Entries - Starting with N

Nancarrow, Samuel Conlon

Samuel Conlon Nancarrow composed innovative music and produced a body of work largely for player piano. According to musicologist Kyle Gann, who has published a study of Nancarrow’s compositions, they are the most rhythmically complex ever written by anyone anywhere, featuring up to twelve different tempos at the same time. Gann describes “whirlwinds of notes…joyously physical in their energy.” The wealth of ideas in Nancarrow’s works has had a lasting impact on other composers. Conlon Nancarrow was born in Texarkana (Miller County) on October 27, 1912. His father, Samuel Charles Nancarrow, was a businessman and mayor of Texarkana from 1927 to 1930. His mother was Myra Brady Nancarrow, and he had one brother, Charles. At the insistence of his father, …

Nance, Jack

Arkansas native Jack Nance was a musician, songwriter, and entertainment manager who worked with many of the top acts in the music business. Nance first gained notice in Sonny Burgess’s backing band the Pacers. He later went on to play with Conway Twitty—and in fact wrote one of Twitty’s biggest hits. In his later years, while based in Nashville, Tennessee, Nance worked in tour management and as a music promoter for acts such as Michael Jackson, Dionne Warwick, the Rolling Stones, the Moody Blues, and the Monkees. Richard Jackson (Jack) Nance was born on April 22, 1935, in Newport (Jackson County), the youngest of three children born to the farming family of Arkansas natives Roscoe A. Nance and Mary E. …

Nannie Gresham Biscoe House

The Nannie Gresham Biscoe House is a Queen Anne–style home located in Arkadelphia (Clark County). Constructed in 1901, the home is notable for passing from mothers to daughters, all of them educators, since its construction. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 2004. Nancy “Nannie” Caroline Gresham was born in 1847 in Walton County, Georgia. She married John Basil Biscoe in 1871, and the couple had three sons and a daughter. John died in 1883 when the family was residing in Forrest, Mississippi. Nannie moved that year with her children and her adopted nephew to Arkadelphia to live near her brother and his family. In 1886, Ouachita Baptist College (now Ouachita Baptist University) began …

Napoleon (Desha County)

The town Napoleon of Desha County was located at the confluence of the Mississippi River and the Arkansas River. Although its founders had hoped that its location would make it a major city comparable to St. Louis, Missouri, or New Orleans, Louisiana, the town was badly damaged during the Civil War and then totally destroyed within ten years of the war by the flooding of the rivers. Jacques Marquette visited the area where these two rivers meet in 1673. The area may also contain the burial location of Pierre Laclede Liguest, the founder of St. Louis, who died and was buried on a trip north from New Orleans in 1778. The town was not established, though, until the time of …

Napoleon Expedition

By the summer of 1862, Federal forces under the command of Major General Samuel Curtis occupied the city of Helena (Phillips County). After the activation of the Emancipation Proclamation in early 1863, one of the regiments being formed at Helena was the Second Arkansas Regiment (African Descent). In May 1863, an expedition was sent down the Mississippi River to gather additional recruits for the regiment. Major General Benjamin Prentiss ordered that the steamboat Pike—escorted by a detachment of the First Indiana Cavalry, Thirty-sixth Iowa Infantry, and twenty-five men of the Second Arkansas Regiment (African Descent) with one howitzer—embark upon a recruitment expedition. The force, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel George W. DeCosta of the Second Arkansas, left Helena on …

Napoleon, Seizure of Ordnance Stores at

United States military supplies were frequently captured across the South as states began to secede in late 1860 and early 1861. While the seizure of the Little Rock Arsenal is a well-known example of state troops taking control of Federal military posts, the capture of other posts and military supplies took place in the state during the secession crisis, including the seizure of ordnance stores at Napoleon (Desha County). The debate over secession intensified in November 1860, when Abraham Lincoln was elected as president of the United States. In response to the prodding of Arkansas governor Henry Rector and other pro-secessionist politicians, the House of Representatives in the Arkansas General Assembly passed a bill on December 22, 1860, calling for …

