Entries - Starting with F

Felsenthal (Union County)

Felsenthal is near the Saline River’s termination into the Ouachita River in southeastern Union County, just north of the Louisiana state line. It was established by the lumber industry, but since 1975 has prospered due to tourism, including hunters and fishers. David Felsenthal, a Jew born in Bavaria (now part of Germany) in 1833, moved to Arkansas when he was twenty years old. He lived first in Woodlawn (Ouachita County) and then moved to Camden (Ouachita County). He and his wife had nine children, four of whom—Adolph, Isaac, Sidney, and Lee—formed the Felsenthal Land and Timber Company around the beginning of the twentieth century to harvest the trees of southern Union County. They established a company town for their workers …

Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge

Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge encompasses approximately 65,000 acres at the confluence of the Ouachita and Saline rivers, spreading across the borders of three counties—Union, Bradley, and Ashley—in southeastern Arkansas near the Louisiana Border. The refuge takes its name from the nearby town of Felsenthal (Union County). The refuge was established in 1975 in order to mitigate the environmental impact of the Ouachita and Black Rivers Navigation Project of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which entailed the construction of locks and dams along both rivers in order to facilitate river traffic and prevent flooding. Felsenthal Lock and Dam on the Ouachita River impounds Lake Jack Lee, which the refuge surrounds. Numerous other waterways, such as Caney Bayou and Big Brushy …

Felts, Narvel

Albert Narvel Felts is a singer and songwriter best known for a string of commercially successful country music recordings in the 1970s. Over the course of his career, Felts has been known for performing a wide range of music, including rockabilly, pop, R&B, soul, and gospel, but it is his traditional country and rockabilly recordings that gained him the most attention. Narvel Felts was born on November 11, 1938, near Keiser (Mississippi County) to Albert and Lena Felts. In 1953, when he was fourteen, the family, including Felts and his older sister Ogareeda, relocated eighty miles north to the community of Powe, Missouri. As a teenager, Felts taught himself to play a guitar that, he has said, “was held together with …

Fendler, Oscar

Oscar Fendler was a prominent Arkansas lawyer who, during his nearly seven decades practicing law in Blytheville (Mississippi County), served as a leader of the state bar and worked to improve the administration of justice in Arkansas. Oscar Fendler was born on March 22, 1909, in Blytheville. His parents, Alfred Fendler and Ray Fendler, were Jews who immigrated to America from Kraków, Poland, around the turn of the century. After moving many times in search of work, the Fendlers eventually settled in the community of Manila (Mississippi County), where they opened a general store. They had four children, of whom Fendler was the eldest. Fendler attended public school in Manila through the tenth grade, which was the highest grade in …

Fendley (Clark County)

Fendley is a community in Clark County located about three miles east of Alpine (Clark County). Early settlers in Clark County visited the Fendley area due to the presence of a chalybeate spring nearby. Visitors used the waters to bathe, claiming that the iron-enriched water helped treat ailments. The name of the community comes from the Fendley family that settled in the area. Elisha and Martha Fendley arrived in the area in the late 1870s and were accompanied by their son Thomas and daughter-in-law Mary. The younger Fendleys had two children by 1880, and both families farmed. The Fendley Post Office opened in 1901. Thomas Fendley, the son of early settler Thomas, served as the first postmaster. The post office …

Ferguson House (Pine Bluff)

The Ferguson House, sometimes referred to as the Ferguson-Abbott House, is located on West 4thAvenue in the historic district of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). It was the first home in Pine Bluff to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places, which noted its historical and architectural significance within the community of Pine Bluff, as it has a unique architectural design and was the birthplace and childhood home of Martha Mitchell. The house was built by Calvin M. Ferguson, who was born in Chester, South Carolina, in 1852 and moved to Pine Bluff in 1893. Upon moving to Pine Bluff, he opened a grocery store with M. P. Russell, and he later started a wholesale grocery company with his son, …

Ferguson, Jim, Sr.

aka: James Garland Ferguson Sr.
The Marshall (Searcy County) library owes its existence to James Garland Ferguson Sr., a man with roots in the Ozark Plateau. This son of homesteaders who valued education above all else, having worked hard to secure an excellent education and great wealth for himself, had previously made generous contributions to several local schools and churches, Arkansas Baptist Hospital and St. Vincent Infirmary in Little Rock (Pulaski County), and several colleges, including scholarships to the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville (Washington County) and Hendrix College in Conway (Faulkner County). But to the people of his home county, he gave a library and, with it, an educational opportunity in a rural environment. Jim Ferguson was born on February 26, …

