Entries - Starting with E

Elaine (Phillips County)

  The name of Elaine (Phillips County) will always be linked with a race massacre that broke out in the fall of 1919, leaving scores of African Americans dead. Aside from this one memorable incident, the city is representative of life in the Delta region that includes eastern Arkansas. When Arkansas became a state in 1836, the area of present-day Elaine was still swampland. It was designated as such by the Swamp and Overflow Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 1850. Silas Craig and John Martin purchased Phillips County land from the State of Arkansas under the provisions of that act, and the land passed through several owners—including the State of Arkansas a second time, due to unpaid taxes—but …

Elaine Massacre of 1919

aka: Elaine Race Riot of 1919
aka: Elaine Race Massacre
The Elaine Massacre was by far the deadliest racial confrontation in Arkansas history and possibly the bloodiest racial conflict in the history of the United States. While its deepest roots lay in the state’s commitment to white supremacy, the events in Elaine (Phillips County) stemmed from tense race relations and growing concerns about labor unions. A shooting incident that occurred at a meeting of the Progressive Farmers and Household Union escalated into mob violence on the part of the white people in Elaine and surrounding areas. Although the exact number is unknown, estimates of the number of African Americans killed by whites range into the hundreds; five white people lost their lives. The conflict began on the night of September 30, 1919, …

Elam, Lloyd Charles

Lloyd C. Elam was a groundbreaking psychiatrist and college administrator who founded the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, and later served as that college’s president. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1997. Lloyd Charles Elam was born on October 27, 1928, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Harry Elam and Ruth Davis Elam. Elam was baptized at age seven at Christ Temple Church of Christ (Holiness) USA in Little Rock; he was active in Sunday school, becoming superintendent of the Sunday school at age seventeen. He attended Stephens Elementary School, then Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, where he graduated at the age of fifteen in 1944. Elam …

Elder, Jim

aka: James Albert Elder
James Albert (Jim) Elder was a sports announcer and analyst whose dry style and encyclopedic knowledge of baseball, football, and golf amassed a huge following the last thirty-five years of the twentieth century. Elder was sports director for KARN (earlier KARK) radio for most of those years, and he did the play-by-play broadcasts of the Arkansas Travelers professional baseball team for thirty-three years. Jim Elder was born on July 25, 1924, in Altoona, Pennsylvania, to Albert Elder, a construction worker, and Dorothy Moore Elder, who, following a divorce, worked at a bank to support her only child and her songwriting. When Elder was small, they moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he became an ardent fan of the Philadelphia Athletics major …

Elders, Joycelyn

aka: Minnie Lee Jones
Joycelyn Elders was director of the Arkansas Department of Health and the U.S. surgeon general in the administration of President Bill Clinton. Her controversial opinions led to her resignation after just over a year as surgeon general. She was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame in 2016. Joycelyn Elders was born Minnie Lee Jones on August 13, 1933, in Schaal (Howard County). She took the name Joycelyn while attending college. The eldest of Curtis and Haller Jones’s eight children, she spent much of her childhood working in cotton fields. From an early age, Jones showed considerable academic ability, and in 1949, she earned a scholarship to Philander Smith College …

Election Fraud

Questionable balloting procedures and fraudulent vote counts began early in Arkansas’s political history and were a regular component of the state’s politics, especially in rural areas, until about 1970. The state’s tradition of one-party rule in which consequential elections were decided in party primaries, the absence of unbiased political information in the form of independent newspapers, and a traditionalistic political culture in which the activities of the ruling elite were generally unquestioned by the masses all contributed to an environment in which fraud—fundamentally problematic for a representative democracy—could persist. Such fraudulent behavior in Arkansas had its roots in the politics of “The Family,” the Democratic regime that controlled the state’s politics in the period following statehood. This Johnson-Conway-Sevier-Rector cousinhood accumulated …

