Entries - Starting with P

Perry County Historical and Genealogical Society

The Perry County Historical and Genealogical Society was organized in December 1997 at the Max Milam Library in Perryville (Perry County) with only two people in attendance. Betty Burke was elected the first president and Jackie Paul Myers the first secretary and treasurer. Meeting times were set for the second Tuesday of each month, and with permission of the librarian, Jan Guffey, the organization met at the library. Six people attended the second meeting in January 1998: Betty Burke, Jackie Myers, Elise Hill, Leroy Williams, John Pennington, and Pearl Bowen Pennington, who was elected vice president. The goals of the society were: 1) to create and foster interest in genealogy; 2) to gather and preserve genealogical and historical data through library …

Perry County War of 1881

The Perry County War is the common name given to a brief period of violence that erupted in Perryville (Perry County) in the summer of 1881. The general lawlessness, including the murder of the local newspaper editor, resulted in the governor sending the militia to calm the situation. In actuality, the 1881 events were a second eruption of an ongoing settling of political differences in Perry County dating back to the Civil War. Like many counties in Arkansas during the Civil War, Perry County was divided by conflicting loyalties. The mountainous western sections of the county aligned with the Union, while whites in the eastern half, where most of the enslaved people lived, held Confederate sympathies. These philosophical differences continued …

Perry County, Skirmish at

The December 3, 1864, Skirmish at Perry County was one of many military events of the Civil War to occur within the Arkansas River Valley, exemplifying the contentious nature of the Union’s occupation of the area around the Arkansas River. The only known surviving document is a report by Colonel Abraham H. Ryan of the Third Arkansas Cavalry, headquartered in Lewisburg (Conway County) at the time. According to this report, Lieutenant Robert W. Wishard conducted a scouting expedition into Perry County (the exact location is not given) and encountered Rebels affiliated with the companies of John A. Conly and a man named Franz. The resulting fight left five Confederates dead, including a lieutenant, and one Union private dead. Wishard pursued …

Perry Plaza Court Historic District

The Perry Plaza Court Historic District consists of a former motel (or “tourist court,” as it was known at the time) on Park Avenue in Hot Springs (Garland County). Constructed in the International Style, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 11, 2004, due to its architectural significance and condition. In the 1970s, the building was converted into an apartment complex. Construction of the motel began in 1947 and was completed the next year. Designed by Hot Springs architect Irven McDaniel, the motel had nineteen units. The International Style, in which the building was constructed, is noted for its horizontal design elements and minimal adornment. The motel was built with steel joist construction, fire walls, …

Perry, Harold Robert

Harold Robert Perry was the first African American to become a bishop in the Catholic Church in the modern era. Part of his career beforehand was spent serving a church in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). Perry was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, on October 9, 1916, the son of a mill worker and a domestic cook. He knew at a young age that he wanted to enter the ministry, and at age thirteen he entered the Society of Divine Word Seminary in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. In 1944, he was ordained into the priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church, becoming the twenty-sixth African American to attain this position. Over the decade, he served in several positions, pastoring congregations in Mississippi, …

Perryman, Lloyd Wilson

Lloyd Wilson Perryman was a member of the country and western group Sons of the Pioneers for more than four decades, appearing in dozens of movies and selling millions of records. An accomplished guitarist and singer, Perryman was a fixture in Hollywood from the mid-1930s until his death. Lloyd Perryman was born in Ruth (Fulton County) on January 29, 1917, to Samuel and Sally Perryman. He had eight older brothers and sisters. His family also lived in Zion (Izard County), where they farmed and owned a general store, prior to moving to California in 1928 when Perryman was eleven years old. There, Perryman learned to play the guitar and became involved with music while in high school. His first radio …

Perrytown (Hempstead County)

