Entries - Starting with M

Martin, Mark Anthony

Mark Martin is the only driver from Arkansas competing in the top circuit of the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR). He ranks tenth on the all-time win list and sixth on the all-time pole position list. In 2017, he was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Mark Anthony Martin was born on January 9, 1959, in Batesville (Independence County) to Julian Martin and Jackie Estes Martin. Martin’s father was a truck driver who started a successful Batesville-based trucking company, Julian Martin, Inc., in 1960. As a hobby, Julian also sponsored a race team that competed on the numerous small local race tracks. Martin’s father instilled a passion for driving in him when he was very young. Before …

Martin, Paula Marie

Paula Martin is a writer and educator best known for her work as the host and producer of the radio show Tales from the South. Paula Marie Martin was born on October 9, 1967, in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). Her family moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County) when she was twelve, and she has lived there periodically throughout her life. She graduated from Little Rock’s Parkview High School. In the late 1980s, Martin and schoolmate Jason Morell, who had begun dating after graduation, sold all their belongings and moved to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, where they began working in a restaurant. The couple married and had three children. As they pursued their dream of opening a restaurant, they traveled and …

Martin, Roberta Evelyn

aka: Roberta Evelyn Winston Martin Austin
Roberta Evelyn Winston Martin Austin was one of the most significant figures during gospel music’s golden age (1945–1960). A performer and publisher, she reached iconic status in Chicago, Illinois, where she influenced numerous artists (such as Alex Bradford, James Cleveland, and Albertina Walker) and had an impact on an entire industry with her innovation and business acumen. Roberta Evelyn Winston was born in Helena (Phillips County) on February 12, 1907, one of six children of William and Anna Winston, proprietors of a general store. She began studying piano at age six. Her family relocated to Cairo, Illinois, before she was ten, after arriving in Chicago in 1917, Winston played for various church functions, working with Thomas A. Dorsey, the “Father …

Martineau, John Ellis

John Ellis Martineau, governor of Arkansas from 1927 to 1928, reflected the emergence of a new style of political leadership in the state. Nominally a Democrat, his administration continued the progressive positions of his predecessors, beginning with George W. Donaghey’s election in 1909. He helped to launch the Arkansas highway system with an innovative change in the source of funding, and he successfully led the relief effort following the disastrous Mississippi River Flood of 1927. His career also advanced a new and more conciliatory position on race relations with his role in the Elaine Massacre and his stance on the 1927 lynching of John Carter in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Overall, his actions as a politician and judge earned him …

Marvell (Phillips County)

  The city of Marvell began as a railroad town in the 1870s. Best known as the hometown of musician Levon Helm, Marvell is one of the largest communities in Phillips County. Rich soil deposited by Mississippi River floods over the years made Phillips County attractive to cotton farmers, who created large plantations throughout the area in the early nineteenth century. In 1835, John Sanford acquired ownership of the land where Marvell would be built. Slaves worked the plantations until the Civil War, and many of the former slaves remained as tenant farmers after the war. Several railroads had been planned before the war, but their construction did not take place until Reconstruction. The Arkansas Central Railroad, planned to link Helena (Phillips County) and Little Rock …

Marylake Monastery

Founded in 1952 and located thirteen miles south of Little Rock (Pulaski County), Marylake Monastery is a residence for Discalced Carmelite friars of the Province of St. Thérèse, which includes Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. The monastery is a novitiate for the province, which is a type of religious “boot camp” for young men entering the Carmelite Order of the Roman Catholic Church. As solitude is sought as an aid to contemplative prayer, the rural site was chosen because it offered a more secluded setting than the former novitiate within the urban setting of San Antonio. In 1895, brothers of the Tull family bought a 400-acre tract in East End (Saline County) and dammed Clear Creek to form a fifty-acre …