Narrow Gauge Railroads

Arkansas was home to nine narrow gauge railroads that offered freight and passenger service to the public. The three-foot gauge was most common; a pair of 3½’ gauge railroads later converted to the yard-wide gauge. Arkansas’s narrow gauge mileage peaked at more than 550 miles in the mid-1880s but declined rapidly thereafter. Narrow gauge railroads required less capital because they used narrower right-of-way and followed the terrain closely to minimize the cost of moving earth for cuts and fills. Passenger and freight cars were smaller, lighter, and supposedly more efficient than standard gauge equipment. Narrow gauge steam engines required lighter track and less-expensive bridges. The disadvantage of narrow gauge was a lack of easy freight interchange with the standard gauge …

Narrows Dam

aka: Lake Greeson
Narrows Dam is located six miles north of Murfreesboro (Pike County). Authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1941, it was constructed on the Little Missouri River as a project for flood control and hydroelectric power. The Little Missouri River flows through the Ouachita Mountains and enters Pike County at its northwest upper corner, dropping 1,035 feet before it runs into Lake Greeson. Before the dam was constructed, heavy rains in the mountains often caused the area around Murfreesboro to become flooded, causing damage to houses and resulting in loss of livestock and farm crops. Martin White Greeson, the owner of the Murfreesboro-Nashville Southwest Railroad, urged the development of the watershed in order to control the water of the Little …

Nash, Frank “Jelly”

Frank Nash has been called “the most successful bank robber in U.S. history,” but he is most noted for his violent death in what has become known as the Kansas City Massacre. Nash spent part of his childhood in Paragould (Greene County) and was arrested in Hot Springs (Garland County) the day before his death. Frank “Jelly” Nash was born on February 6, 1887, in Birdseye, Indiana. His father, John “Pappy” Nash, started hotels in several southern towns, including Paragould, Jonesboro (Craighead County), and Hobart, Oklahoma. Nash’s mother, Alta, was the second of John’s three wives. Nash had two sisters and two step-brothers. Living in Paragould from 1893 to 1896, he then moved with his father to Jonesboro and, afterward, …

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 …

Nashville Post Office

The Nashville Post Office in Nashville (Howard County) is a single-story, brick-masonry structure designed in a restrained interpretation of the Art Deco style of architecture and featuring a mural created through the U.S. Treasury Department’s Section of Painting and Sculpture (later renamed the Section of Fine Arts), a Depression-era stimulus project that promoted public art. The post office was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 14, 1998. On June 26, 1936, the Nashville News reported that the Howard County seat of Nashville was selected as the site of a new U.S. Post Office facility under a $60 million federal emergency construction program. Site proposals were requested four days later, and on September 18, the News reported …

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 …

Nathan (Pike County)

Nathan (Pike County) is a small community founded in the mid-1800s. Although it began as a farming community, by the early 1900s, its economy was driven by the numerous logging operations established in the area. In the twenty-first century, the residential community stretches along Gum Tree Road approximately a half mile off of State Highway 369 in western Pike County near the Howard County border. Several families settled in the area by the 1830s, the most significant to the town’s development being that of Pleasant White. While White is reported to have settled in 1829, no land grant document is found before 1855. More evidence confirming his settlement is the burial of his eldest infant child, Anthony, in the area cemetery …

Nation, Carrie Amelia Moore

aka: Carry Nation
Carry Amelia Moore Nation was a temperance advocate famous for being so vehemently against alcohol that she would use hatchets to smash any place that sold it. She spent most of her life in Kansas, Kentucky, and Missouri, but she lived in Arkansas for several years near the end of her life; her last speech was in Eureka Springs (Carroll County). The house she lived in, which is in Eureka Springs, was made into a museum called Hatchet Hall. Carry Moore, whose first name is sometimes spelled Carrie, was born on November 25, 1846, in Garrard County, Kentucky, to George and Mary Moore. George Moore was of Irish descent, and he owned a plantation with slaves. Mary Moore had a …

