Entries - Starting with T

Thompson, Charles Louis

Charles Louis Thompson was a highly prolific architect who created one of the most successful architectural practices in Arkansas during the late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries. His firm designed more than two thousand buildings, of which hundreds still exist today. Charles Thompson was born in November 1868 in Danville, Illinois, to James C. and Henrietta Lightner Thompson. He and his six siblings were orphaned when he was fourteen, and they moved to Indiana to live with relatives. He quit school at the age of fourteen and went to work in a mill to help support his brothers and sisters. During his extra hours, he worked for an architect named Hunt, who taught him drafting and exposed …

Thompson, David Aiken

David Aiken Thompson came to Arkansas as the Arkansas Territory was beginning to show rapid growth, attracting settlers from eastern states and offering opportunities for business and land speculation. Thompson became one of the largest land speculators in Arkansas. At the height of his operations, he reportedly either owned outright or had an interest in 150,000 acres of land in sixteen Arkansas counties. David Thompson was born on April 4, 1796, at New Castle, Delaware, to Dr. David Thompson and his second wife, Frances Aiken Thompson. His father died two months before he was born. His mother soon moved to Jonesboro, Tennessee. There, she met John McAlister, and they married on December 25, 1800. Thompson grew up in Jonesboro and …

Thompson, Green Walter

Green Walter Thompson was a major African-American political leader and businessman in Little Rock (Pulaski County) from the end of the Civil War until his death. Green Thompson was born Green Elliott, a slave on the Robert Elliottt farm in Ouachita County. Nothing is known of his early life, though his tombstone lists a birth date of August 15, 1847. A birth year of 1848 is estimated from documents accumulated later in his life. The 1880 census records him as a “mulatto,” so it is likely a white man fathered him. His mother eventually married a slave named Thompson, and Green Elliott took his stepfather’s name. While a teenager, he married a slave named Dora Hildreth; they soon had a …

Thompson, M. Jeff

Meriwether “Jeff” Thompson was a brigadier general in the Missouri State Guard who served and led troops in Arkansas during the Civil War, ultimately surrendering the troops in the northeastern part of the state in 1865 after earning a reputation as a wily commander. Meriwether Thompson was born on January 22, 1826, in Harpers Ferry, Virginia, the son of U.S. Army paymaster Captain Meriwether Thompson and Nancy Slaughter Broadus Thompson. As a youth, Thompson would skip school to accompany a black deliveryman named Jeff on his rounds, which led his family to begin calling him by that name. His friends soon followed suit, and after moving to Missouri in 1847 he had his name legally changed to M. Jeff Thompson. …

Thompson, Roosevelt Levander

Roosevelt Levander Thompson was a very accomplished Arkansan who achieved many things during his short lifetime and is recognized as one of the most gifted people to have attended Yale University. Roosevelt Thompson was born on January 28, 1962, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to the Reverend C. R. Thompson and Dorothy L. Thompson. He attended Little Rock Central High School and participated in many of Central’s activities. During his freshman year, he decided he wanted to pursue a career in public service. By his junior year, his teachers were already talking to him about becoming a Rhodes Scholar. He was involved in school plays, the school newspaper, and various academic groups, and he was named the All-Star player on …

Thorncrown Chapel

Thorncrown Chapel, designed by architect E. Fay Jones, is the most celebrated piece of architecture built in Arkansas. It won five design awards and was named by American Institute of Architects (AIA) as the fourth–best building of the twentieth century. Its uniqueness was recognized almost immediately. Within a year of its July 10, 1980, opening in Eureka Springs (Carroll County), it had been featured in many major architecture journals worldwide and had received an AIA Honor Award for design; in December of 2005, it received the 2006 AIA Twenty-five year Award for architectural design that has stood the test of time for twenty-five years. The chapel draws more than 100,000 visitors a year, and more than four million people have …

Thornton (Calhoun County)