Mason, Charles Harrison

An outstanding preacher and the founder of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC), the largest African-American Pentecostal denomination of the twentieth century, Charles Harrison “Bishop” Mason ordained both black and white clergy in the early 1900s, when few did so. Mason was baptized, licensed, ordained in Arkansas, and he preached his first sermon in Preston (Faulkner County). Charles Mason was born on September 8, 1866, on the Prior Farm near Bartlett, Tennessee. His parents, tenant farmers Jeremiah “Jerry” Mason and Eliza Mason, had been converted to Christianity while they were slaves and attended the Missionary Baptist Church. Mason had two brothers and one sister. When Mason was twelve, a yellow fever epidemic forced his family to move from Tennessee …

Mason, James W.

aka: James Mason Worthington
James W. Mason of Chicot County was the first documented African-American postmaster in the United States. He later served as a delegate to the 1868 Arkansas constitutional convention and was a state senator. James W. Mason was born in Chicot County in 1841. His father was Elisha Worthington (1808–1873), the wealthiest landowner and largest slaveholder in Chicot County. Mason’s mother was one of Worthington’s slaves, whose name is unknown. Worthington apparently carried on a longtime, public relationship with this woman. (He did, however, marry Mary Chinn of Kentucky in 1840, but she returned to Kentucky only six months later, claiming that he was an adulterer, and the marriage was annulled.) Mason’s full name, which rarely appears in any public record, may have …

Mass Media

For a small state with regard to population and geography, Arkansas has a surprisingly large number of mass media: 135 newspapers, 256 commercial radio stations, twenty-three commercial television stations, and dozens of magazines and other publications. In addition, there are ten non-commercial television stations, twenty-nine non-commercial radio stations, and twenty-six cable television networks. Mass media in Arkansas developed much like they did throughout the country. That is, they appeared where and when population and business development supported them. Two key elements determine the success of any of the mass media (newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and cable): revenue, in the form of advertising and purchases (subscriptions and single copy sales); and audience, in the form of readers, viewers, and listeners. Arkansas …

Massard Prairie

As one of three naturally occurring prairies located near Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Massard Prairie was first described in Thomas Nuttall’s A Journal of Travels into the Arkansas Territory During the Year 1819. The prairie gave its name to a community that is now within the city limits of Fort Smith; the prairie itself has largely been developed and is no longer recognizable as such. These prairies were described and mapped well before the Louisiana Purchase. According to local tradition, Massard Prairie takes its name from T. Jean Massard, a French captain whose land grant was approximately 18,000 acres, the northern boundary being the Arkansas River. It was laid out in a French fashion called “longlots,” with strips of land …

Massard Prairie, Action at

The Action at Massard Prairie on July 27, 1864, exemplified the hit-and-run nature of the Civil War in Arkansas on the western border: this was a war of raids and ambushes involving small forces, not drawn-out, large-scale battles. As a Confederate victory, it also demonstrated the difficulty faced by Union units attempting to exert control over the state during the war’s later stages. Following the failure of Union General Frederick Steele’s Camden Expedition in April 1864, Confederate and Union roles on the frontier reversed. Union forces now attempted to hold the line of the Arkansas River against Confederate raids, while emboldened Confederates became more aggressive in their operations. An opportunity presented itself to the Confederates in late July 1864. In …

Massey, Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth Massey was a history professor noted for her early studies of women in the Civil War, years before women’s history courses became common in university history departments. Her books have continued to be important decades after their publication. Mary Elizabeth Massey (she used her full name throughout her life) was born on December 25, 1915, in Morrilton (Conway County) to Mary McClung Massey and Charles Leonidas Massey. After graduation from Morrilton High School, she attended Hendrix College in Conway (Faulkner County). For multiple years, Massey was president of her sorority (in an era when Hendrix had fraternities and sororities), and she served on the Interfraternity Council, the dormitory council, and the Student Senate, in addition to serving one-year …

Massey, Mary Elizabeth Smith

Mary Elizabeth Smith Massey—businesswoman, public official, and civic and political leader—was a woman with an average, middle-class, mountain background, meaning her family neither depended upon subsistence farming, sharecropping, or seasonal labor in the Arkansas River bottoms, nor did they have a big store in the county seat or hundreds of acres let to sharecroppers. She became an early Arkansas female success story in the period from 1920 to 1930, when Arkansas women were just beginning to assume prominence in state and national life. In the 1950s, she reaped the results of her early endeavors by serving as Worthy Grand Matron of the Arkansas Order of the Eastern Star and by being admitted to practice law before the U.S. Supreme Court. …

Massie, Samuel Proctor, Jr.

