KAAY (AM 1090) has been one of Arkansas’s most influential radio stations since it came into being on September 3, 1962. The station incorporated a successful mixed format of music, religion, farm reports, and news that was innovative for the time. Shortly after it had come on the air, KAAY was also utilized by the U.S. government to broadcast propaganda to Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1966, KAAY also successfully brought a new musical format to mid-America on the program Beaker Street. KAAY was born out of KTHS, the state’s first 50,000-watt AM broadcast station. KTHS (which stood for “Kum To Hot Springs”) officially came on the air in 1924 and was granted its new increased-power operating privileges …

KABF

Little Rock’s KABF radio station (FM 88.3) in Little Rock (Pulaski County) began broadcasting an eclectic mix of music, news, and community driven content in 1984. “The Voice of the People” has exposed Arkansans to genres rarely heard on commercial radio, given local artists radio airplay, and provided organizations and citizens with a means to reach a wide audience with their messages. The broadcast signal carries to most of Arkansas’s seventy-five counties, as well as some neighboring states, and reaches an estimated 50,000 listeners every week. KABF is one of only twelve non-commercial radio stations in the United States with the maximum allowed signal of 100,000 watts. KABF was conceived as a project of Association of Community Organizations for Reform …

Kahl, Gordon (Shooting of)

aka: Smithville Shootout
Gordon Kahl was a North Dakota farmer and World War II veteran who, starting in the late 1960s, refused to file his federal income taxes on the grounds that the American government operated under the Communist Manifesto and violated his religious principles. After over a decade of militant tax evasion and a year in prison, Kahl was shot during an attempted arrest in Smithville (Lawrence County) by County Sheriff Gene Matthews in an incident that made national headlines as the “Smithville Shootout.” Kahl’s life and the circumstances of his death have since become a popular subject for conspiracy theorists and those on the far right of the political spectrum. Gordon Wendell Kahl was born in 1920 in Heaton, North Dakota, …

Kahoka (Stone County)

Kahoka is in Arbana Township located southwest of Highway 5 (Mountain View Road) on Misenheimer Road (Highway 28) just before its intersection with Berry Lane. Mountain View (Stone County), the county seat, is approximately nine miles northwest of Kahoka, and Pleasant Grove (Stone County) is four miles to the east. The Osage were in the hills when French and Spanish explorers first entered the wilderness. The Cherokee began arriving in the Ozark Mountains around 1817. At the invitation of the Cherokee, Shawnee from the Ohio River Valley entered the Ozarks and settled west of the White River on Crooked Creek, with their main settlement at Shawneetown, which later became Yellville (Marion County). The Cherokee may have expected the Shawnee to aid …

Kansas (Clark County)

Kansas is a community located in southeastern Clark County. It is located about twelve miles southeast of Gurdon (Clark County) and ten miles east of Whelen Springs (Clark County). The earliest settler in the area was Meriwether Lewis Randolph, who obtained thousands of acres of land in 1836 and 1837. He died in 1837 and is buried near the community. William Brown obtained a total of 160 acres in the area in 1860. He lived in the area with his wife, Rebecca, four children, and nine slaves. Other families moved into the area over the next several decades, but the community was never very large. The community was served by the Bee Post Office, which opened in 1902 and consolidated …

Kansas City and Memphis Railway

  The Kansas City and Memphis Railway Company (KC&M) at its brief peak in 1914 was the largest non-Frisco (St. Louis–San Francisco Railway) railroad in northwestern Arkansas, with 63.97 miles of standard gauge track. The railroad, based in Rogers (Benton County), was formed in 1910. It absorbed the Arkansas and Oklahoma Western Railroad, which ran from Rogers to Siloam Springs (Benton County), and the Monte Ne Railway, which ran from Monte Ne (Benton County) to Lowell (Benton County), in 1911. The business plan projected a western terminus of Wagoner, Oklahoma, and an eastern extension that would serve Huntsville (Madison County) and Little Rock (Pulaski County) en route to Memphis, Tennessee. The railroad was backed by prominent Rogers banker William R. …

