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 operations in the town, and Nannie taught courses in the preparatory department. She purchased two adjoining lots located a few blocks from the college on February 23, 1901. The house was designed not only to provide living accommodations for her family but also to serve as a boarding home for students and others in the community.

The house is located at 227 Cherry Street. Constructed on a brick pier foundation, the north-facing house is two stories. The exterior of the home is covered in weatherboard, and the roof is covered with composition shingles. On the front of the house, a two-story bay projection with a front facing gable is located on the east side. A one-story wraparound porch is located to the west of the projection and is topped with a roof supported by five columns. The front door is wooden, with sidelights on both sides and topped with a single-paned transom. Just to the west of the door are two side-by-side one-over-one windows. Another door also topped with a transom is located at the western end of the wraparound porch. The house front has a total of ten windows, most of which are one-over-one.

The west side of the house includes ten windows and another door. A side gable covered with wood shingles is located on this side. The rear of the house includes a bay window that was added after construction and a two-story screened porch. The east side of the house contains five additional windows.

The interior of the home features original pine floorboards in the front rooms and original pocket doors. Some interior renovations have been made, but the integrity of the original home is intact.

Biscoe served as an instructor and dean of women at Ouachita for eleven years and also taught at Arkadelphia High School. She also served as the first president of the Women’s Library Association, the organization that founded the Clark County Library. Upon her death in 1931, the home passed to her widowed daughter Mattie Clarke, who had two daughters, Martha and Caroline, and taught at Arkadelphia High School for twenty-five years. Martha taught elementary school in Foreman (Little River County); she married Russell Woodell in 1936 and moved into the home. The couple had two daughters, including Caroline, who taught at Stamps (Lafayette County) upon her graduation from Ouachita in 1961 and began teaching at the college in 1986. Caroline Cagle Luck became the fourth female educator to own of the home. The house continues to be used as a private residence.

For additional information:
“Nannie Gresham Biscoe House.” National Register for Historic Places registration form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Office, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/CL0269.nr.pdf (accessed May 8, 2018).

Richter, Wendy, et al. Clark County Arkansas: Past and Present. Arkadelphia, AR: Clark County Historical Association, 1992.

David Sesser
Henderson State University

Last Updated: 05/08/2018