Entries - Starting with S

Secession Convention

On May 6, 1861, a body of men chosen by Arkansas voters in an election held on February 18, 1861, voted to remove Arkansas from the United States of America. Arkansas’s secession ultimately failed in 1865 due to the military defeat of the Confederacy. States’ rights versus the national government had a contentious history prior to 1861. The Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 and 1799 suggested that states retained powers to protect citizens from the federal government, and the Hartford Convention of 1814–1815 paved the way for the Doctrine of Nullification that South Carolina unsuccessfully invoked in 1832. States’ rights debates—notably among U.S. senators Daniel Webster, Robert Y. Hayne, and John C. Calhoun—led to a theoretical acceptance of this …

Second Arkansas Cavalry (CS)

The Second Arkansas Cavalry was the name of several Confederate units that served during the Civil War. These units are not to be confused with the Second Arkansas Mounted Rifles, which served for much of the war as an infantry regiment. The first unit to be organized as the Second Arkansas Cavalry was based on the Second Arkansas Cavalry Battalion. After the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee in April 1862, the battalion was created from independent companies in northern Mississippi. This unit consisted of five companies from Calhoun, Bradley, Jefferson, Dallas, and Ashley counties. In May 1862, the battalion consolidated with the Sixth Arkansas Cavalry Battalion, which consisted of four companies from Drew, Crittenden, and White counties, along with two …

Second Arkansas Cavalry (US)

Arkansas seceded from the Union in 1861, but support for the Confederacy was not universal among the population. In the mountains of north-central Arkansas, groups of men formed secret societies to resist Confederate authority (known collectively as the Arkansas Peace Society). Hundreds more fled to southern Missouri to escape persecution by secessionist forces. In other parts of the state, far from the Union lines, people were forced to bide their time and keep quiet. As a distinct minority in a state frenzied by war, many Arkansas Unionists could ill afford to have their true sympathies known. During the summer of 1862, the Union army made its way to Helena (Phillips County) after an abortive attempt to capture Little Rock (Pulaski …

Second Arkansas Infantry (African Descent) (US)

aka: Fifty-fourth U.S. Colored Infantry
The Second Arkansas Infantry (African Descent) was one of the many African-American units formed following the Emancipation Proclamation. The regiment was raised under the commands of Lieutenant Colonel George W. De Costa and Major George W. Burchard in early 1863 and was composed primarily of freed slaves in the Arkansas River Valley. Before the unit could officially report for muster as part of the District of Eastern Arkansas, it found itself engaged in the Battle of Helena. On the morning of July 4, 1863, Confederate forces under the command of Lieutenant General Theophilus Holmes organized a three-pronged attack on the fortified Union position at Helena (Phillips County). The attack would ultimately fail, securing eastern Arkansas as a Union supply stronghold …

Second Arkansas Infantry (CS)

The Second Arkansas Infantry was a Confederate regiment that saw service in the Western Theater during the Civil War. It is not to be confused with the Second Arkansas Infantry Battalion, which fought in the Eastern Theater. The Second Arkansas was formed in the summer of 1861. Former congressman Thomas Hindman of Helena (Phillips County) obtained permission from Confederate secretary of war LeRoy Walker to recruit an infantry regiment. The state was responsible for providing the arms for the unit. Ten companies were raised by June 1, with six at Helena and four at Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). The companies were from Phillips, Jefferson, Bradley, and Saline counties. Support from state authorities never materialized, and Hindman personally provided the funds …

Second Arkansas Infantry (US)

The Second Arkansas Infantry Regiment served in the Federal army during the Civil War. Comprised of white Unionists, the unit served almost exclusively within Arkansas. Efforts were made to organize units of white Unionists in the state with the arrival of Federal forces in 1862. The Second Arkansas began recruitment in September 1863 in Springfield, Missouri. The unit recruited Unionists who fled Arkansas, as well as pro-Union men who remained in the northwestern corner of the state. Recruiting for the regiment was slow, and when the organized companies met in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) in January 1864, only four companies were able to meet the minimum number of men required. Even before these units moved to Fort Smith, the regiment …