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

aka: NAACP
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded on February 12, 1909, and is America’s oldest civil rights organization. The first local branch in Arkansas was established in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on July 4, 1918. The president was John Hamilton McConico, and the fifty founding members included many of the city’s leading African-American figures of the time, including Joseph Albert Booker, Aldridge E. Bush, Chester E. Bush, George William Stanley Ish, Isaac Taylor Gillam, and John Marshall Robinson. The state was the site of one of the national organization’s early court triumphs: In the case of Moore v. Dempsey (1923), NAACP lawyers won a reprieve from the death penalty for six African-American men on the …

National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR)

The National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) in Jefferson (Jefferson County) is thirty-five miles southeast of Little Rock (Pulaski County) and twenty miles north of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). The site, consisting of 496 acres with numerous buildings and research laboratories, is under the control of the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which was part of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) at the time the center formed. HEW became the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) in 1980. The facility addresses the toxicity of various chemicals and pharmaceutical drugs, assesses the risks of microbial food contamination, and identifies microbiological pathogens that could be used for acts of terrorism. Including various contractors, research assistants, and scientists, …

National Championship Chuckwagon Races

The National Championship Chuckwagon Race is held every Labor Day weekend at Dan and Peggy Eoff’s ranch in Clinton (Van Buren County). Spectators from across the United States travel to the small town nestled in the Ozark Mountains to see the largest outdoor chuckwagon race in the country. The chuckwagon is associated with Charles Goodnight, who designed the first wagon to follow the cattle trails in the 1800s. Stories hold that, at the end of the cattle drive, the cowhands would collect their pay, pack up their supplies, and race into town. Legend has it that the last one there had to buy the first round of drinks for all. The races were started in 1986 when Dan and Peggy …

National Education Program

The National Education Program (NEP) was founded by Harding College (now Harding University) president George S. Benson to disseminate his ideas on Americanism. These included three fundamental principles: belief in God, belief in the U.S. Constitution, and belief in the free-enterprise system. Sources disagree about the date the NEP was founded, citing 1936, 1941, and 1948. The NEP wedded fundamentalist Christian religion with free-enterprise economic thought, which became foundational to the conservative movement that gained prominence with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. A native Oklahoman and a member of the Church of Christ, Benson completed his bachelor’s degree at Harding College and afterward served as principal of its high school division. In 1925, he and his wife, Sallie …

National Farmers’ Alliance and Industrial Union of America

aka: Southern Farmers' Alliance
aka: Farmers' Alliance
aka: Arkansas State Farmers’ Alliance
The National Farmers’ Alliance and Industrial Union, more commonly known as the Southern Farmers’ Alliance (or simply the Alliance), began in the mid-to-late 1870s. The organization began spreading eastward through Arkansas and beyond in 1887. By the summer of 1890, it had expanded beyond the South and reported a membership of more than 1,200,000 in twenty-seven states. The Southern Farmers’ Alliance ran cooperative enterprises for its members and put forth a political platform. The group subsequently became active in the third-party movement that culminated in the formation of the People’s (or Populist) Party in 1891–92. Origins and GrowthFarmers and stockmen formed the Southern Farmers’ Alliance in Lampasas County, Texas, as early as 1874 or as late as 1877, according to …

National Fish Hatcheries

Thirty-five states are home to a total of seventy national fish hatcheries (NFHs). Arkansas is home to three: Mammoth Spring, Norfork, and Greers Ferry. Arkansas’s role in the federal fish hatchery system—designed to conserve, protect, and enhance the fish population nationwide for the benefit of all Americans—is key. Arkansas is the systems leader in trout production, has the single Gulf Coast striped bass facility in the world, and engages universities in collaborative research efforts. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in the Department of the Interior administers the world’s largest fish hatchery system, comprising not only hatcheries, but also Fish Health Centers and Fish Technology Centers. Federal fish hatcheries trace their formation to a joint resolution of the …

