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Yell, Archibald

Archibald Yell, a larger than life and colorful figure in Arkansas history, was Arkansas’s first congressman, second governor, founder of Arkansas’s first Masonic lodge, and Mexican War hero. He was a consummate, magnetic politician. Yell County and Yellville (Marion County) were named for him. Archibald Yell is believed to have been born in Jefferson County, Tennessee, in 1797, although North Carolina appears on his tombstone and Kentucky can be found in newspaper accounts. Yell himself wrote that he was born in Tennessee, although he could not spell that word or anything else above two syllables correctly. Best evidence indicates August 7, 1797, not 1799, as his date of birth. His parents—Moses and Jane Curry Yell—settled in the Duck River region …

Yell, James

James Yell was a lawyer, state legislator, and major general in the Arkansas State Militia during the Civil War. Never holding an active field command, he was removed from his position early in the war because of his allegiance to state troops rather than the Confederate government. He did not see action in the war. James Yell was born on March 10, 1811, in Bedford County, Tennessee. He was the son of Pearcy Yell and Jane Gist Yell, and he was the nephew of Archibald Yell, Arkansas’s first congressman and second governor. Receiving some education, he taught school for three years and also served as a magistrate in Tennessee. He married Permelia Young in Bedford County in 1832, and the …

Yellow Fever

In 1878 and 1879, Southern cities such as Memphis, Tennessee, and New Orleans, Louisiana, were devastated by epidemics of yellow fever. Citizens of Arkansas were also affected by the disease, leading to controversial quarantine measures that prohibited travel in parts of the state and also restricted the transportation of materials such as recently harvested cotton. The creation of the Arkansas State Board of Health resulted from successful efforts to protect Arkansans from the 1879 yellow fever epidemic. Yellow Fever (colloquially called “Yellow Jack”) is a potentially fatal virus that mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) transmit to their human hosts through their bite. It attacks the body’s organs, mainly the liver, which causes jaundice, a yellowing of the patient’s skin and whites of …

Yellowhammer

Yellowhammer was a women’s communal-living farm in Madison County in the 1970s, representative of women’s land groups that existed in northwest Arkansas at that time. The back-to-the-land movement and the women’s movement came together in the early to mid-1970s to create the women’s land movement, self- or nearly self-sufficient land communities organized by and for women. The women’s land movement had many roots, including the hippie and anti-war movements, environmentalism, and feminism, many of which were interwoven. In 1970, founders Trella Laughlin and Patricia Jackson were in Austin, Texas, playing in an “all-girls band,” learning about solar energy, sharing resources and living spaces, and protesting the Vietnam War. Soon afterward, they moved with friends to land in rural Pope County, …

Yellville (Marion County)

The city of Yellville is the county seat of Marion County in northern Arkansas. Located on Crooked Creek, Yellville has never become a major metropolis, but a family duel in the nineteenth century and a turkey festival begun in the twentieth century have given the city some statewide and even national attention. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood In 1817, the federal government declared parts of the White River and Arkansas River valleys in northern Arkansas a Cherokee reservation. The Cherokee invited other tribes to join them on their land, and the Shawnee of the Ohio River valley were one group who accepted the invitation. One of their settlements was on Crooked Creek, about twenty miles from the White River. An …

Yocum (Carroll County)

Yocum (Carroll County), one of the county’s earliest settlements, was founded on a small stream near current State Highway 103 north of Green Forest (Carroll County). Little remains of the once prosperous unincorporated community other than a few homes. One of the earliest white settlers recorded in the area, Louis Russell from Illinois, established a homestead in 1822 along a small stream that today bears the name Yocum Creek. Some historians believe him to be the first to settle within the present boundaries of Carroll County. Soon, others arrived. In 1835, the creek and town’s namesake, John Yocum (sometimes spelled Yoachum), built a log grist mill and dam on the creek. His mill was soon processing up to four bushels …

Yocum Creek, Skirmish at

aka: Skirmish at Duncan Springs
  Part of the First Arkansas Cavalry (US) was stationed at Elkhorn Tavern, near Bentonville (Benton County), in late October 1862 to help control part of southwest Missouri until the army could enter Arkansas. On November 15, 1862, Company G under the command of Captain Rowman E. M. Mack and Company K under Captain Theodorick Youngblood, along with elements of an additional unidentified company, arrived in the area of Yocum Creek in Arkansas to evacuate loyal Union families to Elkhorn Tavern. While at the Jeremiah Youngblood farm, local Confederates attacked the Unionists and then withdrew to the south and west along Yocum Creek, with the Federals in pursuit. The fight continued southward, down the valley to Duncan Springs. At this junction, …

Yorktown (Lincoln County)

Yorktown is an unincorporated community in Lincoln County. Located on U.S. Highway 425 about six miles north of Star City (Lincoln County), the small community is also a landmark on the meandering course of Bayou Bartholomew. Although the land where Yorktown developed was claimed by the Quapaw at the time the Arkansas Territory was organized, it was sparsely populated. Even after Arkansas became a state, the region remained unclaimed for some time, in part because steamships rarely were able to navigate Bayou Bartholomew as far north as the Yorktown area (which at the time was part of Jefferson County). The settlement was named for the York family, who arrived shortly before the Civil War began; Joseph Lane Hunter, another settler, …