Election Law of 1891

The passage of the Election Law of 1891 was essential to the solidification of power in the state for Democrats during the post-Reconstruction era and was the first step in making Arkansas a one-party state. In conjunction with the subsequent Poll Tax Amendment, controversially passed during the 1892 general election, the Election Law of 1891 effectively disfranchised African Americans in Arkansas and legally suppressed Republican and third-party political opposition. By 1888, Democratic Party officials in Arkansas were expressing concern about perceived election fraud in the state and the threat of federal oversight of state elections. Evidence of widespread election fraud and the highly publicized murder of Republican candidate John M. Clayton brought about mounting calls for election reform legislation. After much …

Eleven Point River

The Eleven Point River rises in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri near the town of Willow Springs and flows south-southeast, passing through the Mark Twain National Forest and entering Arkansas in Randolph County. It empties into the Spring River west of what is now Davidsonville Historic State Park and lends its name to the town of Eleven Point (Randolph County). The part of the Ozark Plateau through which the Eleven Point River flows was home to human habitation approximately as long ago as 10,000 B.C., according to archaeological excavations near Greer Springs, which empties into the Eleven Point. In addition, a few Indian mounds dating from the Mississippian Period have been located in the valley of the Eleven Point. In …

Eleventh Arkansas Infantry (CS)

The Eleventh Arkansas Infantry Regiment was a Confederate unit that served in the Western Theater during the American Civil War. The regiment was enrolled on July 9, 1861, in Benton (Saline County) by Brigadier General George M. Holt, Arkansas State Militia. Composed of companies and men primarily from Saline County (Companies A, B, D, F, I, and K), the regiment had additional companies from Ouachita, Hot Spring, Columbia, and Hempstead counties. The elected colonel was Jabez M. Smith of Benton, a merchant and lawyer. The regiment proceeded to Memphis, Tennessee, and later to Fort Pillow, Island No. 10, and finally New Madrid, Missouri. There, it garrisoned at Fort Thompson, along with the Twelfth Arkansas Infantry, and operated as pickets in …

Eleventh Regiment, United States Colored Troops (US)

The Eleventh Regiment, United States Colored Troops was organized in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) on December 19, 1863. The regiment was attached to the Second Brigade in the District of the Frontier, Seventh Corps in the Department of Arkansas of the Union army, where it remained until the war’s end in April 1865. Four companies—A, B, C, and D—were mustered in at the time the regiment was organized. Company E was mustered in on March 3, 1864. The new regiment was commanded by white officers who were all from the North. The new recruits, now wearing Union blue, were former slaves from Fort Smith, Van Buren (Crawford County), and surrounding settlements, including Dripping Springs (Crawford County), Kibler (Crawford County), and Alma (Crawford …

Elgin (Jackson County)

Elgin is located on Jackson County Road 64 about six miles west-southwest of Tuckerman (Jackson County) and about three miles east-southeast of Cord (Independence County). Elgin lies in the Black River bottoms, excellent terrain for large productive farms, although devastating floods sometimes occur. The bridge on Highway 37 occasionally closes because of high water. The bottoms once grew mainly cotton, but today soybeans and other crops dominate. Historically, Elgin was an important riverboat town, with its ferry being on the main road between Batesville (Independence County) and Jacksonport (Jackson County), about eight and a half miles south of the confluence of the Black and White rivers. Elgin was the name of a 3,000-acre plantation in the Black River bottoms owned …

Elgin, Suzette Haden

aka: Patricia Ann Wilkins
Patricia Ann Wilkins was a linguist, feminist, and science fiction writer from the Missouri Ozarks who adopted northwestern Arkansas as her home after retiring from teaching in the 1980s. While living in Huntsville (Madison County), she wrote her cult classic Native Tongue novels and her widely acclaimed Ozark Trilogy under the name Suzette Haden Elgin. Patricia Ann Wilkins was born on November 18, 1936, in northeastern Missouri. Her father, Gaylord Lloyd, was a lawyer, and her mother, Hazel Wilkins, was a teacher. Wilkins had spinal polio as a child, as she related in her personal blog in the early 2000s, and refused to go through with a major surgery to treat it using bones from her hips. Instead, she opted …

Elizabeth (Jackson County)

