Entries - Starting with V

Vaccination

Vaccination artificially increases immunity to disease and contributes to the development of herd immunity, which is achieved when a sufficiently large percentage of immunized individuals  reduces the likelihood of disease transmission. Beginning in the nineteenth century, vaccination became an essential part of American public health policy. In Arkansas, starting with the introduction of school smallpox vaccination requirements in the late nineteenth century, vaccination became a vital feature of modern public health policy. The smallpox vaccine, discovered by British physician Edward Jenner in 1796, was the world’s first vaccine and remained the only human vaccine available until 1885. Following the introduction of the smallpox vaccine into the United States in 1800, Massachusetts became the first state to mandate smallpox vaccinations, requiring …

Vaden (Clark County)

Vaden is a community located in the southeastern corner of Clark County. Located near the Ouachita River, the community was established by several families in the late nineteenth century. Woodson Vaden, a former resident of North Carolina, purchased eighty acres in the area in 1849 and an additional 160 acres in 1861. The community that grew in the area adopted his name and eventually consisted of several homes, churches, a school, and a store. Families in the area farmed, raised cattle, and worked in the timber industry. The Vaden Post Office opened in 1888. When it closed in 1905, mail service was given to the nearby settlement of Hebron (Clark County). The post office was reestablished in 1908, but it …

Vaden Records

Vaden Records, based in Trumann (Poinsett County), started as a mail-order company featuring gospel music. It soon grew into a regional studio that released music by such blues and early rock and roll artists as Bobby Brown, Teddy Riedel, Larry Donn, and many others who went on to regional and national fame. In the early 1950s, husband and wife Arlen and Jackie Vaden of Trumann were singing gospel music all over northeastern Arkansas in a group called the Southern Gospel Singers. They also started singing on local radio stations in Osceola (Mississippi County) and Blytheville (Mississippi County) and soon branched out to stations in other states, such as XREF in Del Rio, Texas, and XEG Radio in Fort Worth, Texas; XREF …

Valentine, Bill, Jr.

aka: William Terry Valentine Jr.
William Terry Valentine Jr. served as general manager of the Arkansas Travelers baseball team in Little Rock (Pulaski County) from 1976 until 2009. During his tenure, the organization underwent many changes that included leaving the St. Louis Cardinals’ farm organization for the Anaheim Angels’ and reaching an agreement to relocate the Travelers from historic Ray Winder Field, one of the oldest professional baseball parks in the country, to a new ballpark on the riverfront of downtown North Little Rock (Pulaski County). In his first five years as general manager, he instituted a new promotional program that dramatically increased attendance. Valentine was also a professional baseball umpire who was fired for trying to organize an American League umpires union. Bill Valentine was …

Valley Springs (Boone County)

Valley Springs is located on U.S. Highway 65 in southeastern Boone County. Long a center of education, Valley Springs is a rural, agricultural town. Many of its residents work in Harrison (Boone County). For centuries, people have traveled from the north to hunt and fish in Arkansas’s Ozark Mountains. The Osage were traveling to the area at the time of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Later, the Cherokee and other Native Americans were granted land in the area, but a subsequent treaty moved them farther west. A military road ran through the area, connecting Valley Springs (then known as Double Springs) to the cities of Harrison and Yellville (Marion County). A post office was established in 1843 near the two …

Van Buren (Crawford County)

Van Buren began as a port and trade center on the Arkansas River and served as a major starting point for prospectors of the 1849 gold rush. A border town linked to Indian Territory, it was the site of Arkansas’s first federal district court and a Civil War battle town. River traffic, railroad commerce, and mercantile trade dominated Van Buren’s early economy; manufacturing and tourism developed a strong presence in the last half century. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The area that became Van Buren began as a land claim on the Arkansas River owned in the 1820s by Revolutionary War veteran James Phillips and his two sons, Thomas Phillips and Daniel David Phillips. The site, named Phillips Landing, became …