Second Arkansas Infantry Battalion (CS)

The Second Arkansas Infantry Battalion was a Confederate unit that served in the Eastern Theater during the American Civil War. It was one of only three Arkansas units to serve in Virginia, along with the First and Third Arkansas Infantry regiments. Decimated during the Seven Days Battles, it saw its survivors discharged or transferred into the Third Arkansas Infantry. In September 1861, three independent companies organized at Hot Springs (Garland County), Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), and El Dorado (Union County). On the recommendation of recruiting officers for the First Arkansas Infantry, they journeyed to Virginia to join that regiment. When the three companies arrived, the First Arkansas had the required ten companies. On October 29, 1861, the three new companies …

Second Seminole War

In 1835, the United States was engaged in the second of a series of three wars known as the Seminole Wars, fought against a group of Native Americans and blacks in Florida. While these military operations were conducted far from the borders of Arkansas Territory, they did have an effect upon the territory. When the federal government requested that the territorial governor of Arkansas provide troops, Arkansas citizens became engaged, for the first time, in organized military actions to defend the United States. By late 1835, it appeared that the first war with the Seminole of Florida was about to be concluded by treaty. When the well-known leader Osceola and other Seminole leaders repudiated this treaty, war broke out anew. …

Secretary of State, Office of

The secretary of state is a member of Arkansas’s executive branch and holds one of the state’s seven constitutional offices. Originally the state’s primary record keeper, the position has grown since its inception to include the oversight of elections, production of educational materials on Arkansas history, maintenance of the Arkansas State Capitol and its grounds, and several business-related responsibilities. The position of secretary of state was established with the constitution of 1836 as a carryover of the territorial secretary position (filled by presidential appointees), with the secretary of state being elected by a joint vote of both houses of the Arkansas General Assembly to a four-year term (other constitutional officers, save that of governor, were given two-year terms). The constitution …

Securities Legislation

“Securities” are investment interests that include bonds, corporate stock, promissory notes taken in exchange for investment of capital, and less standardized interests such as ownership interests in partnerships and limited liability companies. Both federal and state laws regulate the purchase and sale of securities as well as the professionals and businesses that engage in commerce in securities. Both sets of laws apply independently, and the requirements of each must be satisfied. Individual states enacted laws regulating securities and the securities industry starting in the early twentieth century. These state laws are commonly referred to as “blue-sky laws,” because they were designed to protect gullible investors against scam artists who took money in exchange for interests no more substantial than shares …

Sedgwick (Lawrence County)

Sedgwick, a town in eastern Lawrence County, is located on U.S. Highway 63 between Hoxie (Lawrence County) and Jonesboro (Craighead County). At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Osage from farther north hunted and fished in the area that would become northeastern Arkansas, but they had no permanent settlements there. Even after Arkansas became a state, settlement in the Cache River basin remained sparse. Eventually, after the Civil War, investors began to consider harvesting the timber in this part of Arkansas. The Kansas City, Fort Scott and Memphis Railroad built a line in the 1880s that ran through Hoxie and Jonesboro on the way to Memphis, Tennessee. George Washington Sedgwick, one of the railroad’s organizers, built a sawmill near the …

Sees, Willis (Lynching of)

Little information exists about the lynching of an African-American man, Willis Sees, in late April 1899, for the crime of arson—specifically, the burning of barns—in Osceola (Mississippi County). A brief account, citing a report out of Memphis, Tennessee, circulated in Arkansas newspapers in early May 1899. The whole account reads as follows: “A special to Memphis of April 30th gives an account of the lynching of a negro named Willis Sees at Osceola, Mississippi county. It seems that a number of barns have been fired within the last few months near Osceola, and suspicion was directed toward Sees. The negro’s wife gave information which led to his arrest.” This account is missing a great deal of information standard to reports …