Kansas City Southern Railway

The Kansas City Southern Railway Company (KCS), the smallest of the large North American freight railroads, has 4,300 miles of track in ten states. It has retained the same name since 1900, a rarity among U.S. railroads. A predominantly north-south railroad in a world of east-west railroad systems, the KCS owns about 200 miles of track in western Arkansas along the border with Oklahoma. Arthur E. Stilwell was the visionary who saw the need for a railroad to link the major agricultural center of Kansas City to a port on the Gulf of Mexico. In 1887, he built the Kansas City Suburban Belt Railway. It was a success, and Stilwell subsequently built two railroads south of Kansas City to serve …

Kaplan, Philip Edwin

Philip Edwin Kaplan is a noted lawyer living in Little Rock (Pulaski County). As a nationally known attorney focusing on civil and human rights, he helped inmates in the Arkansas prison system fight unjust treatment. He also argued cases against the teaching of creationism in Arkansas’s public schools and in support of a professor who lost his job for being a communist. Philip Kaplan was born in Winthrop, Massachusetts, on January 4, 1938, and grew up in Lynn, Massachusetts, with his parents and one brother. He studied government at Harvard University and graduated in 1959. He graduated from the University of Michigan with an LLB degree in 1962. He was licensed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts but soon relocated to …

Kaplan, Regina

Nurse, teacher, and healthcare innovator Regina Kaplan was the hospital administrator and director of the nursing school at the Leo N. Levi Memorial Hospital in Hot Springs (Garland County) for thirty-five years. She was active in national and community organizations, and has been called Arkansas’s “Lady with the Lamp.” Regina Kaplan was born on May 12, 1887, in Memphis, Tennessee, the third of five children of German immigrants Gershon Kaplan and Adella Hannah Traube Kaplan. Her father had been a school teacher in Germany. The family moved to Denver for her mother’s health. Unable to afford medical school to become a doctor, at age seventeen, Kaplan entered Denver’s Mercy Hospital Training School for Nursing. She graduated in 1908 at the …

Karlmark, Gloria Cecelia Ray

Gloria Cecelia Ray Karlmark made history as a member of the Little Rock Nine, the nine African-American students who desegregated Central High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1957. The world watched as they braved constant intimidation and threats from those who opposed desegregation of the formerly all-white high school. Gloria Ray was born on September 26, 1942, in Little Rock, one of the three children of Harvey C. and Julia Miller Ray. By the time Ray entered Central High, her father was retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where he had founded the Arkansas Agricultural Extension Service for Negroes, and her mother was a sociologist working for the state of Arkansas. Ray was a fifteen-year-old student at …

Karst Topography

Karst topography refers to natural features produced on a land surface due to the chemical weathering or slow dissolving of limestone, dolostone, marble, or evaporite deposits such as halite and gypsum. The chemical weathering agent is slightly acidic groundwater that begins as rainwater. Rainwater becomes acidic by absorbing carbon dioxide to create carbonic acid as it falls through the atmosphere. It then passes through the soil horizon and, now acidic groundwater, moves through fractures (cracks) and open spaces within rocks. Solution occurs as carbonic acid in groundwater dissolves calcite, which is the principal mineral in limestone and marble and an important mineral in dolostone. Halite and gypsum are easily dissolved in water alone. The region in Arkansas most well known …

Kaskaskia

The Kaskaskia was a small steamboat used by Confederate forces on Arkansas waters until its 1863 capture by Union troops during the Little Rock Campaign. The Kaskaskia was a forty-nine-ton sidewheel steamboat built in 1859 at Cincinnati, Ohio, and initially operated on the Ohio River out of Evansville, Indiana. After the Civil War began, the vessel was employed by the Confederacy, and by the summer of 1863, it was serving as a troop transport and towboat on the White and Little Red rivers in Arkansas. Following the July 4, 1863, Battle of Helena, the Kaskaskia was sent to Clarendon (Monroe County) to remove supplies from there in the event that Federal forces moved against Little Rock (Pulaski County), and then …