Ferguson, John Lewis

John Lewis Ferguson—historian, minister, author, archival administer, and historic preservationist—served as Arkansas state historian and the director of the Arkansas State Archives (previous called the Arkansas History Commission) from 1960 to 2005, only the third person to hold that position since 1905. His forty-five-year tenure was the longest in the agency’s history. John Ferguson was born on March 1, 1926, on a farm near Nashville (Howard County) to farmer and World War I veteran Clarence Walter Ferguson and his wife, Nannye N. McCrary Ferguson. As a child attending the rural York’s Chapel School, he read every history book he could find. Early on, he decided to pursue a career in history. He graduated from Nashville High School in 1944. In 1951, he was …

Ferndale (Pulaski County)

Ferndale is an unincorporated community in Pulaski County located near the intersection of Kanis and Congo roads west of Little Rock (Pulaski County). Chiefly a farming area, the settlement was once home to a large timber operation and speculative mining. The first white settlers to the area were the Thomas Reese Sevier family, who briefly settled there in 1838. The first long-term settler was Isaac Crowson, who settled his family there in 1840. The Crowson family was important to the development of Ferndale. In 1875, Dr. George Sutton, also the area’s first physician, was the first to build a home on the actual town site. As people were gradually attracted to the rich farm land near the Little Maumelle Creek, …

Ferns

Ferns are among the most ancient plant forms, distinguished by having a defined vascular system, reproducing by spores, and often having deeply divided leaves that unfurl from a coiled fiddlehead (crozier). They originally appeared in the fossil record about 360 million years ago, but most modern ferns arose in the early Cretaceous period about 145 million years ago. Discussed here are “true” ferns as understood in the horticultural sense and not in the broader classification used by botanists that include horsetails (Equisetum, of which Arkansas has four species), whisk ferns (Psilotum, one species), and sometimes Selaginella (ten species). Using botanist James H. Peck’s inclusive 2011 list, Arkansas has about eighty species of true ferns that are native to the state, …

Ferry Landing, Skirmish at

aka: Skirmish at Ashley's Mills
Part of Federal efforts to capture Little Rock (Pulaski County), this engagement opened an avenue for Union forces to cross the Arkansas River to the east of the city. Confederate cavalry forces were pushed across the river to the west bank, where they remained for the remainder of the campaign. Brigadier General John Davidson commanded the cavalry division in Major General Frederick Steele’s Federal army as it approached Little Rock from Helena (Phillips County). Confederate cavalry guarded the approaches that the Federals were likely to take. Due to the death of Brigadier General Lucius Walker, Colonel Archibald Dobbins was commanding the Confederate cavalry division tasked with watching the area near Ashley’s Mills. Stretched thin, Dobbins’s command could place only the …

Fess, Don

Don Fess of Magnolia (Columbia County) built and patented a prototype engine that saved energy by using rotating pistons rather than the standard up-and-down pistons. Don Fess was born in Allendale, Illinois, on February 12, 1915. His parents, Ora and Eunice Fess, moved with their four sons to Haynesville, Louisiana, in about 1925. Fess finished high school there at age sixteen (at that time, Louisiana schools had only eleven grades) and began to look for a job. He married Martha Emma Wainwright on June 1, 1934, and built a house across the street from his parents using salvaged lumber. He delivered ice seven days a week for a wage of $1.50 per day. He and his wife had six children. …

Festivals and Parades

Arkansas hosts a variety of annual festivals, fairs, and parades throughout the year. Some of the more well-known affairs, such as the Hope Watermelon Festival or the Arkansas Apple Festival, celebrate the centrality of agriculture to both local life and the wider state economy. Others celebrate some aspect of industry that is central to town life, such as the Malvern Brickfest or the Fordyce on the Cotton Belt Festival. A number of festivals focus upon arts and crafts, music, and movies, as well as an array of holiday-related celebrations centering upon Christmas or Independence Day. In addition, such events as Toad Suck Daze or the Lepanto Terrapin Derby simply provide opportunities for amusement.    For additional information: Arkansas South. http://www.arkansassouth.com/ …

