Entries - Starting with B

Bell, Earl Holmes

Earl Holmes Bell of Jonesboro (Craighead County) is one of the most renowned U.S. men’s pole vaulters and coaches, a three-time Olympian, and five-time National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) record holder. His achievements include setting the world’s outdoor record in 1976; qualifying for the Olympic Games in 1976, 1984 and 1988; and winning the bronze medal at the 1984 Olympics. He was the U.S. national champion in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s—a remarkable three-decade achievement for an athlete. After turning to coaching by founding Bell Athletics in Jonesboro, he was named the 1998 National Olympic Coach of the Year by the U.S. Olympic Committee. In 2004, Bell Athletics alone produced half of the U.S. Olympic pole-vaulting team. Earl Bell was …

Bell, Lasker (Las)

Lasker Bell Sr., founder of the Las Bell Variety Show television and radio program, hosted the show from 1967 to 1985, ushering in a shift in entertainment options in southern Arkansas and the Arkansas-Louisiana-Mississippi region. Bell also made contributions in public affairs in Arkansas, holding civil appointments under Governors Dale Bumpers, David Pryor, and Bill Clinton. Las Bell was born in Homer, Louisiana, on May 21, 1928. He was the son of Union Bell and Bethena Randolph. Bell was raised by Frank and Irene Brooks, his maternal grandparents. Early in his life, Bell worked as a sharecropper alongside his grandparents. Bell only attended school through the eighth grade and, in 1944, relocated to Camden (Ouachita County) to find employment. He …

Bella Vista (Benton County)

Bella Vista was originally planned as a summer recreation resort. Half a century later, the resort began transforming into a graduated retirement community. In 2006, citizens voted to incorporate, setting the stage for the next transformation for Bella Vista. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Bella Vista sits in the Ozark Plateau geographical region where many native groups, including the Osage, Caddo, and Quapaw, lived. The 1808 and 1809 treaties between the United States and the Great and Little Osage in Missouri and the Osage residing on the Arkansas River transferred 30 million acres of Native American land titles to the government. A portion of this land, once the heartland of the Osage, eventually became Bella Vista. Early Twentieth Century William …

Bella Vista Historical Museum

The Bella Vista Historical Museum, located on Highway 71 in Bella Vista (Benton County), preserves more than 100 years of the history of the local community, which originated as a summer resort, became a retirement and recreation village, and eventually became an incorporated municipality. The Bella Vista Historical Society, organized in 1976 as an outgrowth of the American bicentennial celebration that year, opened the original museum in 1985, with one addition completed in 1995 and a second addition completed in 2015. The museum receives some funding from the City of Bella Vista, and also relies on donations and membership dues to help pay for operating expenses. The starting point for the museum collection was the receipt of materials from the Linebarger …

Bella Vista Water Tank

The Bella Vista Water Tank sits on a small, triangular piece of land at the corner of Cunningham Drive and Cedar Crest Drive in Bella Vista (Benton County). It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 14, 1992. The three Linebarger brothers, who developed the original summer resort of Bella Vista, had the 55,000-gallon tank built of native fieldstone in 1927 at a cost of $5,500. The tank was built to provide water to part of their Lake Bella Vista Summer Resort, which they had opened in 1917. The stone mason was Willard Glenn Braithwaite of Bentonville (Benton County). Below the Big Spring just east of Bella Vista Lake, the Linebargers installed hydraulic rams to pump …

Bellaire Court Historic District

The Bellaire Court Historic District is a tourist court in Hot Springs (Garland County). Constructed in 1936, the court consists of eight Craftsman bungalow-style cottages and a manager’s office. The district is also known as the Bellaire Apartments, as it was converted to apartments in the 1970s. Located at 637 Park Avenue, the court is laid out in an L shape. The manager’s office faces Park Avenue, and five units are attached to the rear of the office, perpendicular to the street. The remaining three units are part of a separate building, facing Magnolia Avenue at the rear of the property. An asphalt driveway connects the property to Park Avenue. Little is known about the construction of the court. Located …