Samuel Proctor Massie Jr. overcame racial barriers to become one of America’s greatest chemists in research and teaching. As a doctoral candidate during World War II, he worked on the Manhattan Project with Henry Gilman at Iowa State University in the development of uranium isotopes for the atomic bomb. In 1966, the U.S. Naval Academy appointed him as its first black faculty member. Massie’s research over fifty years led to the development of drugs to treat mental illness, malaria, meningitis, gonorrhea, herpes, and cancer. Chemical and Engineering News in 1998 named him one of the top seventy-five chemists of all time, along with Marie Curie, Linus Pauling, George Washington Carver, and DNA pioneers James Watson and Francis Crick. Samuel Massie …

Mathis, Deborah Myers

Deborah Mathis is an acclaimed journalist and author who has been a reporter and columnist for newspapers and a television reporter and anchor. She was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2003. Deborah Myers was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on August 24, 1953. Her father, Lloyd H. Myers, was a businessman and Baptist minister, while her mother, Rachel A. Helms Myers, was an educator. She has several brothers and sisters. Myers attended Gibbs Elementary, Rightsell Elementary, and Westside Junior High, graduating from Little Rock Central High in 1971. She got her start in journalism at the Central school newspaper as the first female and first African-American editor. Rather than leave home to go to college, …

Matthews, Justin, Sr.

Justin Matthews Sr. was a prominent Arkansas businessman, real estate developer, and community leader best known for his role in the development of the North Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Sherwood (Pulaski County) areas. Justin Matthews was born on a farm near Monticello (Drew County) to Samuel James Matthews and Anna Wilson Matthews on December 23, 1875. The Matthewses were a very wealthy family in Drew County, as Samuel Matthews owned a law firm, a large nursery, and a fruit business. Samuel Matthews also served as Drew County judge and encouraged his son to study law, but Justin Matthews decided to pursue a career as a pharmacist. Matthews married Mary Agnes Somers in 1901; they had three children. Around that …

Maudelle: A Novel Founded on Facts Gathered From Living Witnesses

Maudelle: A Novel Founded on Facts Gathered from Living Witnesses, written by James Henery Smith and published by Mayhew Publishing Company of Boston in 1906, is reputed to be the first novel written by an African American residing in Arkansas. Smith was a prominent Little Rock (Pulaski County) dentist, a leader in the black community who spoke in opposition of the proposed Separate Coach Act of 1891, and the father of Arkansas composer Florence Smith Price. Maudelle is a novel about miscegenation, focusing on the “illicit commingling” between a U.S. Senator from Kentucky, George Morroe, and his slave Mary. Their child, Maudelle, becomes orphaned after a series of melodramatic events: the stabbing of Morroe; his deathbed request to be married …

Mauldin (Montgomery County)

The former town of Mauldin, in Montgomery County, is located between Pencil Bluff (Montgomery County) and the county seat, Mount Ida. Fueled by the logging industry, Mauldin was once the largest town in the county, although twenty-first-century Mauldin is a ghost town, with little physical evidence remaining. The Caddo River Lumber Company established Mauldin around 1922 where company logging railroads in Montgomery County crossed land purchased from William Mauldin, a local homesteader. The easily accessible landscape and proximity to vast reserves of timber in the northern portion of the county created an ideal location for a logging town. Timber was easily transported by rail to the large mills at Glenwood (Pike County) or Rosboro (Pike County). There, on William Mauldin’s …

Maumelle (Pulaski County)

Maumelle is a city five miles west of Little Rock (Pulaski County) on Interstate 40. A fast-growing, affluent suburb of Little Rock, it has the highest median household income in the state of Arkansas, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It is one of the planned communities that arose in central Arkansas during the 1970s. The area that is now Maumelle was visited by European explorers prior to the Louisiana Purchase and American settlement. Maumelle derives its name from the French word mamelle, or “breast,” probably due to the conical shape of nearby Maumelle Mountain (now Pinnacle Mountain). Identifying the early settlers of Maumelle is difficult, as they left few written records. Although a few had obtained land grants from …