The city of Thornton developed on the St. Louis and Southwestern Railway (often called the Cotton Belt) four miles southwest of Fordyce (Dallas County) in 1883. A center of the timber industry, it became, for a time, the largest city in Calhoun County. Evidence of prehistoric activity in the region that would become Calhoun County is seen in several Native American mounds located in the county. At the time of the Louisiana Purchase, the area was understood to belong to the Caddo, but their dwellings tended to be in river valleys to the south of the heavy pine forests of south-central Arkansas. White settlers did not make a permanent home in the pine forests until after the Civil War, when …

Thornton, Billy Bob

Billy Bob Thornton is an actor, director, screenwriter, and musician who began his film career in the late 1980s and has since starred in a number of popular and critically acclaimed films. He received an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Sling Blade (1996). Billy Bob Thornton was born on August 4, 1955, in Hot Springs (Garland County), the oldest son of high school basketball coach Billy Ray Thornton and Virginia Faulkner, a psychic. At seven months of age, he set the Clark County record for heaviest infant, at thirty pounds. He has two younger brothers, Jimmy Don and John David. Residing with over a dozen relatives in a shack with no electricity or plumbing, the Thorntons subsisted on …

Thornton, Flanigan (Lynching of)

On April 19, 1893, an African-American man named Flanigan (sometimes referred to as Flannagan or Flannigan) Thornton was hanged in Morrilton (Conway County) for allegedly murdering constable Charles Pate. While there are no records for Flanigan Thornton in Arkansas, he may have been the ten-year-old living with his parents Hyram and Chasity Thornton in Desoto County, Mississippi, in 1880 and working as a farm hand; this would have made him twenty-three at the time of the lynching. Charles Pate was born in White County, Arkansas, but by 1891, when he married Alice Phelps, he was living in Conway County. According to newspaper accounts, the alleged murder happened on April 4 near Menifee (Conway County) station, about fifteen miles from Morrilton. …

Thornton, Raymond Hoyt (Ray), Jr.

Law professor Raymond (Ray) Hoyt Thornton Jr. was an Arkansas entrepreneur, lawyer, attorney general, U.S. representative, university president, and Arkansas Supreme Court justice. Thornton also played a key role in fashioning the articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon concerning the Watergate cover-up. Ray Thornton was born on July 16, 1928, in Conway (Faulkner County), one of two children of Raymond Thornton Sr. of Sheridan (Grant County) and Wilma Elizabeth Stephens of Prattsville (Grant County). His parents attended Arkansas State Teachers College (now the University of Central Arkansas) and eventually returned to Sheridan to live; Thornton’s father served as superintendent of schools for Grant County, and his mother taught at Sheridan. Thornton graduated from high school in 1945 at age …

Three Brothers (Baxter County)

Three Brothers is a populated unincorporated community in Logan Township on Highway 5 about ten miles north-northwest of Mountain Home (Baxter County), the county seat. It is about eight miles north-northeast of Bull Shoals. Three Brothers is approximately six miles south of the Missouri state line. Nearby Norfork and Bull Shoals lakes and the surrounding countryside, including Mountain Home, attract tourists and fish and game enthusiasts. Being located on a main highway through this section of the Ozark Mountains has proven helpful for the local economy of the declining community of Three Brothers, which continues to be somewhat of an appendage to Mountain Home. Highway 5 through the area has occasionally been closed due to mud slides. The area where …

Three Guardsmen

The Three Guardsmen were three U.S. marshals based in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) who became famous for their effort to track down the Doolin Gang, also known as the Wild Bunch, in Oklahoma in the early 1890s. When the three accomplished lawmen teamed up in 1891, they spent the next five years pursuing the group, finally capturing gang leader Bill Doolin in January 1896, only to have him escape from the Guthrie Federal Prison less than six months later. They tracked him down again, but refusing to surrender, Doolin was killed in a shootout on August 25, 1896. The leader of the Three Guardsmen was Henry Andrew “Heck” Thomas, who was born in 1850 in Athens, Georgia. Thomas was joined …