Segraves, Warren Dennis

Warren Dennis Segraves was an architect who practiced in Fayetteville (Washington County). He was among the first designers in northwestern Arkansas to promote and utilize the International-style mode of modernism in his work. Warren Segraves was born on November 7, 1924, in Oskaloosa, Kansas, to Samuel Patrick Segraves and Velma Dennis Segraves. The family moved to Fayetteville when he was a small child. At age eighteen, Segraves enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Serving as a bombardier in the European Theater during World War II, he earned the rank of captain. In 1946, Segraves married Rhea Ash, his childhood friend and Fayetteville High School classmate. After his marriage, and while working for his father-in-law’s trucking company, he enrolled at the University …

Segregation and Desegregation

aka: Integration
Segregation and desegregation in Arkansas cannot be understood using the same model that has defined these matters in other Southern states. Throughout the state, the pace at which segregation occurred varied. The ways in which Jim Crow laws were manifested in Arkansas differed and were dependent largely upon the area of the state, the proportion of black residents to white residents, and whether or not those individuals lived in rural or urban settings. The extent to which African Americans were willing to acquiesce to customary or legalized segregation also varied according to the part of the state, as class differences often limited the effectiveness of civil rights initiatives. The story of desegregation in Arkansas tells of many failures, some victories, …

Seiz, Bill

aka: William Augustav Seiz
William Augustav (Bill) Seiz was one of the most active and visible leaders in Hot Springs (Garland County) from the 1920s through the 1980s. Seiz was at the forefront of the industrial development, city planning, and other civic endeavors. Bill Seiz was born on June 19, 1902, in St. Louis, Missouri. His father, William Gustov, was a sign painter in St. Louis. Seiz was the oldest son of the seven children in his family. The Seiz family moved to Hot Springs in 1908, where the elder Seiz established Seiz Sign Company. Seiz excelled in the Hot Springs public schools through the eighth grade, when his father took him out of school to begin work. The family was extremely poor, and …

Selden, Joseph

Joseph Selden was one of the earliest judges of the Superior Court of the Arkansas Territory, the territory’s highest court. Selden was appointed by President James Monroe in 1820 to replace Robert Letcher, who left the territory abruptly after less than one year in office. Judge Selden served on the court until May 26, 1824, when he was killed in a duel with fellow jurist Judge Andrew H. Scott. Joseph Selden was born in Henrico County, Virginia, on May 7, 1787, to Colonel Miles Cary Selden and Elizabeth Armistead Selden. He was born on the family estate, Tree Hill, on the James River; he had eleven siblings. One of his younger brothers was William Selden, born in 1791, who became …

Sellers, Barney

Professional photographer Barney Sellers, a native of Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County), accumulated many honors in his lifetime, including a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize in 1973. His photographs of Arkansas barns, old houses, and rural scenes attracted many fans of his work and aspiring followers to northeastern Arkansas and the Ozarks. Born on March 28, 1926, to John and Edith Sellers, Barney Bryan Sellers was the younger of two sons. He grew up in Walnut Ridge, where he graduated from high school in 1944. Following high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he served two years aboard the USS De Haven. In the navy, he served in an administrative capacity and advanced to the rank of yeoman third …

Sensation (Scott County)

Sensation is a historical community in western Scott County located near Lake Hinkle. Sensation was officially established circa 1916, although people had been living in the area prior to that time. The origin of its name is unknown. Agriculture and timber have contributed to the economy and way of life in the area. Prior to European exploration, the area surrounding Sensation was a wilderness. Several species of wildlife that no longer inhabit the area, such as elk and buffalo, were present throughout the region. Numerous archaeological sites and burial mounds are located along the banks of prominent water ways such as the Fourche La Fave and Poteau rivers. Archaeological findings have provided evidence of early inhabitants dating to the Archaic, …

Sentinel of Freedom

The most famous painting by Arkansas artist Adrian Louis Brewer (1891–1956), the 1941 “Sentinel of Freedom” has been reproduced millions of times and has received wide distribution in America and abroad. Several million reproductions of the painting were distributed to schools, churches, and individuals during World War II, and the painting has become a staple of modern culture. The painting was commissioned by Little Rock (Pulaski County) insurance executive Clyde E. Lowry. Lowry was acquainted with Brewer’s work as a combat artist who painted wartime posters and more during World War I. Lowry wanted a painting depicting “the beauty of the flag when the wind had died down and the gentle folds took their natural place.” At the time, Brewer was …