Maumelle and Little Maumelle Rivers

aka: Lake Maumelle
The Maumelle River flows from small streams originating in the Ouachita National Forest in Perry County eastward to empty into the Arkansas River upstream from Little Rock (Pulaski County). Its most prominent feature is an 8,900-acre manmade lake, which supplies drinking water for ninety-five percent of the residents of Pulaski County. The river is named for a rock formation in western Pulaski County. Now called Pinnacle Mountain, it was dubbed “Mamelle” by French explorers early in the nineteenth century for the French word for “breast.” The Maumelle River flows to the north of Pinnacle Mountain; a second river, called the Little Maumelle River, flows to the south of the same mountain. Some area residents refer to the Maumelle River as …

Maumelle Ordnance Works Bunker No. 4

Maumelle Ordnance Works Bunker No. 4, located at 4 Willastein Drive in Maumelle (Pulaski County), is a reinforced concrete structure built in 1942 to store picric acid and ammonium picrate produced to create explosives during World War II. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 24, 2006. The U.S. War Department approved the contract with the Cities Service Defense Corporation on July 15, 1941, to construct a plant to produce picric acid and ammonium picrate to be used in American weapons in World War II on 7,614 acres near West Marche (Pulaski County). Construction began on September 2, 1941, and by March 29, 1942, the first ammonium nitrate manufacturing facility began production. The Maumelle Ordnance …

Maumelle River Bridge

The Maumelle River Bridge formerly carried Arkansas Highway 300 over the Maumelle River, approximately half a mile southwest of the town of Natural Steps (Pulaski County), before the highway was relocated. However, the bridge remains a part of the Ouachita National Recreation Trail and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 2020. The Maumelle River Bridge is an example of a Pratt through truss, which is a type of bridge developed by Caleb Pratt in 1844. Pratt truss bridges are characterized by diagonals in tension and verticals in compression. The through truss is designed to carry the traffic load with the bridge’s bottom chords or beams. The Maumelle River Bridge is a riveted seven-panel Pratt …

Maury, Dabney Herndon

Dabney Herndon Maury served in Arkansas as Confederate general Earl Van Dorn’s chief of staff at the Battle of Pea Ridge. Maury later led Arkansas troops in northern Mississippi during the Civil War. Dabney Herndon Maury was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia, on May 21, 1822, to Captain John Minor Maury and Elizabeth Maury. He had one brother. Maury’s father was a career officer in the U.S. Navy who died on active duty. Maury’s uncle, Matthew Fontaine Maury, became his guardian after his father’s death. Maury attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point from 1842 to 1846, graduating thirty-seventh out of fifty-nine cadets in what some called one of the best classes ever to attend the academy. Maury served in …

Maxie Theatre

When the Maxie Theatre opened in August 1947 in Trumann (Poinsett County), it was considered to be one of the most modern theaters in the area. The Maxie represented a prime example of Art Deco–style architecture in the Trumann area. For many years, the theater was one of the few single-screen movie theaters in the northeastern Arkansas area in operation. The theater was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 7, 2011. It closed its doors in 2012. Local entrepreneur Zell Jaynes served three and a half years in the U.S. Army during World War II. Zell and his brother Lonnie ran and operated several businesses in the Trumann area, including the Allis-Chalmers tractor dealership, a taxi …

Maxwell, Paul E.