Perrytown is a town on U.S. Highway 67 about three miles northeast of Hope (Hempstead County). Incorporated in 1963, it is named for local businessman Perry Campbell. Parts of Hempstead County were inhabited by Caddo before the arrival of European explorers and American settlers. Among the first white Americans to claim land in the region that would become Perrytown were Robert Carrington, James Cantley, William Easley, and David Mouser, all of whom received land patents in 1837; Carrington owned the largest portion of land. By this time, the Southwest Trail had been established through Arkansas, running through such communities as Washington (Hempstead County) and Fulton (Hempstead County). The Cairo and Fulton Railroad, intended to connect southern Illinois with many cities …

Perryville (Perry County)

Perryville sits in the Fourche River valley at the base of the Ouachita National Forest. The town is encircled by four major Arkansas cities—Little Rock (Pulaski County), Conway (Faulkner County), Russellville (Pope County), and Hot Springs (Garland County), each less than an hour’s drive away. Its pristine environment and mountainous scenery make a significant statement about the area. The town is sequestered between mountains to its north and south and was first located north of the forks on the Fourche La Fave River. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The shallows were a natural draw for settlers in the early 1830s, and subsequently, the Fourche La Fave Township was formed. In December 1840, the Arkansas General Assembly created the forty-fourth county …

Perryville American Legion Building

aka: Doyle-Leach Post American Legion Hut
The Perryville American Legion Building at 408 West Main Street in Perryville (Perry County) is a single-story, Rustic-style structure built in 1933–1934. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 5, 1990. Perryville’s American Legion post was named for two Perry County World War I soldiers: Luther Doyle of Aplin (Perry County), who died of pneumonia at age twenty-five on September 14, 1918, and Daniel L. Leach of Houston (Perry County), who served in 164 Company of the Transport Corps and survived the war. In the early 1930s, members of the Doyle-Leach Post sought funding from the federal government for assistance in constructing a building to house their activities. The United States provided $2,500 for the …

Person, Charline Woodford Beasley

Charline Woodford Beasley Person ran a 5,000-acre cotton plantation in Miller County, Arkansas, after the death of her husband. Person was an active community and church leader, helping build the community church in Garland (Miller County) and steering her hometown through the Great Depression. She was also the only woman chosen to represent Arkansas at the St. Louis Exposition of 1926. Charline Woodford Beasley was born on December 2, 1876, in Lewisville (Lafayette County), the daughter of Charles Hunter Beasley and Lucy Lungren Beasley. Beasley attended Lewisville School, and she was not quite seventeen when she married Levin King Person Jr. (1862–1911) in “Old Lewisville” in 1893. They had three children. In January 1911, Levin Person died suddenly from a …

Peter Dierks Joers House

The Peter Dierks Joers House was built in 1955 by an heir to the Dierks Lumber Company family. Peter Dierks Joers and his wife, Elizabeth Howe Joers, were living near Oaklawn Park (now Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort) in Hot Springs (Garland County) in the early 1950s when they purchased ten acres from Hot Springs resident Mose Klyman for $10,000 to build a home for their growing family. Peter Dierks Joers was born on February 19, 1919, inKansas City,Missouri. After graduating from the U.S.Naval Academy and serving in the U.S. Navy, Joers went to work for Dierks Lumber and Coal Company in 1946. Joers served as vice president for the company. Bids for work at the Joers house date back to …

Peter, Lily

Lily Peter, state poet laureate, was a distinguished author, successful farmer, teacher, musician, conservationist, and philanthropist. Her biographer, Annie Laura Jaggers, called her “an anachronistic symbol of the pioneering spirit of all Americans and particularly of Arkansas, a state that is a haven for contrasts and extremes.” Lily Peter was born on June 2, 1891, to William Oliver Peter and Florence Mobrey Peter in Big Cypress Bayou near Marvell (Phillips County). She was the first of ten children, of whom five did not survive childhood. Peter received much of her early education at home before going to public school. Her father, after experiencing varying degrees of success as a farmer, died in an accident in 1907, leaving Peter to take …

Petit Jean Meats

Petit Jean Meats is a pork processor and retailer located in Morrilton (Conway County). Family owned since its origins in the late 1920s, the company is the only privately owned red-meat processor still operating in Arkansas. It is also an official sponsor of the Dallas Cowboys football team. In 1922, Felix Schlosser left his native Germany to practice the butchering trade in Arkansas, where some of his relatives had already established themselves. After working at the Little Rock Packing Company and Becker Packing Company, he settled in Morrilton near his cousin, Mary Ruff. He opened a retail meat market with his partner, Ellis Bentley, who sold his share to Schlosser after two years. The small market burned but was reopened …