Feuds

A feud (sometimes referred to as a vendetta or private war) is a long-running argument or period of animosity, especially between families or clans. Feuds usually begin over a perceived injustice or insult. The feud cycle is fueled by a long-running cycle of retaliatory violence that often escalates into a “blood feud,” in which the cycle of violence involves the relatives of someone who has been killed or dishonored seeking vengeance by killing the culprits or their relatives. In theory, the cycle of killing continues until one entire family has been killed. Arkansas has had its share of feuds, particularly in the Ozark Mountains region of the state. Pioneers who came west from the southern Appalachian Mountains at the beginning …

Ficklin-Imboden Log House

The Ficklin-Imboden Log House, located in Powhatan (Lawrence Country), is considered the earliest house representing residential construction and architecture still standing in the twenty-first century in Powhatan. John A. Lindsay divided land in Powhatan into lots when the town was platted in 1849. The year before, Andrew Imboden married Lusinda E. Ficklin, niece of John Ficklin, who is credited with founding Powhatan. The newlyweds bought the lot where the log home would soon stand. The house is believed to have been constructed sometime between 1850 and 1853. The Ficklin-Imboden Log House location influenced the development of Powhatan. As imports and shipping on the Black River increased, jobs associated with lumber, trade, gristmills, farming, pearling, and fishing also emerged and attracted …

Fiction Writers of Central Arkansas (FWCA)

The Fiction Writers of Central Arkansas (FWCA) incorporated in 1989 as a nonprofit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of local writers and assistance in helping them get published. The group got its start in the spring of 1984 when Petei Engleby, owner of a secondhand bookstore in Little Rock (Pulaski County), posted a sign in her store inviting anyone interested in writing romances to meet with her. Engleby and three other women—Chrissy (Leister) Willis, Mary Watson, and Cathy Johnson—met and organized as the Central Arkansas Romance Authors. The group grew in size and, at the beginning of 1986, applied to become a chapter of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) but was advised that local chapters had to incorporate, that …

Fiddlin’ Bob Larkan & His Music Makers

aka: Bob Larkan
aka: Bob Larkin
Fiddlin’ Bob Larkan was a well-known country fiddle player whose Music Makers band played on the radio stations of charlatan medical messiahs Dr. John R. Brinkley and Norman Baker and made a number of recordings. The group’s song “Higher Up the Monkey Climbs” became notorious for its suggestive, ribald lyrics. Although “Larkan” was the correct spelling of Bob Larkan’s name, record companies and even his hometown newspaper in his obituary rendered the name “Larkin.” Robert William (Bob) Larkan was born on November 18, 1867, in New York City, his father having migrated from Ireland and his mother from England. A musical child, he learned the violin, banjo, and guitar. The family moved to Boone County, Missouri, by 1870. In 1888, he married a …

Fifteenth (Johnson’s) Arkansas Infantry (CS)

The Fifteenth (Johnson’s) Arkansas Infantry Regiment was a Confederate unit that served in the Western and Trans-Mississippi Theaters during the American Civil War. Organized in January 1862 of six companies, it was composed primarily of men from Columbia, Ouachita, Union, and Lafayette counties. The original command staff consisted of Colonel James M. Gee, Lieutenant Colonel John C. Wright, and Major P. Lynch Lee. The unit was originally organized by Captain John L. Logan of the Eleventh Arkansas Infantry, and Gee was elected colonel in January 1862. The regiment was ordered to Memphis, Tennessee, and soon afterward to Fort Henry on the Tennessee River. In February 1862, the Union army began its assault on Fort Henry, and the Fifteenth Arkansas retreated …

Fifteenth (Josey’s) Arkansas Infantry (CS)

The Fifteenth Arkansas Infantry Regiment was a Confederate unit that served in the Western Theater during the American Civil War. Not to be confused with the Fifteenth (Northwest) or Fifteenth (Johnson’s), it fought with the Army of Tennessee in all its major engagements until surrender at Greensboro, North Carolina, on April 26, 1865. The regiment was organized on May 14, 1861, as the First Regiment Arkansas State Troops, consisting of companies from Phillips, Monroe, Jefferson, Desha, Mississippi, and Prairie counties. Its first commander was Colonel Patrick R. Cleburne, an Irish immigrant from Helena (Phillips County). On July 23, 1861, the regiment was enrolled in Confederate service as the First Arkansas Infantry at Pittman’s Ferry, Arkansas. Due to there being another …