Paul E. Maxwell was a modern artist and sculptor who developed a technique for using stencils to create thickly textured and layered surfaces, as well as objects he patented as “stencil casting” but that later became known as “Maxwell Pochoir.” He was also known for creating the “Max Wall” in the West Atrium of the Dallas Apparel Mart; though demolished in 2006, it can be seen as a backdrop in the science-fiction movie Logan’s Run. His work is highly abstract and often consists of some kind of grid—a form that is non-hierarchical and illustrates a major theme of his work. Paul Maxwell was born in Frost Prairie (Ashley County) on September 17, 1925, to the farm family of Willie F. …

May, Ralphie

Ralphie D. May was a stand-up comedian famous for his topical humor combined with hip-hop slang and Southern comedy, as well as his numerous appearances on reality and talk shows. May appeared in such films as For da Love of Money and was the only white standup comedian featured on The Big Black Comedy Show, Vol. 4 DVD in 2005. Ralphie May was born on February 1, 1972, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and was raised in Clarksville (Johnson County). He grew up listening to veteran comedians Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, and Sam Kinison. May had wanted to be a comedian since age nine when he first saw Johnny Carson hosting The Tonight Show and thought that Carson was truly bombing his …

Mayer, Mercer

Mercer Mayer is the author and illustrator of more than 300 children’s books, as well as a contributor to a variety of other media, including video, audio, and workbooks. Mercer Mayer was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on December 30, 1943. He attended elementary school in Camden (Ouachita County). A military family, the Mayers moved frequently until settling in Honolulu, Hawaii, when he was a teenager. The young Mayer enjoyed reading and drawing. After high school, he attended the Honolulu Academy of Arts and the Art Students League in New York City. In 1966, he began a career as a book illustrator in New York City. In 1967, Mayer’s first book, A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog, was …

Mayfield, Mary Victor (M. V.)

Mary Victor (M. V.) Mayfield was a woman who came to Mena (Polk County) in 1918 and practiced medicine in the guise of a man for seven or eight years. A small, kind, and peaceful citizen, she soon became “the cancer doctor.” She put Mena in the national news for the events of January 23, 1926, when her identity as a woman was revealed by the news media. Little is known about M. V. Mayfield’s early life. She later claimed that her gender deception began in England—her parents needed a son, not a daughter, to “protect property rights,” so they dressed her as a boy and raised her in disguise. Mayfield carried the masquerade into adulthood by smoking a pipe and drinking a …

Mayflies

aka: Ephemeropterans
Mayflies belong to the Phylum Arthropoda, Class Insecta, and Order Ephemeroptera. They are a small, wide-ranging, primitive order of insects that is well known to entomologists, biologists, naturalists, and fly fishermen. There are approximately 3,000 species of mayflies described worldwide; these are grouped into over 400 genera within forty-two families. As of 2019, approximately 676 species within twenty-one families were recognized from North America. The southeastern United States has nearly 400 mayfly species, which is more than half of those known from the United States and almost half of those known from North America alone. No single study summarizing mayflies exists specifically for Arkansas, but an investigation from 2010 noted about 117 species of mayflies reported from the state. The …

Mayflower (Faulkner County)

Mayflower is a small town eleven miles south of Conway (Faulkner County) and twenty-five miles northwest of Little Rock (Pulaski County) on Interstate 40. Located on the southwestern edge of Lake Conway, Mayflower is known for its fishing. Like many of the smaller towns of Faulkner County, such as Vilonia and Greenbrier, Mayflower offers a rural lifestyle within a short drive of Conway and Little Rock, where many of its residents commute to work. European Exploration and Settlement The area’s earliest European settlers were Loyalists, or Tories, who moved west to escape the Revolutionary War. Families such as the Flannagins and Massengills arrived around 1778 and settled near the mouth of Palarm Creek, where they found good soil, ample amounts …

Maynard (Randolph County)

Maynard is in northern Randolph County, located at the intersection of State Highways 328 and 115. The town is known for its academic heritage and for preserving the history of the area with the Maynard Pioneer Park and Museum. Three freshwater springs have long made the area of Maynard desirable for brief refreshment or for more permanent settlement. When the United States acquired the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, Osage hunters and travelers frequented the area, although their homes were farther north in Missouri. Early highways crossed near the springs—the Old Military Road (also known as the Southwest Trail) that connected St. Louis, Missouri, to parts of the Red River valley and Texas, passed near the springs, where it intersected the …