Petit Jean Mountain

Petit Jean Mountain is the name commonly given to the largest portion of the Petit Jean Mountains, a group of connected landforms south and east of the confluence of the Petit Jean River with the Arkansas River. Although other terrain features along the Petit Jean River are also called Petit Jean Mountain, notably the long ridge that culminates near the common corner of Yell, Logan, and Scott counties, this entry discusses the large mesa on the south bank of the Arkansas River in Conway County. It is part of the Arkansas Valley, one of the six natural divisions of Arkansas, and the home of Petit Jean State Park. A relatively flat top gives Petit Jean elevations that vary from approximately …

Petit Jean River

The Petit Jean River rises from the confluence of several streams in the northern Ouachita Mountains of western Arkansas near Waldron (Scott County). From there, it flows primarily eastward for 113 miles before emptying into the Arkansas River just north of Petit Jean State Park. Many ascribe the name of the river, and of Petit Jean Mountain, to the legend of a young French woman who disguised herself as a man to follow her lover to the New World, though others believe the original French name of the river to have been Petit Jaune, or “little yellow,” possibly in reference to the river’s color. The river is dammed just west of Havana (Yell County), creating Blue Mountain Lake. It is …

Petit Jean Rock Art Sites

Petit Jean Mountain in west-central Arkansas boasts a large concentration of ancient Native American rock art that includes, as of late 2018, seventy known individual sites with more than 700 pictographs (rock paintings) executed in red or black pigments, as well as petroglyphs (rock engravings). The study of this cultural resource began in 1914 when the wife and son of Dr. T. W. Hardison, the founder of the Arkansas state park system, found rock paintings in a cave near their home on the mountain. The pictographs received national attention after 1923 with the establishment of Petit Jean State Park. Discoveries continue to this day, as most of the paintings have been documented just since 2006 with the advent of new …

Petit Jean State Park

The natural beauty of Arkansas’s first state park, Petit Jean, inspired the creation of the state park system. Situated on Petit Jean Mountain, the park encompasses forests, ravines, streams, springs, vistas, and unusual geological formations. Today, Petit Jean State Park is one of the most popular state parks in Arkansas. Popular legend holds that the mountain got its name from the story of a young French girl who, in the 1700s, disguised herself as a cabin boy so that she could secretly join a company of explorers and accompany her fiancé to the New World. Petit Jean, or “Little John,” became fatally ill while the explorers were visiting the mountain and requested to be buried there. The idea of creating …

Petit Jean, Legend of

The Legend of Petit Jean is a romantic Arkansas tale that purports to explain the origin of the name of Petit Jean Mountain. Although there are other explanations that are both more logical and more mundane, when someone refers to “The Legend of Petit Jean,” the person is most likely alluding to the romantic one. According to the story, in the 1700s, a young French girl named Adrienne (or, more specifically, Adrienne Dumont) disguised herself as a cabin boy named Jean in order to follow her beloved to the New World. Because of her small size, the other sailors nicknamed her “Petit Jean,” French for “Little John.” At some point after arriving in Arkansas, Petit Jean became ill, although the …

Petit Jean, Skirmish at

On July 10, 1864, Federal forces of the Third Arkansas Cavalry (Union) engaged Confederate forces of an unidentified unit on the Arkansas River near the mouth of the Petit Jean River. The Union commander reported Confederate casualties. Previously, by the end of 1863, the western half of the Arkansas River in the state was under Union control following the Confederacy’s loss of Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and Little Rock (Pulaski County). Major General Frederick Steele established Federal garrisons at various points along the north side of the river. Steele also authorized raising local Union regiments, and one of these was the Third Arkansas Cavalry, which served for extended periods at the river port of Lewisburg (Conway County), near the present …

