Entries - Starting with W

W. F. Branch High School

Located in west Newport (Jackson County) on Arrington Avenue, W. F. Branch High School served as the town’s high school for black students until its closure in 1970. After the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas decision in 1954, some school districts in Arkansas, such as Charleston (Franklin County), Hoxie (Lawrence County), and Fayetteville (Washington County), desegregated successfully. In 1957, the attention of the nation focused on desegregation at Central High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The federal government allowed school districts to utilize the Freedom of Choice plan, which allowed for more gradual integration. In Newport, for example, the all-black Branch High School and the all-white Newport High School operated separately within the same district. In …

W. H. Allen House

Located in Spotville (Columbia County), less than twenty miles from Magnolia (Columbia County) on the old Magnolia–El Dorado road, the W. H. Allen House is representative of the early settlement of the area. It is also an example of the transitional architecture many dogtrot structures have undergone. It was built by William Henry “Dick” Allen in 1873 as a four-room dogtrot, a common style for pioneer families in the southeastern United States in the nineteenth century. In 1907, his son, Walter Howard Allen, enlarged the house, added a front porch, and enclosed the breezeway, using handmade shingles for the roof and timber cut from trees grown on the Allen property. In January 1853, Dick Allen married Eliza Jane Gillespie. They …

W. H. Young House

The Craftsman Bungalow–style W. H. Young House was constructed in 1921 in Arkadelphia (Clark County). Located at 316 Meador Lane, the house was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 20, 2006. The land on which the house is located was originally purchased by John S. T. Callaway in 1836 and subsequently lost at a sheriff’s auction in 1842. It had been auctioned to pay a legal judgment to Benjamin Duncan, a party to the lawsuit that forced the sale of the land. The land was later platted and added to the city in 1858, named for Duncan. Duncan’s Addition is located north of downtown Arkadelphia and to the southeast of the Ouachita Baptist University campus. Born …

Wabbaseka (Jefferson County)

Wabbaseka is a town in northern Jefferson County. It is on the conjoined highways U.S. 63 and U.S. 79 between Humphrey (Arkansas and Jefferson counties) and Altheimer (Jefferson County). When Arkansas became part of the United States, the land where Wabbaseka would later be founded was a forested swamp that attracted few settlers. Antoine Barraque visited Quapaw chief Heckaton at what was referred to as Wadittesha Wattiska, or Black Clay Bayou, in January 1826. Surveyor William Pelham noted “Bayou Wabbaseekee” in 1836, calling it “a stream with a gentle current.” High land next to the bayou was noted during a flood in 1844, leading Jordan Embree to purchase the “island” in 1853. On his map of Jefferson County in 1872, …

Wabbaseka United Methodist Church

The Wabbaseka United Methodist Church is a Classical Revival–style religious building located in Wabbaseka (Jefferson County). Constructed in 1925, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 4, 2002. Willie Hocker, designer of the Arkansas state flag, was an active member of the church. The congregation dates to 1870, when the Flat Bayou Methodist Episcopal Church was founded. It was not located in the community of Wabbaseka due to the availability of alcohol for purchase in the town. After construction of a bridge over the Arkansas River in 1883, the Cotton Belt Railroad reached the town and spurred growth in the area, and the congregation at Flat Bayou moved to Wabbaseka. Captain Nathaniel Terry Roberts donated …

Waddell’s Farm (near Village Creek), Skirmish at

 While on a foraging expedition on June 12, 1862, a detachment of the Ninth Illinois Cavalry engaged a Confederate force at Waddell’s Farm (also called Waddill’s Farm in some sources) near Village Creek in Jackson County, Arkansas. Bettering the Confederates, the Federals filled some thirty-six wagons with supplies before returning to Camp Tucker close to the junctions of the Black and White rivers. When Confederate major general Earl Van Dorn stripped Arkansas of all valuable military supplies to support operations in the Western Theater, Jacksonport (Jackson County) was abandoned of all reasonable defenses. The new commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department, Major General Thomas Hindman, had to create a new army from scratch. Consequently, he appointed individuals across the state such …