National Grange of the Order of the Patrons of Husbandry

aka: The Grange
aka: Arkansas State Grange
aka: Patrons of Husbandry
In December 1867, Oliver Hudson Kelley, a former clerk in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and six other men founded the National Grange of the Order of the Patrons of Husbandry in Washington DC. Intended as an organization that would unite farmers for the advancement of their common interests, the Grange claimed more than 760,000 members across the United States by 1875. The Grange entered Arkansas in 1872 and remained active in the state for about two decades. By then, the Grange had given way to larger farmers’ organizations in Arkansas such as the Agricultural Wheel and the Farmers’ Alliance. The National Grange still exists in the twenty-first century, but it has no chapters in Arkansas. Origins, Growth, and PurposesJohn …

National Park College

National Park College (NPC), formerly National Park Community College (NPCC), is located in Mid-America Park just west of Hot Springs (Garland County). It offers associate degrees, technical certificates, continuing education, community services, workforce training, and adult basic education. NPC is the fourth-largest community college in Arkansas. National Park College resulted from Act 678 of the 2003 Arkansas General Assembly, which merged Garland County Community College (GCCC) and Quapaw Technical Institute (QTI). The act went into effect on July 1, 2003. GCCC had been established as a two-year college in 1973 to provide post-secondary higher education opportunities to the citizens of Garland County and the surrounding areas. QTI was first established as Quapaw Vocational Technical School, a branch campus of the Ouachita …

National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Arkansas

The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America (NSCDA), founded in 1891, is dedicated to furthering an appreciation of the national heritage of the United States through patriotic service, historic preservation, and educational projects. The Arkansas division, one of forty-four corporate societies, was organized in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on January 26, 1898, and admitted into the National Society on April 21, 1898. Cynthia Martin Polk of Little Rock was the organizing president. Members must be direct descendants from an ancestor who resided in an American colony prior to 1750 and who served his or her country in some official capacity during that period and before July 5, 1776. Membership is by invitation only. Since the Spanish-American War, the …

National Youth Administration

The National Youth Administration (NYA) was the last of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal programs established to address the massive unemployment caused by the Great Depression. It focused on creating employment and education for people aged sixteen to twenty-five who, because of the effects of the Depression, often had neither. Roosevelt created the National Youth Administration by executive order on June 26, 1935, as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) at a time when some 2.9 million American children were in families receiving government relief. The NYA’s goal was to provide funds for part-time work for out-of-school youths from families on the dole; training, counseling, and placement for NYA workers; recreational programs for workers; and student aid for …

Native American Pottery

Indians in Arkansas began making pottery containers about 2,500 years ago, during the Woodland Period, and they continued this craft until their handmade containers were replaced by industrial counterparts made in metal, glass, and clay in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Broken pieces of Indian pottery, called sherds or potsherds, are among the most common artifacts remaining at abandoned settlements, and they provide a wide range of information today about the cultural traditions of the people who made them. Complete pottery vessels display both sophisticated craftsmanship and the complex aesthetics of their makers. Southeastern Indian pottery-making began in the area of eastern Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida about 4,000 years ago and spread gradually from there to cultures across eastern …

Native Americans

Arkansas was home to Native Americans long before Europeans arrived. The first explorers met Indians whose ancestors had occupied the region for thousands of years. These were impressive and well-organized societies, to whom Europeans introduced new technologies, plants, animals, and diseases, setting in motion a process of population loss and cultural change that would continue for centuries. The United States government forced Indians to leave their ancient homelands and attempted—during the nineteenth century—to eradicate Indian traditions altogether. Indian communities persevered and today continue to celebrate their rich cultural heritage. This heritage is an important part of Arkansas history. First Encounters The first encounters between Europeans and Indians living in what is now Arkansas took place in 1541, when Hernando de …