Pettaway, Caleb Darnell

The Reverend Caleb Darnell (C. D.) Pettaway was an influential Little Rock (Pulaski County) religious leader who served as president of the National Baptist Convention of America (NBCA) from 1957 to 1967. Caleb Darnell Pettaway, commonly referred to as “C. D.,” was born on December 18, 1886, in Concordia Parish, Louisiana. Sources conflict as to his birth name—he is listed as Charles, Cyrus, and Claude in various years of the Little Rock city directory. However, his World War I and World War II draft cards are clearly signed as “Caleb.” In 1918, Pettaway married Jennie E. Vagner of Independence County and apparently moved to Arkansas around that time. Together, they moved to Little Rock and bought a house located at …

Petticoat Governments

“Petticoat government” is a phrase used to describe a local government—usually a town council and mayor—in which all of the members are female. In May 1920, the same year that the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted, giving women the right to vote, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, elected what is believed to have been the first all-woman municipal government in the world, taking the 1916 revolution in Umatilla, Oregon—an election that saw voters elect a female majority to their town council, as well as a female mayor—to the next level. Five years later in 1925, Arkansas voters in Winslow (Washington County) followed suit in an even more resounding fashion, as the increasingly popular resort town elected local newspaper publisher …

Pettigrew (Madison County)

During the early twentieth century, Pettigrew, a small Madison County town located near the White River, was known by many as the “Hardwood Capital of the World.” At its peak, the town, which was situated at the end of the railroad line, was the major shipping station for the many area timber operations. Vast acres of virgin timber and the coming of the railroad were the main factors that led to the founding and growth of Pettigrew. By the late 1880s, a small settlement had begun to develop along the White River. In about 1897, George Pettigrew, a civil engineer with the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway (Frisco), selected a track route into the timber lands and laid out the town’s …

Pettigrew, Helen Lyle

Helen Lyle Pettigrew was an author of word puzzles (including crossword puzzles). Her puzzles appeared in newspapers, magazines, and books, including several books for which she was the sole author. She was probably the first Arkansas native to author a syndicated crossword puzzle. Helen Pettigrew was born on October 31, 1894, in Charleston (Franklin County) to Thomas Aldridge Pettigrew, who was a prominent lawyer and educator, and Lucy Lee Ervin Pettigrew. Her father was the son of Charleston Academy founder John M. Pettigrew. She had three sisters and one brother, and was a member of the local Presbyterian Church. Helen Pettigrew was a teacher in the Charleston School District around 1920. Pettigrew’s first known puzzle was a crossword published in …

Pfeiffer (Independence County)

Pfeiffer in Independence County is located just east of Highway 167 (North St. Louis Street) on Pfeiffer Road about five miles north-northeast of the county seat, Batesville (Independence County), and about eight miles south-southwest of Cave City (Sharp and Independence counties). Pfeiffer Creek is nearby. A marker at Pfeiffer reads, in part, “A light-colored crystalline limestone known as Batesville marble has been mined in this area since 1836. Pfeiffer was also a railhead with wagons coming from many points to pick up freight.” Charles Anton Pfeiffer from Baden, Sigmaringen, Germany, and his father, Joseph Pfeiffer, started the Pfeiffer Stone Company—dealers in stone, marble, and granite—on a moderate scale in 1860 in St. Joseph, Missouri. Joseph Pfeiffer and his family had …

Pfeiffer, Pauline

Pauline Pfeiffer was a successful journalist who wrote for such magazines as Vanity Fair and Vogue. From 1927 to 1940, she was married to author Ernest Hemingway, being the second of his four wives. At her family’s home in Piggott (Clay County), Hemingway wrote some of the works that would contribute to a 1954 Nobel Laureate in Literature for his contribution to writing. Hemingway credited her as being the best editor with whom he ever worked. Pauline Marie Pfeiffer was born in Parkersburg, Iowa, on July 22, 1895, to Mary Downey Pfeiffer and wealthy businessman Paul Pfeiffer. Pauline was the oldest of the Pfeiffers’ four children; Karl was born in 1900, Virginia (called Jinny) in 1902, and Max in 1907 …