Young Memorial

The Young Memorial at Hendrix College in Conway (Faulkner County)—originally called the War Memorial Monument of Conway—is a sculptural monument erected to honor students of the school who died serving in the U.S. military during World War I. Six Hendrix students lost their lives in World War I. Five of these men died of diseases either in the United States or abroad; the sixth, Robert W. Young, died in combat. The idea for a war memorial on the Hendrix campus was conceived by the Hendrix Memorial Association, a student-run group, in 1919. With the help of faculty advisor Professor W. O. Wilson, the group soon raised $800 of the expected $1,200–$1,500 cost through student and alumni donations. By the spring …

Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA)

aka: YWCA
From its beginnings in 1858, the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) has been dedicated to bringing women together to consider, discuss, and ameliorate America’s racial, social, and economic ills. Fueled with, and informed by, the spirit of progressive reform, the YWCA’s largely Protestant, middle-class membership was further engaged in “Christian social work,” or community activism, which was directed particularly at women less fortunate than themselves. In Arkansas, the best known YWCA was located in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Founded in 1911, the Little Rock YWCA, which was located at 4th and Scott streets, was organized to assist women and girls in the community by providing them with access to education, recreational activities, employment, and lodging. Its original founders were Mery …

Young, Paul Holden

Paul Holden Young was a bamboo fly-rod designer known for making the bamboo fishing rod lighter, shorter, and capable of being broken down so that it could be more easily transported. Today, his rods are collectibles worth many times the prices they sold for in the 1930s and 1940s. Paul H. Young was born in Cherry Valley (Cross County) on August 27, 1890, to Charles Henry Young and Sarah Alice Young; he had four siblings. His father taught in a variety of local schools but was eventually forbidden from teaching in Cross County after arguments with each school board. Young’s mother, who had several sisters in Jonesboro (Craighead County), raised two of her five children and sent the rest to …

Young, Rufus King

Rufus King Young was an influential church and civil rights leader in Arkansas in the second half of the twentieth century. As the leader of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Little Rock (Pulaski County), he was actively involved in the local civil rights movement and the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Rufus King Young was born on May 13, 1911, to Robert Young and Laura Scott Young in Bayou Bartholomew (Drew County). He received his early education at Young’s Chapel AME Church, an institution built on land originally owned by his grandfather, before graduating in 1933 from Chicot County Training School in Dermott (Chicot County). He continued his education at Shorter College in North …

Zellner, Ferdinand

Ferdinand Frederick Zellner lived in Fayetteville (Washington County) from 1852 until 1863 and wrote a piece of music called “Fayetteville Polka,” which is believed to be the first Arkansas composition to be published as sheet music. Ferdinand Zellner was born in Berlin, Prussia (now a part of Germany), in August 1831 and reportedly came to the United States in 1850 as part of the orchestra that toured with Jenny Lind, the “Swedish nightingale.” After the tour ended and Lind returned to Europe, Zellner and his brother, Willhelm Emil Zellner, stayed in America and settled in Fayetteville. Ferdinand Zellner filed paperwork with Washington County in 1852 to become an American citizen and was hired by Sophia Sawyer as a music teacher …

Zerbe Air Sedan

The Zerbe Air Sedan is a curiosity in the history of aviation in Arkansas. It was an early attempt to construct a passenger plane, and the only known account of it flying was in 1921 in Fayetteville (Washington County). Aircraft builder Professor Jerome S. Zerbe had not had much success at building flying machines. In 1910, he participated in the Dominguez Air Meet in California. An account from the meet stated that “Professor J. S. Zerbe brought out his curious appearing multiplane and attempted to take off. As it clattered down the field amid the cheers of the crowd, a front wheel hit a hole and collapsed throwing the machine to one side and damaging a wing….” After the meet, …

Zero Mountain

Zero Mountain, Inc., founded in Johnson (Washington County) in 1955, is a company specializing in cold storage. It provides 30 million cubic feet of controlled-temperature storage to companies like Cargill, Simmons, Walmart Inc., Tyson, and ConAgra. It is the only company of its type in Arkansas. The idea for a sub-zero processing and storage vault in northwest Arkansas took hold when George Bazore Sr., a local businessman, visited a Kansas City cold storage facility in 1951. Bazore, C. A. Stump, Joseph Rumsey, and Price Dickson worked for four years to create the facility. Bazore had attended the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) and was familiar with the area’s hills and valleys. When he saw an abandoned limestone …

Zinc (Boone County)

  Zinc is a small town in eastern Boone County, east of Harrison (Boone County) and south of Lead Hill (Boone County) on the Sugar Orchard Creek. As the town’s name suggests, it was once a center for the mining of zinc and lead. The area around Zinc was sparsely settled until after the Civil War. Elias Barham was the first settler to claim the land where Zinc is located; his land purchase dates to 1890, although he may have lived there earlier. Barham raised cattle, grew crops, and operated some small mines. As the mining operation drew miners into Boone County, Barham opened a general store with his brother, George Solomon Barham. Intending to create a mining town, Barham …