Elizabeth (sometimes called Elizabethtown) thrived as a port on the White River and became the seat of Jackson County in 1839. However, the river later shifted course and eroded away what remained of the community. Native Americans were the first to take advantage of the Black and White rivers for transportation and trade, followed by French hunters, trappers, and fur traders, many of them from Canada, who plied the area’s rivers during the eighteenth century and continued after the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 until about 1815. Keelboats were an early mode of transportation for the early settlers, who could use them on the upper White River to maneuver the sharp bends, rapids, and low water levels along the river during …

Elk

Among the many success stories involving wildlife in Arkansas, a high-profile example is the elk of the Buffalo National River country. Wiped out in pioneer and early settlement days, the elk were brought back beginning in 1981, and, since then, the big animals have become well enough established that they can be hunted on a limited basis. The elk have also become a reliable tourist attraction in Newton County and the surrounding area. Elk were native to Arkansas but were wiped out by changing habitat, mostly the clearing of land. The variety in the area in the early days was the eastern subspecies of elk, which is extinct. By the time Arkansas became a state in 1836, elk were dwindling, …

Elkin’s Ferry, Engagement at

aka: Battle of Okolona
The Engagement at Elkin’s Ferry was an April 3–4, 1864, battle in which Confederate troops attacked a Union column deep in southwestern Arkansas. The battle began what became known as the Camden Expedition. (The battle site is commonly known as Elkin’s Ferry because that is how the name was printed in the official records of the Civil War, but the Elkins family owned the ferry at the time, so the name is more properly rendered Elkins’ Ferry.) After capturing Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Fort Smith (Sebastian County) in September 1863, Union forces were in control of much of the state. From these two occupied cities, Federal troops could launch an attack into southern Arkansas, northern Louisiana, and eastern Texas. …

Elkins (Washington County)

Washington County’s community of Elkins (comprising the former Harris and Hood communities) borders Arkansas Highway 16, the entrance to the “Pig Trail,” a scenic drive in the Ozarks. Two tributaries of the White River flow through the town, providing excellent canoeing, fishing, and swimming. Nearby are the Ozark National Forest and the Ozark Highlands National Recreation Trail. Elkins has numerous antebellum homes and the one-lane bridge on Mount Olive Road that was a centerpiece of the 1982 television miniseries The Blue and the Gray. There is evidence of prehistoric settlement in the area, most notably in a mound complex commonly dubbed the Elkins Mounds. This Mississippian Period complex likely consisted of five mounds originally, though one has since been destroyed. …

Ellender, Bennie

Former Tulane University quarterback Bennie Ellender served as head football coach for Arkansas State University (ASU) in Jonesboro (Craighead County) from 1963 through 1970, amassing one of the most successful winning records in the school’s history. Bennie Ellender Jr. was born on March 2, 1925, in Sulphur, Louisiana, to Bennie Ellender Sr. and Alice Gray Ellender. He attended Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he was quarterback, running back, and safety for the football team in 1943–44. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, returning to college at Tulane, where he again played on the football team in 1946 and 1947. In 1949, he married Bette Howard; they had no children. Ellender began his career at …

Ellington, Alice Sankey

Alice Sankey Ellington was a leader in the women’s suffrage movement in Arkansas, an officer of the Southern States Woman Suffrage Association, a war worker during World War I, and a frequent campaigner for suffrage across the country. She oversaw several changes in the statewide organizations that she ran, ultimately leading Arkansas women to gain the right to vote in primary elections in 1917 and win full suffrage in 1919. Alice Sankey was born in Salem, Missouri, on December 14, 1880, to Margaret Virginia Williams Sankey and William Johnson Sankey, a prospector and worker on the St. Louis, Salem and Little Rock Railroad. The second of four children, she was active in Salem’s society as a member of youth social …

Elliott, James Thomas

James Thomas Elliott was a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Second District of Arkansas in the Fortieth Congress, serving briefly in 1869. James T. Elliott was born in Columbus, Georgia, on April 22, 1823. He received his education in the local common schools and then studied law. Admitted to the bar in 1854, Elliott began a private practice in Camden (Ouachita County). In 1858, Elliott was named president of the Mississippi, Ouachita and Red River Railroad, which was embroiled in a number of legal battles. Elliott was unable to achieve a solution, however, and the railroad’s general status remained unresolved as the Civil War approached. Elliott was reported to have opposed secession during the …