Pharr, Suzanne

Suzanne Pharr is a longtime activist for social justice. As an author, organizer, and strategist, she has led numerous campaigns aimed at ensuring equality and opportunity for often-marginalized people. Pharr founded the feminist, anti-racist organization the Women’s Project in the 1980s, which worked with women in small towns throughout Arkansas. Suzanne Pharr was born in 1939 in Hog Mountain, Georgia, to Cecil Pharr and Willie Mae “Peggy” Moore Pharr. Her father was a farmer, and Pharr, the youngest of eight children, grew up on a farm in Hog Mountain, Georgia, about six miles outside of Lawrenceville. After attending the local schools and earning a reputation as an outstanding high school basketball player, Pharr attended Women’s College of Georgia in Milledgeville, …

Phelps, John Smith

As the Civil War military governor of Arkansas and a longtime Missouri congressman, John Smith Phelps began his involvement with Arkansas before the Civil War. A stalwart Democrat, he raised a Union regiment and fought at the Battle of Pea Ridge prior to his appointment as military governor. Cotton politics and personal illness doomed his attempt to establish a Union government in 1862 and led to his removal in 1863. John S. Phelps was born on December 22, 1814, in Simsbury, Connecticut, to Elisha Phelps and Lucy Smith Phelps; he was one of five children. His father was a sometime congressman (1819–1821, 1825–1829). After a public school education, young Phelps attended Washington College (subsequently Trinity College) in Hartford, Connecticut, but …

Phi Kappa Sigma Male College

Phi Kappa Sigma Male College opened on February 7, 1859, in Monticello (Drew County). The college was named after the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity and is possibly the only college in the country named after a fraternity. The Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity was founded in 1850, and James Willey Barrow graduated from Centenary College of Louisiana as one of its members in 1856. Barrow moved to Monticello and, in 1858, served as the president for the Monticello Male Academy. Barrow taught Latin, Greek, and mathematics with assistance from David Shelton, C. S. Tatum, and A. M. Scott at the Monticello Male Academy. In a letter to his brother, John C. Barrow, dated May 15, 1858, James Barrow stated that “my …

Philander Smith College

Philander Smith College was the first historically black, four-year college in Arkansas and the first historically black college to be accredited by a regional accrediting institution. Enrollment as of September 2014 was 553 students. Like most of the African-American colleges and universities in the United States, Philander Smith College originated in the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands (commonly known as the Freedmen’s Bureau). The War Department organized the Freedmen’s Bureau on March 3, 1865, just before the Civil War ended. Throughout its six-year existence, the bureau sold confiscated properties and raised money to help the freed slaves gain access to the rights that they were denied during slavery. Among these was the right to be educated. In 1869, …

Philanthropy

Nonprofit and volunteer organizations in Arkansas, from religious groups in the territorial period to the charitable foundations of today, have contributed greatly to the economic wellbeing of the state. Charitable giving by private groups to benefit persons outside their own membership—the definition of philanthropy used here—has been an essential feature of the economic landscape of Arkansas. This has been the case because of the state’s long-term experience with poverty and with a reluctance, until fairly recently, to use government programs to alleviate human suffering and expand educational opportunities for the people of Arkansas. Rise of Organized Philanthropy Organized charitable giving first grew out of church, women’s, and fraternal groups. In the absence of state-sponsored educational institutions, churches in pre–Civil War …

Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas (PCCUA)

Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas (PCCUA) in Helena-West Helena (Phillips County) is an institution of higher education in the middle section of eastern Arkansas. PCCUA is a leader in providing cultural enrichment and continuing education in a region often lacking these opportunities. PCCUA began as Phillips County Community College (PCCC) after the electorate in Phillips County passed a ballot measure providing local financial support for a community college on October 23, 1965. Community leaders felt that providing higher education to residents of the Delta would enhance the economy of the community and the quality of life of the residents the college would serve. Subsequently, Governor Orval Faubus appointed the first board of trustees for PCCC, which held …