Natural Gas

The earliest natural gas find is reported to have been in Scott County in 1887 during an effort to develop a commercial water well. The second recorded gas well was drilled two years later (also in Scott County) by an oil driller, Harry Kelly, to a depth of 1,600 feet. This was recognized as the first recorded effort to find oil in Arkansas, though “only gas was present.” No other efforts to find oil or gas were reported until 1901–1902, when the Mansfield Pool was developed by Choctaw Oil and Gas Company. While no oil was found, this effort did provide large amounts of gas, with some wells producing as much as 5 million cubic feet of gas per day. …

Natural State Golf Trail

The Natural State Golf Trail is a public-private partnership created to showcase the scenic golf courses of the state. The trail consists of twelve courses in eleven different locations across the Arkansas. First discussed in the early 2000s, the Natural State Golf Trail came about due to the efforts of Lang Zimmerman, a co-founder and managing partner of Big Creek Golf and Country Club in Mountain Home (Baxter County), and because of the interest of Mike Beebe, then serving as an Arkansas state senator. Beebe suggested the possibility of a statewide golf trail to the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, and with the help of Jim Shamburger— a commissioner on the Arkansas State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission and …

Natural Steps (Pulaski County)

Natural Steps is an unincorporated community located on Highway 300 between Lake Maumelle and the Arkansas River in Pulaski County. It takes its name from a unique sandstone formation in the shape of parallel stair steps. A 1932 archaeological investigation into the Natural Steps area conducted by staff at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) uncovered fifty-seven burials, as well as pottery from both the Quapaw and Caddo tribes. An exact sequence of Native American habitation of the area, however, remains unknown. A Spanish land grant conveyed land at Natural Steps to Eli Stidwell. Another early white settler was John Standlee, who was in the area from 1778 to 1780. In the 1810s, merchant John Taylor purchased …

Nature Conservancy of Arkansas

The Nature Conservancy of Arkansas is part of the international Nature Conservancy headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. The Nature Conservancy’s mission is to preserve the plants, animals, and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive. The Nature Conservancy was incorporated on October 22, 1951, in Washington DC as a nonprofit organization. The Arkansas field office, established on April 12, 1982, became the organization’s twenty-ninth state program. The Arkansas program, which opened with about 250 members and a staff of three, has grown steadily in capacity and achievement. The conservancy now has about 6,000 members in Arkansas (the worldwide membership is about one million) and a staff of more …

Ne-Yo

aka: Shaffer Chimere Smith Jr.
Ne-Yo is one of the most prominent and active Arkansas-born recording artists and songwriters performing in the early twenty-first century. Initially known for songs he wrote for other artists, Ne-Yo began releasing solo rhythm and blues (R&B) albums of his own in 2006. Shaffer Chimere “Ne-Yo” Smith Jr. was born on October 18, 1982, in Camden (Ouachita County) to Lorraine and Shaffer Smith. Smith displayed his songwriting acumen at a young age, writing his first song at the age of five. After his parents separated, he relocated with his mother to Las Vegas, Nevada, where he spent the remainder of his formative years. His mother worked in a variety of jobs before becoming a bank manager, though music was a …

Neal v. Still

Neal v. Still was a case decided by the Arkansas Supreme Court in 1970 that addressed issues of free speech and free expression. After thoughtful deliberations, the Arkansas Supreme Court held that the statute under which the alleged violators, Joe and Barbara Neal, were arrested and charged was unconstitutionally vague and violated the free speech rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. The case had its roots in the February 21, 1969, arrest of Joe Neal and his wife, Barbara Wink Neal, on the campus of Henderson State College (now Henderson State University) in Arkadelphia (Clark County). The couple, who were distributing information at the college’s Student Union Building, was charged with violating Act 17 of 1958, which prohibited creating a …

Neal, Olly, Jr.