Sentinel-Record

Hot Springs (Garland County) has had a number of newspapers come and go throughout its history. Local residents but also visitors to the Spa City from around the country have made up the readership of Hot Springs’ papers over the years. Between 1873 and 1883 alone, fifteen Hot Springs newspapers began and ended operation. This fact led Robert W. Leigh, historian of the Arkansas Press Association, to state in 1883, “Hot Springs has been the birthplace and burial ground of many a newspaper.” The Sentinel-Record (often abbreviated as S-R), the only local newspaper circulated daily throughout the area, remains as the last survivor of a series of newspaper mergers in Hot Springs. The first record of a local newspaper in …

Separate Coach Law of 1891

The Separate Coach Law of 1891 (Act 17) was a Jim Crow law requiring separate coaches on railway trains for white and black passengers. The law arose out of the political upheavals of the era, in which the Democratic Party sought to stave off challenges to their dominance by distracting voters with racist concerns, and it further relegated African Americans to the margins of social and economic life. By the late 1880s, large numbers of angry white farmers threatened to leave the Democratic Party and join new agrarian parties, such as the Union Labor and Populist organizations. Democratic chieftains and established elites tried to allay defections and distract attention from economic and class issues that were beginning to divide the …

September 30, 1955

Following the success of the film The Paper Chase in 1973, writer and director James Bridges, who was born in Paris (Logan County), turned his attention to a more personal project. Bridges wrote a script based on his college experiences in Arkansas and convinced the studio to allow him to shoot the movie in his home state. September 30, 1955 is about a college student, played by Richard Thomas, who is devastated by the death of his idol, actor James Dean. At the time of Dean’s death, Bridges was a student at Arkansas State Teachers College, now the University of Central Arkansas (UCA), in Conway (Faulkner County). According to his college friend Tom Bonner, a former weatherman at KARK-TV in …

Sequoyah

aka: George Guess
aka: George Gist
Sequoyah, also known as George Guess and George Gist, is best known for his development of the Cherokee syllabary, a notational system that transcribed the sounds of spoken Cherokee into a written form. But during his long life, Sequoyah played many roles in Cherokee society. Sequoyah was born circa 1770 to a Cherokee mother and an Anglo-European father. There is no record of his having a formal education. He made a living at various periods as a blacksmith and a silversmith, trades that developed as a result of Cherokee contact with European culture, although he was a traditionalist in supporting Cherokee cultural and territorial integrity. When the first large group of Cherokee prepared to move from the Cherokee heartland of …

Sequoyah National Research Center

The Sequoyah National Research Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), located in the University Plaza in Little Rock (Pulaski County), seeks to acquire and preserve the writings and ideas of Native North Americans by collecting the written word, art, and other forms of expression by Native Americans and to create a research atmosphere that invites indigenous peoples to make the center the archival home for their creative work. The mission is fulfilled by serving tribal communities, promoting scholarly research both on the UALR campus and worldwide, creating educational programs, providing access to the center’s collections, and collaborating with like–minded institutions and organizations across the United States. What is now the Sequoyah National Research Center began in …

Sesquicentennial Celebration

The Arkansas Sesquicentennial Celebration was a year-long event in 1986 commemorating the 150th anniversary of Arkansas’s admission into the Union. The celebration sparked a renewed interest in Arkansas and local history. Arkansas was admitted to the Union as a state on June 15, 1836. In 1986, a series of statewide and local events were held to honor the anniversary. Planning for the sesquicentennial began in 1982, with Governor Frank White appointing an Arkansas Sesquicentennial Commission. Tom W. Dillard, director of the Department of Arkansas Natural and Cultural Heritage (now the Department of Arkansas Heritage), was appointed by White to lead the commission. In early 1985, the Arkansas General Assembly passed legislation awarding a $400,000 grant to the Department of Arkansas …

Seventeenth Arkansas Infantry (CS)