Belle Grove Historic District

The Belle Grove Historic District in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) is located northwest of the city’s downtown commercial district and contains twenty-two square blocks. It is bounded by North H Street on the north, halfway between North B and C streets on the south, the alley between North 8th Street and North 9th Street on the east, and the alley between North 4th Street and North 5th Street on the west. The Belle Grove Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 16, 1973, for its significance in architecture, education, politics, and social/humanitarian influences. On September 3, 1974, the neighborhood was established as a historic district by local ordinance. It is the oldest residential neighborhood …

Bellefonte (Boone County)

Bellefonte is a town in Boone County on U.S. Highway 62/65 a few miles southeast of Harrison (Boone County). Bellefonte served as the first temporary county seat of Boone County and was nearly chosen as the permanent county seat, but Harrison surpassed it by a few votes. The first white settler at the site that would become Bellefonte was John Simms, who purchased eighty acres of land from the U.S. government in 1854. The land included a productive spring of fresh water. Simms was later joined by the Freeland, Laffoon, and Williams families. Two stores and a saloon were built, and reportedly the men of the community chose to name their settlement for the spring. One of them supposedly said …

Belleville (Yell County)

Located on State Highway 10 four miles northwest of Danville (Yell County), the second-class city of Belleville was once the second-largest city in Yell County. The city is near Spring Lake, a popular recreational site on the edge of the Ozark National Forest, and is on the highway that leads to Mount Magazine State Park. The settlement of Monrovia (Yell County), now abandoned, existed in the area before the Civil War and was used as a temporary prison by Federal troops during the war. The first settler of what is now Belleville was William Fergeson, who established a sawmill and store in 1872 and later became the first postmaster of what then was called Fergeson Mills. The next year, a …

Bellingrath House

The Bellingrath House, located in White Hall (Jefferson County), was listed on the National Register of Historic Properties in 1994 as an excellent and singular example of the English-Revival architectural style within White Hall. The house was commissioned by Ferdinand McMillan Bellingrath and his wife, Catherine Oudin Bellingrath, and it remains in the hands of the Bellingrath/Oudin family in the twenty-first century. Ferdinand Bellingrath was the son of Leonard Ferdinand Bellingrath and Mary Jane Castleberry Bellingrath, who originally resided in Georgia before relocating to the Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) area in 1916 to expand their Coca-Cola bottling operation. Ferdinand Bellingrath eventually began helping his father operate the Pine Bluff bottling plant, started by his uncles in 1911, before finally taking over …

Belmont Missionary Baptist Church and Cemetery

The Belmont Missionary Baptist Church and Cemetery are located in a rural area in the southwestern corner of Jefferson County, roughly half a mile to the west of the intersection of Highway 199 and Belmont Road. Established in 1901, the site is the oldest extant resource in the Moscow (Jefferson County) vicinity representing the African-American post-bellum settlement of southeastern Jefferson County. The property is representative of small, rural African-American churches and cemeteries in the South, and covers roughly two acres. It was listed on the Arkansas Register of Historic Properties on December 4, 2019. The original 1901 church building was lost to a fire around 1945; all of the church records and history were also lost to the blaze, which …

Ben Laney Bridge

The Ben Laney Bridge is located in Camden (Ouachita County). Spanning the Ouachita River, the bridge carries traffic from U.S. Highway 79 Business and Arkansas Highway 7. The bridge, which was constructed in 1947, was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 9, 2000. Camden’s early economy was directly tied to its location as the head of practical navigation on the Ouachita River. As the major commercial center in southern Arkansas, it needed reliable infrastructure in order to continue to grow. However, the city did not have a bridge over the river for decades and, instead, utilized a ferry. During the Camden Expedition of 1864, a pontoon bridge was used by the Union army, while Confederate forces …

Ben Lomond (Sevier County)