Van Buren Confederate Monument

The Van Buren Confederate Monument is a sculpture erected in 1898 in Fairview Cemetery by the Mary Lee Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy to commemorate local men who had served in the Confederate army during the Civil War. It was moved to the grounds of the Crawford County Courthouse eight years later. As many as 1,000 Crawford County men fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War, and on March 19, 1896, the Mary Lee Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy organized in Van Buren (Crawford County) with a goal of raising a monument to honor them and other Confederate soldiers who died in the area. The chapter was effective at fundraising, and in 1898 …

Van Buren County

  Formed in 1833, Van Buren became the twenty-ninth county in Arkansas Territory and preceded statehood by three years. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The area that is now Van Buren County, nestled in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, has been inhabited for roughly 10,000 years. Osage and Cherokee Indians are the first historic tribes known to have a connection to the area. Hunters from Ozark villages in southwest Missouri, and later in northeast Oklahoma, often visited the area, although they had no permanent settlements in the county. No official records are available to tell who the first European or American settlers were or where they came from, but indications are that they began making their way into the …

Van Buren County Courthouse

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

Van Buren County Historical Society

The Van Buren County Historical Society, headquartered in Clinton (Van Buren County), was organized on April 22, 1963. The society disbanded in 1966 but re-formed in 1976 for the nation’s bicentennial, Clinton’s celebration of its centennial as an incorporated city, and the dedication of the Clinton Airport. The function of the society is: 1) to discover and collect any material that would help establish or illustrate the history of the county, its exploration, settlement, and development, and its progress in population, education, arts, science, agriculture, trade, and transportation; 2) to collect and preserve printed materials and museum materials illustrative of life, conditions, events, and activities of the past or present pertaining to Van Buren County; and 3) to make these …

Van Buren Post Office

The Van Buren Post Office at 22 South 7th Street in Van Buren (Crawford County) is a one-story, brick-masonry structure built in 1936–37 and designed in a restrained, minimalist interpretation of the Art Deco style of architecture. It contains a mural financed 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 November 1, 1935, the Van Buren Press Argus announced that a plot of land on the corner of South 7th and Webster streets would be the site of a new city post office. Postal engineer R. …

Van Buren Schools, Desegregation of

The desegregation of Van Buren (Crawford County) schools produced several national headlines and is one of Arkansas’s most intriguing episodes of compliance with—and defiance against—the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas school desegregation decision. In 1954, the Van Buren School District had 2,634 white students and eighty-seven African-American students. Black students attended a segregated elementary school, and after graduation they were bussed over the Arkansas River to the segregated Lincoln High School of Fort Smith (Sebastian County). After Brown, with assistance from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), nineteen parents sued for the entry of twenty-four black students into Van Buren’s white high school, the first case of its kind …

Van Buren, Capture of

  Following the December 7, 1862, Battle of Prairie Grove, Major General Thomas C. Hindman took the Confederate army under his command south of the Boston Mountains. Union generals James G. Blunt and Francis J. Herron rested their troops for three days and then began discussing an expedition toward Van Buren (Crawford County). They planned to take 8,000 of their best troops south and engage Hindman’s army. Six inches of snowfall from a winter storm delayed the generals from putting any plans into action, but they were able to meet to complete plans by Christmas night. They planted stories among their troops that they were going to proceed toward Huntsville (Madison County) so that any spies in the camps would …

Van Buren, Skirmish at (April 2, 1865)

A brief engagement in the last days of the Civil War, this skirmish shows that violence was still common in the state, even at this late date in the war. Numerous groups of Confederates and guerrillas operated across Arkansas during this period. Federal forces held major cities—including Little Rock (Pulaski County), Fort Smith (Sebastian County), and Pine Bluff (Jefferson County)—but exercised little permanent control outside of these strongholds. On the night of April 2, 1865, a group of twenty mounted Confederates robbed several civilians about two miles outside of Van Buren (Crawford County). The victims reported the incident to Brigadier General Cyrus Bussey at Fort Smith, who immediately dispatched all of his available men in pursuit of the enemy. At …

Van Buren, Skirmish at (August 12, 1864)

Fought in the aftermath of the July 31, 1864, Action at Fort Smith, this skirmish was just one of many that continued to take place in western Arkansas late in the Civil War. Fort Smith (Sebastian County) served as an important Federal post at this point of the war, and nearby Van Buren (Crawford County) was also held by Union forces. The late July skirmish was one of only a few organized movements by Confederate forces against the fortified settlements. Federal troops more typically faced guerrilla attacks at this time. Colonel Thomas Bowen of the Thirteenth Kansas Infantry served as commander of the Federal garrison at Van Buren and regularly reported to Brigadier General John Thayer, commander of the District …