The Seventeenth Arkansas was a unit that served in the Confederate army during the American Civil War. The unit saw service in Arkansas and in the Western Theater of the war. Another unit was also known as the Seventeenth Arkansas Infantry for a period. The regiment organized on November 17, 1861, with eight companies from Washington, Sebastian, Madison, and Hempstead counties. The unit never gained two more companies to grow to full strength. Frank Rector was elected as the first colonel of the regiment. Assigned to Brigadier General Benjamin McCulloch’s division in the Army of the West, the regiment served in a brigade under the command of Colonel Louis Herbert. The regiment’s first action came on February 18, 1862, at …

Seventh Arkansas Infantry (CS)

The Seventh Arkansas Infantry was a regiment that served in the Confederate army during the American 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, military units began to organize across the state. Companies organized in communities and moved to a number of camps to create larger units. Ten companies from northeastern Arkansas organized at Smithville (Lawrence County) into the Seventh Arkansas on June 16, 1861. The companies in the new regiment were from Jackson, Independence, Marion, Izard, Fulton, White, and Randolph counties. The first colonel of the regiment was Robert Shaver, an attorney from Lawrence County. The unit …

Seventh-Day Adventists

The Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA) is a Protestant denomination characterized by its observance of the biblical Sabbath (Saturday), its emphasis on the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ, and its fundamental creed, “The Bible, and the Bible alone.” Officially founded in 1863 by Joseph Bates, James White, Ellen G. White, and J. N. Andrews, the SDA Church grew out of the Millerite movement of the mid-1800s. Its founder, William Miller, preached from his farm in Low Hampton, New York, that the second coming (Advent) of Jesus Christ would happen on October 22, 1844. The day passed without incident and became known as the “Great Disappointment.” Many of Miller’s followers disbanded following this, but a small group of Adventists continued their …

Sevier County

Sevier County is located in southwest Arkansas and borders the state of Oklahoma. The county is located at the northern limits of the Gulf Coastal Plain. Sevier County has four rivers, each of which is impounded by a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lake. The Little River forms the southern boundary, while the Saline River borders the east side of the county. The Cossatot River and Rolling Fork River both flow from north to south. Pre-European Exploration Artifacts indicate that human activity in Sevier County dates back as much as 10,000 years; for most of that time, they lived by hunting and collecting foods. The county’s rivers and streams, especially the Rolling Fork River and the Little River, provided a …

Sevier County Lynching of 1881

In late May 1881, three African-American men were lynched in Sevier County for allegedly attacking a man who requested their help in crossing Rolling Fork Creek. The descriptions of the victim are confusing. The Arkansas Gazette described him as “an old man named Holly.” The St. Paul Globe reported that he was a prominent Sevier County farmer named R. F. Hall; the Memphis Daily Appeal concurred, adding that he was eccentric. The Nebraska Advertiser gave his name as A. F. Hall. In his “Early Days in Sevier County,” W. S. Ray wrote that he was a “simple-minded man named Hall” who was passing through the county. Public records do nothing to clarify his identity. His alleged attackers were not identified …

Sevier, Ambrose Hundley

Ambrose Hundley Sevier was a territorial delegate and one of the first U.S. senators from the state of Arkansas. Sevier was also one of the founders of a political dynasty which ruled antebellum Arkansas politics from the 1820s until the Civil War. His cousin Henry Wharton Conway founded the Arkansas Democratic Party, and his other cousin, James Sevier Conway, served as Arkansas’s first state governor, while yet another cousin, Elias Nelson Conway, was the state’s fifth chief executive. He also married into the powerful Johnson family, and his brother-in-law Robert W. Johnson rose to prominence in antebellum Arkansas politics. Born on November 10, 1801, in Greene County, Tennessee, to John Sevier and Susannah Conway, he was the grandnephew of John …

Shackelford, Lottie Lee Holt

Lottie Lee Holt Shackelford is a prominent African-American political leader who became the first female mayor of Little Rock (Pulaski County) and commanded leadership roles in the national Democratic Party for three decades. She was an Arkansas delegate to every Democratic National Convention from 1980 through 2012, often as a so-called superdelegate, and was chosen to be an automatic superdelegate for the 2016 convention. In addition, she was the longest-serving national vice chair in the Democratic Party’s history. She is a member of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. Lottie Lee Holt was born on April 30, 1941, in Little Rock, one of four children—with two sisters and a brother—of Curtis Holt Sr. and Bernice Linzy Holt. Her father was …