Maynard Baptist Academy

aka: Abbott Institute
aka: Ouachita Baptist Academy
The Maynard Baptist Academy—first known as the Abbott Institute and then as the Ouachita Baptist Academy—was a boarding school founded in 1894 in Maynard (Randolph County). At the time, most schools typically had only one room and went only as far as the eighth grade. The Abbott Institute was founded in 1894 by the Abbott (or Abbot) family from the Maynard area. While they themselves lacked much education, they saw great value in educating the young people of the area and surrounding areas. Eli Abbott had been very successful in land speculation in the Fourche River and Current River bottomland while also farming. The institute drew students from a wide area of Arkansas and from other states. The school had …

Maynard Pioneer Museum and Park

Located on State Highway 328 on the outskirts of the small town of Maynard (Randolph County), the Maynard Pioneer Park and Museum was founded in 1980. The park and museum reflect life in the Ozarks around the end of the nineteenth century, and the museum also preserves pictures, documents, and artifacts of that time. Each September, the park hosts a craft fair and festival that is attended by thousands of people. Built along the old Southwest Trail and near the historic Columbia community, the settlement of Maynard dates to the decade following the Civil War. The first businesses were a gristmill, sawmill, pharmacy, and post office. In 1894, the Abbott Institute (later the Maynard Baptist Academy) was established, drawing students …

Mays, Richard Leon

Richard Leon Mays was an early civil rights attorney during the struggles to integrate public facilities and end bias in Arkansas courts and law enforcement. He was in the first group of African Americans to be elected to the Arkansas General Assembly in the twentieth century and became the second African American to be a justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. Governor Bill Clinton appointed him to the court in 1979. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2016. Richard L. Mays was born on August 5, 1943, in Little Rock (Pulaski County), the younger of two sons of Barnett G. Mays and Dorothy Mae Greenlee Mays. Although the family lived in an integrated neighborhood on …

Maysville (Benton County)

Although it is unincorporated, Maysville is one of the oldest settlements in Benton County. Located on Arkansas Highway 43 near the Oklahoma state line, Maysville is the westernmost community in Arkansas. The Osage hunted and fished in northern Arkansas until they were removed farther west by a series of treaties. The first white resident of the land that would become Maysville was Adam Beatie, who arrived in 1828. The area became known as Beatie’s Prairie, which was the name of the post office from 1840 to 1850. John Martin May arrived in 1831. The community was named for him, and the post office changed its name to Maysville in 1850. A merchant named Hugh Tigret arrived in 1838; he is …

Maysville, Skirmish at (January 1863)

A small engagement between a Union force of Native Americans and Confederate guerrillas, this action took place in far northwestern Arkansas. Following the Battle of Prairie Grove, the skirmish was an effort by Federal troops to maintain control of the area in the face of increasing guerrilla activity and protect nearby Indians loyal to the Union government. The exact date of the engagement is not recorded in official records. After the Battle of Prairie Grove, Major General John Schofield took command of the Army of the Frontier and ordered Colonel William Phillips to take his Indian brigade to Maysville (Benton County). Phillips’s brigade consisted of the First, Second, and Third Indian Home Guard, a battalion of the Sixth Kansas Cavalry, …

Maysville, Skirmish at (July 20, 1864)

While most Confederate forces in Arkansas were concentrated south of the Arkansas River by the summer of 1864, some guerrilla units continued to operate behind Union lines. A small engagement near the border with the Indian Territory, this skirmish was typical of the fighting during this period. Federal units from Arkansas worked with Union units from other states to patrol the northwestern corner of the state and keep guerrilla activity to a minimum. Cassville, Missouri, was used as both a headquarters for Federal troops and as a staging point for these missions. On July 18, 1864, Captain James Powell of the Second Arkansas Cavalry received orders from the commanding general of the District of Southwestern Missouri, Brigadier General John Sanborn. …

Maysville, Skirmish at (May 8, 1864)

A brief and indecisive engagement on the western edge of Arkansas, this skirmish was part of the war in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) that spilled into the state. Pitting Union Cherokee troops against Confederate-allied Cherokee, this skirmish is typical of the actions fought in the area at this point of the war. At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, various tribes in Indian Territory disagreed about which side, if any, they should choose in the coming conflict. The Cherokee Nation split, with some members continuing to support the Federal government and others aligning themselves with the Confederacy. Both sides organized military units to participate in the war, with numerous Confederate units and three Union regiments organized. The Union …