Fifth Arkansas Infantry (CS)

The Fifth Arkansas Infantry was a regiment that served in the Confederate army during the Civil War. Spending most of its service in the Western Theater, the regiment served for the duration of the war. After Arkansas seceded from the Union on May 6, 1861, a number of military units began to form. Companies organized in communities around the state and moved to a number of centralized locations to create regiments. Ten companies from across Arkansas organized into the Fifth Arkansas Infantry at Gainesville (Greene County) on June 28, 1861. The companies were from Poinsett, Bradley, Greene, and Prairie counties. Two companies were organized in Wittsburg (Cross County), which became the seat of Cross County when it was formed in …

Fifty-seventh Regiment, United States Colored Troops (US)

aka: Fourth Arkansas Infantry (African Descent)
The Fifty-seventh regiment of United States Colored Infantry began its service as the Fourth Arkansas Infantry (African Descent). Recruited and organized at DeValls Bluff (Prairie County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), and Helena (Phillips County), the regiment mustered into Federal service on December 2, 1863, and served with the Seventh Corps in the Department of Arkansas. Thomas D. Seawell received a commission as the regiment’s colonel on August 10, 1863, after previous service throughout Mississippi as captain of Company E in the Tenth Missouri Infantry. He served until the end of May 1864 and received a brevet promotion to brigadier general on March 13, 1865. The Bureau of Colored Troops, commonly known as the United States Colored Troops (USCT), was organized …

Fifty-Six (Stone County)

  Fifty-Six is one of two cities in Stone County. It stands on State Highway 14 in the northern part of the county. Fifty-Six (sometimes spelled without the hyphen) is located near Blanchard Springs Caverns, one of the most visited tourist sites in the Ozark National Forest. The forested hills and mountains of northern Arkansas were claimed as hunting and fishing land by the Osage, who lived in southern Missouri, when the United States first acquired the land as part of the Louisiana Purchase. White settlers gradually arrived in the area, but the rugged land remained only sparsely settled for many years. Stone County, which was formed in 1873 from parts of four other counties, had about 5,000 residents at …

Fighting Mad

B-movie mogul Roger Corman was responsible for three films made in Arkansas. After directing Bloody Mama (1970), he produced Boxcar Bertha (1972), which was directed by Martin Scorsese, and Fighting Mad (1976), which was written and directed by Jonathan Demme. After directing three movies for Corman, Demme went on to direct major films like Silence of the Lambs (1991) and Philadelphia (1993). In 1976, Peter Fonda, the star of Fighting Mad, was near the end of his brief period of stardom after his hit Easy Rider (1969). Supporting actor Scott Glenn was at the beginning of his starring career. Corman once said that his films should have “a little violence but not too much; a little sex but not too …

Filhiol, Don Juan

aka: Jean de Filhiol
aka: Baptiste Filhiol
aka: Jean Baptiste Filhiol
Present-day Camden (Ouachita County) has its origins in a 1782 settlement established by Don Juan Filhiol, a Frenchman who served the Spanish colony of Louisiana. Ecore a Fabri, as Camden was originally known, was Filhiol’s first established settlement in the Ouachita District, which encompassed today’s southern Arkansas and northeastern Louisiana. Filhiol is credited with introducing the rule of law to the Ouachita River area in Arkansas and Louisiana. Don Juan Filhiol was born Jean Baptiste Filhiol on September 21, 1740, in Eymet, France, to François Filhiol and Anne Marie Teyssonniere, who were cloth merchants and Calvinists. In 1763, at the age of twenty-three, Filhiol left France to seek his fortune in Santo Domingo, a French colony (present-day Haiti). He decided …

Fine Arts Club of Arkansas

In 1914, a group of women formed the Fine Arts Club of Arkansas, an organization dedicated to the establishment of a permanent art gallery in the state. The group was instrumental in the creation of the Museum of Fine Arts in Little Rock (Pulaski County), which opened in 1937 and was renamed the Arkansas Arts Center in 1961. In the twenty-first century, the purpose of the Fine Arts Club is to promote and extend the activities, usefulness, and enjoyment of the Arkansas Arts Center. The Fine Arts Club serves as an auxiliary group of the Arkansas Arts Center, providing volunteers, hosting events with speakers for the public, and conducting special member preview parties. The first fundraiser the Fine Arts Club …