Thrips

Thrips belong to the Phylum Arthropoda, Class Insecta, and Order Thysanoptera. They are minute (most are less than 1 mm long), slender insects with fringed wings and distinctive asymmetrical mouthparts. There are currently over 7,700 species-groups of recognized thrips, grouped into 780 extant and fifty-eight fossil genera. The traditional classification of the order recognizes nine families for extant species (plus five fossil families), with two subfamilies in the Phlaeothripidae (the only family in suborder Tubulifera) and four subfamilies in the Thripidae (one of eight families comprising suborder Terebrantia). The earliest recorded mention of thrips is from the seventeenth century and was a sketch made in 1691 by an Italian Jesuit scholar, Philippo Bonanni (1628‒1723). In 1744, the Swedish entomologist Baron …

Thruston, Henry Clay

Henry Clay Thruston was a Confederate soldier who fought at the Battle of Pea Ridge and in the Camden Expedition, as well as in General Sterling Price’s Missouri Raid of 1864. Thruston is perhaps best known for reportedly being the tallest Confederate soldier of the Civil War at over seven and a half feet tall. Later in life, he worked for P. T. Barnum’s circus, being advertised as the world’s tallest man. Information is sketchy about the early life of Henry Clay Thruston. He was born in South Carolina in either 1830 or 1833, with the exact day variously recorded as May 4 or May 5. His father, Street Thruston, served in the American Revolutionary War, and he had four …

Thurman, Sue Bailey

Author, lecturer, historian, and editor Sue Bailey Thurman was a pioneer in civil rights and equality long before the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Her contributions in her advocacy, writings, and speeches helped lay a foundation that many others have built upon. Sue Elvie Bailey was born in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) on August 26, 1903, one of ten children of educators Rev. Isaac Bailey and Susie Ford Bailey. Her parents emphasized education, religious instruction, and missionary work. They helped to found the forerunner of what became Morris Booker Memorial College in Dermott (Chicot County), a private college funded by African-American Baptists throughout the state. She completed her high school studies at Spellman College in Atlanta, Georgia, …

Tickborne Diseases

Ticks are a very specific cosmopolitan collection of obligate, haematophagous, ectoparasitic arthropods of vertebrates (mostly on reptiles, birds, and mammals). They are important as vectors of bacterial (mainly rickettsial and spirochaetal), protistal, and viral disease agents of domestic animals and humans, as well as other mammals. By 2016, sixteen tickborne diseases of humans were known, which includes four emerging diseases discovered since 2013. In 2017, state and local health departments around the country reported a record number (totaling 59,349) of cases of tickborne diseases to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, up from 48,610 in 2016. Tickborne diseases can range from producing mild symptoms that are treatable at home to causing symptoms including fever and …

Ticks

Ticks belong to the phylum Arthropoda, class Arachnida, subclass Acari, suborder Parasitiformes, and order Ixodida (Metastigmata), which includes almost 900 recognized species. There are three families: Ixodidae, or the “hard” ticks (approximately 700 species); Argasidae, or the “soft” ticks (approximately 200 species); and Nuttalliellidae, containing only a single species, Nuttalliella namaqua, a tick found only in southern Africa. In Arkansas, nine genera and a total of nineteen species (three argasids and sixteen ixodids) are known. Another species, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) annulatus, has been extirpated from Arkansas. Ticks are a highly specialized group of obligate, bloodsucking, nonpermanent ectoparasitic arthropods of vertebrates (mostly on reptiles, birds, and mammals) and are distributed throughout the world. In addition to being irritating to hosts and causing …

Tillar (Drew and Desha Counties)

  Located on Highway 65 near Bayou Bartholomew, the second-class city of Tillar stands mostly in Drew County, although its southeast corner is in Desha County. Built on the railroad in the 1870s, the small city is a minor agricultural center for neighboring portions of Drew and Desha counties. Evidence of prehistoric residents of the Tillar area was found in an Indian mound excavated by Edward Palmer in 1882. His discoveries included nineteen whole ceramic pots and pieces of other pots, as well as mussel shell pieces, a tortoise shell, and fragments of a deer antler. The original owners of these items are thought to be ancestors of the Tunica, although identification is not certain. At the time of European …

