Entries

Wheeler, Henry

Henry W. Wheeler was an Arkansas native who earned a Medal of Honor for valor while fighting with a Maine regiment during the 1861 Battle of Bull Run in Virginia. Henry W. Wheeler was born in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) on September 23, 1841, the son of Hiram Wheeler and Elizabeth Wheeler. His father may have been working as a carpenter during construction of the second U.S. military installment at Fort Smith when Wheeler was born, but the family had returned to his father’s native Maine by 1860; at that time, Hiram Wheeler recorded 1,800 in real property and $2,000 in personal property in Bangor. Henry Wheeler, age eighteen, was working as a clerk, and the family included a second …

Wheeler, Lloyd Garrison

Lloyd Garrison Wheeler was a prominent and trailblazing African-American lawyer, political figure, and businessman in Illinois and Arkansas. Lloyd G. Wheeler was born in Mansfield, Ohio, on May 29, 1848. His father was active in the Underground Railroad, but when Ohio passed a law making the harboring of slaves illegal, the family relocated to Chatham, Canada, where Wheeler received his early education. When his mother died, he returned to the United States, settling in Chicago, Illinois. There, he worked at a variety of jobs, including on the railroad and as a shoe black. Throughout this period, his greatest ambition was a career in law. He became the first black mail carrier in Chicago while studying law in the office of …

Wheeler, Stephen

Stephen Wheeler was a veteran of the Civil War, a longtime court clerk for the Western District of Arkansas, an auditor for the State of Arkansas, a state senator, and the publisher of a journal. Stephen Wheeler was born on February 28, 1839, in Steuben County, New York. His mother, Millicent Clark Wheeler, died when he was nine years old, at which time his father, farmer Daniel Wheeler, moved to Wisconsin. Stephen Wheeler began a three-year apprenticeship with a druggist when he was sixteen. He later moved back to New York and became a salesman at a dry goods wholesale warehouse. He later moved to Michigan, and in 1861, he volunteered in the Union army and enlisted at Battle Creek, …

Whelen Springs (Clark County)

Whelen Springs is a small town located along state Highway 53 twenty-two miles south-southeast of the Clark County seat of Arkadelphia. It was once a main hub for powerful lumber companies. The initial settlement of Whelen Springs began in September 1881 as a result of lumber companies coming to the area. The town’s proximity to the Camden (Ouachita County) line of the Iron Mountain Railroad also played a role in its origin. The name of the town can be traced to Henry Whelen, the owner of the land that would become Whelen Springs. In 1882, Southern Lumber Company began construction of a sawmill, under the direction of a Mr. Thompson. In February 1882, a post office was established, with Francis …

Whig Party

The Whig Party emerged as a national force in the 1830s under the leadership of Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, primarily in opposition to the policies of President Andrew Jackson. The party’s emergence and success in Arkansas largely mirrored the national pattern, with Arkansas Whigs opposing the political dynasty known as “The Family,” which dominated the territorial and state Democratic Party until the eve of the Civil War. Echoing the national Whig Party’s platform of federal support for internal improvements such as roads and canals, protective tariffs, and a national bank, Arkansas Whigs championed a stronger national role in regional economic development. This ran counter to the more limited states-rights philosophy of the Democrats. The Whigs, however, were largely unsuccessful …

Whipple, Win “Skinny”

aka: James Winfield Whipple
James Winfield “Skinny” Whipple of Arkadelphia (Clark County) was a track and field star in high school and college. He set numerous records in the broad jump while at Arkadelphia High School and at Louisiana State University. He set an Arkansas high school long jump record of twenty-four feet, which stood for more than fifty years. Win Whipple was born in Crowley, Louisiana, on September 10, 1915, to Fredrick and Pearl Maxwell Whipple. He had three sisters and two brothers. Shortly after Winfield’s birth, the family moved to Arkadelphia, where his father opened a restaurant. At Arkadelphia High School, Whipple participated in football, basketball, and track and field. Although he trained in all of those areas, the broad jump (now …