Kastor, Deena

Deena Kastor is a long-distance runner who was named All-American at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). She is an Olympic medalist for the marathon, holds American records in both the marathon and half-marathon, and is an eight-time national cross-country champion. She was named the top women’s marathoner in the world by Track and Field News magazine in 2006. Kastor is renowned for her courage after a freak mishap during the World Cross-Country Championships in 2000. Deena Michelle Drossin was born on February 14, 1973, in Waltham, Massachusetts, later moving to Agoura Hills, California. She began long-distance running at age thirteen, breaking the 3,000-meter national record and reigning as the two-time National Cross Country Champion in the …

Kate Hart

As part of the Union’s Mississippi River Squadron during the Civil War, the sternwheel steamer Kate Hart served as a chartered vessel on the Mississippi River and its tributaries, including expeditions on the White River during the ongoing battle for control of significant interior rivers in the Trans-Mississippi Department. Built in 1864 in Paducah, Kentucky, the Kate Hart displaced between 279 and 300 tons of water and joined the Mississippi River Squadron in the summer of 1864, serving with two barges. Erroneous reports claimed that the Kate Hart burned in July 1864 during an operation on the White River under Brigadier General Eugene Asa Carr against Brigadier General John Sappington Marmaduke, but the vessel served until the end of the …

KATV Tower

The KATV tower was a 2,000-foot-tall (609.6 meters) television antenna that stood just north of Redfield (Jefferson County), about one-quarter mile east of Interstate 530. Before its collapse in 2008, the tower ranked among the tallest manmade structures in the world and stood as a prominent local landmark, marking the approximate halfway point for drivers traveling between Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). Upon its completion on May 1, 1967, the KATV tower was the third-tallest manmade structure in the world, surpassed only by the KVLY-TV and KXJB-TV television masts in North Dakota. By 2008, it shared the rank of fifth-tallest manmade structure in the world, as it was the first of many other 2,000-foot-tall masts that …

Kavanaugh, William Marmaduke

William Marmaduke Kavanaugh was briefly a U.S. senator for Arkansas after the death of incumbent Jeff Davis. In addition, Kavanaugh also served as managing editor of the Arkansas Gazette from 1890 to 1896, sheriff and tax collector for Pulaski County from 1896 to 1900, probate and county judge from 1900 to 1904, and member of the National Democratic Committee from Arkansas from 1912 to 1915. William M. Kavanaugh was born on March 3, 1866, near Eutaw in Greene County, Alabama, to the Reverend Hubbard Hinde Kavanaugh and Anna Kimbrough Kavanaugh; he was one of six children. His father was a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and chaplain of the Orphans Brigade, which was the only Confederate brigade from …

Kays House

The historic residence of Victor Cicero (V. C.) Kays, who led the early development of what is now Arkansas State University (ASU), occupies a prominent rise along Aggie Road on the eastern side of the campus in Jonesboro (Craighead County). Kays was the first president of the First District State Agricultural School—which later became Arkansas State College, then Arkansas State University—from appointment in 1910 until retirement in 1943. In the later years of his presidency, around 1936, he and his wife, Bertie, began construction of a three-story residence near the edge of the campus. Kays hired Little Rock (Pulaski County) architect A. N. McAninch to design the house, which includes bedrooms on the top floor, living and dining spaces on …

Kays, Victor Cicero (V. C.)

Victor Cicero (V. C.) Kays was the founding president of the First District State Agricultural School, which evolved into Arkansas State University (ASU) in Jonesboro (Craighead County). During his thirty-two-and-a-half-year tenure, Kays guided the institution through trying circumstances and led its transformation from a regional agricultural training school to a college that offered four-year academic degree programs. He was successful despite hardships that were magnified by the impact of two world wars, the Great Depression, meager public funding, and a fire that consumed the college’s main building. V. C. Kays was born on July 24, 1882, in Magnolia, Illinois, one of six children of John A. Kays and Mary Alice Kays. His father was a farmer. After finishing high school …