Waggoner, William Jayson (Bill)

William Jayson Waggoner, a lifelong resident of Lonoke County, served for forty-one years as circuit judge. Elected state representative in 1914, he served in that role until resigning to take a commission in the U.S. Army in 1917. Upon his return, he was elected prosecuting attorney and continued to serve in elected office for the rest of his life. Bill Waggoner was born near the community of Needmore (Lonoke County) on November 12, 1889, to Thomas J. Waggoner and Nancy Munsch Waggoner; he was one of ten children. After Waggoner’s father’s death in 1898, the family lived in Carlisle (Lonoke County) and Lonoke (Lonoke County). Waggoner’s mother remarried in 1911 to William Henry Stout. After graduating from the Law Department …

Wainwright, Larry (Murder of)

The 1967 murder of Larry Wainwright, an African-American teenager, near his home in the black neighborhood of Morning Star rocked the city of El Dorado (Union County) and remains an important civil rights–era cold case. This was not the first time Morning Star had been subjected to racist violence. Whites would regularly drive through the neighborhood and throw bottles or bricks at the black men, women, and children, seriously injuring them. Wainwright’s parents, Melvin and Louise Wainwright, and the African American community of Morning Star mourned the loss but also rallied in the wake of Wainwright’s death, ensuring that the murder was publicized beyond Union County and El Dorado. Although national attention was lacking, newspapers such as the Northwest Arkansas …

Wair, Thelma Jean Mothershed

Thelma Jean Mothershed Wair made history as a member of the Little Rock Nine, the African-American students involved in the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School in 1957. The world watched as they braved constant intimidation and threats from those who opposed desegregation of the formerly all-white high school. Mothershed was a junior when she entered Central. Despite the fact that she had a cardiac condition since birth, she had a near perfect record for attendance. Thelma Mothershed was born on November 29, 1940, in Bloomberg, Texas, to Arlevis Leander Mothershed and Hosanna Claire Moore Mothershed. Her father was a psychiatric aide at the Veterans Hospital, and her mother was a homemaker. She has three sisters and two brothers. …

Wakely, James Clarence (Jimmy)

Jimmy Wakely, an American country and western singer and actor from the 1930s through the 1950s, made several recordings and appeared in B-western movies with most major studios as a “singing cowboy.” Wakely was one of the last singing cowboys after World War II and also appeared on radio and television; he even had his own series of comic books. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1680 Vine Street. Jimmy Wakely was born James Clarence Wakeley on February 16, 1914, in Mineola (Howard County) to Major Anderson Wakeley, a farmer, and Caroline (or Carolin) “Cali” Burgess Wakeley. As a teenager, he changed “James” to “Jimmy” and dropped the second “e” in his last name, making …

Waldenburg (Poinsett County)

Waldenburg is an incorporated town in Owen Township of Poinsett County. Located west of Crowley’s Ridge, the town lies at the intersection of State Highways 14 and 49. It is located south of Weiner (Poinsett County) and approximately twenty-five miles from Jonesboro (Craighead County). Originally known as the German Settlement, then Bern, and later Youngville, Waldenburg was incorporated in 1958. Early in its settlement, the town was a small milling community predominately settled by German immigrants whose descendants still make up the majority of the population. The construction of the St. Louis Southwestern Railway (commonly called the Cotton Belt) in 1881 established a firm foundation for the town, and many businesses began to appear. Waldenburg’s milling and agricultural economy soon …

Waldo (Columbia County)

Like many small cities throughout the state of Arkansas, Waldo (Columbia County) owes its existence to the construction of the railroad through the area in the 1880s. With a connection to the outside world, it soon became a thriving commercial area with as many as seven lumbering operations located in the immediate vicinity. Waldo owes its founding and development to the construction of the St. Louis, Arkansas and Texas Railroad into the surrounding timberlands in 1883. At that time, Lamartine (Columbia County) was a thriving town in the area. But when the tracks were put down approximately three miles to the south, citizens began to move there, with businesses soon to follow. Once the Lamartine post office was relocated along …