White Bluff Generating Plant

The White Bluff Generating Plant is a coal-fired electrical energy generating plant located near Redfield (Jefferson County) and operated by Entergy Arkansas. It was the first coal-fired plant constructed in Arkansas and one of four in operation. Until the early 1970s, electricity, gasoline, and natural gas had been cheap and apparently in plentiful supply in the United States, but the first Arab oil embargo quickly drove energy prices up sharply, causing immediate gas and oil shortages. Energy suppliers, including electric utilities, had already begun to plan for the use of alternative fuel sources. For example, Arkansas Power and Light (AP&L—now Entergy Arkansas) had begun construction of two large nuclear fuel generators near Russellville (Pope County). At this point, however, there …

White County

White County is the second largest county in land area in the state. Geographically, it is a microcosm of the state as a whole. The southeastern half of the county is alluvial land that today is mostly used for farming and timber production. The northeastern half of the county is rocky higher ground where much of the land is used for dairy and beef cattle ranching. The county seat, Searcy, contains the greatest population and number of industries of any town in the county. Even though the county was formed before statehood, its boundaries have altered little through time. Southeastern White County is mostly farmland and lowland forests. The Little Red River flows northwest to southeast across the county and …

White County Courthouse

The White County Courthouse in the northeastern Arkansas city of Searcy (White County) is located in a historic district. The courthouse has hosted many local events over the years ranging from farmers’ markets to the annual Get Down Downtown festival. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the White County Courthouse as historically significant, and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 3, 1977. White County built its first courthouse when the county was still in the Arkansas Territory. In 1835, one year before Arkansas’s statehood, the Territorial Legislature created White County and established a five-man commission to determine its county seat. David Crise, one of the commissioners, hosted the local government in his home, which …

White County Historical Society

The White County Historical Society has been the guiding force in the preservation of the history of White County’s people and institutions. It continues to work to preserve the heritage and records of the county. The first meeting of what would become the White County Historical Society was held at the Searcy City Library on July 28, 1961, and attended by thirteen people. From the beginning, the society was dedicated to preserving the history of White County, providing information for those interested in genealogy, and encouraging the dissemination of information. In June 1962, the society began publishing White County Heritage on a quarterly schedule. The first edition was sent to over thirty people and contained several stories and two cemetery …

White Flight

“White flight”—the departure of white residents from racially mixed cities to heavily white suburban enclaves in reaction to court-ordered school desegregation—occurred in several urban communities in Arkansas. Related changes occurred in other communities in the state during the same period, especially in the Arkansas Delta. There, many white families moved children into private, all-white “academies” as desegregation was implemented. In addition, many families—both white and black—chose to depart such communities entirely, although it seems clear that those demographic changes were caused more by a sense of economic hopelessness than school politics. While towns such as Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) evidenced “white flight” in the aftermath of court orders in the latter decades of the twentieth century, it was in the …

White Hall (Jefferson County)

White Hall (once called Grenshaw Springs and Grenshaw “Hall” Springs) is on Arkansas Highway 365 North in Jefferson County. The city developed slowly—first as an early nineteenth-century rest stop for early settlers who were drawn to the pristine water that flowed freely in pools above the ground, then later, during the early twentieth century, as the most direct route for the early Dollarway Road, the first paved (concrete) road in Arkansas, which ran approximately 22.2 miles from the city limits of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) to Little Rock (Pulaski County). During World War II, the United States Army’s Chemical Warfare Division began construction of the Pine Bluff Arsenal on December 4, 1941, near the future city’s northern boundaries. The 6.8 …

White Lightning

Released in 1973, White Lightning is a film written by William Norton and directed by Joseph Sargent starring Burt Reynolds and Ned Beatty. It is set in fictional Bogan County, Arkansas, though it was shot in several locations throughout the central part of the state and includes many recognizable landmarks, particularly in Benton (Saline County). Taking its name from a colloquial term for moonshine whiskey, the film primarily deals with central character Gator McKlusky (Reynolds) and his attempt to infiltrate an illegal bootlegging operation. Upon hearing of his brother’s murder, McKlusky, who at the outset of the film is in prison for bootlegging, agrees to work as a “stool pigeon”—or cooperative informant—for the federal government in an attempt to bring …