KBTA

KBTA-AM is a radio station in Batesville (Independence County) broadcasting a sports radio format. The station is owned by WRD Entertainment and features programming from ABC Radio and CBS Sports Radio. KBTA (1340 AM) was Batesville’s first radio station. Located on the banks of the White River near Riverside Park, the station was launched as a joint venture by Batesville mayor Jared Trevathan, Jim F. Higginbottom of Oklahoma Tire and Supply, and Albert West of Arkansas Power and Light (AP&L). The first broadcast took place on June 30, 1950, and was a gala event. Higginbottom, who was president and general manager of the station, eventually bought out his two partners to become sole owner of the station. He received the …

Kearney, James and Ethel

Thomas James (T. J.) Kearney (1906–2013), and his wife, Ethel Virginia Curry Kearney (1917–1982), were cotton sharecroppers. They were recognized for their contributions to childhood education and Christian service by the state of Arkansas; Johnson Publishing Company of Chicago, Illinois; President William J. Clinton; and the country of Israel. Of the couple’s nineteen children, eighteen were college graduates. A number of their children served the state of Arkansas and the U.S. government in leadership roles. T. J. and Ethel Kearney are members of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. T. J. Kearney was born June 25, 1906, to Thomas Clayton (T. C.) Kearney and Cynthia Davis Kearney in Lake Village (Chicot County). His parents were itinerant farmers. T. J. was …

Kearney, Janis

Janis Kearney was the publisher of the historic Arkansas State Press and later served as presidential diarist to U.S. president Bill Clinton from 1995 to 2001, the first such appointment in presidential history. After leaving Washington DC, she wrote several books and founded a publishing company. Janis Faye Kearney was born on September 29, 1953, in the small rural town of Gould (Lincoln County). She was the fourteenth of nineteen children born to sharecropper Thomas James Kearney and homemaker Ethel Curry Kearney, who also worked in the fields. By the time she was nine years old, Kearney was helping to care for her younger brothers and sisters as well as cooking for the large family. She spent evenings learning to …

Kees, Willie (Lynching of)

On April 29, 1936, a nineteen-year-old African-American man named Willie Kees was shot near Lepanto (Poinsett County) for allegedly attempting to attack a white woman. It was both the first recorded lynching in Poinsett County and the last recorded lynching in Arkansas. On April 18, Kees allegedly attacked the woman on a bridge just outside of town. She screamed, and two men came to her rescue. Kees was turned over to city marshal Jay May and put in jail. That night, May intercepted a mob that was coming to the jail to get Kees and dissuaded the citizens from doing so. He told reporters for the Arkansas Gazette that, because of the darkness, he was unable to identify anyone in the mob. Kees had …

Keiser (Mississippi County)

  Keiser is a second-class city in Mississippi County. Located on State Highway 181, Keiser is one of several northeastern Arkansas cities founded by the logging and farming operations of Lee Wilson & Company. Until the early twentieth century, the land that would become Keiser was swampland dotted with hardwood forests. Late in the nineteenth century, efforts began to drain the swamps and to protect the newly claimed land with levees. This process, along with the harvesting of the hardwoods, was accelerated by entrepreneur Lee Wilson. Acquiring thousands of acres of land, Wilson profited from building railroads, clearing trees, and establishing new farmland. He and his company established several cities, naming most of them for family members. Keiser is an …

Keiser Waterworks

The Keiser Waterworks, located northeast of the junction of Water and East Main streets in Keiser (Mississippi County), was constructed in 1936 and installed with assistance from the Public Works Administration (PWA), a New Deal public relief agency. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 24, 2007. As the United States struggled with the effects of the Depression of the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration enacted the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) to ease the effects of businesses closing. The act included an organization called the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works (or Public Works Administration), which was created on June 16, 1933, to help finance federal construction projects and create jobs. The town …

Keith, Jeff

Vocalist Jeff Keith is best known for his work as lead singer of the popular American “hair metal” band Tesla, which he joined in 1982. Although Keith spent most of his life in northern California and the small town of Idabel in McCurtain County, Oklahoma, he was born in Arkansas in Texarkana (Miller County). Keith has performed on numerous tours with artists such as Alice Cooper, Def Leppard, Poison, Van Halen, David Lee Roth, and Led Zeppelin. He is also known for his support of Toys for Tots, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Nor Cal Clean and Sober Living through his annual Ride for Reason concerts. Jeffrey Lynn Keith was born on October 12, 1958, in Texarkana. When Keith was …