Finer Points of Sausage Dogs, The

The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs is a 2003 novel by international bestseller Alexander McCall Smith, who was born in Zimbabwe and has taught law both there and in Edinburgh, Scotland. A follow-up to Portuguese Irregular Verbs (originally self-published in 1996), the novel takes place partially in and around the campus of the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs follows the comic misadventures of Professor Dr. Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld of the Institute of Romance Philology in Regensburg, Germany, who is the pompous author of the linguistic monograph Portuguese Irregular Verbs. Von Igelfeld, who had regularly spurned invitations to lecture in the United States, finds himself seeking an opportunity to do exactly that …

Finger, Charles Joseph

Charles Joseph Finger was a prolific writer who settled in Fayetteville (Washington County) after an early life of travel and adventure; one of his many adventure books won the Newbery Prize for children’s literature. In addition to writing and publishing a magazine from his Fayetteville farm, Finger was employed from 1936 through 1938 as an editor of the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) guidebook, Arkansas: A Guide to the State. Charles Joseph Frederick Finger was born on December 25, 1867, in Willesden, England. His father, also named Charles, was a German tailor recently come to England from Germany. His mother was Julia Connoly Finger, a young Irish woman. He attended several small private pre-collegiate institutions, ending with Mr. Harvey’s Grammar School. …

Finney v. Hutto

aka: Hutto v. Finney
In this series of landmark court cases, prisoners at the Cummins Farm and Tucker Intermediate Reformatory units of the Arkansas prison system continued to challenge their conditions of confinement, several years after Chief Judge J. Smith Henley of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas declared in Holt v. Sarver I (1969) and Holt v. Sarver II (1970) that confinement in the prisons constituted cruel and unusual punishment, violating the Eighth and Fourteenth amendments. Judge Henley called the conditions that prisoners faced “a dark and evil world completely alien to the free world.” The prisoners were represented by attorneys Jack Holt Jr. and Philip Kaplan of Little Rock (Pulaski County). Henley’s original decision ordered the Arkansas Department of Correction to remedy the …

First (Crawford’s) Arkansas Cavalry (CS)

aka: Tenth Trans-Mississippi Cavalry
The First (Crawford’s) Arkansas Cavalry Regiment was a Confederate cavalry unit that served in the Trans-Mississippi Theater during the American Civil War. Also designated as the Tenth Trans-Mississippi Cavalry, it is one of three regiments to be designated First Arkansas Cavalry. Participating in military engagements in Arkansas at Mount Elba, Longview Prairie (Easling’s Farm), Poison Spring, and Marks’ Mills, as well as Price’s Missouri Raid, it was stationed in Texas when Confederate forces in the Trans-Mississippi Theater surrendered on May 26, 1865. The regiment was organized at Camden (Ouachita County) on December 30, 1863, by Colonel William A. Crawford of Saline County. It consisted of ten companies from Clark, Columbia, Ouachita, Lafayette, Saline, and Union counties, with two companies added …

First Arkansas Infantry (US)

The First Arkansas Infantry Volunteers (US) was recruited and organized in Fayetteville (Washington County) by Dr. James M. Johnson of Huntsville (Madison County) following the Battle of Prairie Grove. Johnson and his brother were associates of noted loyalist Isaac Murphy, who later became governor of Arkansas. The unit consisted of unionists from Washington County and other northwestern Arkansas counties including Madison, Newton, Benton, Searcy, and Crawford. The unit was mustered in on March 25, 1863, with thirty-six officers and 810 enlisted men. An April 1 report from Colonel M. LaRue Harrison of the First Arkansas Cavalry makes clear the condition of the first recruits: “The First Arkansas Infantry will number in a few days an aggregate of 830 men; probably 700 of them effective. …

First Arkansas Light Artillery (CS)

The First Arkansas Light Artillery was a militia battery mustered on September 27, 1860, at Fort Smith (Sebastian County) as part of the Provisional Army of Arkansas. The volunteer unit was first commanded by Captain J. G. Reid under the designation of the Fort Smith Artillery. The battery first marched north alongside units under Brigadier General Nicholas Bartlett Pearce to join secessionist forces in southwestern Missouri, before being mustered in as part of the Confederate army. On August 10, 1861, after combining with a large but poorly organized rebel force of Missouri State Guard troops under General Sterling Price, they were attacked by Federal forces at Wilson’s Creek near Springfield, Missouri. During the resulting Battle of Wilson’s Creek, the battery held …