Olly Neal Jr. headed up a community health clinic in Marianna (Lee County) in the 1970s, became the first black district prosecuting attorney in Arkansas, and served as a circuit court judge and on the Arkansas Court of Appeals. Historian Grif Stockley described him as a civil rights activist, political agitator, Arkansas Delta advocate, and a “black devil incarnate to many of Marianna’s whites.” Olly Neal Jr. was born on July 13, 1941, on a farm eleven miles west of Marianna in the rural New Hope community to Ollie Neal and Willie Beatrice Jones Neal. Neal grew up poor in a home with no electricity. His parents impressed upon him and his twelve siblings the importance of education. Neal’s father …

Nebraska (Scott County)

Nebraska is a historical community that was located in eastern Scott County along the Fourche La Fave River valley. The town was established in 1854 as an agricultural community prior to the Civil War. Nebraska was originally located between the current communities of Harvey (Scott County) and Nola (Scott County). Archaeological evidence from the Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods shows native people living along the Fourche La Fave River valley near Nebraska. Prior to European exploration, the Caddo tribe lived along the valley. Thousands of archeological sites and burial mounds are located throughout the area. During the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, French hunters and tradesmen explored the waters of the Fourche La Fave River and other tributaries of …

Needham, Harold Brett “Hal”

Hal Needham was an American stuntman, stunt coordinator, writer, and director who performed stunts in scores of films and television shows. The director of hit movies like Smokey and the Bandit, Smokey and the Bandit II, Stroker Ace, Cannonball Run, Cannonball Run II, and Hooper, Needham was considered a pioneer in the stunt industry, having introduced techniques and safety equipment still in use today. Harold Brett “Hal” Needham was born on March 6, 1931, in Memphis, Tennessee, the third of three children of Howard and Edith Needham. Needham’s father left the family soon after he was born. Eventually, Needham’s mother married a sharecropper named Corbett, who moved the family to Arkansas when Needham was four. She and Corbett had two …

Needmore (Scott County)

The community of Needmore is located along Highway 71 in south-central Scott County. Never officially incorporated as a town, the community stretches from the top of a large hill, known as Needmore Hill, to the hill’s base. Buffalo Creek and the Fourche La Fave River are within a few miles of Needmore. The area where Needmore is now located was once a wilderness inhabited by natives of the Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods. Prior to European exploration, the Caddo tribe lived along the Fourche River Valley. Burial mounds and other archaeological sites can be found along the Fourche La Fave River near Needmore. During the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, French trappers and traders traveled west from Arkansas Post, …

Neel, Margarete Ethel

Margarete Ethel Neel became the symbol of the International Red Cross after World War II. The White County chapter submitted to the national headquarters a wartime photo of Neel guiding the wheelchair of wounded Private Gordon Pyle of California. It was reproduced as a poster for the organization’s post-war fundraising activities. A plaque commemorating Neel’s Red Cross service stands in front of the Searcy American Legion Hut, where the White County chapter of the Red Cross is located. The chapter was dedicated to Neel just after her death in 1971. Neel was among the first women listed on the rolls of the U.S. Women’s Memorial when it was dedicated in Washington DC in 1997. Margarete Neel was born on December …

Neely, Amos (Lynching of)

In mid-August 1898, a twenty-three-year-old African-American man named Amos Neely was lynched near Sheridan (Grant County) for an alleged assault on a white woman. The victim of the assault was a “Mrs. Reinhart,” sometimes referred to in newspapers as Rhinehart, Reinhardt, or even Kinehart. Records indicate that there were several Reinharts living in Grant County at the time, and it is impossible to identify her. The lynching victim’s name was reported as Amos Neely, but no trace of him can be found in Grant County records. Neely allegedly committed the assault in April 1898. On April 13, the Arkansas Democrat reported that he had been jailed in Sheridan the previous Saturday (April 9) and that he confessed the following day. …