Kell, George Clyde

George Clyde Kell was a professional baseball player, announcer, and businessman and is a member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and the National Baseball Hall of Fame. A lifelong resident of the small Arkansas town in which he was born, Kell also served for ten years as a member of the state’s Highway Commission and was campaign chairman for Dale Bumpers in the 1970 gubernatorial race. George Kell was born August 23, 1922, in Swifton (Jackson County) to Clyde and Alma Kell. His father, a barber, was a pitcher on the local semiprofessional baseball team, and Kell and his two younger brothers grew up playing the game. After high school, Kell began studying at Arkansas State College (now …

Kelleyite Churches of Christ

The Kelleyite Churches of Christ constitute a small Christian denomination located in west central Arkansas. Its founder was Reverend Samuel Kelley, a Baptist preacher from Illinois who lived in southern Pike County. Although Kelley claimed to be orthodox in his beliefs, his strong advocacy of the possibility of “final apostasy” caused him to be excluded from the local Missionary Baptist associations in 1856 and 1858. Shortly after the Civil War, he became the pastor of the Philippi Missionary Baptist Church in western Hot Spring County. About 1866, a controversy arose within Philippi congregation over allowing non-Baptists to participate in the church’s communion service. Within a short while, the church rejected its traditional Missionary Baptist beliefs and adopted Reverend Kelley’s theology. …

Kelso (Desha County)

Kelso (Desha County) is a historic community fourteen miles northeast of McGehee (Desha County). The community began with the local development of the railroad in the early twentieth century and is known as the site of an experimental agricultural station. The area that would become Kelso was the site of a minor Civil War skirmish that occurred on February 19–20, 1863. The skirmish began at Cypress Bend (Desha County) on the Mississippi River ten miles due east of the area of Kelso. Even today, residents remark of a cannonball embedded in a walnut tree near the Kelso Cemetery. During the war, many people living at Cypress Bend moved to the area of Kelso to escape cannon fire from Union gunboats …

Kenda Drive-In

The Kenda Drive-In was opened in April 1966 in Marshall (Searcy County) by Kenneth and Marilyn Sanders. The Sanderses were already running the in-door Ken Theatre in downtown Marshall when they decided to build a drive-in theater on six acres on the north side of town. They named the new business the Kenda Drive-In after their daughter. The couple ran both theaters for two years until the Ken Theatre burned in 1968. Kenneth and Marilyn Sanders enlisted the help of their sons, Steve and Bill, and daughter Kenda in running the drive-in—mowing, picking up trash, running the projection booth, and working the concessions. Running seven nights a week with a rotation of as many as four movies per week was …

Kendal’s Grist Mill, Affair at

Part of a Union expedition to disrupt Confederate operations in eastern Arkansas, this action helped deny Confederate forces needed food and other supplies. In late August 1864, Colonel John Hudson of the Sixtieth U.S. Colored Infantry received orders to lead an expedition of troops against suspected enemy concentrations along the White River. Hudson created a force of approximately 500 men, including detachments from his regiment as well as troops from the Fifteenth Illinois Cavalry, Fifty-sixth U.S. Colored Troops, and Second U.S. Colored Light Artillery. The planned route took the troops down the Mississippi River to the White River before marching back to Helena (Phillips County). Aboard the steamers Dove and Hamilton Bell, the expedition departed Helena at 8:00 p.m. on …

Kendrick, Eddie Lee

Eddie Lee Kendrick was a self-taught artist who was inspired by the Arkansas landscape, his dreams, gospel music, and his Christian faith. Though Kendrick had drawn and painted all his life, his art was not well known until 1993, when three works were included in Passionate Visions of the American South: Self-Taught Artists from 1940 to the Present, an exhibition organized by the New Orleans Museum of Art and curated by Alice Rae Yelen. Eddie Kendrick was born on September 20, 1928, on a farm near Stephens (Ouachita County), and he lived in Arkansas most of his life. He was the first of fifteen children born to farmers John Henry and Rutha Mae Kendrick. Kendrick helped in the annual slaughter …