Maysville, Skirmish at (September 5, 1863)

The September 5, 1863, Skirmish at Maysville consisted of a series of engagements over the course of a single day between Union and Confederate troops in northwestern Arkansas that ended with the complete rout of the Federal force. Originally a mission to escort a Union officer carrying messages, the movement ended with the capture of the messenger and some of his comrades. Captain John Gardner of the Second Kansas Cavalry was ordered to ride from Springfield, Missouri, to join his regiment in the field, carrying dispatches from Brigadier General John McNeil, commander of the District of Southwestern Missouri. Gardner arrived in Cassville, Missouri, on September 1, 1863, and requested an escort of troopers from the First Arkansas Cavalry (US). The …

McAllister, James Thomas (Tom)

James Thomas (Tom) McAllister Sr., a longtime resident of Gurdon (Clark County), was an early twentieth-century southern Arkansas lumberman. In addition to selling lumber, he was a Knight Templar, a 33rd Degree Mason, a Shriner, a member of the Gurdon Chamber of Commerce, president of two Rotary Clubs, and the 1951 winner of the District Scouter Award from the Boy Scouts of America. Tom McAllister was born on May 28, 1899, near Diehlstadt, Missouri, to Alexander Jackson McAllister and Addie Caroline Reynolds McAllister. His mother died shortly after his birth, so he was raised by his grandparents, who were tenant farmers in southeastern Missouri. McAllister attended school through the tenth grade. His first job was working in Arkansas for the …

McAlmont (Pulaski County)

McAlmont is an unincorporated community in Pulaski County, just to the east of North Little Rock (Pulaski County). Its southern boundary is Interstate 40, and the community is divided by tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad. After Little Rock had become established as the capital of Arkansas, farmers began to cultivate land north of the Arkansas River from the capital city, establishing plantations to grow cotton and subsistence crops. Among the early landowners in the region that would be McAlmont were Charles Robinson, who first acquired a land patent in 1837 and added more land in 1842; David Spence (1838); Ephraim Beasley (1838); Edward Cook (1839); Lucy Beasley (1839); Kindred Delk (1842); and Littleberry M. Robinson (1842). The Southwest Trail ran through …

McAlmont, John Josephus

John Josephus McAlmont was one of the eight founders of the Arkansas Industrial University Medical Department, now the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). John McAlmont was born on December 22, 1821, in Hornellsville, New York, the son of Daniel and Samantha Donham McAlmont and the youngest of seven siblings. McAlmont left home at age seventeen, earning money by teaching school. At twenty-one, he entered Geneva Medical College in New York for its one-semester course in medicine; there, he completed a course of lectures in medicine in April 1843. (A course of lectures was all that was required to practice medicine at the time.) McAlmont established his practice in April 1844 in Kendall Creek, Pennsylvania. The community was a …

McArthur (Desha County)

McArthur (Desha County) is a historic community five miles north of McGehee (Desha County) on Arkansas Highway 1. It was first named McArthur Station in honor of Zack McArthur, an early settler in the area. A post office operated at McArthur from 1907 to 1918, but the settlement was never incorporated. Because McArthur is located near Macon and Coon bayous, once navigable waterways, it was already somewhat populated when the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad (later called the Missouri Pacific Railroad, then Union Pacific) completed a railroad bridge over the Arkansas River at Yancopin (Desha County) in 1904. The railroad allowed timber to be harvested, processed, and shipped out. Several stores opened, and a one-room school was constructed there …

McBeth, William Francis

William Francis McBeth was a world-renowned composer and conductor. He was the Trustees’ Distinguished University Professor and resident composer at Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) in Arkadelphia (Clark County), where he served as chairman of the Department of Music Theory and Composition. The governor appointed him composer laureate of Arkansas in 1975. McBeth’s compositions include works for all media, but was influential in the development of the literature for wind symphony. Francis McBeth was born on March 9, 1933, in Ropesville, Texas, to Joseph Phinis McBeth, a Baptist minister, and Lillie May Carpenter McBeth. He spent his youth in western Texas, where he began his musical training at an early age, studying piano with his mother and taking up the trumpet in …

McBrien, Dean Depew (D. D.)