Van Dalsem, Paul

  Representative Paul Van Dalsem—with his cigars, his aggressive style, and his fiscal conservatism—came to represent the classic southern politician. He was a master of the legislative process and parliamentary procedure. This mastery served him well, allowing him to serve on and off for thirty years in the Arkansas House of Representatives. Paul Van Dalsem was born in Aplin (Perry County) in 1907 to Pyke Van Dalsem and May Thompson Van Dalsem. He had one sister. He attended public school in Perryville (Perry County) and began college at what is now Arkansas Tech University before transferring to Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana, where he earned his degree. He later attended the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), earning …

Van Dorn, Earl

A noted Mexican War veteran and Indian fighter, Earl Van Dorn was the Confederate general defeated at the Battle of Pea Ridge and at Corinth, Mississippi. Following the defeat at Pea Ridge, he stripped Arkansas of badly needed Confederate troops, leaving the state nearly destitute of defenders. Earl Van Dorn was born near Port Gibson, Mississippi, on September 17, 1820, to Sophia Donelson Caffery, a niece of Andrew Jackson, and Peter Aaron Van Dorn, a lawyer and judge. He married Caroline Godbold in December 1843. They had one son, Earl Jr., and one daughter, Olivia. Some believe that Van Dorn fathered other children through adulterous affairs prior to, and possibly during, the Civil War. Graduating fifty-second of fifty-six cadets from …

Van Dyke, Jerry

Jerry Van Dyke was a famous comedian and actor who lived in Arkansas; he was inducted into the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame in 1998. He was perhaps most noted for his Emmy-nominated performance as Luther Van Dam on the television show Coach. Van Dyke and his wife, Shirley Jones, owned a ranch in Hot Spring County, and, in the late 1990s, they purchased and renovated a city block in Benton (Saline County), including the Royal Theatre and a soda shop that bears his name. Jerry Van Dyke was born in Danville, Illinois, on July 27, 1931, to Loren and Hazel Van Dyke. Loren Van Dyke was a traveling salesman for the Sunshine Biscuit Company. Both their sons had successful …

van Zandt, Elliott C.

Elliott van Zandt was a pioneering figure in international athletics. A physical education instructor, he served in the U.S. Army in World War II. Afterward, he remained in Europe, and at a time when the national athletic landscape in the United States was still hampered by segregation, van Zandt (who was African American) became a critical figure in the development of national programs for a number of different sports, especially basketball, in countries across the European continent. He coached a number of different teams and sports, serving as the Olympic coach for multiple national teams while also teaching both players and coaches around the world. Elliott C. van Zandt was born in 1915 in Hot Springs (Garland County) to Una …

Vanadium Mining

Major deposits of vanadium were discovered in central Arkansas by Union Carbide’s Western Exploration Group in the 1960s. Vanadium orebodies are found in two isolated igneous intrusive complexes in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas: the Potash Sulphur Springs (now Wilson Springs) complex located in Garland County and the Magnet Cove complex in Hot Spring County. The Wilson Springs vanadium deposits were the first to be mined solely for vanadium in the United States. The major use of vanadium is as an alloying metal in iron and steel (ferroalloy). Small amounts of vanadium added to iron and steel significantly increase its strength, improve toughness and ductility, and reduce weight, making it suitable for structural and pipeline steel. Vanadium also increases high-temperature …

Vance, Rupert Bayliss

Rupert Bayliss Vance was a sociologist on the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), who, along with fellow sociology faculty member Howard Odum, established the field of “regional sociology”—in their case, an extensive study of the South. The two helped provide a progressive counterweight at UNC in the 1930s to the conservative agrarian philosophy centered with the faculty at Vanderbilt University and expressed in their collection of essays I’ll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition (1930). Rupert B. Vance was born on March 15, 1899, in Plumerville (Conway County), the oldest of four children of Walter Vance and Mary Bayliss Vance. Walter Vance owned a general store, though the Vances lived on …