Ben Lomond is a small town in Sevier County. It is slightly east of U.S. Highway 59 and a few miles north of the Little River near where the river widens into Millwood Lake. While the region now called Sevier County has been home for thousands of years to humans who hunted, fished, and gathered food, the region has always been sparsely populated. Some white settlers claimed land in the Little River valley as early as 1810; however, between 1820 and 1825, the Choctaw were settled on land in the area before being moved by treaty farther west into Indian Territory (now the state of Oklahoma). The site of Ben Lomond remained unclaimed until the middle of the nineteenth century, …

Benjamin Clayton Black House

The Benjamin Clayton Black House, located at 300 East Race Street in Searcy (White County), is one of the few remaining landmarks of early Victorian architecture in Arkansas. The original structure, built just prior to the Civil War, was a one-story, two-room house with a common fireplace. Its later form, a two-story frame house with an elaborately detailed two-story veranda, is the result of extensive modifications and remodeling begun by Benjamin Clayton Black in 1872. The yellow house stands a few blocks from the town square, serving as a colorful reminder of Searcy’s past. The Benjamin Clayton Black House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on November 20, 1974. In early 1866, Benjamin Clayton Black purchased four …

Bennett House

The Bennett House was constructed in 1904 along First Street in Benton (Saline County). The single-family residence was constructed in the Folk Victorian style and features many of the characteristics of this style, including elaborate siding, a front-facing gable with a wing, and an elaborate porch. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 2020. The house is named for William Hosea Bennett, a native of Georgia who traveled west and eventually bought several hundred acres of land in Arkansas along the Saline River. Living in Benton, he was married twice and had nine children. Bennett found considerable success in the pottery and brick business and later became involved in floral ventures as well. He …

Bennett, Alvin Silas (Al)

Alvin Silas (Al) Bennett was a recording industry executive best known for his tenure as president and director of Liberty Records from 1958 to 1968. Known as a “music business wizard,” Bennett is largely credited with the transformation of Liberty Records from a struggling start-up operation to a dominant force in the recording trade. “Alvin” of Alvin and the Chipmunks was named after Bennett. Al Bennett was born in Joiner (Mississippi County) on September 21, 1926, to the farming family of Silas S. Bennett and Jessie Starling Bennett. The oldest of four children, he spent his early years working on the farm while attending Shawnee School, graduating in 1943. Bennett enlisted in the U.S. Army on November 5, 1945, for …

Bennett, Bruce

Bruce Bennett was Arkansas’s attorney general from 1957 to 1960 and from 1963 to 1966. As the state’s leading legal authority, he became known as much for flouting the law as for upholding it. In the wake of the Little Rock (Pulaski County) desegregation crisis, Bennett authored legislation to bypass federal desegregation orders, including acts “designed to harass” the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He gained further notoriety in asserting that communist influence underlay the racial unrest in Arkansas. Toward the end of his career, Bennett became infamous for his part in the securities fraud scandal involving the Arkansas Loan and Thrift. Bruce Bennett was born on October 31, 1917, to Oakley Adair Bennett and Anita …

Bennett, Fran

Fran Bennett is an actress who has worked in theater, television, and films. She appeared on stage across the nation and in Europe, and she has played roles on television from the 1960s onward in such hit shows as Guiding Light, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Scandal. Bennett was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2005. Fran Bennett was born on August 14, 1937, in Malvern (Hot Spring County). Bennett earned a BS and an MA from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and went on to earn credit toward a PhD there before leaving the program. She studied voice under Kristin Linklater, a Scottish actress who relocated to the United States in 1963 to work …

Bennett, Harold George

Perry County native Harold George Bennett was a Green Beret serving in Vietnam in 1964 when he was captured in South Vietnam and held as a prisoner of war. He was executed on June 25, 1965—the first American prisoner of war to be executed during the Vietnam War. He was honored with a posthumous Silver Star in 2010. Harold George Bennett was born on October 16, 1940, in Thornburg (Perry County), one of nine children of Pauline Bennett and World War I veteran Garland Bennett. He was set on a military career from a young age, and on his seventeenth birthday in 1957 he quit school and went to Little Rock (Pulaski County) to enlist in the U.S. Army. Bennett …