Waldo Water Tower

The Waldo Water Tower, located in Waldo (Columbia County) on East Main Street west of its junction with North Skimmer Street, was constructed in 1935 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 May 29, 2007. As the United States struggled with 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 leaders …

Waldron (Scott County)

Surrounded by forested ridges and wide fertile valleys, Waldron is located fifty miles south of Fort Smith (Sebastian County), near the Oklahoma border in Scott County. It is situated on the South Fork of the Poteau River in the Ouachita Mountains. The town, the seat of Scott County, is centrally located on the north-south highway artery on the western side of the state and is within easy reach of air, train, or truck shipping facilities. Louisiana Purchase through the Gilded Age The founder of Waldron, William Grandison (W. G.) Featherston, moved to the area in 1832 with his mother, wife, and four children. He built a store/tavern on his property where Main Street was later constructed. A post office named …

Waldron Commercial Historic District

The Waldron Commercial Historic District comprises a collection of buildings along Main Street from 1st to 5th Street in downtown Waldron (Scott County). Within the boundaries of the historic district are thirty-four buildings and one additional structure, built in several different phases between the years 1880 and 1958. Of the thirty-five total structures, twenty maintain a high level of integrity and contribute to the historic district; the other fifteen are non-contributing. The district was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 25, 2008. The oldest buildings remaining in the Waldron Commercial Historic District date from circa 1880; however, development on Main Street began prior to that time. In the late 1830s, resident William Featherston operated a tavern …

Waldron War

The Waldron War was a decade-long period of violence that began during the Reconstruction era and was characterized by arson, general lawlessness, personal and political feuds, electoral misconduct, and violence—including murder—throughout Scott County. The civil strife resulted in Governors Augustus Garland and William Read Miller dispatching the state militia to the county on at least three occasions to restore order. With much of Waldron (Scott County) burned by departing Union troops in 1864, the citizens faced the reestablishment of the infrastructure of the town. While hostile feelings remained between those sympathetic to the Union cause and the Confederate cause, much of the strife was attributed to personality conflicts within the local Republican Party. Although there was the occasional outburst of …

Waldron, Attacks on

The capture of Waldron (Scott County) was the beginning of the Federal sweep south of the Arkansas River to rid western Arkansas of Confederates and guerrilla bands, before consolidating with other forces in the spring of 1864 for the Red River Campaign. When Colonel William F. Cloud of the Second Kansas Cavalry defeated Confederate brigadier general William L. Cabell’s forces at Devil’s Backbone Ridge south of Greenwood (Sebastian County) on September 1, 1863—on the same day that Fort Smith (Sebastian County) was occupied by Major General James Gilpatrick Blunt (US)—Waldron’s northern and western sides were defenseless. More than one skirmish happened in Scott County before the order was issued to occupy Waldron. The first attack happened one day after the …

Walker, David

David Walker, a lawyer, a jurist, and an early settler of Fayetteville (Washington County), was the leading Whig in the state’s “great northwest” region for nearly fifty years. He began his career as a member of the convention that wrote the state’s first constitution in 1836. He chaired the 1861 convention, and remained active in politics and law until shortly before his death. David Walker was born on February 19, 1806, near Elkton, Kentucky, to Jacob Wythe Walker and Nancy Hawkins Walker. The Walkers were a prolific and politically prominent family in Arkansas, Kentucky, and Virginia. In 1808, his father moved to Logan County, Kentucky, where in 1811 Walker first attended school. In two years, he memorized the grammatical rules …