Tillman, John Arthur

John Arthur Tillman was the last person executed by hanging in the state of Arkansas. Accused of murdering a girlfriend, Tillman insisted upon his innocence to the day of his death. John Arthur Tillman was born in January 1891, the third oldest of nine children of John Franklin Tillman, a farmer and cattle breeder, and Lennie Belle Townsell Tillman of Delaware (Logan County). His arrest in 1913 was connected to the March 10 disappearance of Amanda Stephens, age nineteen, who lived north of Delaware. Friends and neighbors said that the two were “seeing each other,” and Stephens left behind a note pinned to her pillow suggesting that she was running away. According to later newspaper reports, she had told friends …

Tillman, John Newton

John Newton Tillman was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Third District of Arkansas in the Sixty-Fourth through the Seventieth Congresses, serving from 1915 to 1929. John N. Tillman was born near Springfield, Missouri, on December 13, 1859, to Newton J. Tillman and Mary Mullins Tillman. The family moved to Arkansas when he was a child, and he attended the local common schools before graduating from the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) in 1880. Following graduation, Tillman taught school while also studying law. He read law in the office of Judge J. M. Pittman until Pittman was elected circuit court judge, at which point Tillman studied with local lawyers Holsinger and …

Timber Industry

The timber industry in Arkansas developed in all directions after the Civil War. The abundant forests of the state made it possible over the years to produce lumber, kraft paper, fine paper, newsprint, chemicals, charcoal, and many other products. The industry’s development depended first upon the availability of abundant forests. From Little Rock (Pulaski County) in central Arkansas to the north, west, and south are forests and marketable timber. To the east is the Delta, where hardwood grows in the swamps and river bottoms. The Ozark Mountains in the north are home to a mix of slower-growing pine and hardwood. The Ouachita Mountains to the west abound in pine on the slopes and hardwood in the valleys. The rolling hills …

Timberfest

Timberfest is held the first weekend of October every year on the courthouse square in Sheridan (Grant County). Timberfest celebrates Sheridan and Grant County’s long involvement with the timber industry and is sponsored by the Grant County Chamber of Commerce. The idea for Timberfest began in 1982 when the Grant County Chamber of Commerce board of directors decided to combine the Blue Mountain Bluegrass Festival and the Merchants Fair into one festival. The first Timberfest was held in 1984 on the courthouse square in Sheridan. Since then, it has grown into a very large event. Around 1995, a lumberjack competition was added to the Timberfest activities. The funds raised by Timberfest are used for scholarships that are awarded to Grant …

Timbo (Stone County)

Originally part of the Locust Grove community, Timbo is located on Highway 66 thirteen miles west of Mountain View, the county seat of Stone County. During the Civil War, it served as one of the induction centers for Searcy County. At the time, the area was also a hotbed of wartime dissention, with the Arkansas Peace Society active in the region. Timbo is today perhaps most well known for its association with musician Jimmy Driftwood. The pioneers to the area first settled in Campbell, today almost a ghost town, in Searcy County, sixteen miles southwest of Timbo. The Campbell brothers—Wash, John, James, Alex, and David—along with their families from Tennessee, were the first white settlers in the area, having followed …

Times Dispatch (Walnut Ridge)

The weekly Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County) newspaper the Times Dispatch has been in continuous publication since 1910 when Dave A. Lindsey moved his newspaper operations from Pocahontas (Randolph County) to Walnut Ridge. The newspaper’s website gives this characterization of the paper: “The Times Dispatch has traditionally been a conservative, Democratic newspaper, with a mission to provide complete news coverage of Lawrence County and to serve as a crusader and primary supporter of Lawrence County and its businesses.” In 1913, Lindsey sold the paper to Walter Smith. Smith published the paper for approximately eight years before selling it to James L. Bland Sr. of Perry County and Austin Wilkerson, editor and publisher of the Newport Independent. By 1922, Bland was the …

Times-N-Traditions Festival

In the 1930s, Newark (Independence County) hosted Old Home Week, said to have been one of the state’s largest summer festivals. After several years, it was replaced by a three-day annual picnic known as the Old Settlers Reunion, which had ceased by the late twentieth century. In 1995, local business leaders initiated plans to develop a new festival, the Times-N-Traditions Festival (TNT). The festival, which is sponsored by the Newark Area Chamber of Commerce, began in 1995 as a Friday and Saturday event. While the previous festivals were held in downtown Newark, the TNT is held at the Newark City Park. Low attendance and competition with local Friday-night high school football resulted in a Saturday-only event. However, in 2014, a …