Vandervoort (Polk County)

Vandervoort was a key stop for the Kansas City, Pittsburg, and Gulf Railroad (later the Kansas City Southern). Francis Marion Cecil, with his wife Rhoda Lebow Cecil and thirteen children, owned and farmed the land in southern Polk County where Vandervoort now stands. When the town site was first laid out, it was known as Janssen, taking its name from the maiden name of Jan DeGeoijen’s wife. Jan DeGeoijen was a Dutch coffee merchant who was involved in financing the construction of the railroad. There was another town in Arkansas called Jansen, however, and mail between the two towns was constantly being mixed up. In 1907, the town’s name was changed to Vandervoort in honor of the mother of Jan …

Vapors

The Vapors was a nightclub in Hot Springs (Garland County) during the last era of illegal gambling in the city. Upscale entertainment in the style of Las Vegas, Nevada—featuring well-known acts like Edgar Bergen, the Smothers Brothers, and Tony Bennett—distinguished it from many of the rival clubs in the area. Dane Harris, who had been a World War II pilot, accumulated money from a stake he had in the Belvedere Country Club and casino during the 1950s and used that money to build the Vapors nightclub. Harris partnered with Owen Vincent “Owney” Madden, owner of the Cotton Club in New York and a noted gangster, to build the nightclub at a site at 315 Park Avenue formerly occupied by the …

Varner Unit

The Varner Unit is a detention facility run by the Arkansas Department of Correction. It is located in the Choctaw Township of Lincoln County, along U.S. Highway 65, about thirty miles south of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). The Varner Unit was constructed in response to the state’s fast-growing inmate population; other state facilities had been expanded prior to Varner’s construction. When it opened in 1987, it could accommodate 300 prisoners; its capacity was increased to 700 and then later to around 1,700. The Varner Unit is made up of two separate units: the Supermax Unit and the Varner Unit. The Supermax Unit was opened in 2000 and in 2003 became home to all the state’s male death row inmates. In …

Vaughan, Joseph Floyd “Arky”

Joseph Floyd “Arky” Vaughan was a professional baseball player and one of six native Arkansans elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Considered one of the best shortstops in baseball history, Vaughan was also one of the premier hitters in the 1930s. Arky Vaughan was born on March 9, 1912, in Clifty (Madison County) to Robert Vaughan and Laura Denny Vaughan. He was one of six children. When he was an infant, the family moved to Fullerton, California, where his father became an oilfield worker. Vaughan never returned to Arkansas. Throughout much of his life, Vaughan was linked to the state because of his nickname, given to him as a child because he talked with an Arkansas accent acquired …

Velazquez, Loreta

In late spring of 1861, a Cuban woman named Loreta Janeta Velazquez adorned herself with a Confederate uniform and fake facial hair, assigned herself the rank of lieutenant in the Confederate army, and adopted the name of Harry T. Buford. According to her own account, Velazquez embarked on a remarkable career as both a Confederate soldier and spy during the turbulent years of America’s Civil War, partially in Arkansas. As professor Jesse Alemán points out in the introduction to Velazquez’s memoir, there are historical inaccuracies in the memoir (which was put together by Velazquez and her editor, C. J. Worthington) that cast some doubt on Velazquez’s authenticity. However, Alemán stresses that the memoir holds its own as a Civil War …

Venomous Snakes

Arkansas hosts about forty-five species and subspecies of snakes, and six (thirteen percent) are species that use venom to obtain food and to defend themselves. There are two families of venomous snakes in the state: Elapidae (a single elapid species, the Texas coral snake) and Viperidae (five species of pitvipers). All of Arkansas’s venomous snakes inject venom through fangs via muscular contraction of paired venom glands. Texas Coral Snake The Texas coral snake, Micrurus tener tener (formerly Micrurus fulvius tenere) is a tricolored, medium-sized (maximum length = 122 centimeters), secretive elapid snake that primarily occurs in the southern and southwestern part of the state. Verified records are available for only five counties of the state in the Gulf Coastal Plain, …