White Nose Syndrome

White nose syndrome (WNS) is an emerging disease caused by an exotic fungus of the Phylum Ascomycota, Class Dothideomycetes, and Family Pseudeurotiaceae. This fungus is native to Europe and perhaps portions of Asia and is specifically termed Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd). Pd was unknown to science and undescribed until it was identified in 2008. Initially named Geomyces destructans, it was reclassified as P. destructans in 2013. The fungus was first found in Asia and Europe, where scientists believe it had existed for some time, as host bats do not appear to get as ill from the disease it causes. The strain of Pd that made it to North America is thought to have originated from some locality in Europe. There is …

White Oak Creek, Skirmish at (April 14, 1864)

  The Skirmish at White Oak Creek occurred on the evening of April 14, 1864, the day before Union forces seized the city of Camden (Ouachita County). Brigadier General Eugene A. Carr led the Cavalry Division of the VII Corps to a position along the creek before sunset and set up camp for the evening. Prior to retiring for the night, Carr dispatched 500 Union troops down the Washington Road, 250 men at the junction of the Washington Road and the road from Lone Grove to Camden, and 250 men to a crossroad one and a half miles away. There was also a Confederate reconnaissance group of sixty men within half a mile of Carr’s position that had met and …

White Oak Creek, Skirmish at (September 29, 1864)

  As part of the Fort Smith Expedition, the Skirmish at White Oak Creek was a culmination of skirmishes beginning with Clarksville (Johnson County) on September 28 and ending with Union forces arriving at Van Buren (Crawford County) on the evening of September 30. Major Thomas Derry of the Third Wisconsin Infantry had his troops camp three miles beyond Clarksville on the evening of September 28. To their dismay, Confederate forces bushwhacked the Union camp on all sides. Union skirmishers drove Confederates away until dark. Throughout the night and into the early morning, Confederate forces attempted to cross Union pickets in the midst of a severe storm but failed in every attempt. One Union soldier was killed during these attempts. …

White Oak Lake State Park

White Oak Lake State Park in Ouachita and Nevada counties in southwest Arkansas provides access to fishing on White Oak Lake and other recreational opportunities, including camping, picnicking, hiking, and interpretive programs. The lake contains bass, crappie, catfish, and bream, and the park is also rich in wildlife, including great blue herons, egrets, ospreys, green herons, and bald eagles. The land that is now White Oak Lake and White Oak Lake State Park was acquired by the federal government in the 1930s through the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act of 1937. This act was intended to assist farmers during the Depression by making it possible for them to own land rather than continuing in tenant arrangements. In 1957, the State of …

White Revolution

Headquartered in Mountain View (Stone County), White Revolution was a neo-Nazi group founded by Arkansas native Billy Roper in 2002. Roper copyrighted the name White Revolution and set up a website and forum for members to exchange ideas, post events, and build an online community. Although not an indicator of total group membership, on March 17, 2011, the White Revolution forum had more than 1,200 participants. Before the election of Barack Obama as U.S. president in 2008, the forum hovered at around 300. Roper encouraged members of his group to contribute to the forum and use other social networking media to promote the organization and recruit members. The anti-Semitic organization promoted the interests of whites over other ethnic/racial groups, recruited racially aware …

White River

The 722-mile-long White River flowing through northern Arkansas and southern Missouri is a major tributary of the Mississippi River. The river begins in northwestern Arkansas in the Boston Mountains and flows east toward the Fayetteville (Washington County) area, where it then turns north. Near Eureka Springs (Carroll County), the river enters Missouri. It then flows southeast back into Arkansas past Bull Shoals (Marion County), Mountain Home (Baxter County), and Calico Rock (Izard County). At Batesville (Independence County) begins the second section of the river, known as the lower White. From Batesville, the White River flows south for 295 miles through Arkansas’s Delta region, past Augusta (Woodruff County), Des Arc (Prairie County), Clarendon (Monroe County), and St. Charles (Arkansas County), before …