Bennett, Henry Garland

Henry Garland Bennett was an Arkansas-born educator who played a transformative role in the development of the state of Oklahoma’s system of higher education. In addition, in his final years, he was appointed to help direct the U.S. State Department’s Point Four Program. He served from 1950 until his sudden death in a plane crash in December 1951. Henry G. Bennett was born on December 14, 1886, in Nevada County. The son of the Reverend Thomas Jefferson Bennett and Mary Elizabeth Bright Bennett, he had three sisters. The family moved from Arkansas to Texas before Bennett’s first birthday but settled in Arkadelphia (Clark County) before he started school. It was there that he grew up and received his early education. …

Benson, George Stuart

George Stuart Benson was the second president of Harding College (now Harding University) in Searcy (White County), but he is most remembered as a crusader against communism. He founded the National Education Program (NEP) at Harding to advocate for American values and the free enterprise system. George Benson, son of Stuart Felix Benson and Erma Rogers Benson, was born on his parents’ small Oklahoma farm in Dewey County on September 26, 1898. He attended several elementary and secondary schools in the area and then attended classes at Oklahoma A&M until transferring to Harper College in Harper, Kansas. In 1924, Harper College merged with Arkansas Christian College in Morrilton (Conway County) to form Harding College, a private school associated with the …

Benson, Jesse N. “Buddy”

Jesse N. “Buddy” Benson earned statewide recognition in Arkansas athletic circles, first as a football player for the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) and later as the head football coach for thirty-one seasons at Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) in Arkadelphia (Clark County). Benson was a 1993 inductee into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and was inducted into both the Ouachita Sports Hall of Fame and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Hall of Fame. Buddy Benson was born on November 9, 1933, in Wright City, Oklahoma, to Jesse Benson and Louise Pate Benson. He was one of the nation’s most actively recruited football players after he graduated from high school at De Queen (Sevier County). …

Bentley, Edwin

Edwin Bentley was one of the eight founders of the Arkansas Industrial University Medical Department, now the College of Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). Edwin Bentley was born to George W. and Anne Williams Bentley on July 3, 1824, in New London, Connecticut. Bentley’s early education was in the local schools and under private tutors. He received, for the time, a quite thorough medical training at the New York City Medical College, the Twenty-third Street Medical College, the Bellevue Hospital Medical College, and the medical department of the University of the City of New York, from which he received his doctor of medicine degree in 1849. Bentley then established a thriving general practice in Norwich, …

Benton (Saline County)

Benton is on the Southwest Trail, an old Indian trail that was part of the National Road leading from Missouri through Jackson and Lawrence counties to Little Rock (Pulaski County), then south to the Red River. Benton is accessible by Interstate 30, the Union Pacific Railroad, and the state’s commercial airport. Thirteen properties, including a mound site and a bridge, are on the National Register of Historic Places. Though the aluminum industry was located in nearby Bauxite, Benton served as an employee, a service sector, and a medical and entertainment base for Reynolds Metals and Alcoa Inc. Pre-European Exploration It is thought that Hernando de Soto and his band traveled down the North Fork of the Saline River in 1541 …

Benton Commercial Historic District

The Benton Commercial Historic District consists of fifty-three buildings located in the heart of downtown Benton (Saline County). Its buildings cover a long span of the county’s history from the early 1900s to the 1990s. It contains several properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Among its most historic buildings are the Royal Theatre, the Saline County Courthouse, the Odd Fellows Building, the Benton Masonic Lodge, the Ashby Building, and the H. J. Gingles Building. The district encompasses 10.79 acres of land and contains Benton’s most used commercial buildings. Only three buildings in the Benton Commercial Historic District were built after 1958. The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 24, 2008. What …