Phillips County

  Phillips County is part of the Delta region of Arkansas. Located where the St. Francis River empties into the Mississippi River, its significance touches on nearly every aspect of the state’s history. In the twentieth century, Phillips County was known for devastating flooding, harsh racial confrontations, and the development of blues music. Phillips County’s soil consists of alluvial deposits from the Mississippi River, making it prime agricultural land. The southern edge of Crowley’s Ridge provides higher land once used by Native Americans. Helena’s location on the Mississippi River gave it the potential to be an important transportation hub, although it eventually was overtaken in importance by Memphis, Tennessee. Pre-European Exploration Because of its location, the area was well populated …

Phillips County Courthouse

The Phillips County Courthouse, located at 622 Cherry Street and completed in 1915, is in the heart of downtown Helena-West Helena (Phillips County). The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the three-story building as architecturally and historically significant for its local standing and as the best example of the Classical Revival architecture in Phillips County. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 5, 1977. It stands in the Cherry Street Historic District. Located in what was once the city of Helena (which merged with the later city of West Helena in 2006), the old Phillips County Courthouse was built in 1869. The two-story building with a bell tower cost over $44,000. In 1911, Phillips County decided …

Phillips County Lynching of 1889–1890

On December 30–31, 1889, and January 1, 1890, three unidentified African Americans were killed in Phillips County for allegedly robbing and murdering John W. Tate. The lynching victims were not identified by name in any source. In 1880, John W. Tate, a twenty-eight-year-old white farmer, was living alone in Poplar Grove (Phillips County). According to a January 1, 1890, report in the Arkansas Gazette, sometime in the 1880s he was dealing in illegal whiskey, and there were seven indictments pending against him in Phillips County. Just prior to his death, he was running a “blind tiger” (speakeasy) at Palmerton in neighboring Monroe County. Although the Gazette reported that the crime took place on Sunday night, December 29, 1889, other reports, …

Phillips County Penal Farm Historic District

The Phillips County Penal Farm Historic District, located on Phillips County Road 353 south of U.S. 49 near Poplar Grove, contains a main jail building constructed of concrete with a large concrete block section at the rear, two additional concrete block jail buildings, and a cast-concrete water tower. The complex is no longer in use and is heavily overgrown, but it still reflects its original use as a county prison farm. According to Goodspeed’s Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Eastern Arkansas, a sturdy jail was a local priority from the earliest days of Phillips County. The first structure built for county use was a two-story log building that housed a courtroom above and a jail below, which were soon replaced …

Phillips, Charles E., Jr

Charles Phillips Jr. is the CEO of Infor, a company that specializes in industry-specific software. His long career on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley include high-level positions in financial services corporation Morgan Stanley and the computer technology corporation Oracle. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2012. Charles Phillips was born in 1959 in Little Rock (Pulaski County). His father was stationed at the nearby Little Rock Air Force Base, and the family moved frequently during his youth, including stints in Germany and Spain. Aiming to follow in his father’s footsteps, Phillips enrolled in the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Although he graduated with a degree in computer science in 1981, worsening …

Phillips, et al. v. Weeks, et al.

Phillips, et al. v. Weeks, et al. was a sweeping lawsuit in federal district court at Little Rock (Pulaski County) alleging that the municipal police engaged in systematic discrimination against African Americans, including illegal detention, physical brutality, verbal abuse, and segregation in jail. The class-action suit was filed in January 1972, and the trial lasted two and a half months in 1974–1975. The case languished in the court for another eight years before all the issues were finally settled, with only a partial victory for the class of people for whom the suit was filed. U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Eisele eventually ordered an end to jail segregation and to the illegal detention of blacks, an infamous system in which …

Phillips, Helen Ann Evans

Ceramist, sculptor, and teacher Helen Ann Evans Phillips played a major role in the development of contemporary crafts in Arkansas. Helen Evans was born on April 18, 1938, in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Harold S. Evans, a livestock dealer, and Lorna B. Evans, a homemaker. She grew up in Union City, Tennessee, and as a child spent much of her time around farm animals, drawing and making objects, as well as taking private art lessons. These early experiences influenced her sculpture later in life. She began teaching art in the Memphis City school system in 1959 before receiving her BS in painting and art education at Memphis State University in 1961. She married Joe Phillips, a medical student, science teacher, and …