Walker, Hazel Leona

aka: Hazel Walker Crutcher
Recognized as the greatest amateur women’s basketball player of the 1930s and 1940s, eleven-time Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) All-American Hazel Leona Walker was the only woman ever to own, manage, and star for her own professional basketball team. For sixteen seasons, from 1949 to 1965, Hazel Walker’s Arkansas Travelers barnstormed the country playing only men’s teams under men’s rules and winning eighty to eighty-five percent of their games. Hazel Walker was born on August 8, 1914, on her family’s farm near Oak Hill (Little River County), nine miles from Ashdown (Little River County). She was the middle child and only daughter of Herbert S. Walker and Minnie L. Chancey Walker, both Arkansas natives of part Cherokee descent. Walker first played …

Walker, James David

James David Walker served as a U.S. senator from Arkansas from 1879 to 1885. Before that, he served as a judge and as a colonel in the Confederate army. Local historian William Campbell later described him as “a man of strong convictions, sturdy honesty, high principles, and the recognized leader of the bar,” adding that his “knowledge and use of the law was profound, and his pleading before juries was always persuasive.” He had little impact in the Senate, however. J. D. Walker was born on December 13, 1830, near Russellville, Kentucky, the fifth and youngest child of James Volney Walker and Susan Howard McLean Walker. On both sides of his family, he was related to politicians, including congressional representatives …

Walker, Lucius Marshall (Marsh)

An antebellum plantation owner in St. Francis County and nephew of President James K. Polk, Lucius Marshall (Marsh) Walker served as a Confederate brigadier general in the Western Theater and Trans-Mississippi Department during the Civil War. He is most famous for his death in a wartime duel with Brigadier General John Sappington Marmaduke during the Little Rock Campaign. Marsh Walker was born in Columbia, Tennessee, on October 18, 1829, the third child and eldest son of Jane Maria Polk Walker and James Walker, who was a Jacksonian political operator and entrepreneur. Walker received an at-large appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1846, graduating fifteenth out of forty-four cadets in the class of 1850. Brevet Second …

Walker, William “Sonny”

William “Sonny” Walker was an educator and civil rights activist who went on to serve in positions in local, state, and federal government, becoming the first person of color to serve in the cabinet of a southern governor. Sonny Walker was born on December 13, 1933, in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). His parents were the Reverend James David Walker and Mary Coleman Walker; they later divorced, and his father married Nettie Harris. Early influences in his life included the Boy Scouts of America, gospel choir, drama and speech organizations, and community education through social and sports activities at Merrill High School; Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical, and Normal College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff); and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. …

Wallace Bridge

aka: Nimrod Bridge
Constructed in 1908, the Wallace Bridge was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places as the best example of a Camelback through truss bridge in the Nimrod (Perry County) vicinity. The bridge was also nominated for its associations with the development of vehicular transportation in Perry County. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 1, 2008, it is the last remaining example of this type of bridge in Perry County and one of only three remaining in Arkansas. It is unknown if there was a prior bridge at the current location of the Wallace Bridge. A loss of county records prevents a detailed understanding of the historical locations and types of bridges in Perry County, but at least one …

Wallace, Robert Minor

Robert Minor Wallace was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Seventh District of Arkansas in the Fifty-Eighth through the Sixty-First Congresses, serving from 1903 to 1911. Robert Wallace was born on August 6, 1856, in New London (Union County), the second of three children of William Jonathan Wallace and Susan Wallace. His mother died when he was not quite four years old, and his father, a major in the Confederate army, was killed in combat in May 1864, leaving him orphaned at age seven. Living with extended family, Wallace received his early education in the local common schools, and he graduated in 1876 from Arizona Seminary in Louisiana. After studying law in Little Rock …

Wallace, Sidney

Sidney Wallace was a legendary part of the state’s folklore during Arkansas’s Reconstruction. Some portrayed him as boldly resisting bushwhackers and carpetbaggers, while, to others, Wallace was a symbol of the lawless frontier life that Arkansas needed to transcend. Sid Wallace was born on the Wallace family farm near Clarksville (Johnson County) on August 11, 1851, the fifth of seven children of Vincent Wallace, a Methodist minister, and his wife, Ruth Suggs Wallace. On December 31, 1863, Wallace’s father was murdered in front of his house by three or more men wearing Union army coats. Accounts vary concerning the attackers, whether they were Union soldiers or local bushwhackers in disguise. Some accounts suggest that Wallace was a witness to his …