Benton County

Located in the northwest corner of Arkansas, Benton County borders Missouri and Oklahoma and is part of the Ozark Plateau. The county has grown from a Native American hunting ground and a timberland and fruit resource to one of the fastest-growing and most economically vibrant counties in the country. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the Osage Indians in Missouri made forays into the area for seasonal hunting. After the Louisiana Purchase, the U.S. government obtained major land cessions from the Osage, especially by an 1808 treaty. Cherokee agent Major William Lovely negotiated the cession of more Osage land in 1816 (renegotiated in an 1818 treaty), and all Osage land in the region …

Benton County Courthouse

The Benton County Courthouse at 106 Southeast A Street in Bentonville (Benton County) is a three-story public building constructed in 1928 and designed in the Neoclassical style by prominent architect Albert Oscar (A. O.) Clarke. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 28, 1988. The first term of the Benton County court was held in the home of County Judge George P. Wallace in April 1837, and a small log courthouse was built on the north side of the Bentonville square in time to house the spring court session in 1838. This served until 1841, when John and William Walker were hired to build a brick building that survived until Union troops burned it in …

Benton County Historical Society

The Benton County Historical Society (BCHS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting, publishing, and otherwise preserving and disseminating the history of Benton County. The BCHS arose from a June 22, 1954, meeting of twenty-six people at the Masonic Youth Center in Rogers (Benton County). The records preserved over the years show that the attendees came from all townships of the county. At this meeting, temporary officers of the yet unnamed group were elected as follows: J. Wesley Sampier (chairman), Ray Henry and Louise Plank (vice chairs), and Huey Huhn (secretary/treasurer). These temporary officers had to nominate a slate of officers and draw up a constitution and by-laws. Word of mouth and notices in the newspapers promoted the first public …

Benton County Poor Farm Cemetery

The Benton County Poor Farm Cemetery, which contains an unknown number of burials, is located approximately one mile northeast of downtown Bentonville (Benton County) in the Allencroft Subdivision on the west side of Northeast Young Avenue and north of Northeast Carnahan Court. It is the most important physical onsite reminder of the Benton County Poor Farm, established in the mid-nineteenth century for the care of the poor. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 20, 2008. During the early history of the United States, the ever-growing population of poor citizens was regarded as a danger by many but was seen as a call to service by others. Many citizens and charitable organizations provided services to …

Benton Road, Skirmish at (July 19, 1864)

aka: Skirmish at Little Rock (July 19, 1864)
  After the Engagement at Jenkins’ Ferry, Federal forces under the command of Major General Frederick Steele retreated to Little Rock (Pulaski County) and rejoined the defenses of that city. Confederate forces, flush with their success in the Camden Expedition, began to probe the Union positions in a prelude to a large-scale offensive. This skirmish was one such action. After returning to Little Rock from the Camden Expedition on May 7, 1864, the Third Missouri Cavalry was stationed about four miles southwest of the city on the road to Benton (Saline County). The unit was tasked with outpost duty, and half of the regiment was on duty every day. This routine continued until July 13, when an eight-man patrol of …

Benton Road, Skirmish at (March 23–24, 1864)

  In the spring of 1864, Major General Frederick Steele, commander of Federal forces occupying Little Rock (Pulaski County), was ordered to work in conjunction with Major General Nathaniel Banks in Louisiana to capture Shreveport and move into Texas. Steele was reluctant to participate in the scheme and departed Little Rock only after receiving direct orders to support Banks. This action was the first contact between Steele’s forces and the enemy after the march from Little Rock began. The Federal army departed Little Rock on March 23 and marched to the southwest. Cavalry units were placed at the front of the army to warn the following units if the enemy approached. The Third Arkansas Cavalry and the Second Missouri Cavalry …

Benton Utilities

Benton Utilities, also known as Benton Municipal Light and Waterworks, is one of the oldest continually operating institutions in Saline County. In the twenty-first century, the company serves most of Benton and its surrounding areas in Saline County. In its early days, Benton got its drinking water from the Saline River. It was not until 1914 that plans for a modern city-owned water and sewage system were laid out. In April 1914, R. C. Bailey was elected mayor of Benton on a platform of creating a municipal waterworks. In May 1914, Bailey and the city council “laid out plans for a system of engaging a firm of engineers to submit plans” for a municipal waterworks. On June 8, 1914, the …