Phillips, Henry (Lynching of)

On November 13, 1897, Henry Phillips was lynched in Osceola (Mississippi County) for the alleged murder of storekeeper Tom McClanahan. Editor Leon Roussan’s coverage of the incident in the Osceola Times sparked a feud with Sheriff Charles Bowen. Bowen, a former captain in the Confederate army and a local Ku Klux Klan (KKK) leader, was prominently involved in the Black Hawk War of 1872. According to the Osceola Times, on November 6, Tom McClanahan was brutally murdered in his store. McClanahan had come from Tennessee three years earlier to work in a local sawmill. When the mill was sold, he remained in Mississippi County to settle up outstanding claims. At the same time, he operated a small grocery store in …

Phillips, Kate

aka: Mary Katherine (Kay) Linaker
Mary Katherine (Kay) Linaker (a.k.a. Kate Phillips) was a veteran stage and screen actress who went on to become a writer of television and movie screenplays. She achieved her greatest notoriety as a writer on the 1958 horror/science fiction classic, The Blob. Kay Linaker was born on July 19, 1913, in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). Her father owned C. A. Linaker and Company and was a wholesaler for Armour Food Company. Linaker’s father died when she was eleven. When she was twelve, she entered the Hillside School in Norwalk, Connecticut, a boarding school from which she graduated at sixteen. She had already expressed an interest in theater and planned to attend Wellesley College, but the exercise treatments for the polio …

Phoenix Hotel

The Phoenix Hotel was located in Rison (Cleveland County). The two-story red-brick building was located on Main Street and was the largest commercial building in the city. Constructed in 1913, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 4, 2002. After years of neglect, the building was demolished by the City of Rison in August 2014. Incorporated in 1890, Rison served as a hub for the timber industry in southern Arkansas. Workers flocked to the area to work in sawmills and other timber-related industries, as well as on the railroad. Several hotels served the area before the construction of the Phoenix Hotel. The White Hotel, named for early owner John White, began operations in the …

Photography

Photography reached the Arkansas frontier in 1842, three years after the invention was announced to the world in Paris, France. For the first fifty years or so, photography as a science and an art was in flux; photographic processes changed, photographers moved to and from Arkansas, and many early practitioners remain unknown. Photographs were made on metal, glass, leather, and wood. Eventually, the collodion wet-plate process, in combination with albumen-coated photographic papers, became the process of choice, and photographers began to expand their interest beyond the portrait to other subject matter. Early photographers were versatile and adaptable, and their photographs played a strong role in preserving the cultural and historical heritage of Arkansas. Photography is defined as the act of …

Physical Education Building (Arkansas Tech University)

aka: Techionery Building
The Physical Education Building, located at 1502 North El Paso Street on the Arkansas Tech University campus in Russellville (Pope County), is a two-story brick building designed in the Classical Revival style of architecture and built in 1937 with assistance from the Public Works Administration (PWA), a Depression-era federal relief agency. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 10, 1992. Arkansas Polytechnic College (which later became Arkansas Tech University) had seventeen major buildings, including several dormitories that the U.S. Office of Education deemed “unfit for human habitation,” at the time Joseph W. Hull became the college’s eighth president in January 1932 and embarked on a major building campaign. The college received $135,000 from the PWA …

Piazza, Ben Daniel

Ben Daniel Piazza was an actor, director, author, and playwright who was compared to the young Marlon Brando in his youth but achieved acclaim for character roles in his later years, often portraying an edgy, tightly controlled suburbanite or a repressive parent in films such as The Blues Brothers. He began acting in 1952 during his college days at Princeton University and worked steadily in theater, film, and television until his death in 1991. Ben Piazza was born on July 30, 1933, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Charles Piazza, a shoe repairman, and Elfreida Piazza, a homemaker. He was one of nine children, having two sisters and six brothers. He graduated from Little Rock High School (later Central High …