First Arkansas Light Artillery Battery (US)

The First Arkansas Light Artillery Battery was a military unit organized from Arkansas Unionists during the Civil War. The battery served in Arkansas, Missouri, and the Indian Territory. The battery was the first artillery unit raised by Federal forces in the state. Denton Stark, the adjutant of the First Arkansas Cavalry, received permission to raise the unit in January 1863. Recruiting began immediately, and men from Benton, Washington, Madison, Crawford, Sebastian, Franklin, Johnson, and Sevier counties joined the battery. It reached full strength of 110 men by April 1 and began active service in Fayetteville (Washington County). Stark became the first commander of the battery. Although the battery was an artillery unit, it was not armed at this time and …

First Arkansas Union Cavalry (US)

Although Arkansas joined the Confederacy in 1861, not all of its citizens were committed to the new nation. Support for the Federal government remained strong in the northwest corner of the state, and many Arkansans were eager to defend the Union. Although the Unionists were a minority in the state, Arkansas still furnished approximately 10,000 men for the Northern armies. Those men filled the ranks of ten infantry regiments or battalions, four cavalry regiments, and two artillery batteries. Of these, the First Arkansas Cavalry became the most famous Union regiment raised from the state. After being mustered into service at Springfield, Missouri, in July 1862, the regiment returned to Arkansas and operated as a counter-guerrilla force. Roaming bands of Confederate sympathizers often harassed …

First Arkansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment (African Descent) (US)

aka: Forty-sixth Regiment U.S. Colored Troops
In April 1863, an organization of African-American troops was commenced in the Mississippi River Valley under the personal supervision of the adjutant-general of the army, Lorenzo Thomas. His first regiment was mustered into service on May 1, 1863, as the First Arkansas Volunteers of African Descent, designated the Forty-sixth Regiment U.S. Colored Troops on May 11, 1864. The First Arkansas would be one of four regiments of African Americans that was raised in Helena (Phillips County), a fortified city and naval port on the Mississippi River. Arkansas would be credited with 5,526 men in six regiments of African descent for Federal service. Allowing African-American men to serve was due in part to the Emancipation Proclamation and the Militia Act of …

First Arkansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment (CS)

As secession loomed in the spring of 1861, thousands of Arkansas men enrolled in volunteer companies and offered their services to the Confederacy. Ten such companies—raised in Union, Clark, Ouachita, Jefferson, Saline, Jackson, Arkansas, and Drew counties—were organized as the First Arkansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment and were transferred to Lynchburg, Virginia. After Arkansas seceded from the Union on May 6, 1861, the 905 men in the First Arkansas mustered into service on May 19. James Fleming Fagan, the captain of the Saline County Volunteers, was elected to serve as colonel of the regiment. The First Arkansas was present but did not see action at the First Battle of Manassas on July 21, 1861. The regiment remained in Virginia through the …

First Baptist Church (Little Rock)

aka: EMOBA
aka: Museum of Black Arkansans and Performing Arts Center
The historic building of First Baptist Church of Little Rock (Pulaski County) is located at the corner of 12th and Louisiana streets just south of downtown. Various congregations of First Baptist worshiped in locations around the city throughout the 1800s. In 1889, First Baptist purchased a new lot and began construction on a large brick church at the historic site of 12th and Louisiana streets. The current building was built on the same site in 1941–42 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 21, 1994. In 1974, the First Baptist congregation moved to west Little Rock. The buildings on Louisiana remained unused until 1993, when Ernestine (Ernie) Dodson purchased the buildings on Louisiana to create …

First Ladies

Although there is no defined position mandated by the Arkansas General Assembly for the state’s first lady, today’s Arkansas citizens expect the occupant of the position to hold many roles, including supportive spouse to the governor, hostess, social activist, and speech maker. But such was not always the case for Arkansas’s first ladies. In fact, not much was expected from this position until after World War II, and those increased expectations came to be as a result of increased media scrutiny. Arkansas’s territorial period (1819–1836) saw the beginnings of organized government in the form of president-appointed governors to the territory. The wives of these governors did not play an active part in the formation of the Arkansas Territory. In fact, …