Wallace’s Ferry, Action at

aka: Action at Big Creek
The action at Wallace’s Ferry was fought July 26, 1864, as Union forces left Helena (Phillips County) on a reconnaissance mission to find Confederate cavalry raiders operating in Phillips County. In late June and early July 1864, Brigadier General Joseph O. Shelby, the Confederate commander of northeast Arkansas, dispatched 1,000 cavalrymen under Colonel Archibald Dobbins and Colonel B. Frank Gordon to raid Phillips County plantations that were being operated under the auspices of the U.S. government. The Union commander in Helena, Brigadier General Napoleon B. Buford, sent out a reconnaissance in force on July 25 to locate and hinder the operations of the Rebel horsemen. The Union force under Colonel W. S. Brooks (whose brother Joseph would later be a …

Walls, A. J.

aka: Andrew Jackson Walls
Judge Andrew Jackson (A. J.) Walls was a Lonoke County pioneer, planter, and elected public official in the early days of the county. He was a state representative, chairman of the State Democratic Committee, and father and grandfather of many prominent Lonoke County lawyers and politicians. A. J. Walls was born on April 2, 1862, in the Pleasant Hills community in northern Lonoke County (about ten miles north of Lonoke, the county seat). He was the son of Jackson Walls, a native of North Carolina, and Catherine Dickerson Cook, who was a native of Tennessee. Tax records reveal that the elder Jackson owned real estate in Pleasant Hills in 1852. He married Catherine Dickerson Cook, his second wife, in 1860. …

Walmart Inc.

aka: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Founded in 1962 by Sam Walton, Walmart Inc., the world’s most profitable retail outlet, is also the largest employer in the United States, with more than one million employees (called “associates”) and thousands of stores worldwide. For most of its history, it has been closely identified with its founder, whose homespun image often belied the aggressive, innovative business model he developed. Born near Kingfisher, Oklahoma, on March 29, 1918, Walton grew up during the Depression, working on his family’s farm and at a number of other jobs. After graduating from the University of Missouri at Columbia, he took a job in Des Moines, Iowa, as a management trainee for clothing retailer J. C. Penney, earning seventy-five dollars a month. After …

Walnut Grove (Independence County)

The Walnut Grove Cemetery on Walden Road just north of Cord (Independence County) is all that is left of the historically important community of Walnut Grove, located on the Jackson Military Road (named for President Andrew Jackson) built parallel to the old Southwest Trail in the early 1830s. A main road ran nearby from the county seat of Batesville (Independence County) to Elgin (Jackson County), seven miles southeast, where a ferry crossed Black River. Before it was called Walnut Grove, the area was referred to on the census reports as Black River Township. The Military Road then ran through Hazel Grove (Independence County) to Walnut Grove along Curia Creek, where the marker is located today at the entrance to the …

Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County)

Walnut Ridge, county seat of Lawrence County, is located in northeast Arkansas. In response to World War II, the United States government opened the Walnut Ridge Army Flying School in 1942 on the northern outskirts of the town. The flying school was essential in the training of World War II pilots and in the dismantling of planes and other military equipment at the end of the war. Today, Walnut Ridge is the home of Williams Baptist University and is located on a major railroad line. The town also recently opened a museum dedicated to the World War II Army Flying School. Pre-European Exploration Earliest inhabitants in Lawrence County were Native Americans. During the Mississippian Period (approximately AD 900–1600), the Osage, …

Walnut Ridge Army Flying School

The Walnut Ridge Army Flying School was one of seven U.S. Army Air Forces pilot training schools established in Arkansas as part of the nationwide expansion of World War II pilot training. Contract primary flying schools were located in Camden (Ouachita County), Helena (Phillips County), and Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). Newport (Jackson County) and Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County) had basic flying schools, while Blytheville (Mississippi County) and Stuttgart (Arkansas County) had advanced twin-engine flying schools. The Walnut Ridge Army Flying School enrolled during its existence 5,310 students, 4,641 of whom graduated. In early April 1942, a board of three army air forces officers—Lieutenant Colonel Burton Hovey Jr., Lieutenant Colonel John R. Cume Jr., and Captain Blanton Russell—went in search of …