Shady Grove Delmar Church and School

The Shady Grove Delmar Church and School is a historic building located near Delmar (Carroll County). The church is about three miles southeast of Osage (Carroll County). Constructed around 1880, the building housed a school until 1945, and a church regularly met in the building until 1969. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 27, 2015. The first settlers in the Osage Valley arrived around 1830. The population grew slowly, and by 1889, Osage included four homes, three stores, and the school. The land on which the church was constructed was donated to the district by Thomas Sisco, the son of an early settler. Sisco owned several businesses in Delmar, including a post office, sawmill, …

Shady Lake CCC Bridges

The Shady Lake CCC Bridges were nominated to the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A with local significance for their association with the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in Polk County. The bridges, completed by crews from Camp Shady in December 1936, were constructed as a part of the Shady Lake Dam project begun in October 1935. The CCC originally developed the area for recreational purposes, and the bridges and road still service numerous camping and picnicking sites around the lake in the twenty-first century. The Shady Lake CCC Bridges were also nominated under Criterion C with local significance as a good example of CCC native-stone bridge construction. These single-span structures are supported by arched, corrugated …

Shakespeare Series

aka: Lily Bard Series
The Shakespeare series consists of five novels in the “cozy” crime genre by Charlaine Harris, who lived in Arkansas for many years. Shakespeare and Bartley, the fictional Arkansas towns where the novels are set, resemble several small communities in the state, and Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Memphis, Tennessee, are both referred to as conveniently nearby. Like other books in this genre, these novels do not focus on police procedure or the reasoning of a genius detective. Instead, a lay person, generally a woman, investigates and solves a crime, sometimes with the help of a police officer or other trained investigator. In order of publication, Harris’s Shakespeare novels are Shakespeare’s Landlord (1996), Shakespeare’s Champion (1997), Shakespeare’s Christmas (1998), Shakespeare’s Trollop …

Shallow Ford, Skirmish at (August 30, 1863)

A Civil War engagement during the Little Rock Campaign, the Skirmish at Shallow Ford was fought as Federal forces crossed Bayou Meto. Confederate forces tried to hold the enemy back but were ultimately unsuccessful. Confederate colonel Robert Newton and his cavalry brigade were tasked with covering the Shallow Ford crossing of Bayou Meto to obstruct Federal forces under the command of Major General Frederick Steele. In late August 1863, Newton’s brigade moved around the area near the ford in response to multiple reports of Federal movements. On August 29, he received word that no sign of Union troops had been found in the immediate vicinity. He moved his command near Shallow Ford, where they camped that night. The next morning, …

Shallow Ford, Skirmish at (September 2, 1863)

A brief and inconsequential Civil War skirmish, this engagement was part of the Little Rock Campaign and saw Federal troops working to establish a foothold near the capital city. Confederate forces worked to prevent Union troops marching out of Helena (Phillips County) from capturing Little Rock (Pulaski County). However, the losses suffered at the July 4, 1863, Battle of Helena—coupled with a disorganized command structure—hampered defensive efforts. Confederate units were shifted around to meet the Federal threats, but the lack of troops prevented every avenue of approach to the city from being consistently guarded. Brigadier General Joseph O. Shelby’s Missouri cavalry brigade was posted east of Little Rock with other units in an effort to watch Federal movements. Shelby was …

Shannon Hills (Saline County)

  Shannon Hills is a city in northern Saline County, adjacent to the southern portions of Little Rock (Pulaski County). Incorporated in 1977, Shannon Hills is largely a bedroom community, with few businesses and no industry. The population of northern Saline County centered around communities such as Benton (Saline County) for much of the county’s history. The area that would become Shannon Hills remained unclaimed and undeveloped until after World War II. Around 1960, plans were announced to create a housing development at that location, and a dedication ceremony was held to mark the ground-breaking. Of the houses standing in Shannon Hills, almost none were built before 1960; roughly ten percent were built in the 1960s, thirty percent in the 1970s, …