White River and Attack on the Steamer Clara Bell, Operations on the

The Union army undertook the operations on the White River in late July 1864 to protect the lines of communication between the Mississippi River and Major General Frederick Steele’s headquarters in Little Rock (Pulaski County) as Confederate brigadier general Joseph O. Shelby’s troops rampaged through eastern Arkansas. Shelby and his men crossed the Arkansas River in May 1864 and began operations behind Union lines, including a June attack in Clarendon (Monroe County) in which they captured and sank the USS Queen City on the White River. On June 22, some 300 Confederates under Colonel Robert Lawther attacked Captain J. R. C. Hunter’s fifty-man command from the Twelfth Iowa Infantry in their camp at the mouth of the White, retreating under …

White River Expedition (August 5–8, 1862)

The White River Expedition of August 5–8, 1862, consisted of a small portion of the Union navy in Arkansas traveling from Helena (Phillips County) down the Mississippi River to the mouth of the White River to perform reconnaissance and overcome any possible Confederate forces hiding along the shoreline. Led by Colonel Isaac Shepard on board the steamer Iatan and Lieutenant Colonel Bischoff, a fleet of four gunboats, three rams, and one steamer departed on August 5at 10:30 p.m., with the exception of the gunboat White Cloud, as it remained in port taking in coal. At 3:00 a.m. on August 6, the fleet reached Old Town (Phillips County), where the gunboats continued their operation along the river and the other ships …

White River Expedition (December 13–15, 1864)

The purpose of the White River Expedition (December 13–15, 1864) was to gain information about the Confederate whereabouts along the White River. The successful Union expedition played an important role in gathering intelligence in the White River and Augusta (Woodruff County) area. On December 13, Union colonel Hans Mattson, under the orders of his commanding division, proceeded to board the Third Minnesota Infantry, with 400 infantry and 150 cavalry, from DeValls Bluff (Prairie County) onto the steamers Sir William Wallace and Kate Hart. At 8:00 that evening, Col. Mattson dispatched Captain John Flesher along with seventy-five cavalry at Peach Orchard Bluff, along the White River. Later that evening, ninety-five infantry under the command of Captain O. F. Dreher disembarked at …

White River Expedition (February 20–26, 1864)

  The White River Expedition of February 20–26, 1864, resulted in Union forces capturing numerous troops from different Confederate infantry and cavalry units. To the dismay of the Union cavalry involved in this expedition, the Confederate troops in the area were able to attack Union forces, recapture some of their own troops, and retreat without Union forces keeping up. Without the proper rations, the Union forces returned to Helena (Phillips County) with the remaining Confederate prisoners to regroup. After receiving orders to travel up the White River, Major Eagleton Carmichael, commander of the expedition, and Captain Ezra King of the Fifteenth Illinois Cavalry embarked on February 20, 1864, from Helena aboard the Cheek, leaving at 5:00 p.m. Arriving at the …

White River Expedition (February 4–8, 1864)

Embarking on the steamer Cheek on a scouting expedition on February 4, 1864, Captain Charles O’Connell led a Union expeditionary force from Helena (Phillips County) up the White River. He commanded 100 men of the Fifteenth Illinois Cavalry; forty men of the Third Arkansas Infantry, African Descent under Captain John W. Robinson; and one piece of artillery and seven artillerymen of the Second U.S. Colored Light Artillery, Battery E under Lieutenant John C. Haddock. Embarking from Helena at 9:00 a.m., the small collection of Union forces destroyed one flat boat prior to reaching Friars Point at 11:00 a.m., where they saw four cotton boats and discovered their gunboat had been ordered to Memphis, Tennessee, and the steamer White to return …

White River Expedition (January 13–19, 1863)

Conducted in support of early operations against Vicksburg, Mississippi, this expedition helped Federal forces maintain control of the strategically valuable Memphis and Little Rock Railroad between DeValls Bluff (Prairie County) and Little Rock (Pulaski County). Shortly after the capture of Arkansas Post in January 1863 by Major General John A. McClernand, Brigadier General Willis A. Gorman—commander of the District of Eastern Arkansas—moved his command from St. Charles (Arkansas County) toward DeValls Bluff onboard the gunboat USS St. Louis. By a rapid advance on January 17, Gorman surprised two companies of Confederate infantry and forced them to flee, interrupting their attempt to load two large cannon onto a steamboat. An additional assault upon the Confederate rear defeated and captured most of …