Ellis, Clyde Taylor

Clyde Taylor Ellis was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and a pioneer in the nation’s rural electrification movement. He served as the first general manager of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), which was formed to help promote and protect the interests of the rural electrification program, a New Deal program created in 1935. Clyde Ellis was born on December 21, 1908, to Cecil O. Ellis and Minerva Taylor Ellis on a farm near Garfield (Benton County). He was the oldest of nine children. He attended the rural Ruddick School (also known as Ozark No. 15), then attended two years of high school at Garfield High and two years at University High in Fayetteville (Washington County). …

Ellis, William

William Ellis was a sergeant in the Third Wisconsin Cavalry Regiment who received a Medal of Honor for gallantry in the January 14, 1865, Action at Dardanelle. William Ellis was born in England in 1834. After immigrating to the United States, he was living by 1860 in the household of woolen manufacturer Simeon Ford in Watertown, Wisconsin’s Third Ward. Ellis, then age twenty-eight, was a wool carder in Ford’s employ. After the Civil War began, Ellis enlisted as a sergeant in Company K of the Third Wisconsin Cavalry on October 21, 1861, eventually rising to the rank of first sergeant. The Third Wisconsin organized at Janesville on November 30, 1861, and mustered in on January 28, 1862. The regiment served …

Ellison, Clyde (Lynching of)

On June 13, 1919, Clyde Ellison was lynched at Star City (Lincoln County) for allegedly assaulting the daughter of a local farmer. Little is known about Clyde Ellison’s background. When he registered for the World War I draft on October 25, 1918, he was living in Florence (Drew County) and working for farmer Ernest Lytle. He was unable to give his date of birth and listed no close relatives. By June 1919, Ellison was living near Star City. According to an article in the Arkansas Gazette, it was alleged that he attempted to assault eighteen-year-old Iselle Bennett, who lived three miles from Star City. She was alone at the family home; her parents were out, and all of the hands …

Elm Park (Scott County)

Elm Park is an unincorporated community located in north-central Scott County along the Petit Jean River between where Highways 378 and 23 form a junction with Highway 71. The date of Elm Park’s establishment is unclear. Agriculture has traditionally been an important way of life in the community. Prior to European exploration, Elm Park and the surrounding area was an unexplored wilderness. Species of wildlife that longer inhabit the area, such as elk and buffalo, were present throughout the region. Archaeological findings have provided evidence of early inhabitants dating to the Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods. Additional archaeological evidence has indicated that the Caddo tribe had a strong presence along the Petit Jean River and other prominent waterways. Throughout the …

Elm Springs (Washington and Benton Counties)

  The city of Elm Springs straddles the county line of Washington and Benton counties. At one time, it was one of the principal cities of Washington County, but more recently it has been overshadowed by the growth of its neighbor, Springdale (Washington County). Recent efforts to revitalize the community have featured businesses specializing in home decorations and furniture restoration. A grove of large elm trees and natural springs strong enough to power a mill inspired the name Elm Springs. Thomas McClain (or McLain) is said to have homesteaded in the area as early as 1831, but his name does not appear on land records. The earliest documented land owners include John Ingram, John Hamilton, William Barrington, and Jacob Pearson. …

Elm Springs, Skirmishes near

The Skirmishes at Elm Springs were small-unit Civil War engagements fought in northwestern Arkansas during the summer of 1864. While not part of any larger campaign, this series of skirmishes was typical of the warfare that existed throughout much of the state during this period. Federal units based at outposts patrolled their immediate areas to disrupt and destroy both regular Confederate units and guerrilla groups. These engagements were part of that effort. The Second Arkansas Cavalry (US) was stationed in southwestern Missouri, patrolling the surrounding countryside and recruiting men to the ranks. On July 28, 1864, Lieutenant John Phelps led a patrol of twenty-eight men from the unit out of Cassville, Missouri. The group accompanied another patrol from the First …

Elmo (Independence County)