Vertac

The Vertac site in Jacksonville (Pulaski County) is one of the nation’s worst hazardous waste sites and Arkansas’s most publicized Superfund site. Cleanup of the area after its abandonment by its corporate owner took more than a decade, and the name “Vertac” soon became synonymous in Arkansas with the fear of industrial pollution, similar to how New Yorkers view Love Canal. The Vertac site was originally part of the Arkansas Ordnance Plant (AOP), a World War II–era facility that manufactured various components of explosive devices, such as primers and detonators. In 1946, the federal government offered the AOP facilities for sale to private companies. The future Vertac site was purchased in 1948 by Reasor-Hill Company, which produced pesticides, as did …

Vestal Nursery

aka: J. W. Vestal & Son
The Vestal Nursery, based in the Baring Cross neighborhood of North Little Rock (Pulaski County), operated for more than 100 years, cultivating and shipping flowers across the United States. By the mid-twentieth century, it had one of the largest greenhouse spaces in the United States. Joseph Wysong Vestal, a Quaker horticulturist in Cambridge City, Indiana, grew and sold plants as early as 1855, following prior Vestal family advancements in horticultural technology. By 1860, J. W. Vestal was cultivating greenhouse flowers. As the Arkansas Democrat Magazine wrote, “From 300 square feet of glass, he made additions annually, thus being able to accumulate an astonishingly large variety of plants.” In 1861, Vestal began publishing an annual floral and vegetable catalogue first titled …

Vick, Volmer “Cactus”

Volmer “Cactus” Vick was one of Arkansas’s first radio and television personalities in the post–World War II era. As a showman, Vick was a combination of magician, ventriloquist, comedian, preacher, and cowboy. Vick’s three-decade-long career began on a local radio station in the late 1940s. He made thousands of appearances, in character, while working as spokesperson for the Finkbeiner Meat Packing Company and for the Continental Baking Company in Little Rock (Pulaski County), makers of Arkansas Maid Wieners and Wonder Bread, respectively. Volmer Voss Vick was born on a plantation at Varner (Lincoln County) on November 2, 1911. His father, K. P. Vick, had a general store there before he died, leaving Vick—the oldest of three children—to help his mother, …

Victoria (Mississippi County)

  Victoria is a town in Mississippi County, located on Arkansas Highway 158 about three miles west of Interstate 55. Although it was founded in the late nineteenth century by Robert E. Lee Wilson as part of his plantation empire, which also included Marie, Wilson, and Armorel. Victoria did not incorporate until 1966 and has since steadily declined in size. Wilson earned a fortune in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, acquiring and developing land that other people considered worthless. In 1870, he inherited 400 acres of Mississippi County land from his father. In the following years, he purchased more land, eventually owning roughly 50,000 acres. Wilson harvested the valuable hardwood trees from this swampland and constructed his own rail line …

Villa Marre

In 1881, Angelo and Jennie Marre built an elegant family home at 1321 Scott Street in Little Rock (Pulaski County), and 125 years later, its façade became familiar to millions of people around the world through its appearance in the opening credits of a popular television show. Television producers and former Arkansas residents Harry Z. Thomason and his wife, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, used the home’s exterior to depict the design firm run by the main characters of the couple’s CBS television series, Designing Women. The house—which has weathered storms, architectural changes, urban renewal, and neglect—is still one of Little Rock’s most prominent landmarks. After amassing a fortune in the liquor import and saloon business, Marre began to build his home, which …

Village Academy Beavers

Village Academy was a fictitious private school in Arkansas that was created by two members of the staff at Jessieville High School in Garland County in 1985. Fake scores for the school’s football teams were printed from 1985 to 1988 in the Arkansas Gazette and the Arkansas Democrat before anyone at either of the Little Rock (Pulaski County) newspapers caught on. It is considered one of the classic pranks in modern Arkansas history and was the subject of a lengthy feature story in the 2015 edition of Hooten’s Arkansas Football magazine. Soon after that story was published, the Little Rock–based company Rock City Outfitters began selling Village Academy Beavers shirts. Bob Sivils, the band director at Jessieville High School at …