Tinhiouen

There were actually two men with the name of Tinhiouen, a father and son, who were hereditary chiefs, or caddi, of the Kadohadacho Caddo in the late eighteenth century. After Spain took control of Louisiana, these two chiefs became increasingly important figures in diplomatic and economic affairs among colonial authorities, Creole inhabitants, and the many Native American tribes who lived in and around Spanish Louisiana and Texas. The two men shaped relationships between Spanish colonists and Indian tribes, and they gave the Caddo a favored political position in troubled times. The Kadohadacho were viewed by all other Caddo tribes, and by non-Caddo Indian neighbors, as direct descendants of the mythical or semi-mythical ancient ancestors of all Caddo people. The home …

Tinker, Frank Glasgow

Frank Glasgow Tinker was a distinguished American mercenary pilot for forces of the Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939). A graduate of DeWitt High School and the Naval Academy, Tinker was the top American ace for the Republican Air Force during the Spanish Civil War. Frank Tinker was born on July 14, 1909, in Kaplan, Louisiana, the son of Frank Glasgow and Effie Tinker. He had two sisters. The family moved to DeWitt (Arkansas County) on July 3, 1924. Tinker graduated from high school in DeWitt in 1926 and, at the age of seventeen, joined the U.S. Navy. Tinker spent three years in the navy before receiving a prestigious appointment to the Naval Academy at Annapolis. After graduating …

Tinkle Pot

The Tinkle Pot is a novelty musical toilet created by Searcy (White County) drug store owner Frank Headlee, who also served as mayor of Searcy from 1951 to 1956. Essentially, it is a modified plastic commode for a child that plays music when the seat and lid are put down; when closed, the seat compresses a pin and lever that activate a music box inside the Tinkle Pot. In order to play, the music box must first be wound by hand. The Tinkle Pot itself weighs between one and two pounds, and it also features a handle on the back of the toilet for easy carrying. Headlee had the idea to manufacture the Tinkle Pot for sale in his drug …

Tinsman (Calhoun County)

  Tinsman is a town in eastern Calhoun County. Once important as a junction for the Rock Island Railroad, the town has faded considerably since the decline of the railroad. Until the arrival of European and American settlers, the forested hills of Calhoun County were only sparsely settled, although the Caddo lived in the area perhaps as much as 5,000 years ago. Covered with pine, oak, cypress, red gum, and hickory trees, the region was not welcoming to early settlers, although some did arrive in the 1840s and 1850s, mostly from Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. Calhoun County was largely untouched by the Civil War, although roughly 400 men from the county fought in the war, most of them for the Confederacy. …

Tintop (Scott County)

Tintop (sometimes rendered Tin Top) is an unincorporated community located in southwestern Scott County. Tintop was established in 1904 at the base of Horseshoe Mountain between Dry Creek and Clear Fork Creek. Agriculture and timber have contributed to the economy and way of life in the area. Prior to European exploration, the area surrounding Tintop 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 waterways such as the Fourche La Fave and Poteau rivers. Archaeological findings have provided evidence of early inhabitants dating to the Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods. Further archaeological evidence …

Titan II ICBM Launch Complex Sites

Following the Soviet Union’s detonation of its first thermonuclear bomb in 1953, the United States began actively developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Resulting from this was the Titan II Missile program, a Cold War weapons system featuring fifty-four launch complexes in three states. Eighteen were in Arkansas, from which ICBMs carrying nine-megaton nuclear warheads could be launched to strike targets as far as 5,500 miles away. The sites of four Titan II Launch Complexes—373-5 near Center Hill in White County, 374-5 near Springhill in Faulkner County, 374-7 near Southside in Van Buren County, and 373-9 near Vilonia (Faulkner County)—are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Titan II program was part of the second generation of ICBMs, and …

Titan II Missile Accident (1965)