Walnut Ridge Race War of 1912

The Walnut Ridge Race War of 1912 was an instance of violent nightriding (also known as whitecapping) in which a group of white vigilantes attempted to drive African Americans from the city of Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County). They did not succeed in making Walnut Ridge an all-white town, but they did manage to drive black laborers from certain local industries, which was often the aim of nightriders, who were frequently poor whites who wanted those jobs for themselves. In early April 1912, notices signed “Kit Karson and Band” were posted in Walnut Ridge ordering local African Americans to leave the city. A committee of white citizens responded to this threat by posting their own warnings to the band in question, …

Walton Arts Center

Walton Arts Center on Dickson Street in Fayetteville (Washington County) is a unique facility not only for its wealth of arts programs usually found in a much larger metropolitan area but also because of the circumstances of its creation. A shared vision, sense of community, and willingness to compromise led to a mutually beneficial union of public and private sectors. In the 1980s, the Sam Walton family donated a $5 million gift toward construction of a performance space at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville for touring shows and other events. At the same time, the city of Fayetteville was considering a multiuse space to accommodate various groups, conferences, and special events. A tax on hotels, motels, and restaurants …

Walton, Alice Louise

Alice Louise Walton is the heir to the Walton family fortune; in April 2019, she was estimated by Forbes magazine to have a net worth of almost $46 billion, making her one of the richest women in the world. She is also well known as a philanthropist, having established the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville (Benton County). Alice Louise Walton was born on October 7, 1949, in Newport (Jackson County), the youngest of four children and the only daughter of Sam and Helen Walton. Sam Walton opened Walton’s Five and Dime Store in Bentonville and then created Walmart, which changed the retail industry worldwide. Alice Walton grew up in Bentonville, attending public schools there. After graduating from …

Walton, Helen Robson

Helen Robson Walton was a noted philanthropist. Her husband, Walmart Inc. founder Sam Walton, called her one of his best advisors. When ranked as one of the world’s wealthiest women and asked for a description of her work, she defined herself simply as “volunteer to community, state and nation.” Along with making large charitable donations in areas such as the arts, education, and organizations for families and children, she was the first woman to be named chairwoman of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Foundation. Helen Alice Robson was born on December 3, 1919, in Claremore, Oklahoma. She was the daughter of homemaker Hazel Carr Robson and banker/rancher Leland Stanford (L. S.) Robson. She had three brothers and a sister. The family …

Walton, Samuel Moore

aka: Sam Walton
Samuel Moore Walton was founder and chairman of Walmart Inc., the world’s largest retailer. At one time, he was the richest man in the United States. Sam Walton was born on March 29, 1918, in Kingfisher, Oklahoma, the first of two children to Thomas Gibson Walton, a banker, farmer, farm loan appraiser, and real estate and insurance agent, and Nancy Lee Lawrence Walton. Walton showed signs of an entrepreneurial gift early on, selling magazine subscriptions, starting at about age seven or eight. He worked his way through college with newspaper routes. After adding routes and hiring helpers, he was earning $4,000 to $5,000 a year. He attended the University of Missouri at Columbia, earning a business degree in 1940. His …

Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge

The Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge in Crittenden County covers 5,532 acres, at the center of which is the 600-acre Wapanocca Lake, a former oxbow of the Mississippi River. The refuge was created in 1961 for the primary purpose of extending goose migration into the southern part of the Mississippi River Valley, which was essential for safeguarding the Canada goose population of the United States. The area now covered by the refuge was originally the site of the Wapanocca Outing Club, a hunting club formed by a group of Memphis, Tennessee, businessmen in 1886. This club was one of the first to practice conservation methods such as bag limits. The Arkansas Delta was a major stopping point for migratory birds along …