Elmo is a historic community located in a wooded area, with plowed fields on each side, between Highway 14 (Newport Road) and the White River, which is about a half mile away. Elmo is about four miles east of Oil Trough (Independence County) and about six miles west of Newport (Jackson County). Nearby are Dunnington (Independence County), Aydelott (Independence County), and Macks (Jackson County). The White River bottoms in what became known as Pleasant Island and later Oil Trough first became a popular area for bear hunting by the French before the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The rich alluvial soil beckoned farmers, who began growing cotton and corn in the early days of American settlement, even though the area was …

Elna M. Smith Foundation

aka: Five Sacred Projects
aka: Sacred Projects
The Elna M. Smith Foundation was created in 1965 by Gerald L. K. Smith and his wife, Elna M. Smith, for whom it was named. The foundation is the nonprofit organization that serves as the umbrella company supervising the Five Sacred Projects and other activities and attractions on Magnetic Mountain, just east of Eureka Springs (Carroll County). Gerald L. K. Smith was a controversial politician and anti-Semitic minister in the 1930s and 1940s. That controversy followed him to Eureka Springs. When he retired, he decided to leave politics and other activities behind him, and he and his wife committed to focus their energies on creating a legacy of preserving Americana. Included in their dream was buying and restoring historic houses. …

Elrod, Ben

Ben Moody Elrod was a prominent educational and civic leader in the latter part of the twentieth century. A minister, fundraiser, and educator dedicated to expanding students’ worldview, he played a central role in the growth and development of what is now Ouachita Baptist University (OBU). Ben M. Elrod was born on October 13, 1930, in Rison (Cleveland County). The second son of Searcy Elrod and Frances Sadler Elrod, he got his early education in Rison, but beginning at age fifteen he spent part of two years serving as a page in the U.S. House of Representatives. It was during his time in Washington DC that he first felt called to the ministry. After returning to Rison in time to …

Elsken, Conrad

aka: Conrad Ilsken
Conrad Elsken was a prominent figure in Logan County for forty years. In 1883, he moved to Paris (Logan County) after he became land agent for the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad. He started the Citizens Telephone Company in 1900 and served as its general manager until it was sold to Western Electric in 1928. Elsken also helped to establish the Bank of Paris, which became the First National Bank of Paris, and served as Logan County treasurer. He established a series of general stores in several Logan County towns. During World War I, he was the head of the Council of Defense for Logan County. He was on the Arkansas State Charity Board under Governor Jeff Davis and …

Elton and Betty White

aka: Elton White
aka: Betty White
In the mid- to late 1980s, Elton and Betty White were highly visible Little Rock (Pulaski County) street musicians and eccentrics, recognized for their sexually explicit ukulele songs and their flamboyant wardrobe of sombreros and skimpy swimwear. Betty White was born Betty Crandall in 1927 in Mabelvale (Pulaski County), one of seven children of the town’s postmaster and his wife. In 1946, after graduating as valedictorian of Mabelvale High School, she married air force sergeant Scotty White, with whom she had a son, Sammy. Together, they traveled the nation and the world. After returning to Arkansas, she found secretarial work with the law firm of Wright, Lindsey & Jennings, for whom Bill Clinton was then practicing. Following a diagnosis of …

Emancipation

By 1860, about twenty-five percent of Arkansas’s population was enslaved, amounting to more than 111,000 people. The emancipation of these people in Arkansas took place as a result of the American Civil War, their freedom achieved due to the decisions made by Union military leaders, President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and the actions of the slaves themselves. Slavery’s abolishment meant more than simply the loss of human property and the end of a labor system—it ended a social relationship that had defined the state’s early development. The process of emancipation in Arkansas began before Lincoln’s formal Emancipation Proclamation. Finding that Confederates had used slave labor to create physical obstacles in his path across Arkansas in 1862, Union general Samuel R. …

Emerson (Columbia County)