Benton, Affair at

In this extremely brief exchange, a brigadier general in the Arkansas State Militia was killed, with the Union soldier who killed him earning the Medal of Honor for it. With the failure of the Camden Expedition in the spring of 1864, Union forces retreated to Little Rock (Pulaski County) while Confederate units in southwestern Arkansas began to push northward. Major General Frederick Steele, the Federal commander of Little Rock, watched these movements with trepidation and pushed his troops to patrol the approaches to the city on a regular basis. Located southwest of Little Rock, Benton (Saline County) was the scene of numerous engagements during the war and—with its location along the Saline River—served as a dividing line between the opposing …

Benton, Skirmish at (August 18, 1864)

  After the Camden Expedition, Confederate forces were concentrated in the southern part of the state and lacked the strength to launch a full-scale assault on Union positions in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Rather, Southern units engaged in a campaign of harassment and quick strikes of little military value. The units occupied positions near the Federal lines to engage the enemy when the opportunity arose, and this skirmish is one such action. The Federal position after the Camden Expedition did not extend far outside of the Little Rock city limits. Confederate forces operated outside of the Federal lines, especially south of the city. Benton (Saline County) was an important city for both sides, as it lay near the Saline River …

Benton, Skirmish at (December 1, 1863)

After the fall of Little Rock (Pulaski County) in September 1863, Federal forces established defensive lines around the capital city but sent patrols and forage trains into nearby communities to gather both information and supplies. One city temporarily occupied by the Union troops was Benton (Saline County). A small engagement, the inconsequential Skirmish at Benton was a Confederate attack on one such patrol. On December 1, 1863, Colonel Cyrus Bussey dispatched a patrol of forty men to scout the road between Benton and Hot Springs (Garland County). Departing at 3:00 a.m., the patrol was commanded by Lieutenant Alexander D. Mills of the First Missouri Cavalry (US). Moving out from Benton, the patrol rode about twenty-five miles before beginning its return …

Benton, Skirmish at (July 6, 1864)

  With the conclusion of the Camden Expedition, some Confederate forces in Arkansas became emboldened and began preparations for an invasion of Missouri. Other Confederate units continued to probe Federal lines around Little Rock (Pulaski County), to which Union forces responded by continuing patrols into the nearby countryside to break up possible enemy gatherings. The Skirmish at Benton resulted from one such patrol to disrupt Confederate preparations. The Fourth Arkansas Cavalry (US) was ordered on July 4, 1864, to embark on a scouting mission. Ordered to move from Little Rock to Caddo Gap by Brigadier General Frederick Salomon, the unit moved out at once. Every man in the unit was required to accompany the scout. Moving quickly through the countryside, …

Benton, Thomas Hart

Thomas Hart Benton—painter, muralist, and writer from Missouri—developed, along with artists Grant Wood and John Steuart Curry, a style of painting in the 1920s that became known as regionalism. Benton was influenced early in his career by a sketching trip he took through northwest Arkansas in 1926. He returned to Arkansas to sketch and paint periodically, primarily in the Buffalo River area. Benton also enjoyed floating and fishing on the Buffalo River and opposed efforts to dam it during the 1960s. Tom Benton was born on April 15, 1889, in Neosho, Missouri. He was the oldest of four children born to Maecenus Eason (M. E.) and Elizabeth (Wise) Benton. M. E. was a lawyer and served as a congressman from …

Bentonville (Benton County)

  Bentonville, the Benton County seat, has grown from a farming community to the home of the world’s largest retailer. Sam Walton, who started with a small store on the town square, built a retail giant but kept the Walmart Inc. headquarters in Bentonville. Bentonville is now one of the fastest-growing towns in the nation, largely because of the influx of Walmart Inc. suppliers. Some parts of the city are changing quickly, but preserved and restored buildings on the square and in adjoining neighborhoods help to maintain the look and feel of the historic town. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The first white settlers in what is now Bentonville arrived just a few years before the town was established in …