Fish

Arkansas fishes are a combination of abundant and rare species—primitive and ancestral, commercial and sport, game and non-game, native and introduced, and transplanted and exotic. There are approximately 233 fish species in Arkansas. Arkansas has a relatively rich fish fauna compared to neighboring states (which range between 148 and 319 fish species). Some species, such as the western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis), are common statewide, whereas other species, such as the yellowcheek darter (Etheostoma moorei), have more restricted distributions. Distinct differences in topography and geology between northwestern (upland) and southeastern (lowland) Arkansas have led to distinctly different groups of fish species developing in each of these regions. For example, because of an abundance of clear, gravel-bottom, flowing streams in northwestern Arkansas, …

Fishback School

Fishback School was established in 1885 as Washington County School District 68. At that time, the school was about two miles southeast of Springdale (Washington and Benton counties), in an area known for its fruit orchards. Two families, the Grahams and the Boyds, donated one-half acre each from their adjoining orchards as a location for the schoolhouse, a one-room wood-frame building. According to former Fishback student Truman Stamps, the school was named for William Meade Fishback, a prominent Fort Smith (Sebastian County) attorney and legislator who served as governor of Arkansas from 1893 to 1895. As was the case with most rural schools, grades one through eight were offered at Fishback. By 1915, enrollment at Fishback had grown to the …

Fishback, William Meade

William Meade Fishback was a prominent Unionist during the Civil War who became the seventeenth governor of Arkansas. He was elected (but not seated) as U.S. senator by the Unionist government in 1864. During Reconstruction, he became a Democrat and, in the mid-1870s and early 1880s, championed repudiation of state debts. The Fishback Amendment earned him the name the “Great Repudiator.” His relatively lackluster one term as governor was most notable for his public relations effort to improve Arkansas’s image. William Fishback was born on November 5, 1831, in the Jeffersonton community of Culpeper County, Virginia, the oldest of the nine children born to Frederick Fishback and Sophia Ann (Yates) Fishback. As the son of a prosperous farmer, he received …

Fisher (Poinsett County)

  Fisher is located on U.S. Highway 49 in the southwest corner of Poinsett County. Like many other Arkansas cities, Fisher owes its existence to the railroad industry and the lumber industry. In the nineteenth century, western Poinsett County was a flood-prone hardwood forest. A road connecting Helena (Phillips County) to Batesville (Independence County) ran across the future site of Fisher, but no families chose to live in the area until after the Civil War. Reportedly, the first building erected in what would be Fisher was a double-pen log cabin built by Allen Steelman in about 1875. Steelman’s son-in-law, Shep Pope, lived in the other half of the cabin. Local historians have written that, following the death of Steelman, his widow married …

Fisher, Derek Lamar

Derek Fisher is one of the most successful basketball players to hail from Arkansas. After an exemplary high school and college career in Little Rock (Pulaski County), he won five championships as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He also set an NBA record for participation in the most playoff games at 259. In 2011, he was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. Derek Lamar Fisher was born in Little Rock on August 9, 1974, to John and Annette Fisher. He has an older half brother, Duane Washington, who also played in the NBA, and a younger sister. The Fishers lived on West 22nd Street in Little Rock. Derek attended Wilson …

Fisher, George Edward

George Edward Fisher was a political cartoonist whose work influenced and helped define Arkansas politics for a generation. He created a series of visual metaphors and themes that were widely associated with the politicians he caricatured and became a part of Arkansas political folklore. Fisher focused primarily on political, social, and environmental issues. George Fisher was born on April 8, 1923, near Searcy (White County) to Charles W. Fisher, a tree nursery owner, and Gladys Fisher. His mother died when he was five, and his father alone raised Fisher’s two brothers, sister, and him. Fisher grew up in Beebe (White County), where he attended school and started the Beebe Grammar School News. Fisher’s father was an avid reader and encouraged …

Fisher, Isaac

Isaac Fisher was a prominent African-American educator in the early part of the twentieth century. A protégé of famed black educator and leader Booker T. Washington, Fisher served as president of Branch Normal College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff—UAPB) in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) from 1902 to 1911. Isaac Fisher was born on January 18, 1877, on a plantation named Perry’s Place in East Carroll Parish, Louisiana. His parents were former slaves; little is known about them beyond the fact that they had sixteen children, the last of whom was Isaac. In 1882, the family was forced to live for six months in the plantation’s cotton gin following a levee break on the Mississippi River, an experience …