Emerson is a town on U.S. Highway 79 in southern Columbia County. It is located six miles north of the Arkansas-Louisiana border. Caddo lived in southern Arkansas when the land was acquired by the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The Caddo eventually were removed from Arkansas Territory by treaty, and white settlers began claiming land. The plats of land on which Emerson would be built were purchased by Josiah Daily and Anthony Younger in 1859 and by Moses Moore in 1860. At the end of the nineteenth century, the Bodcaw Lumber Company built the Louisiana and Arkansas Railroad to move timber to its sawmills. At that time, Reuben Logan Emerson owned land adjacent to land owned by …

Emerson PurpleHull Pea Festival & World Championship Rotary Tiller Race

Emerson (Columbia County) hosts an annual gathering for fans of purple hull peas and abnormally fast garden tillers. The PurpleHull Pea Festival & World Championship Rotary Tiller Race is held the last Friday and Saturday in June on and near the grounds of Emerson High School. The festival encompasses numerous activities related to purple hull peas, some of which include the World Cup PurpleHull Pea Shelling Competition, the Great PurpleHull Peas & Cornbread Cook Off, the Senior Walk for World Peas, and the presentation of the Emerson PurpleHull Pea Farmer of the Year award. Both the festival and the tiller race began as the idea of Glen Eades of Brister (Columbia County). In 1990, Eades was the local area correspondent …

Eminent Domain

The Arkansas and U.S. Constitutions permit the process of eminent domain, which is the taking of private property for public purposes as long as there is just compensation paid to the owner, legal authorization for the taking, and an observance of procedural due process. Eminent domain can be used to obtain property for public purposes such as improvement districts, electric power lines, natural-gas pipelines, irrigation and drainage companies, cemeteries, roadways, bridges, dams, and state colleges and universities. Interpretation of the term “public purpose” has produced much of the case law on eminent domain, including Pfeifer v. City of Little Rock, a 2001 Arkansas case, and Kelo v. City of New London, Connecticut, a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court case; these cases …

Emmet (Nevada and Hempstead Counties)

The city of Emmet was established in Nevada County in 1883 as a stop on the Cairo and Fulton Railroad. Located halfway between Prescott (Nevada County) and Hope (Hempstead County), the city has expanded its boundaries to include a small portion of Hempstead County. The second-class city was at one time home to a carriage factory and historic village. Nevada County was not created until 1871. Before the arrival of European explorers and settlers, the land was home to the Caddo, until it was acquired by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. Dominated by pine forests, the land was only gradually cleared for cotton and other crops. Larger plantations were built to the south, but northern Nevada …

Emmet United Methodist Church

The Emmet United Methodist Church is located at 209 Walnut Street in Emmet (Nevada and Hempstead counties). The church was constructed around 1917 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 23, 2009. Emmet was platted in 1873 when construction on the Cairo and Fulton Railroad reached the area. Most of the land where the town is located became the property of the president and vice president of the railroad in 1874. Several lots in the town were set aside for the use of schools and churches. A Methodist church was established in the area around 1855 and was used for several decades. The church received a lot in the new town for construction of a …

Encounter with the Unknown

Encounter with the Unknown is a low-budget 1973 feature film directed by Harry Thomason of Hampton (Calhoun County). It was shot at various locations in or near Little Rock (Pulaski County) using a number of local actors and crew. The ninety-minute film was rated PG and released by Centronics International. It was produced by Joe Glass and written by Glass, Jack Anderson, and Hillman Taylor. Encounter with the Unknown was the first film created by Thomason, who would later become known for projects including the 2004 documentary The Hunting of the President along with four Arkansas-based movies: The Great Lester Boggs (1974), So Sad About Gloria (1975), The Day It Came to Earth (1977), and Revenge of Bigfoot (1979). He …

End of the Line

End of the Line is a film set in the fictional town of Clifford, Arkansas, that deals with working-class issues of the loss of job security, worker entitlement, and the powerlessness of average people when up against faceless corporations. The film stars Wilford Brimley and Arkansas native Levon Helm and features in supporting roles Holly Hunter, Kevin Bacon, Clint Howard, and Arkansas native Mary Steenburgen (who was also the executive producer). End of the Line was the first film directed by Arkansas native Jay Russell, who went on to direct many well-known films, including Tuck Everlasting, Ladder 49, and My Dog Skip. Russell also co-wrote the script with John Wohlbruck. Much of the movie was filmed in or near Little …