White River Kid, The

Although The White River Kid is optimistically described by its distributors as “an outrageous comedy with a heart” and “a zany adventure with a plethora of oddball characters on the road in the Bible Belt,” actual reviews of this more or less universally panned film are less kind. Indeed, one reviewer described it as “a messy comedy infested with bad gags.” The White River Kid (video title White River) relies on negative stereotypes of Arkansans, portraying them as moronic rednecks or merely simple folk for much of its material. Based on the John Fergus Ryan novel The Little Brothers of St. Mortimer (1991), it was filmed on location in and around Hot Springs (Garland County) and other Arkansas locations during …

White River Monster

The White River monster is one of Arkansas’s premier mysteries. Since 1915, along the White River near Newport (Jackson County), the monster has appeared several times and has become a local legend. Sightings of “Whitey” began in 1915 but were sporadic until 1937. On July 1 of that year, Bramlett Bateman, owner of a plantation near the river, saw the monster. He reported it as having gray skin and being “as wide as a car and three cars long.” As news spread, construction of a huge rope net to capture the monster began. The monster had been seen in an eddy, so a diver was brought in to search for it. However, Whitey was not captured, and construction of the …

White River Station, Skirmish at

The Skirmish at White River Station was a small but important push for Union forces along the White River. On the evening of June 21, 1864, a detachment of 300 Confederate men from the Tenth Missouri Cavalry under Colonel Robert R. Lawther crossed the Arkansas River in small boats near the mouth of the White River. Leaving their horses on the opposite side of the river, the Confederate cavalry marched through the night and arrived on the White River at 4:00 a.m. on June 22. With a Union garrison of only fifty soldiers traveling along the White River, the Twelfth Iowa Infantry under the command of Captain Joseph R. C. Hunter defended its encampment, near the mouth of the White …

White River, Skirmish at (March 22, 1863)

  The skirmish at the head of the White River near Fayetteville (Washington County) was a small setback for the Union forces. On March 22, 1863, Colonel Marcus LaRue Harrison dispatched thirty-five Union men—twenty-five soldiers and ten citizens—to assist a beef contractor in receiving his livestock. Upon their arrival, the Union forces were attacked on three sides by a Confederate regiment of 200 men from Clarksville (Johnson County) under the command of Major Hall S. McConnell. A citizen in the area had informed the Confederate scouts of the Union location. Since Union forces did not expect to come across Confederates, they failed to set up a picket line, which Col. Harrison blamed on carelessness. In addition, Union forces on this mission …

White Springs, Skirmish at

The Skirmish at White Springs took place at the start of Brigadier General John S. Marmaduke’s Expedition into Missouri. On December 31, 1862, Brigadier General Joseph Orville Shelby’s command began its march northward from the vicinity of Lewisburg (Conway County) toward Missouri, with three regiments of Missouri cavalry, Elliott’s Battalion of Scouts, and Quantrill’s Company (commanded by First Lieutenant William H. Gregg). The first two days of marching proved comfortable due to temperate weather. By the third day, however, a cold rain began to fall, lasting for three days and causing much suffering. Shelby’s force made no contact with the enemy for the first two days. On the third day, Elliott’s Battalion of Scouts came upon a force of bushwhackers …

White Sulphur Springs (Garland County)

White Sulphur Springs was a resort area in Garland County constructed close to a number of mineral springs near the southern slope of Indian Mountain. The area eventually became part of Hot Springs (Garland County). The earliest residents of the area were Native Americans. Novaculite located on the west end of Indian Mountain was useful to them. Early white settlers of the area arrived in the 1820s and established a small community along Gulpha Creek. The ruggedness of the area made large-scale agriculture impossible, but small-scale farms were successful. The Houpt family constructed a grist mill next to the creek in 1827. Novaculite quarries on the south side of the mountain provided early settlers with a ready supply of the …