Kennedy, Cortez

Mississippi County native Cortez Kennedy was considered one of the best defensive tackles to have played in the National Football League (NFL). After an eleven-year career with the Seattle Seahawks, he retired in 2000. In 2012, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and he was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2015. Cortez Kennedy was born on August 23, 1968, in Osceola (Mississippi County). He spent his first eighteen years in the small town of Wilson (Mississippi County), where he was raised by his mother, Ruby, and stepfather, Joe Harris. With few activities available in the rural setting, Kennedy turned to football, becoming a star defensive player at Rivercrest High School. His promising …

Kennedy, James (Lynching of)

James Kennedy was a white man lynched in Dallas County in 1866, apparently for his open Unionist leanings. His murder shows the risks that many people who had allied with the Union during the Civil War faced in parts of Arkansas in the immediate postwar period, when pro-Confederate vigilantes perpetrated with impunity a number of assassinations and attacks under the guise of lawfulness. The August 3, 1866, lynching of forty-four-year-old James Kennedy and other men made news in the August 10, 1866, Little Rock Daily Gazette (under which name the Arkansas Gazette then operated) as follows: “We learn from a reliable source that on Wednesday night last a party of ten or twelve men went to the residence of James …

Kennedy, John

John Kennedy was a Union artilleryman who won a Medal of Honor for gallantry in the 1864 Battle of Trevilian Station in Virginia. He spent the last part of his life in Arkansas and is buried in Oakland and Fraternal Cemetery in Little Rock (Pulaski County). John Kennedy was born on May 14, 1834, in County Cavan, Ireland. Immigrating to the United States, he enlisted in the Second U.S. Artillery, Battery M, on December 16, 1857, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, committing to a five-year term of service. Kennedy had served during the 1858 Utah Expedition before the Civil War began and was involved in many actions with Battery M in the Eastern Theater during the Civil War. Kennedy and the Second …

Kennedy, Jon

Jon Kennedy served as a political cartoonist for the Arkansas Democrat from 1941 to 1943 and again from 1946 to 1988, totaling nearly fifty years, one of the longest employments with a single newspaper in the nation. Kennedy was Arkansas’s first full-time professional newspaper artist, and his cartoons highlighted Arkansas and world topics, won numerous awards, and were featured in national newspapers including the New York Times. Jon Kennedy was born on August 19, 1918, in Springfield, Missouri, to Brownlow Kennedy, who was a telegraph operator for the railroad, and Ida Kennedy, who was a homemaker. At age seventeen, and while still in high school, he began working as an artist for the Springfield Leader Press, where he was employed …

Kensett (White County)

Kensett is a small town in central White County whose early history relates to several railroads that crossed the area. During the first half of the twentieth century, the railroads and the nearby lumber mill provided much employment in the town. Today, Kensett is a bedroom community to nearby Searcy (White County), and most of Kensett’s citizens are employed there. Civil War through Reconstruction Kensett became a town after the Cairo and Fulton Railroad (later the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad) was built through White County in 1872. The small settlement was named for Thomas Kensett, a member of the rail line’s board of directors. The post office opened on October 4, 1872, under postmaster John A. Barnett. …

Kentucky (Saline County)

The unincorporated community of Kentucky is approximately six miles northwest of Benton (Saline County) within Kentucky Township. Located on Arkansas State Highway 5, Kentucky was the third established community in Saline County following Saline Crossing and Collegeville in the early 1800s. A rural community since its inception, it is centered on Kentucky Baptist Church and the associated cemetery. The church was the first Missionary Baptist church established south of the Arkansas River in Arkansas, and is one of the oldest continuous Baptist church in Arkansas. In 1815, Caleb Lindsey Sr., Abijah Davis, Levi Spencer, Henry Louis Fletcher, and their respective families left Christian County, Kentucky, for Lawrence County, Arkansas Territory. Around 1824–25, they—along with the families of George James, Samuel Williams, …