Dean Depew (D. D.) McBrien was a college professor and academic administrator at Henderson State Teachers College (HSTC)—now Henderson State University (HSU)—in Arkadelphia (Clark County) for eighteen years. D. D. McBrien was born on November 14, 1892, in Tecumseh, Nebraska, to Jasper Leonidas McBrien and Eva Forbes McBrien. The oldest of five children, McBrien graduated from high school in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1909 and entered the University of Nebraska. McBrien first worked at the high school level, serving as principal of the high school in Phillips, Nebraska, in the 1912–13 school year. He graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1914 and obtained a position at Arkansas State Teachers College (ASTC)—now the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) in Conway (Faulkner …

McCain, Paul Moffatt

Dr. Paul Moffatt McCain served as president of Arkansas College (which later became Lyon College) from 1952 to 1969, the second-longest consecutive presidential tenure in the institution’s history. Only the first president, Isaac J. Long, served longer. McCain led the college though a period of growth, with enrollment tripling, the budget increasing by more than 600 percent, the location moving a mile to the east, and new academic buildings and residence halls springing up. His most significant accomplishment, however, was gaining accreditation for the school from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, a step that gave Arkansas College greater credibility and opened the door to new funding resources. Paul McCain was born on January 25, 1920, in Atlanta, …

McCaskill (Hempstead County)

McCaskill is a town in northern Hempstead County on U.S. Highway 371. It developed early in the twentieth century after construction of the Prescott and Northwestern Railroad. Although some of Arkansas’s oldest cities and towns emerged in Hempstead County along the Southwest Trail (an early military road), the northern part of the county remained remote until the start of the twentieth century. Some settlers acquired land and established farms and plantations, including Hezekiah Askew, who came from North Carolina to Pike County around 1848 before going the land office in Washington (Hempstead County) in 1860 and acquiring land around what one day would be McCaskill. His sons James and John purchased adjoining lots around the same time. The Skirmish at …

McClain, Doc (Lynching of)

Doc McClain (whose name is sometimes rendered Dock McLain or McLane) was lynched in Ashdown (Little River County) on May 13, 1910, for allegedly stabbing wealthy young farmer Ernest Hale. According to the 1900 census, farmer Doc McClain (whose age was not given) was living in a rented home in Franklin (Little River County) with his wife Mary (aged thirty) and their two children, Lizzie (seven) and Ezekil (three). They had been married for ten years. Neither Doc nor Mary could read or write. According to numerous accounts, Doc McClain stabbed Ernest Hale in a store sometime in April 1910. Hale survived the attack and was hospitalized. At the time, it was feared that he would die. Local citizens threatened …

McClard’s Bar-B-Q

McClard’s Bar-B-Q is a restaurant located at 505 Albert Pike in Hot Springs (Garland County)which achieved national recognition not only for its food but also for the prominent political figures who visit the restaurant and extol its virtues, including former president Bill Clinton. Alex and Gladys McClard owned the Westside Tourist Court in Hot Springs in the 1920s, which was located west of the current restaurant’s location on Albert Pike. According to the official history of the restaurant, a destitute traveler could not pay the $10 he owed for his two-month stay at the tourist court. The traveler asked the McClards to accept a recipe for what he called “the world’s greatest bar-b-que sauce” in lieu of payment for the …

McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS)

The McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) was the largest civil works project ever undertaken by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the time of its opening. Today, it is responsible for $1 billion to $2 billion in trade transportation in Arkansas each year and from $100 million to $1 billion in trade transportation in Oklahoma. Additionally, the system has numerous flood protection projects, hydro power plants, and soil conservation and recreational areas. Many communities, such as Little Rock (Pulaski County) and North Little Rock (Pulaski County), have taken advantage of the development to enhance further riverfront developments, such as the River Market and the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park. At 1,460 miles long, the Arkansas River is …