Endangered, Threatened, and Rare Species

Arkansas has many plant and animal species, partly because of varied topography and a temperate climate. An abundance of wildlife and rich soils for planting crops drew many of the early European settlers to the state. Many resources have been harvested or depleted. Earlier generations did not take steps to ensure that certain species were protected as their numbers decreased, and today several plants and animals are classified as endangered, threatened, or rare. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 provides a means to conserve the ecosystems upon which endangered and threatened species depend and to provide programs to prevent their extinction. The Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric …

Endemic Biota

An endemic species is any organism that is indigenous to a restricted or defined geographical area. Arkansas has a diverse variety of endemic biota, including fungi, plants, and animals. By 2017, there were about 139 endemic species in the state, most found in the Interior Highlands (Ouachita and Ozark Mountains). A combination of biological, climatic, and/or physical factors contribute to endemism. Some species are found in specific geographical or physiographic regions of the state, such as the Gulf Coastal Plain or Interior Highlands, whereas others may be restricted to specific sites in river drainages. Around the world, endemic species can also be found in geographically and biologically isolated areas such as islands and remote island groups, such as the Galápagos …

Endemic Darters

Forty species/subspecies of darters live in Arkansas; many of them are beautifully colored, especially males during the breeding season. Of these forty, five species are endemic to Arkansas, meaning that they occur nowhere else on the planet. Those five endemic darters are the beaded darter (Etheostoma clinton), strawberry darter (Etheostoma fragi), yellowcheek darter (Etheostoma moorei), paleback darter (Etheostoma pallididorsum), and the most recently described Ouachita darter (Percina brucethompsoni). The beaded darter, Etheostoma clinton (named after Bill Clinton, the forty-second president of the United States) was described (elevated) by Richard Mayden of St. Louis University in Missouri and Steven Layman of Kennesaw, Georgia, from specimens collected in the upper Ouachita and Caddo rivers. It was formerly known as the speckled darter …

Endemic Isopods

Isopods belong to the Phylum Arthropoda, Subphylum Crustacea, Class Malacostraca, and Order Isopoda, and include pillbugs, sowbugs, woodlice, and their relatives. Isopods are cosmopolitan organisms that inhabit saltwater and freshwater habitats, including subterranean waters, but they can also be found in terrestrial environments. There are over 10,000 species of isopods worldwide in eleven suborders with about 4,500 species found in marine environments, 500 species in freshwater environments, and 5,000 species on land. Their fossil record dates back to the Carboniferous Period of the Paleozoic (some 300 million years ago) when they lived in shallow seas. Isopods range in length from thirty micrometers (microcerberid isopods) to 500 mm (19.7 in.) for the giant Antarctic isopod (Bathynomus giganteus). The majority of North …

Endemic Madtoms

aka: Ouachita Madtoms
aka: Caddo Madtoms
Two miniature catfishes are endemic to Arkansas—that is, they occur only in Arkansas and nowhere else on Earth. Both of these endemic fishes, the Ouachita madtom (Noturus lachneri) and the Caddo madtom (Noturus taylori), are taxonomically placed in the genus Noturus, the madtoms, which are contained within the catfish family Ictaluridae. Noturus lachneri was originally described by William Ralph Taylor in 1969 from the type locality of the Middle Fork of Saline River at State Highway 7, 11.2 miles (18.1 kilometers) north of Mountain Valley in Garland County. It was believed to be confined to the upper Saline River drainage until a Northeastern Louisiana University graduate student discovered it in a small tributary of the main Ouachita River just below …

Endsley, Melvin

Melvin Endsley of Drasco (Cleburne County) was a musician and songwriter most noted for writing both the words and music of “Singing the Blues,” one of the biggest hits of the 1950s and one of the most recorded songs of the twentieth century. Nashville, Tennessee, recording star Marty Robbins, pop singer Guy Mitchell, and teen idol Tommy Steele in the United Kingdom all recorded versions of the song. Endsley composed more than 400 songs, many of them recorded by the top musical artists of the day, including Andy Williams, Johnny Cash, Paul McCartney, Ricky Skaggs, Stonewall Jackson, Black Oak Arkansas, Bill Haley and His Comets, and Don Gibson. Melvin Lorenzen Endsley was born on January 30, 1934, in Heber Springs …