White Water Tavern

The White Water Tavern is a two-story bar and music venue located at 2500 West 7th Street in the Capitol View/Stifft Station area of Little Rock (Pulaski County). Founded in 1977, White Water, as it is usually called, has become one of the most beloved and respected music venues in Arkansas. Run in the spirit of classic southern juke joints and honky-tonks, it has hosted many of the best musicians working today, especially those in the country and alt-country or outlaw genre. Over the years, White Water expanded its roster to include hip-hop and heavy metal acts. The history of White Water dates back to the late 1970s, when it replaced the Pitcher, a bar that had been at the …

White-Baucum House

The White-Baucum House at 201 South Izard Street in downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County) is a two-story, wood-frame structure that is one of the oldest examples of Italianate architecture in Arkansas (the house also has characteristics of Steamboat Gothic). The building’s distinctive features include balustraded balconies; a low pyramidal roof; paneled, square columns; side porches; and a half-hexagon front bay. For most of its history, the house was owned by individuals and families, but the building has housed various businesses since the 1960s. The original house was completed around 1871 by Robert J. T. White, Arkansas’s secretary of state. In 1876, Colonel George F. Baucum (pronounced “Bockum”), a Confederate veteran of the Civil War, bought the house for $5,000. Baucum …

White, Delores Brumfield

Delores Brumfield (Dee) White began playing in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) as a young teenager in the post–World War II years, helping take the Fort Wayne Daisies to two league championships. She later taught physical education and was a coach at Henderson State University (HSU) in Arkadelphia (Clark County). Dee Brumfield was born on May 26, 1932, in Prichard, Alabama, to Earl Henry Brumfield and Miriam McKay Turner Brumfield. She had a younger brother and sister. Her father was an auto mechanic. Her mother was a homemaker until World War II, when she started as an office worker, eventually becoming an office manager for an insurance firm. Brumfield was an athletic girl who played in sandlot games …

White, Frank Durward

Frank Durward White was best recognized as the little-known Republican candidate who defeated Bill Clinton in 1980 after Clinton had served only one term as governor. White himself was limited to one term when Clinton reclaimed the office of governor in 1982. Though his tenure in office was marked mostly by his support of teaching “creation science” in schools, White later became the grand old father of the Grand Old Party (GOP), known for his expansive sense of humor and his ability to relate to people of all political leanings. Born on June 4, 1933, in Texarkana, Texas, to Durward Frank Kyle and Ida Bottoms Clark Kyle, White was given the name Durward Frank Kyle Jr. His father died when …

White, Gay Daniels

Gay Daniels White was the wife of Frank White (who was the forty-first governor of Arkansas) and the state’s thirty-sixth first lady. Outside of politics, she has been best known for her love of Arkansas’s outdoors—hiking, camping, and canoeing—leading her to serve on the board of trustees of the Arkansas Nature Conservancy for a number of years. She has also publicly shared her experience of personal struggle and the role of faith in her life. Gay Daniels was born in Oakland, California, on March 7, 1947, to Russell and Nan Daniels. She was the youngest of three daughters born into a career U.S. Navy family. After her father retired from naval service, the family settled in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she …

White, Hercules King Cannon

Hercules King Cannon White was a Civil War soldier and guerrilla, a prominent figure in the Brooks-Baxter War during Reconstruction, and a six-term mayor of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). Hercules King Cannon White was born on April 4, 1845, in Louisville, Kentucky, the fifth of nine children of James M. White and Dorcas Trimble White. When the Civil War began, he ran away from home and, in March 1861, joined Company E of the Second Kentucky Infantry (CS), but his father found him and had him released from service on the grounds that he was only fifteen years old. The youth soon joined Company C of the First (Helm’s) Kentucky Cavalry, and he was captured at Louisville on November 26, …

Whitehead, James Tillotson (Jim)

James Tillotson Whitehead was a Mississippi-reared athlete who received a classical education at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee to prepare himself for a career writing poetry and fiction and teaching in Arkansas. He won some literary acclaim for his single completed work of fiction, the novel Joiner, and published four books of poetry. With his Vanderbilt pal William Harrison, he started the creative-writing program at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). Jim Whitehead was born on March 15, 1936, in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Dick Bruun Whitehead and Ruth Ann Tillotson Whitehead. The family moved to Jackson, Mississippi, at the end of World War II, and Whitehead attended school there. His large size, strength, and agility …