Pick and Shovel

The Pick and Shovel was the official newspaper of the Republic Mining and Manufacturing Company (a subsidiary of the Alcoa company, which mined bauxite ore to produce aluminum), based in Bauxite (Saline County). It was conceived by Leona Rucker, its first editor, to be “a friendly, informal newspaper for all of us and our families at Bauxite and at Drury.” In 1953, the Pick and Shovel won the highest award for editorial merit of all Alcoa plant publications in the United States. The paper’s original run lasted from January 1944 to May 1958, after which it went out of print. However, the most recent incarnation of the Pick and Shovel is as the official newsletter of the Bauxite Historical Association …

Pickens (Desha County)

Pickens (Desha County) is located three miles south of Dumas (Desha County). The unincorporated community was called Walnut Lake until 1932, when the name was changed to “Pickens” in honor of Burton Cecil Pickens, son of Reuben A. Pickens who settled in the area in 1881 along with his brother, William S. Pickens. The Walnut Lake/Pickens area community was established as the result of the relocation of the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad from Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) to Napoleon (Desha County) in 1879. Napoleon, once the county seat, was located at the convergence of the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers. The relocation of the railroad into the interior of the county sparked the establishment of other communities along the route. A …

Pickens, William

William Pickens, who was born in South Carolina, spent his formative years in Woodruff County and Argenta, now North Little Rock (Pulaski County). He went on to become a nationally known orator, scholar, journalist, and essayist. William Pickens was born near Pendleton in Anderson County, South Carolina, on January 15, 1881. He was the sixth of ten children born to former slaves Jacob and Fannie Pickens. His father was a tenant farmer, and his mother worked as a cook and washerwoman. In 1888, they were lured to Woodruff County, Arkansas, by an immigration agent who promised them better employment and educational opportunities. At this time, such agents were scouring South Carolina for dissatisfied African Americans willing to work on Arkansas …

Pickett, Alexander Corbin (A. C.)

Known personally and professionally as A. C. Pickett or Colonel Pickett, Alexander Corbin Pickett was a lawyer in Jacksonport (Jackson County) and later Augusta (Woodruff County), organizer of the Jackson Guards (CS) in the Civil War, and later a colonel in the Tenth Missouri Infantry (CS). Following the war, Pickett was head of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) in Woodruff County during Reconstruction. A. C. Pickett, whose birth date is unknown (sources range from 1820 to 1823), was the sixth of the nine children of Steptoe Pickett and Sarah Chilton Pickett who survived into adulthood. Originally from Warrenton in Fauquier County, Virginia, the Picketts came to Mooresville, Alabama, around 1820, just as the area was opening to settlement. Pickett and …

Pierce, Charles Bryant

Charles Bryant Pierce was an independent filmmaker from Arkansas whose movies have become cult classics. Films that he wrote, directed, and/or produced include The Legend of Boggy Creek, Bootleggers, and The Town that Dreaded Sundown, which were not only made in Arkansas with local actors but also drew their inspiration from Arkansas themes. He is believed to be the source of one of the most famous lines in American film history: “Go ahead, make my day.” Charles B. Pierce was born in Hammond, Indiana, on June 16, 1938, the son of Mack McKenny Pierce and Mayven Bryant Pierce. When he was a few months old, the family moved to Hampton (Calhoun County) in the south-central part of Arkansas. Living in …

Pierce, Henry Niles

Henry Niles Pierce was the fourth bishop of the Episcopal missionary jurisdiction of Arkansas and Indian Territory, and the first bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas. Henry Niles Pierce was born on October 19, 1820, in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, to Susan Walker Pierce and Benjamin Bentley Pierce, a tanner, currier, and deacon of First Baptist Church. Pierce attended Portsmouth High School and graduated from Brown University in 1842. He studied theology under Dr. Francis Vinton and Rev. George W. Hathaway, both of Rhode Island. Initially, Pierce intended to become a minister of the Baptist faith practiced by his family; however, his personal beliefs aligned more closely with those of the Episcopal Church. Upon his physician’s recommendation to seek a …