Bentonville College

On March 15, 1894, what was described as a “mass meeting” of new subscribers to Bentonville College met in the county judge’s room of the Benton County Courthouse. The total number present was not recorded, but subscribers were private citizens. Lodges and civic clubs contributed to the college fund as well. Fifteen men formed the board of trustees. With a quorum present at the March 15 meeting, presiding officer James A. Rice presented articles of association, which were adopted. A corporation was formed under the name “The Bentonville College,” and the trustees were instructed to establish and maintain for a period of ninety-nine years a non-sectarian school for both sexes. The trustees were also charged with contracting for land, constructing …

Bentonville Confederate Monument

The Bentonville Confederate Monument is a commemorative sculpture erected in 1908 in the Bentonville (Benton County) town square by the James H. Berry Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) to honor local men who had served in the Confederate army during the Civil War. Eleven companies of infantry and cavalry were raised for Confederate service from Benton County during the Civil War, and in the early twentieth century, the James H. Berry Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy decided to sponsor a monument in their honor in the Bentonville town square. A. J. Bates, a Bentonville banker, donated $1,000 of the $2,500 monument cost, and James H. Berry—a former Confederate soldier, Arkansas governor, and U.S. senator, …

Bentonville, Action at

The Action at Bentonville occurred on February 18, 1862, as Brigadier General Samuel R. Curtis sought to maneuver Confederate forces from their winter encampment at Cross Hollows in the Boston Mountains. Curtis had entered Arkansas the previous morning in pursuit of Sterling Price’s Missouri State Guard, troops he had chased from southwest Missouri. Curtis’s Army of the Southwest rolled forward with little opposition until encountering Confederate regulars under Colonel Louis Hebert just south of Little Sugar Creek at a place called Dunagin’s Farm. Hebert’s force of infantry and cavalry, supported by artillery, fought a stubborn rearguard action that halted Curtis’s advance, costing the Federals thirteen dead and around twenty wounded while suffering as many as twenty-six dead on the Rebel …

Bentonville, Skirmish at

  A small engagement in extreme northwestern Arkansas, this skirmish was part of a larger scouting expedition launched from Cassville, Missouri. Gathering intelligence for Union forces in Missouri, this scout also disrupted Confederate operations in the area. On May 21, 1863, Colonel William F. Cloud of the Second Kansas Cavalry embarked from Cassville with his regiment on a movement into Arkansas. Crossing the state line, the expedition approached Bentonville (Benton County). A Confederate unit was in the town, and Cloud led his men in a surprise attack on the enemy. The Confederate soldiers fled in disarray, and the Federals captured fourteen of the enemy and killed one. Cloud was also able to recover three Federal soldiers who had previously been …

Bergey, William Earl (Bill)

Bill Bergey, who was a top-rated football player at Arkansas State University (ASU), is considered by many to be the most outstanding player ever produced by the school since the first team was fielded in 1911. In 1976, fans voted him the top player in Arkansas State history. He established himself as one of the premier defensive players, both during his college days and during his twelve-year career with two National Football League (NFL) teams: the Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles. William Earl Bergey was born on February 9, 1945, in South Dayton, New York. He was one of forty-seven students to graduate from western New York’s Pine Valley Central School in 1964. He participated in both basketball and football …

Bergman (Boone County)

Bergman is a town on State Highway 7 several miles northeast of Harrison (Boone County). Originally a stop on the White River line of the Iron Mountain Railroad, Bergman is best known in the twenty-first century for its role in the poultry industry of Arkansas. Before Bergman was established, a few homesteaders settled in the forested hills of what would become Boone County. The Fancher expedition, traveling west to Oregon Territory, camped in the area one night, and its campground was thereafter known locally as Oregon Flat. John Snyder was the first resident of the land where Bergman would be built to claim a patent for his land—he did so in 1877—but earlier residents included James Seals, Joseph Abraham York, …