Shannon, Henry Karr

Dubbed “the sage of Lunenburg,” Henry Karr Shannon wrote a daily column, “Run of the News,” in the Arkansas Democrat from 1944 until 1971. Covering everything from politics to popular culture, “he developed the largest following of any columnist in Arkansas,” according to a 1973 comment by Robert S. McCord, then associate editor of the Democrat. Born on March 1, 1902, at Lunenburg (Izard County), Karr Shannon was the only child of farmers Robert Nathan and Allie Maud (Estes) Shannon. A bout with scarlet fever and measles at age three left Shannon with only thirty percent of normal hearing. When he was five, his mother died of tuberculosis, and his father moved to New Mexico, where he, too, died of …

Shannon, Robert Fudge

A pioneer in mental healthcare for Arkansas, Robert Fudge Shannon was the first chief resident in psychiatry at the University of Arkansas Medical School, now the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). He also established the state’s first psychiatric outpatient program for adolescents, helped launch Arkansas’s first private psychiatric inpatient treatment unit, founded the first private psychiatric clinic in the state, and served as commissioner of mental health. Born on April 15, 1933, in Melbourne (Izard County), the second of three children of newspaperman Karr Shannon and Ollie Ellen (Fudge) Shannon, Bob Shannon attended school in Melbourne until 1944, when the family moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County). He graduated from Little Rock High School (now Little Rock Central …

Shape-Note Singing

Shape-note singing is a choral tradition in which geometrical shapes and a corresponding syllable are assigned to each note in a musical scale. The tradition began in late eighteenth-century New England, and it is one of the earliest forms of distinctly American music. In Arkansas, shape notes are found in multiple singing traditions, including both the four- and seven-note methods. This type of singing also had a social role in rural communities in Arkansas, which often held all-day events featuring shape-note singing. Shape-note singing is largely used for religious music, although it does occasionally appear in secular music. Conventional shape-note singing preserves elements of earlier European music, such as basic harmony, melodies, and performance practices. Shape notes were developed in …

Sharecropping and Tenant Farming

Farm tenancy is a form of lease arrangement whereby a tenant rents, for cash or a share of crops, farm property from a landowner. Different variations of tenant arrangements exist, including sharecropping, in which, typically, a landowner provides all of the capital and a tenant all of the labor for a fifty percent share of crops. Tenancies have been used widely throughout Arkansas, but prior to the Civil War, slaves worked most vast agricultural tracts along the Mississippi River planted in cotton. When the South lost the war, bringing slavery to an end, Arkansas landowners and freed slaves then began negotiating new labor relationships to cultivate land up and down the Arkansas Delta. While some planters preferred day labor, using …

Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre

Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre (2016) is a television movie, distributed by SyFy, that is set in Arkansas, though it was filmed in Florida. It capitalizes on the popularity of sharks as villains in such productions as Jaws and its sequels (1975–1987), Shark Week documentaries on the Discovery Channel (1988–), and the zany Sharknado films on the SyFy (formerly SciFi) Channel (2013–). Director Jim Wynorski is a prolific veteran of both SyFy fodder (such as 2010’s Dinocroc vs. Supergator) and mild exploitation movies (Sexy Wives Sindrome, 2011), and Sharkansas combines the conventions of both cinematic types. The SyFy Channel’s original films are parodies of old creature features, but they use cheap computer-generated-image (CGI) special effects rather than the more professional effects …

Sharp County

Sharp County, in northern Arkansas, was established in 1868. Though long known as a location for good hunting and timber, it has remained rather sparsely populated, though the resort town of Cherokee Village is one of the state’s leading retirement communities, and Hardy is a well-known tourist destination. Pre-European ExplorationLocal tradition holds that Wahpeton Hill in what is now Hardy was home at one time to Osage and Sioux Indians. However, the Osage, though they likely hunted in the area, maintained no settlements, and the real Wahpeton Sioux lived further north in South Dakota and Canada. Archaeological finds in the area do include a large variety of arrowheads, spear points, pottery, and handicrafts linked which give convincing proof of the …