Whiteley’s Mills, Skirmish at

Shortly after mustering into service, on orders of Brigadier General J. B. Sanborn, the Second Arkansas Cavalry (US) moved into the Buffalo River region in an attempt to kill or capture Confederate guerrilla forces and increase Union patrol activity in the area north of the Buffalo River. On April 5, 1864, a Union force attacked a band Confederate guerrillas at Whiteley’s Mills on the headwaters of the Buffalo River. The skirmish was part of a larger operation aimed at Union control of the northwest region of Arkansas in April 1864. The Second Arkansas, while encamped near the Buffalo River, had encountered some resistance from Confederate guerrilla forces in the area before the Skirmish at Whiteley’s Mills. Major James A. Melton, …

Whiteside, John Garrett

John Garrett Whiteside was a congressional secretary who served many of Arkansas’s delegation of U.S. representatives and senators from 1907 through 1947. In the era when ninety-six senators represented the forty-eight states, he was often called “the ninety-seventh senator.” In a twist of history, he also participated in the declaration of both world wars. Garrett Whiteside was born in 1885 in Nashville (Howard County). Whiteside’s father, John Elkanah Whiteside, was a clerk in Robert Burns’s store at Moscow (Nevada County). Whiteside served for a time as a court reporter, but little is known of his early life until he arrived in Washington DC on March 4, 1907, as secretary to Representative Ben Cravens of Fort Smith (Sebastian County), from Arkansas’s …

Whitewater Scandal

“Whitewater” was the popular nickname for a series of investigations of President William Jefferson Clinton that lasted nearly seven years and concluded with his impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives and acquittal by the Senate, making him the second U.S. president to be impeached. The investigations began in 1994 as an inquiry by an independent U.S. counsel into the propriety of real-estate transactions involving Clinton and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, in 1978, when he was attorney general of Arkansas and shortly before he became governor. It morphed through many phases until the independent counsel looked into allegations of illicit sexual encounters when Clinton was governor and president. The term “Whitewater” originated from the Whitewater Development Corporation, a company …

Whitfield, Inez Harrington

Inez Harrington Whitfield, noted for her community work in Hot Springs (Garland County), was nationally recognized for her paintings of Arkansas wildflowers. She was one of forty Arkansans to appear in American Women in 1935. The publication was a who’s who of female leaders in America. Inez Whitfield was born May 25, 1867, in German Flatts, New York, to James and Ida Dota Whitfield. She received her early education in Ilion, New York, and graduated in 1889 from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, with a bachelor of letters degree. After graduation, she taught at the Gardner Institute for Girls in New York City. Whitfield later left the school and formed the Whitfield-Bliss School for Girls in New York City with …

Whitman, Essie Barbara

Essie Barbara Whitman was a member of the renowned Whitman Sisters Company. The group of African-American sisters, who were entrepreneurs as well as entertainers, developed their own musical, dance, and comedy performing arts company. From 1901 to 1943, the group performed throughout the United States, becoming the longest-running and highest-paid act on the Theater Owners Booking Association (TOBA) circuit. Essie Whitman was born on July 4, 1882, in Osceola (Mississippi County) to the Reverend Albery Allson Whitman, who was a bishop in the Methodist Church, and Caddie A. Whitman; she was the second of four sisters who included Mabel (1880–1942), Alberta (1887–1963), and “Baby” Alice (1900–1969). Rev. Whitman, later known as the “Poet Laureate of the Negro Race,” is said to have taught …

Whitmore’s Mill, Skirmish at

aka: Skirmish at Whitten's Mill
Fought on the same day as the Engagement at Jenkins’ Ferry (April 30, 1864), the Skirmish at Whitmore’s Mill took place in Grant County as part of the larger Camden Expedition. On April 28, 1864, Brigadier General Joseph Orville Shelby ordered Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Elliott and the First Missouri Cavalry Battalion (CS) to reconnoiter in and around the village of Princeton (Dallas County) to ascertain if all of Major General Frederick Steele’s force had left Camden (Ouachita County). Elliott began his operation by sending First Lieutenant W. B. Walker and Company B toward Princeton, with orders to report as soon as possible. Elliott also sent scouting parties on the roads leading from Tulip (Dallas County) to Princeton. Elliott arrived at …