War Memorial Stadium

War Memorial Stadium, built in 1947, is located in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The venue has been home to numerous events, including football games featuring the Razorbacks of the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). Since its opening, the stadium has drawn millions of spectators to central Arkansas and has had a tremendous impact on the local economy. In 1947, the Arkansas state government paid $1.2 million to build the stadium. Architect Bruce R. Anderson designed the venue, which had an original seating capacity of 31,075. The stadium’s first event, a football game between UA and Abilene Christian, was held on September 18, 1948. Before the game, the stadium was formally dedicated by former Razorback and Medal of Honor recipient Maurice Britt …

War of 1812

The War of 1812 was the first conflict that the involved the United States after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. While it did not have a direct impact within the state’s current borders, the war did influence events that would continue to shape Arkansas for decades. Modern-day Arkansas was at that time part of the Missouri Territory, which was renamed from the Louisiana Territory on June 4, 1812, when the new state of Louisiana joined the Union. The population in Arkansas was recorded at just over 1,000 in 1810, and the area did not have any major towns or cities. The territorial government in Missouri created the first county in the future state in 1813 with the establishment of Arkansas …

War of the Rebellion [Book Series]

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies is a 128-volume collection of records pertaining to military activities during the American Civil War. It is augmented by The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies and the more recent Supplement to the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. The process of compiling the Official Records began in 1863 when General-in-Chief Henry W. Halleck proposed gathering and publishing documents and reports. Congress passed a resolution calling for printing Union military records on May 19, 1864, and President Abraham Lincoln signed it into law the next day. A new law calling for …

War Room, The

The War Room is a 1993 documentary in which filmmakers Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker produced an inside look at Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign for president of the United States. The filmmakers were granted access to the Clinton campaign center, dubbed by Hillary Clinton as the “war room.” It was filmed mostly in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and featured a number of well-known Little Rock locations. Pennebaker, a respected filmmaker, was especially known for 1967’s Don’t Look Back about Bob Dylan and 1968’s Monterey Pop about the legendary music festival. The War Room made stars of campaign strategists James Carville and George Stephanopoulos. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary, won a number of prizes …

Ward (Lonoke County)

The town of Ward is a farming community located in northern Lonoke County on the western edge of Arkansas’s Grand Prairie along the old Southwest Trail, today known as U.S. Highway 67. It is bisected by the Missouri-Pacific Railroad tracks. The railroad first reached the town in the 1870s as the Cairo and Fulton Railroad Company, and it was the main reason for the town to prosper as a prime shipping point for the area’s corn, wheat, cotton, strawberries, and other crops. The lush hardwood forests, rich alluvial soil, abundant game, and ample water supplies found here in this part of the state drew settlers to this area. Ward is believed to have been named for W. D. (probably William) …

Ward, Essie Ann Treat

Essie Ann Treat Ward, who is often referred to as “Grandma Moses of the Ozarks,” produced paintings that are fascinating examples of primitive art, a style of folk painting. From a field of one hundred and fifty folk painters, she was chosen one of the top ten in Arkansas, receiving recognition and appreciation in her native region and state. In 1970, she participated in the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife in Washington DC. Today hundreds of her paintings in the Miranda and Hezzakiah series hang in public and private art collections around the world. Essie Treat was born on October 20, 1902, to Henry and Parthenia Treat in the community of Nubbin Hill (Searcy County). Her father was a farmer …

Ward, John [Medal of Honor Recipient]

John Ward was an African-American U.S. Army scout born in Arkansas who received a Medal of Honor for his actions in a battle with Comanche Indians in Texas in 1875. John Ward was born in Arkansas in 1847 (the exact location is unknown), and his parents were either both black and Seminole or they were African Americans who lived among the Seminole; given his birth date, he may have been born during the forced removal of the Seminole from the southeastern United States. The Ward family was among several hundred black and Seminole people from the Seminole Nation in the Indian Territory who received permission to immigrate to northern Mexico in the late 1840s, where the African Americans were safe …