Sharp, Ephraim

Ephraim Sharp, for whom Sharp County was named, was an early pioneer in Arkansas. He also served in the state legislature during the fifteenth and seventeenth sessions of the Arkansas General Assembly. Ephraim Sharp was born on July 30, 1815, in Hamilton County, Ohio, the ninth of ten children born to farmers John Sharp and Elizabeth Elston Sharp. His mother died when he was three. When he was twelve years old, his father moved the family from Ohio to Decatur County, Indiana. On October 29, 1833, Sharp married his first wife, Margaret Stevens; they had five children. In 1837, Sharp and his younger brother, William, moved their families to Arkansas. They settled as farmers in Sugar Loaf Township, near the …

Sharp, Ephraim [of Fulton County]

Ephraim Sharp, nephew of the Ephraim Sharp after whom Sharp County was named, was an important early settler and mercantilist in neighboring Fulton County. He established a mill, and the community of Sharp’s Mill, now Saddle (Fulton County), grew up around it. His mercantile establishment helped to provide the goods that sustained the growth of the Mammoth Spring (Fulton County) area. Ephraim Sharp was born in Sandtown Township, Decatur County, Indiana, on June 23, 1833, to John Elston Sharp (called Jackson) and Susannah Armstrong Sharp. He was the fifth child and third son of this family of seven children. His mother died in 1841 when he was eight years old. His father married Sarah Armstrong, his mother’s sister. When Sarah …

Sharp, Willous Floyd

Willous Floyd Sharp was a longtime government official. While he served in a number of different capacities at the local, state, and federal levels, he was best known for his leadership of Arkansas’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) programs during the New Deal. Floyd Sharp was born on March 28, 1896, in Union, Tennessee, one of seven children born to Rufus Sharp and Mary Jane Sharp. The family moved to Idaho in 1899. In 1907, the family moved to Arkansas, settling in Garland County. Sharp received his early education in the area’s local schools. He served in the U.S. Army during World War I, and upon his discharge from the military, he got a job working as a printer for the …

Shaver, Dorothy

Dorothy Shaver was the first woman in the United States to head a multi-million dollar firm. She became president of the prestigious New York City Fifth Avenue firm of Lord & Taylor in 1945 and is credited with much of the company’s success. A trailblazer and a trend setter in her time, her legacy continues today. Dorothy Shaver was born on July 29, 1893, in Center Point (Howard County) to Sallie Borden and James Shaver. Her maternal grandfather was Benjamin Borden, editor of the Arkansas Gazette, and her paternal grandfather was Robert Glenn Shaver, a prominent Confederate officer who served with distinction during the Civil War. When Shaver was five years old, her family moved to Mena (Polk County), a …

Shaver, James Levesque

J. L. “Bex” Shaver was a major figure in Arkansas politics and government from the 1920s to the 1950s. A Democrat who served in both houses of the Arkansas General Assembly, as well as in the executive branch of state government, he was also one of the state’s leading attorneys. James Levesque Shaver was born on May 17, 1902, in Vanndale (Cross County) to William Whitfield Shaver and Irene Taylor Morgan Shaver. Family lore has it that he was nicknamed “Bex” by his brother. He grew up in Wynne (Cross County) and graduated from Wynne High School. He then attended Hendrix College and in 1921, at the age of nineteen, was awarded his law degree from Washington and Lee University …

Shaver, James Levesque Jr.

James L. Shaver Jr. became an influential figure in the Arkansas House of Representatives in the second half of the twentieth century. Over the course of almost four decades in the Arkansas House, he played an important role in shaping policy in numerous areas. James Levesque Shaver Jr. was born on November 23, 1927, in Wynne (Cross County). The son of one-time lieutenant governor James Levesque “Bex” Shaver and Louise Davis Shaver, he grew up in Wynne and received his early education there, graduating from the local high school. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy. After he received an honorable discharge in February 1946, he attended the University of Arkansas School of Law, receiving a JD in 1951. Shaver married …