Negro Boys Industrial School Fire of 1959

aka: Wrightsville Fire of 1959
On March 5, 1959, twenty-one African-American boys burned to death inside a dormitory at an Arkansas reform school in Wrightsville (Pulaski County). The doors were locked from the outside. The fire mysteriously ignited around 4:00 a.m. on a cold, wet morning, following earlier thunderstorms in the same area of rural Pulaski County. The institution was one mile down a dirt road from the mostly black town of Wrightsville, then an unincorporated hamlet thirteen miles south of Little Rock (Pulaski County). Forty-eight children, ages thirteen to seventeen, managed to claw their way to safety by knocking out two of the window screens. Amidst the choking, blinding smoke and heat, four or five boys at a time tried to fight their way …

Neill, Robert

Robert Neill, son of an early Batesville (Independence County) tanner, went on to become commander of the fifth military district in Arkansas after Reconstruction, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and the first chairman of the Arkansas Railroad Commission. Robert Neill was born near Desha (Independence County) on November 12, 1838. His parents were Henry Neill and Dorcas Stark Neill; he had five siblings. His father was a tanner by trade and had arrived in nearby Batesville in 1832; he was also prominent in local politics, having served in the state legislature as a county supervisor and as county judge. Neill received his education in the local schools, and in 1859, he went to Ohio to take a …

Nella (Scott County)

The unincorporated community of Nella is located in southwestern Scott County. It was established in 1903 along Clear Fork Creek, which is a distributary of the Fourche La Fave River. The agriculture and timber industries have traditionally been important economic resources for the community. Prior to European exploration, the area surrounding Nella was a wilderness. Numerous archaeological sites and burial mounds are located along the banks of prominent waterways such as the Fourche La Fave River. Archaeological findings have provided evidence of early inhabitants dating to the Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods, and the Caddo tribe later inhabited the area. During the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, French hunters and tradesmen traveled west from Arkansas Post exploring portions of …

Nelson, Allison

Allison Nelson was the mayor of Atlanta, Georgia; a state legislator; and a brigadier general in the Confederate army. He died while serving in Arkansas and is buried in the state. Allison Nelson was born on March 11, 1822, in Fulton County, Georgia, the son of John Nelson; his mother’s name is unrecorded. His father was a ferry operator on the Chattahoochee River and was murdered in 1825. Nelson married Mary Sledge Greene in 1840, and the couple would eventually have two daughters and a son. During the Mexican War, Nelson raised a company of volunteers from Georgia and was elected as captain of the unit, known as the Kennesaw Rangers. The Georgians never saw any action during the war, …

Nelson, Bud (Lynching of)

Sometime between October 27 and November 1, 1926, Bud Nelson was shot near Tarry (Lincoln County) for the alleged murder of twenty-four-year-old planter Ed Henderson in neighboring Jefferson County. According to accounts published in the Arkansas Gazette and the Cleveland County Herald, Ed Henderson was riding his horse past the house of Ed Young, who was a black tenant on the land of Ed’s father, John H. Henderson. According to the Cleveland County Herald, Ed Henderson was looking for some mules that had strayed. He asked Nelson, who was sitting on a cotton bale across the road from Ed Young’s house, about the mules. The Herald stated that Ed Henderson was a very popular young man “and was always known …

Nelson, Dan T. (Lynching of)

Dan T. Nelson was lynched by a mob of African Americans in Lincoln County on November 13, 1893, for allegedly murdering Ben Betts. Unlike most lynchings in Arkansas (and the United States), several of the perpetrators of this crime were actually tried and sent to jail, perhaps because the mob was composed entirely of African Americans. According to an account published in the Arkansas Gazette, on November 7, Ben Betts, an African American, accompanied a relative to Dan Nelson’s home near Varner (Lincoln County) to help that relative collect a rent bill from Nelson. Betts and Nelson got into an argument, and Betts ordered Nelson out of the house. Nelson emerged from the dwelling, armed with a hatchet and carrying …