Titan II ICBM Launch Complex 373-4 near Searcy (White County) was the site of an accident on August 9, 1965, in which fifty-three workers were killed—the largest loss of life ever suffered in a U.S. nuclear weapons facility. Titan II ICBM Launch Complex 373-4 was one of eighteen Arkansas launch complexes operated by the 308th Strategic Missile Squadron headquartered at the Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville (Pulaski County). Construction of Launch Complex 373-4 had commenced on January 3, 1961, and was finished on July 31, 1962—the first of the 308th’s sites to be completed and the first to go on alert (meaning that it was fully operational and ready to respond) on May 16, 1963. After it had …

Titan II Missile Explosion (1980)

The Titan II Launch Complex 374-7 in Southside (Van Buren County), just north of Damascus (Van Buren and Faulkner counties), became the site of the most highly publicized disaster in the history of the Titan II missile program when its missile exploded within the launch duct on September 19, 1980. An Air Force airman was killed, and the complex was destroyed. The Titan II Missile Launch Complex 374-7 Site was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on February 18, 2000. Complex 374-7 had already been the site of one significant accident on January 27, 1978, when an oxidizer leak sent a cloud of toxic fumes 3,000 feet long, 300 feet wide, and 100 feet high drifting across U.S. Highway …

Titan II Missiles

Following the Soviet Union’s detonation of its first thermonuclear bomb in 1953, the United States began actively developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The Titan II Missile program was a Cold War weapons system featuring fifty-four launch complexes in three states. Eighteen were in Arkansas, from which intercontinental ballistic missiles carrying nine-megaton nuclear warheads could be launched to strike targets as far as 5,500 miles away. Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) systems were part of a three-pronged nuclear weapon strategy that included manned bombers, land-based ICBMs, and sea-launched ballistic missiles. The ICBMs needed only thirty to thirty-five minutes to reach their targets, making them capable of first strikes on enemy territory. Their powerful warheads were designed to destroy enemy capabilities with …

Toad Suck Daze

Toad Suck Daze is an annual spring festival in Conway (Faulkner County) that features arts and crafts vendors, live music, a variety of foods, and toad races for children. It is held on the streets of downtown Conway, where more than 150,000 people attend the three-day event. No admission is charged, and proceeds of the festival support Faulkner County residents attending colleges located in the county. While the festival is now one of the largest and most unique in Arkansas, it began as an idea John Ward had in 1982. Ward—managing editor of the Log Cabin Democrat, Conway’s local newspaper—wanted to raise the spirits of local residents experiencing the hard times of a recession and high interest rates. He thought …

Tobacco Settlement Proceeds Act of 2000

After the establishment of the Master Settlement Agreement of 1998 between several major U.S. tobacco companies and four state governments (Texas, Florida, Minnesota, and Mississippi), the remaining forty-six states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories not party to the original legal action were allowed to join into benefits conferred by the agreement. The tobacco companies were mandated to pay damages approaching the sum of $10 billion over an indefinite time period to the states joining the agreement, as well as acknowledge publicly that tobacco companies targeted youth in marketing and sales of products. In addition, the companies were subjected to sponsorship, marketing, and sales restrictions on their product. The State of Arkansas, agreeing not to file further litigation …

Toledo (Cleveland County)

The small farming community of Toledo is located on State Highway 35, approximately three miles southeast of Rison (Cleveland County). Established in the late 1800s, it was selected as the county seat of what was then called Dorsey County and continued as the seat of government when the county’s name was changed in 1885 to Cleveland County to honor President Grover Cleveland. With the creation of Dorsey County on April 17, 1873, a board of commissioners was appointed to select a site for the county government. They chose a site where a post office had been established in 1872, Pleasant Ridge. Shortly after the designation was made, the name was changed to Toledo, with a post office name change soon …

Toll (Lynching of)

The only documented lynching recorded in Saline County occurred on October 23, 1854, when a slave known only as “Toll” was murdered by a mob. He was hanged on a hill near the second Saline County Courthouse in Benton. Recent scholarship has argued that the Toll lynching was not a spontaneous event but was instead an organized act of vengeance. The man known as Toll—spelled “Tol” in the Arkansas Gazette—was a slave owned by Scottish-born Samuel McMorrin, who, at the time, was living in Fourche Township in Pulaski County. Reportedly, in 1853, Toll sneaked up on and shot two white men, Jessup McHenry and John Douglas, who were deer hunting about fifteen miles outside of Little Rock (Pulaski County). Toll …