Village Creek State Park

Village Creek State Park in northeast Arkansas, located six miles south of Wynne (Cross County), encompasses almost 7,000 acres along Crowley’s Ridge, preserving the ridge’s unique natural features. Park facilities occupy only a fraction of the total acreage, while the rest of the land remains in its natural state. While Village Creek Park, named for a stream that flows through the area, is classified as a “natural” state park, it also preserves part of the rich history of the region. Early settlers named the area Old Cherokee Village, though there is little evidence of Cherokee occupation outside scattered camp remnants. A section of the 1820s Military Road that once linked Memphis, Tennessee, to Little Rock (Pulaski County) is still visible …

Villemont (Chicot County)

Villemont, one of the earliest settlements in the Arkansas Territory, was the first county seat of Chicot County, which was created on October 25, 1823. Located on the Mississippi River, it was a thriving river port town until the river itself swept away the town in 1847. The land upon which the settlement was founded was part of an original Spanish land grant issued to Don Carlos de Villemont, commandant of Arkansas Post, by the governor of Louisiana in 1795. The grant measured two leagues wide by one league deep. It is believed that de Villemont owned approximately 14,000 arpens, with each arpen equating to eighty-five percent of a modern acre. Though Villemont never occupied his land grant, it did …

Villines, Floyd Galloway “Buddy”, III

Buddy Villines, who retired in 2014, was a longtime public official in central Arkansas. Following service on the Little Rock Board of Directors, he became the city’s mayor before serving for over two decades as Pulaski County judge. Over that time, he oversaw a significant transformation of Arkansas’s capital city. Floyd G. “Buddy” Villines III was born on June 23, 1947, in Roxboro, North Carolina. Nicknamed Buddy at an early age due to his pleasant demeanor, he was one of three children born to Floyd Villines and Hazel Villines. As his father was a Methodist minister who served numerous counties all over the state, the family led a nomadic existence, moving frequently during Villines’s youth. In 1969, he graduated from …

Vilonia (Faulkner County)

Vilonia of Faulkner County was originally known as Vilsonia, the “land of two valleys,” by the pioneers who settled the valleys near the forks of Cypress Creek in the early 1860s. The name was given to the community by members of Masonic Lodge No. 324, which was established early in the town’s history. Members of this lodge originally hailed from North Carolina, Mississippi, and Tennessee and came to the area now known as Vilonia in search of fertile land. When they applied for a post office, the approval came back misspelled Vilonia, but they let it stand. Vilonia is located thirteen miles east of Conway (Faulkner County) on U.S. Highway 64. After the Civil War, families of English, Irish, German, …

Vine Prairie, Skirmish at

This skirmish occurred as part of a reconnaissance patrol planned by Colonel Marcus LaRue Harrison but commanded by Captain Charles Galloway of the First Arkansas Cavalry (US), designed to eliminate the Confederate guerrilla band led by Peter “Old Pete” Mankins Jr. (whose small irregular unit repeatedly harassed Harrison’s operations in northwestern Arkansas). On January 31, 1863, Harrison ordered Galloway and eighty-one troopers from Company E of the First Arkansas Cavalry to Huntsville (Madison County) to protect a public convention of approximately 1,000 Unionists and to assist Colonel James M. Johnson in the organization of the First Arkansas Infantry. Afterward, Harrison ordered Galloway toward the Arkansas River in pursuit of Mankins. On February 2, 1863, Galloway entered Ozark (Franklin County) rather …

Vines

In 2016, a total of 436 kinds of woody plants were known to occur in the wild in Arkansas, comprising 419 species plus another seventeen varieties and subspecies. Of these, 185 can be considered trees, 189 are best described as shrubs, and sixty-two are woody vines. In some cases, it is difficult to draw a hard line between these categories, and various reference works differ in their criteria for each. For the purposes of this entry, however, each category is defined as follows: Trees are defined as perennial, often single- or relatively few–stemmed woody plants typically greater than five meters (sixteen feet) in height at maturity. Shrubs are defined as perennial, often multi-stemmed woody or semi-woody plants usually less than …