Nelson, Edward Sheffield

Edward Sheffield Nelson, a Little Rock (Pulaski County) attorney, utility executive, and political leader, served as president and chief executive officer of Arkansas Louisiana Gas Company (Arkla) from 1973 to 1984 and twice ran for governor of Arkansas. Sheffield Nelson was born on April 23, 1941, near Keevil in rural Monroe County to Robert F. Nelson and Thelma Mayberry Nelson. He, his parents, and three sisters lived an itinerant life, moving from place to place in eastern Arkansas for work. His father abandoned the family in 1957, leaving his sixteen-year old-son as the main breadwinner. Nelson worked after school in a Brinkley (Monroe County) grocery store until he graduated from high school. He married his high school sweetheart, Mary Lynn …

Nelson, Knox

Knox Nelson was a member of the Arkansas General Assembly for thirty-four years in the second half of the twentieth century, achieving power in legislative halls that was rarely rivaled. Nelson was elected to the state House of Representatives from Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) in 1956 and served two terms, but he attained a position of immense power in the thirty-year career in the state Senate that followed. Governors and groups interested in legislation often had to win Nelson’s favor to get bills passed or defeated in the Senate. Knox Nelson was born on April 3, 1926, in the Goatshed community near Moscow (Jefferson County), a farming community a few miles south of Pine Bluff. His father, Knox Augustus Nelson, …

Nematodes

aka: Roundworms
The phylum Nematoda includes three classes (Anoplea, Chromodorea, and Rhabditida), sixteen to twenty orders, and about 27,000 described species (and possibly up to one million) of mostly dioecious, elongate, bilaterally symmetrical pseudocoelomate worms. They can be found in abundance in nearly every habitat on Earth, with a diverse array of species existing in both marine and terrestrial habitats. Most are free-living, with less than half considered to be parasitic. Nevertheless, many species threaten the health of plants and animals (including humans) on a global scale. Nematodes are variable in size from less than one millimeter to more than one meter in length. They have been in existence for an estimated one billion years, having evolved from simple animals some 400 …

Nematomorpha

aka: Horsehair Worms
aka: Hairworms
Horsehair worms belong to the phylum Nematomorpha and are typically obligate parasites of terrestrial arthropods (e.g., beetles, crickets, cockroaches, locusts, grasshoppers, and mantids). As adults, however, they are free-living in aquatic environments. These worms are sometimes found in coiled clusters termed “Gordian knots” from the intricate legendary knot of Greek mythology. Another myth is related to the common name given these worms, “hairworms” or “horsehair worms,” originating from the idea that horse hairs that fell into water became worms. This belief was not disproved scientifically until American anatomist and paleontologist Joseph Leidy (1823–1891) noted in 1870 that horse hairs placed in water for many months did not come to life. The first published report of a horsehair worm from Arkansas …

Nemertea

aka: Ribbon Worms
The phylum Nemertea is an invertebrate phylum that contains over 1,000 species within 250 genera of mostly marine organisms known variously as ribbon, proboscis, or nemertean worms. Only a few taxa inhabit freshwater, and there are several terrestrial species. Most are free living; however, a few are known to be parasitic. The name means one of “Nereis” (unerring one), which refers to the unerring aim of the proboscis. Ribbon worms are unique in having an eversible muscular proboscis that is used for grasping prey. It lies free inside of a cavity above the alimentary canal known as the rhynchocoel. This muscular tube can be swiftly thrust out to catch prey items. This phylum is also occasionally called the Rhynchocoela, which …

Neuhardt (Crittenden County)

Neuhardt is an unincorporated community in south-central Crittenden County, located on Arkansas Highway 147 between Anthonyville and Edmondson. The town grew up around 1900 as a result of the timber industry and was named for lumber tycoon George Neuhardt, who purchased thousands of timbered acres in the area. Information regarding George Neuhardt is scarce, but it is known that he suffered tremendous commercial losses due to flooding and eventually committed suicide when forced into bankruptcy. Following the Civil War, a statewide timber industry expanded in earnest due to the construction of railroads and availability of powered machinery. Cutting of timber in the Arkansas Delta (including Crittenden County) and the “sunken lands” of northeast Arkansas played a pivotal role in encouraging …