Fisher, Jimmie Lou

Jimmie Lou Fisher, a pioneering female politician, was the state treasurer or state auditor of Arkansas for twenty-four years. She is the longest-serving state treasurer in Arkansas history. Fisher got her start in politics by being elected treasurer of Greene County in 1970, but her friendship and alliance with young Bill Clinton when he campaigned for Congress in 1974 launched her state political career. Her final race came in 2002, when Democratic Party leaders persuaded her to run for governor against the popular Republican governor Mike Huckabee, who was running for his second full term. Though heavily outspent and suffering from a painful back ailment, Fisher nevertheless received forty-seven percent of the votes. Jimmie Lou Cooper was born on December …

Fisher, Rosemary Beryl Snook “Snooky”

Rosemary Beryl Snook Fisher was an artist and pottery instructor for the Arkansas Arts Center for several years. She had an active interest in the preservation of the art forms of the Ozarks but was influenced by many diverse cultures. As a devoted teacher into her last years, she influenced many future artists. She had added local notoriety as the wife of George Fisher, the chief editorial cartoonist for the Arkansas Gazette. Her husband regularly wove her nickname, Snooky, into his cartoons; for many years, a favorite game among readers was to find the hidden nickname. Rosemary Snook was born in early 1927 in Burnham-on-Sea, England, to Harold George Snook and Rose Annie Elliott; she had three younger siblings. On …

Fitzgerald Station and Farmstead

Fitzgerald Station and Farmstead in Springdale (Washington and Benton counties) was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 27, 2003. Focusing on the time period 1857–1953, the National Register listing includes a barn used by Butterfield’s Overland Mail Company (1858–1861), an 1870s house, a stable, a pump house, a chicken house, a cistern, native stone entry markers, and an outdoor fire pit. Fitzgerald (or Fitzgerald’s) Station and Farmstead has also been designated by the National Park Service as a certified site on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. John Fitzgerald Sr. (1783–1875) and his wife, Mary Fitzgerald (1794–circa 1865), moved their family from Alabama to Washington County, Arkansas, in the late 1820s or early 1830s, settling …

Fitzgerald, Edward Mary

Edward Mary Fitzgerald was the second Roman Catholic bishop of Little Rock (Pulaski County), overseeing a diocese that encompasses the boundaries of the state of Arkansas. As the most historically significant Arkansas Catholic prelate, he was one of the only bishops in the world, and the only English-speaking one, to vote against papal infallibility. As an Arkansas bishop, he strove to attract Catholic immigrants to the state and sought also to evangelize African Americans; these efforts, however, bore little fruit. St. Edward Catholic Church was named in his honor. Although it is known that Edward Fitzgerald was born in the city of Limerick on the west coast of Ireland, his birth certificate fails to reveal his exact date of birth. …

Fitzhugh (Woodruff County)

Fitzhugh (Woodruff County) is a community six miles northeast of the county seat of Augusta (Woodruff County). Named for Rufus K. Fitzhugh Jr., the community developed and grew around his 800-acre plantation. Over time, two schools, a cotton gin, churches, and a general mercantile store came to be located at Fitzhugh; the area is mostly large farm fields in the twenty-first century, with only a few residences. Early settlers to the Fitzhugh community were attracted by the area’s rich alluvial soil deposits that became so profitable for cotton production in the nineteenth century. Area farms benefited from Fitzhugh’s proximity to the White River just a few miles west. In 1859, Rufus King Fitzhugh Sr. brought his family and a large …

Fitzhugh Snapp Company

Located six miles north of Augusta (Woodruff County) at the junction of County Roads 140 and 165, the Fitzhugh Snapp Company at Fitzhugh (Woodruff County) was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005 for its significance in two areas of merit: the general store’s important association with agriculture in Woodruff County and the building’s distinctive representation of twentieth-century commercial architecture. The Fitzhugh store was an integral part of an agricultural community that revolved around cotton production in the northeastern Arkansas Delta from the mid-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. Rufus K. Fitzhugh and J. Harrison Snapp built the original wooden mercantile store in Fitzhugh, probably in the mid-to-late 1890s. Although its exact date of construction is not …