Ware, Ed

Ed Ware was one of twelve African-American men accused of murder following the Elaine Massacre of 1919. After brief trials, the so-called Elaine Twelve—six who became known as the Moore defendants and six who became known as the Ware defendants (so called using Ed Ware’s name)—were found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. Ultimately, the Ware defendants were freed by the Arkansas Supreme Court in 1923; after numerous legal efforts, the Moore defendants were released in 1925. Ed Ware was born in Mississippi on March 7, 1882, to William Ware and Ann Ware. He moved to Arkansas City (Desha County) around 1910. Ed Ware was employed as a farmhand in the region. On September 12, 1918, he registered for …

Ware, Jim and Jack (Lynching of)

On July 14, 1895, brothers Jim and Jack Ware, who allegedly assisted Wiley Bunn in the murder of Allen Martin, were lynched in Hampton (Calhoun County). The Ware family had been living in Calhoun County for some time. In 1870, Moses and Easter Ware were living in Jackson Township. Among their children were two sons, fifteen-year-old James (Jim) Ware and thirteen-year-old Jack. Moses and James Ware were working as laborers. They were still in Jackson Township in 1880. Jack, along with James and James’s wife, Susan, were still living with their parents. Moses was farming, and both James and John were working as laborers. In 1880, fourteen-year-old Willey (Wiley) Bunn was living in Jackson Township with his parents, Drew and …

Warfield, William Caesar

William Caesar Warfield was a noted African-American bass-baritone concert artist who had an extensive career that included major roles in two Hollywood films as well as stints on stage and on television. Probably no one ever performed “Ol’ Man River” from Jerome Kern’s Show Boat more times than Warfield, who performed it in several languages. William Warfield was born on January 22, 1920, to Robert Warfield and Bertha McCamery Warfield in West Helena (Phillips County). He spent only a few years in Arkansas; however, because of a strong family background in Arkansas and Mississippi, he described himself as “an Arkansas boy from tip to toe.” His multiracial ancestry included a paternal grandfather who appeared in photographs to be a white man …

Warneke, Lon

Montgomery County native Lon (Lonnie) Warneke, known as the “The Arkansas Hummingbird,” was a major league baseball pitcher and umpire who later served as county judge for Garland County. He was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 1961. Lon Warneke was born on March 28, 1909, to Luke and Belle Warneke in the small farming community of Owley (Montgomery County), about six miles south of Mount Ida (Montgomery County); he had four siblings. Warneke worked on the family farm. He attended the Owley public schools until the ninth grade, when he transferred to Mount Ida. The baseball coach there did not think Warneke was good enough to play on the high school team the first year. However, …

Warner, Julia McAlmont

Julia McAlmont Warner was an educator at Arkansas Female College in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and a leader of the Political Equality League, a women’s suffrage organization in Arkansas. Julia McAlmont Warner was born on September 1, 1860, in Hornell, New York, to Truman Warner and Myra Cordelia McAlmont Warner, both natives of New York. Her mother established the Arkansas Female College in 1872 and was an early supporter of women’s suffrage in Arkansas. In 1877, Julia McAlmont Warner began her career teaching at the Arkansas Female College at the age of seventeen and continued there for several years. She was fluent in several languages, including Latin, French, Spanish, and Italian. In 1911, a number of prominent women in the …

Warren (Bradley County)

Warren has been the Bradley County seat of justice since the county’s organization on December 18, 1840. Located in the southeastern part of the state, the town continues to be the county’s commercial, educational, and health care center. It is located on what was variously called the Chicot Trace, Gaines Landing Road, Fort Towson Road, and Washita Road. Early Statehood through Reconstruction Warren once served as the official center of the territory now composed of Calhoun, Cleveland, Ashley, and Drew counties. The first circuit court met on April 26, 1841, at Hugh Bradley’s house. The naming of Warren remained clouded in conjecture for a long time; according to local family tradition, the town was named for Hugh Bradley’s slave, Warren …