Whitney’s Lane, Action at

aka: Skirmish at Searcy Landing
The Action at Whitney’s Lane was the first major contact between Federal and Confederate forces in Arkansas after the Battle of Pea Ridge on March 6–7, 1862. This action and subsequent events led the Union army to give up its objective to capture Little Rock (Pulaski County) in May 1862. Little Rock did not fall under Federal control until September 1863. Union Major General Samuel R. Curtis’s defeat of the Confederate forces under Major General Earl Van Dorn at the Battle of Pea Ridge had not been altogether decisive, but he could claim victory. Consequently, Confederate command staff in the east conceded much of the western region of the Confederacy known as the Trans-Mississippi and ordered Van Dorn to take …

Whittington (Garland County)

Whittington is a community in eastern Garland County located about three-quarters of a mile southwest of Fountain Lake (Garland County) and ten miles northeast of Hot Springs (Garland County) along Arkansas Highway 5. Whittington is not to be confused with Whittington Park located in Hot Springs. Whittington is likely named for early settler Hiram Whittington, who moved to what would become Garland County in 1832. He obtained hundreds of acres of land in the 1830s in the area that would become Whittington, as well as other locations in Garland and Saline counties. Upon his death in 1890, Whittington was buried with other members of his family in the Whittington Cemetery located on Mill Creek Road. After the cemetery experienced vandalism …

Whittington Park Historic District

The Whittington Park Historic District in Hot Springs (Garland County) is located between West Mountain and Sugarloaf Mountain in the northwestern part of the city. This historic neighborhood was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 19, 2012, for its significance in community planning and development, ethnic heritage, and social history. It held an important place in the growth of Hot Springs as a health resort, while also reflecting the contributions of African Americans to the area’s health resort industry and serving as an exemplar of a successful racially diverse, working-class neighborhood. It further holds significance for its array of architectural styles, including Craftsman, Queen Anne, and ranch-style homes, as well as for evidence of the work …

Whittington, Hiram Abiff

Hiram Abiff Whittington was a businessman, politician, and philanthropist. He established the state’s first lending library, ran several businesses in Hot Springs (Garland County), and served as a state representative. He donated land to both the First Presbyterian Church and St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Hot Springs. His letters to his family provide a wealth of information about life in early frontier Arkansas. Hiram Whittington was born January 14, 1805, in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of William Whittington Jr., a Puritan schoolmaster, and Hepsabeth Lincoln. He had four brothers and five sisters. At age fifteen, Whittington learned the printing trade and found a job with the Nantucket Enquirer, where he stayed three years. He moved to Brooklyn, New York, where …

Whittling

The term whittling refers to “the making of useful things.” It is a folkway with roots deep in the heritage of the people of the Ozarks country of Arkansas and parts of southern Missouri. In the heyday of whittling, pocket knives were given to boys at a young age as a rite of passage. A son given a pocket knife by his father learned “facts of life,” such as how to sharpen a knife properly. Only as recently as the 1960s has whittling been considered a vintage activity. The required tools for whittling are a pocket knife, a piece of wood, an idea, and the knowledge of how to sharpen a knife. The choice of wood varies; cedar, linden, catalpa, …

Whitworth, Donna Axum

Donna Axum Whitworth was the first Miss Arkansas to win the title of Miss America. She retained the distinction of being the only Miss Arkansas crowned Miss America from 1964 until 1982, when Elizabeth Ward was crowned. Donna Axum was born in 1942 in El Dorado (Union County) to Idelle and Hurley B. Axum. Her father was a banker. She said she began entering beauty pageants because, as a young person, she had an inferiority complex about being too thin and not having “a figure.” She was determined to work at improving herself and enhancing her feeling of self-worth. She won her first title, Miss Union County, in 1958 as a high school senior in El Dorado when she was …