Tollette (Howard County)

Tollette is a largely African-American town on State Highway 355 in southwestern Howard County. In the 2010 census, the population of Tollette consisted of 232 African Americans, seven whites, and one Native American. Caddo lived in the area long before the first European explorers arrived. The Caddo were eventually moved to Indian Territory, now the state of Oklahoma. In 1837, Robert Baber and Matthew Gray both acquired land in the area around what would become Tollette. Baber had arrived in Hempstead County in about 1824; his son Daniel would serve in the Confederate army during the Civil War, and afterward Daniel Baber helped found the town of Athens (Howard County). Tollette is named for the two oldest sons of Stephen …

Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park

Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park near Scott (Pulaski and Lonoke counties) is one of Arkansas’s most significant pre-European archaeological sites. Toltec, site of the state’s tallest Indian mounds, is also a National Historic Landmark. In 1812, Louis Bringier, a French explorer from New Orleans, Louisiana, traveled to present-day Arkansas and became the first European to discover the Toltec mounds. His description of the site’s “tolerably regular” alignment of mounds and the height of the two tallest mounds in contrast to the surrounding alluvial flatlands, the first such description, was reported in newspapers in 1821. William Peay Officer and his wife, Mary Eliza, purchased the area in 1849. There they maintained a residence, which they called Lake Mound Plantation and used …

Toltec Mounds Site

The 100-acre Toltec Mounds site in Lonoke County between Scott (Pulaski and Lonoke Counties) and Keo (Lonoke County) is one of the largest archaeological sites in Arkansas and in the lower Mississippi River Valley. It was designated a National Historic Landmark by the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service of the United States Department of the Interior in 1978 in recognition of its significance in the history of America. It opened as a state park in 1980. Native Americans occupied the Toltec Mounds site and built the mounds between the years 650 and 1050 AD. Archaeologists use the name Plum Bayou Culture to refer to their way of life. This culture cannot be identified with any of the tribes living in …

Tom Sawyer, Detective

Tom Sawyer, Detective, a novella written by Mark Twain and published in 1896, was a parody of mystery stories, especially the Sherlock Holmes tales of Arthur Conan Doyle, which began to appear in 1887. Set in Arkansas, the novel was adapted into a movie in 1938. In the mid-1890s, Mark Twain, near bankruptcy after unwise investments, returned to his popular characters Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn to revive his fortunes. He wrote Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894), a parody of the travel adventures of Jules Verne, and began a novel to be titled Tom Sawyer among the Indians, which was never completed. Tom Sawyer, Detective (1896) had an unusual origin. While visiting Europe in late 1894, Twain had been told the …

Tom’s Brook Culture

People of the Tom’s Brook culture—the name comes from a tributary of the Arkansas River along which artifacts of this culture were first recognized—occupied most of western Arkansas, from the Arkansas River drainage south to the Red River valley, between 6,000 and 7,000 years ago. In terms of the six major “cultural periods” that archaeologists use to describe the prehistory of Arkansas and other southeastern states (Paleoindian, Early Archaic, Middle Archaic, Late Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian), the Tom’s Brook people lived at the beginning of the Middle Archaic period, which began around 6000 BC and lasted until about 3000 BC. They seem to have been the first people in Arkansas, and possibly the first in the Southeast, to take up …

Tomato (Mississippi County)

The small, unincorporated farming community of Tomato in Mississippi County, located near the Mississippi River in eastern Arkansas, was once touted as being home to the nation’s smallest post office and has been called Arkansas’s only “portable town.” The small but busy river community was established in the late 1800s on high ground inside an 1836 river levee. Cotton farmers were attracted to the area due to the rich soil created by regular flooding. Little information exists regarding the founding of the town; however, a post office was established in 1898. At the town’s peak in the early 1900s, it consisted of three stores, three churches, a schoolhouse, and residential homes. In the early days the town was called Canadian …