Keo (Lonoke County)

Keo is a town in southern Lonoke County. It is located on U.S. Highway 165 between Scott (Pulaski and Lonoke counties) and England (Lonoke County). The region around Keo has long been inhabited, as is demonstrated by the town’s proximity to the Toltec Mounds. White settlers gradually moved into the area during territorial times and early statehood. The Dunham family and Cobb family were two of the region’s main property owners following the Civil War. Lafayette Cobb, who moved to the area in 1873, owned a general store. Established in his store in 1880, the post office was variously called Cobb Settlement and Cobbs. Cobb was also justice of the peace in that part of Lonoke County. Six cotton gins …

Keo Commercial Historic District

The Keo Commercial Historic District in Keo (Lonoke County) was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 15, 2011. The district consists of thirty-five structures, objects, and buildings located primarily on the west side of Main Street. The district boundaries are Arkansas Highway 232 on the north, Fleming Street on the south, and an alley on the west. The east side of Main Street is the eastern boundary. The commercial structures of the district display Standard Twentieth Century architecture and Plain Traditional industrial/agricultural styles. The town of Keo was originally known as Cobb Settlement, Cobbs, or Lafayette Township, and it was situated on Arkansas Highway 15 about one mile north of U.S. 165. The namesake of the …

Keohane, Nannerl Overholser

Nannerl Overholser Keohane has been a leader in American higher education, first as president of Wellesley College and then as president of Duke University. Both symbolically, as a pioneering female leader, and substantively in the way she shaped the direction of those two institutions, Keohane has had a major impact on the college and university landscape into the twenty-first century. Nannerl Overholser was born on September 18, 1940, in Blytheville (Mississippi County). The daughter of Grace Overholser and James Overholser, who was a Presbyterian minister, she was the oldest of three children and was named after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s sister. The family relocated several times during her childhood, both to Texas and to South Carolina, as well as a stint in …

Kessinger, Donald Euleon (Don)

Donald Eulon Kessinger played major league baseball for sixteen years in the 1960s and 1970s, mostly for the Chicago Cubs. He is also the only Arkansan to have both played in and managed in the major leagues, leading the Chicago White Sox for more than half a season in 1979. Don Kessinger was born in Forrest City (St. Francis County) on July 17, 1942, one of three children of Howard and Ida Kessinger. His father owned and operated Kessinger’s Grocery in Forrest City, and his mother owned a women’s clothing store called Kessinger’s. As a high school athlete in Forrest City, he excelled in four sports: baseball, basketball (in which he earned all-state honors three years), football (in which he …

Kessler v. Strecker

Kessler v. Strecker was a U.S. Supreme Court case in 1939 concerning the arrest and planned deportation of Joseph George (a.k.a. Josef or Joe Georg) Strecker, a Hot Springs (Garland County) restaurant owner, for alleged membership in the Communist Party. This case happened around the time Texas congressman Martin Dies was publicly demanding the deportation of International Longshoremen’s Association head Harry Bridges for similar reasons. When Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins refused to act on Bridges’s case until Strecker’s case was settled, Republicans began impeachment proceedings against her. Born on August 29, 1888, in Galicia, then a part of Austria-Hungary, Strecker immigrated to the United States in 1912 and worked in coal mines before settling in Hot Springs, running a …

Kettles in the Ozarks, The

The Kettles in the Ozarks (1956), directed by Charles Lamont, was the ninth in a series of ten comedies made by Universal International Pictures. The characters of Ma and Pa Kettle were introduced in supporting roles in The Egg and I (1947), starring Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray. Marjorie Main, as Ma Kettle, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for The Egg and I, and the first feature starring the Kettles, Ma and Pa Kettle, followed in 1949. The Kettle series began after the years 1937–1945, which Anthony Harkins in his book Hillbilly identifies as the period of “the hillbilly stereotype at high tide.” During that time, Judy Canova and the Weaver Brothers and Elviry made films …

Kibler (Crawford County)