England (Lonoke County)

England is a small farming community located in the southeastern part of Lonoke County. While England has a rich history as a center of agriculture, in the late twentieth century, it became a bedroom community for Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), though many local farmers still reside in the area. England lies in the alluvial flood plains of the Arkansas River. It was originally covered by hardwoods such as oak and red gum, but most of this natural vegetation has been removed for commercial farm crops. The soil surrounding England has been classified as some of the most productive in the country, supporting cotton, rice, soybeans, and corn. Post Reconstruction through the Gilded Age In the …

England Food Riot of 1931

The England Food Riot of 1931 occurred after the drought of 1930 caused major crop failure across the region, leaving many farmers unable to feed their families. The Depression was occurring across America, and the majority of people in England (Lonoke County) and the surrounding area were destitute and desperate. As a result, approximately fifty angry farmers converged on the town of England, demanding food to feed to the starving members of their community. The crowd grew to include hundreds once in town, and the merchants, with assurances of repayment by the Red Cross, agreed to open their doors and offer all they had to avert any violence from the mob. The crowd dispersed peacefully, but the incident created a …

England, Albert (Lynching of)

Albert England, a white man, was lynched on the night of November 2–3, 1895, near Vilonia (Faulkner County). After being arrested and charged with burglary, he was taken from custody and murdered. Some at the time believed that the mob was composed of fellow criminals intent upon silencing England and protecting themselves from exposure. The exact identity of Albert England is difficult to determine. There was an Albert England reported on the 1880 census as twenty-six years old and from Lonoke County; however, there is a brief line in the November 28, 1895, Arkansas Gazette noting that an Albert England who was resident at the state asylum (now the Arkansas State Hospital) had died, and his body was being shipped …

English, Elbert Hartwell

Elbert Hartwell English was one of the most important jurists in Arkansas across a crucial period of legal development and turmoil in the state, including the eras of the Civil War and Reconstruction. In addition to his years of private practice, English served as chief justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court for a total of twenty years, one of only four chief justices to have served over twelve years in the role. E. H. English was born on March 6, 1816, to James English, who was a planter, and Nancy McCracken English in Madison County, Alabama. The family moved to Limestone County, Alabama, and eventually included ten children. English was educated in local schools and through private tutelage. He lived …

Eno, Clara Bertha

Clara Bertha Eno has been called Arkansas’s first lady of history. She devoted her life to researching and recording Arkansas history and collecting Arkansas archival material. Her three published works are History of the Arkansas Federation of Women’s Clubs 1897–1934 (1935), with Frances Marion (Mrs. Frederick) Hanger, Historic Places in Arkansas (1940), and History of Crawford County, Arkansas (1950). During the 1920s and 1930s, she authored numerous historical newspaper articles. In 1940, she compiled Information of Fifty-Five Revolutionary [War] Soldiers buried in Arkansas. Although never published, it has long been a mainstay for early Arkansas research. Eno was born on February 14, 1854, in Van Buren (Crawford County), the daughter of Ellen (Ward) and Jonathan Adams Eno. Her father was …

Enola (Faulkner County)

    Enola is a small community twenty miles northeast of Conway (Faulkner County) at the intersection of Highway 36/107 and Highway 310. The town was established near a place called Fredrick’s Lick, a natural salt lick near Cadron Creek. The origin of its name is unknown, but local legend maintains that a lost traveler carved the word “alone” backward on a sign, producing “Enola.” By 1837, Jonathon Hardin, one of the founders of Enola, had established his farm on a hill a half mile west of Fredrick’s Lick. He owned 3,000 acres of land, fifteen slaves, a coal mine, and a blacksmith’s shop. Hardin’s large house served as an inn at the intersection of the Lewisburg–Searcy, Des Arc–Springfield, and …