Berry, Danielle Bunten

aka: Daniel Bunten
Danielle (Dani) Berry was a revolutionary computer game designer who specialized in multi-player games at a time when few in the industry were interested in the idea. She is also remembered for breaking gender boundaries in the industry, having been assigned male at birth but undergoing gender transition late in her career. Berry’s 1983 game M.U.L.E. was listed third on Computer Gaming World’s 1996 list of the best games of all time, and Will Wright, the designer of Sim City, once said, “Ask most game designers what their favorite computer game of all time is, and you’ll get M.U.L.E. as an answer more often than any other title.” She was a major influence upon the likes of Wright and Civilization …

Berry, James Henderson

James Henderson Berry served as a Civil War officer, lawyer, Arkansas legislator, speaker of the Arkansas house, and circuit judge for the Fourth Judicial District before being elected Arkansas’s fourteenth governor. A staunch Democrat, he was governor for two years and promoted increased taxation for railroads, repudiation of state debt, equal protection for all citizens, reform of the state penal system, and economy in government. Berry followed his stint as governor with twenty-two years of service as a United States senator, from 1885 to 1907. Berry was born in Jackson County, Alabama, on May 15, 1841. His parents, James M. and Isabelle (Orr) Berry, were farmers, and ten of their children lived to adulthood: Granville, Mary, Fannie, Dick, James, Arkansas, …

Berry, Robert Marion

Robert Marion Berry represented Arkansas’s First Congressional District as a Democrat for seven terms. First elected to the 105th Congress, he served from January 1997 until January 2011. Marion Berry was born in Stuttgart (Arkansas County) on August 27, 1942. The son of a rice farmer and his wife, he had two brothers. He was educated in local schools before graduating from DeWitt High School in DeWitt (Arkansas County). Berry went on to the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), where he earned a BS in pharmacy in 1965. He settled in Gillett (Arkansas County) and became a licensed pharmacist and a farmer who grew rice and soybeans. He soon became involved in local politics, winning a seat …

Berryman, Peter (Lynching of)

On February 20, 1901, Peter Berryman (regularly referred to as “Nigger Pete” in newspaper articles) was murdered in Mena (Polk County) for the alleged assault of young Essie Osborne. Berryman’s murder and numerous other instances of racially motivated harassment throughout the years in Mena—combined with changing job prospects with the relocation of railroad division shops—apparently convinced many African Americans to leave the area, and Mena slowly became a “sundown town.” There were 152 black residents of Mena in 1900 but only sixteen in 1910. In 1900, Peter Berryman, age forty-five, was living alone in a house in Mena. He could neither read nor write; his occupation is illegible on the census record. According to various newspaper accounts, Berryman was “half-witted” …

Berryville (Carroll County)

Berryville, located in the Ozark Mountains, is one of the seats of Carroll County and is well known for its small-town quality. Throughout its history, Berryville has been a center for education, as with Clarke’s Academy, as well as agriculture, with farming and raising beef cattle prominent parts of the economy through the 1950s, when these were superseded by the poultry industry, now one of the leading employers. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Brothers Joel and William Plumlee are credited as the first white settlers in the area where the Berryville town square is now located, settling there in 1832. In 1848, Blackburn Henderson Berry moved to Carroll County from Gunter’s Landing in northern Alabama; in 1850, Berry purchased the …

Berryville Agricultural Building

The Berryville Agriculture Building, located in the Berryville High School complex at 902 West Trimble Street in Berryville (Carroll County), was built in 1940 with assistance from the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Depression-era federal relief agency. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 10, 1992. The Berryville School District learned in July 1936 that it had been selected to participate in the federal Smith-Hughes program, which supplied funding so that local districts could provide vocational training for students. There was a question of where the instruction would be given, however, with the Berryville Star-Progress reporting on July 9 that “it is not known whether a Smith-Hughes building will be erected,” or whether classes would …