East of Van Buren (Crawford County) and south of Alma (Crawford County), the city of Kibler is about halfway between Interstate 40 and the Arkansas River. Although Kibler was not incorporated until 1963, its roots go back to a nineteenth-century settlement originally known as Prairie Grove. Early in the twentieth century, the community (like several others in Crawford County) benefited from the discovery of natural gas deposits in the region. The Arkansas River was a natural transportation route for Native Americans and for early European explorers, but the hilly region of Kibler did not draw the attention of settlers until late in the nineteenth century. John Kibler is said to have arrived from Germany in the 1840s, but the earliest …

Kickapoo Bottom, Skirmish at

aka: Skirmish at Sylamore (May 29, 1862)
During the Civil War, present-day Stone County was part of Izard County. The county seat was at Mount Olive five miles upriver from Sylamore, present-day Allison (Stone County), on the west side of the river. (Due to the rail station established on the east side of the White River in 1902, the name Sylamore was usurped by the east side, and the western community was rechristened Allison.) The first military encounter in the area occurred here on May 29 and 30, 1862, at a place called Kickapoo Bottoms (or Kickapoo Bottom), today known as Harris Bottoms, three miles north of present-day Allison. An “‘uprising” at Sylamore followed the November 1861 Izard County Investigative Committee’s arrest, detainment, hanging, shooting, and forced …

Kidd, Sue

Sue Kidd was a female baseball star who gained local fame for the athletic prowess she displayed while playing on and against all-male baseball teams in Van Buren County and surrounding areas. Glenna Sue Kidd was born in Choctaw (Van Buren County) on September 2, 1933, to William Marvin Kidd and Julia Duncan Kidd, local farmers and merchants, though her father also served as postmaster at Choctaw. She had five siblings. The original community of Choctaw was covered by water when Greers Ferry Lake was filled in the 1960s. That community is now referred to as “old Choctaw,” as opposed to the present community of “new Choctaw” located on state Highway 65. As a student at Clinton High School, Kidd …

Kilgore, Andrew

Andrew Wilson Kilgore is a Fayetteville (Washington County) photographer best known for his arresting black-and-white portraits, primarily of fellow Arkansans set against a plain backdrop. By his own estimation, Kilgore photographed more than 30,000 people in Arkansas between early 1971 and late 2011. Andrew Kilgore was born on November 2, 1940, in Charlottesville, Virginia. He was the second of three children born to Bill and Carolyn Kilgore, both natives of Washington DC. Kilgore’s family moved several times when he was a child, first relocating to the Chicago, Illinois, suburb of Aurora shortly after World War II and then to El Paso, Texas, in 1956. Kilgore cites his time as a teenager along the Texas border as the period of his …

Kimberley (Pike County)

Kimberley (Pike County)—spelled “Kimberly” in some sources—is a community that lies south of Murfreesboro (Pike County). It has its origins in the discovery of diamonds in the county. In the early 1900s, John Wesley Huddleston discovered diamonds on his property. Local citizen Millard M. Mauney owned land a half mile from where the diamonds were found, and he believed that his property was perfect for a future mining industry. Railroad owners had planned an extension of the railroad going into Murfreesboro from the southwest. Its route would take it through what is now Kimberley, facilitating more developers and more investments. The area was named Kimberley after the South African city where diamonds were discovered earlier. On January 22 and 23, 1909, Mauney and …

Kimbrough, Wilson Whitaker, Jr.

Wilson Whitaker Kimbrough Jr. made distinctive contributions to society through his efforts to professionalize law enforcement in Arkansas. He is considered the father of police and criminal psychology in Arkansas and one of the founders of police and criminal psychology in the United States. Throughout his professional career, he actively supported many mental health initiatives in northwest Arkansas and, as a Washington County Quorum Court member, led in the development of prototype job evaluation and salary administration programs. Wilson Kimbrough Jr., the first son of Lydia Reed and Wilson W. Kimbrough Sr., was born on March 29, 1926, on the family farm northeast of Springdale (Washington County). Both his parents were members of pioneer families of the county and were educators …