Tomato Industry

The tomato industry has a long history in Arkansas and is particularly known in the northwestern and southeastern areas of the state. Tomatoes appeared early in the state’s history. During the 1830s, Albert Pike, who owned the Arkansas Advocate newspaper, made the tomato the centerpiece of his campaign to expand food choices for the state. However, tomatoes were not grown on a large scale until commercial canning plants became common in the state. The town of Yocum (Carroll County), for example, had a plant operating in the 1880s, and in subsequent decades, canneries and tomato sheds were built across the state. Tomatoes grown in the Ozark Mountains were packaged in a variety of ways, from whole tomatoes to catsup. During …

Tomberlin (Lonoke County)

aka: Tomberlins
The community of Tomberlin (a.k.a. Tomberlins) is the southernmost settlement in Lonoke County. It is on the edge of the prairie near the Delta’s origin, where the land is fertile and cotton was king in the early years. Tomberlin is twenty-two miles south of Lonoke (Lonoke County) and about the same distance from Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). The community was named for James E. Tomberlin, who arrived there after the Civil War. Nothing is known of Tomberlin’s family history. Records show that in 1869 Tomberlin paid taxes on 701 acres in Prairie County, some of which became Lonoke County. He rented land there and employed sharecroppers. He established a commissary to supply his tenants, and this store became known as …

Tomkievicz, Shirley Jean Abbott

aka: Shirley Abbott
Shirley Jean Abbott Tomkievicz, a magazine editor and writer, achieved her greatest fame for her three volumes of memoirs, which detail the story of her family history and her own coming of age in Hot Springs (Garland County): Womenfolks: Growing Up Down South (1983), The Bookmaker’s Daughter: A Memory Unbound (1991), and Love’s Apprentice: The Education of a Modern Woman (1998), all written under the name Shirley Abbott. Critics  lauded her books as well-written examinations, not only of her own life, but of the South in an age of transition. Even after becoming a resident of New York, Abbott continues to write about Arkansas for a wide audience in magazines and newspapers. She once commented, “I learned to respect and …

Tomlinson, James Albert “Ike”

James Albert “Ike” Tomlinson was responsible for the revival of the athletics program at Arkansas State University (ASU) after World War II. An athlete who coached five sports, he served as ASU’s head baseball coach for thirty-two years, also serving as athletic director for three decades. He was named Associated Press National Coach of the Year and was selected for induction into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. In 1993, ASU’s baseball complex, Tomlinson Stadium, was named in his honor. J. A. Tomlinson was born on November 17, 1910, to farmers Frank and Nora Tomlinson in Macon, Illinois. The youngest in his family of three brothers and one sister, he was nicknamed “Ike” as a child, and the childhood nickname …

Tompkins, Rosie Lee

aka: Effie Mae Martin Howard
Rosie Lee Tompkins was the assumed name of Effie Mae Howard, a widely acclaimed African-American quiltmaker whose prodigious talents catapulted her to the forefront of contemporary art. As New York Times critic Roberta Smith put it, “Tompkins’s textile art [works]…demolish the category.” Effie Mae Martin (Effie Mae Howard was her married name) was born in Arkansas on September 6, 1936, to Sadie Bell and MacCurey Martin. The oldest of fifteen half-siblings, she grew up picking cotton and helping her mother piece quilts in rural Gould (Lincoln County), where poverty forced the family to use every available scrap of cloth. Howard never completed high school. She moved to Richmond, California, in 1958 and took courses in nursing at various local institutions, …

Tomson, Dan Fraser

A native of Tennessee, Dan Fraser Tomson helped organize—and was a charter member of—the first local assembly (or lodge) of the Knights of Labor in Arkansas. He also served as a state organizer and lecturer and, eventually, as the Knights’ highest-ranking state officer. In addition, he edited a weekly newspaper, the Industrial Liberator, which served as the official organ of the Arkansas Knights of Labor, and he became a significant figure in the national Knights of Labor organization. He served in a variety of military- and government-related jobs throughout his life, including as a clerk in Washington DC, copying the Civil War records of Missouri soldiers; a staff member in the Missouri Senate; and a clerk in the Missouri adjutant …