Vining, Peggy Sue Caudle

Peggy Sue Caudle Vining was appointed Poet Laureate of Arkansas in 2003 by Governor Mike Huckabee. She was the sixth poet laureate since the creation of the position by concurrent resolutions of both houses of the Arkansas legislature in 1923. Peggy Sue Caudle, the oldest of three daughters, was born on March 4, 1929, in Greenfield, Tennessee, to Clayton R. Caudle, a salesman and later owner of a farm equipment company, and Winnie May Moore, a schoolteacher prior to their marriage. Caudle’s father was a deacon at the Greenfield Baptist Church, and she learned hymns and Bible verses at an early age. Caudle left home to attend college at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, in 1946. She earned her elementary …

Viola (Fulton County)

Viola is in western Fulton County, located on U.S. Highway 62, a few miles south of the Missouri state line. Established shortly before the outbreak of the Civil War, the town has survived largely due to its schools. For centuries, people from the north have visited Arkansas for its hunting and fishing opportunities. The Osage were engaged in those activities at the time of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. A series of treaties between 1808 and 1825 moved the Osage to the west, opening the lands of northern Arkansas for Euro-American settlement. Even so, settlers were slow to come to the land that would become Viola; the first reported white settler was William Cook, who established his homestead in 1846. …

Violet Cemetery

Violet Cemetery is a historical burial site located in Osceola (Mississippi County). Situated near the heart of downtown, the cemetery is bounded on the front and south by Johnson Avenue, on the rear and north by West Semmes Avenue, on the west by Pecan Street, and on the east by private property. The cemetery’s location was originally an isolated burial ground in Mississippi County known as God’s Acre. However, as Osceola expanded from a small river town into a larger agricultural community, the cemetery became part of the Townsite Addition of Osceola. The earliest marked grave within the cemetery is from 1831, which predates the formation of Mississippi County (November 1, 1833) as well as Arkansas statehood (1836). The list of …

Vogel, Mabel Rose Jamison (Jamie)

Mabel Rose Jamison (Jamie) Vogel taught art to Japanese American children and adults at the Rohwer Relocation Center during World War II. “Miss Jamison” brought to this unique American experience set in a bleak camp in the uncleared swamplands of the Arkansas Delta a respect for people of all nationalities, including the thousands of imprisoned West Coast Japanese Americans uprooted from their California homes. Such respect was not typical in the United States at that time, and it was certainly not the norm in Arkansas. When the teacher left the Desha County camp as the war came to an end, she took with her not only the friendship of former students, but also an abiding commitment to continue her support of …

Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA)

aka: VISTA
Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) is a national welfare program begun in 1965. The volunteers were recruited from all over the country and sent to help people in poverty-stricken areas, including Arkansas. Some of the first areas to receive assistance were Yell County and Texarkana (Miller County). Not only did volunteers help many Arkansans, the written accounts from the time they spent in Arkansas are of great historical value because they describe many details of the rural Arkansas culture of the twentieth century. The program was begun during Lyndon Johnson’s presidency with the “War on Poverty.” The VISTA program was included in the larger program, the Office of Economic Opportunity, originally called National Service Corps. VISTA was described as …

Von Berg, Charles Ludwig “Old Scout”

Carlos Ludwig von Berg was a German immigrant, a Civil War soldier, a postwar scout during the last Indian Wars, and an artist and guide who settled in the Fayetteville (Washington County) area later in life. He was featured in the 2012 documentary Up Among the Hills: The Story of Fayetteville. Carlos Ludwig von Berg was born on October 18, 1835, in the Duchy of Baden, where his family members were foresters. His first schooling was in Karlsruhe, followed by the University of Heidelberg. His studies were interrupted by the 1848 revolutions that caused his family to flee to Switzerland. He returned to Heidelberg but in 1854 immigrated to the United States. He traveled west, and he took up trading …

Voting and Voting Rights

Voting rights in Arkansas have evolved from an initial narrow limitation to today’s near-comprehensive voting rights. 1836 Original State Constitution In 1836, when Arkansas became a state, it had neither a property requirement nor a taxpaying requirement for voting eligibility—unlike seven of the twenty-five states of the Union at the time. This was in keeping with Jacksonian democratic principles and was somewhat advanced for the South, where many states had these types of restrictive requirements. To vote, a person had to be male, of the white race, a U.S. citizen, and a citizen of the state for at least six months. Some twenty of the twenty-five states then had some type of race exclusion, including all of the South. Most …