Entries - Starting with M

McClellan, John Little

John Little McClellan served longer in the U.S. Senate than any other Arkansan (1942–1977) and was one of its most powerful members. Under McClellan’s leadership, the Senate conducted some of its most significant investigations, including probes into the activities of such men as Jimmy Hoffa, Dave Beck, and Billie Sol Estes. Today, the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System serves as a notable example of the senator’s belief that large federal projects would boost Arkansas’s prosperity. John McClellan was born on February 25, 1896, on a farm near Sheridan (Grant County) to Isaac S. and Belle Suddeth McClellan. The McClellans were staunch Democrats and named their son for Congressman John Little. Educated in public schools, McClellan became interested in law and …

McClernand, John Alexander

John Alexander McClernand was a controversial Union army general whose frequent machinations against Major General Ulysses S. Grant during several campaigns in the Western Theater of the Civil War and inconsistent performance in battle epitomized the ambitious character traits of a “political general.” McClernand’s most significant military achievement involved the Battle of Arkansas Post in early 1863. Born to John McClernand and Fatima McClernand in Breckinridge County, Kentucky, on May 30, 1812, John McClernand grew up in Shawneetown, Illinois. Although he received very little formal education, he passed the state bar examination in 1832. McClernand also enlisted as a private in a local militia unit during the Blackhawk War of 1832. From 1833 to 1834, he worked as a commercial …

McCollum-Chidester House Museum

The McCollum-Chidester House in Camden (Ouachita County) was built in 1847 by Peter McCollum, a North Carolinian who came to Arkansas and acquired the property on a land-grant basis. It is today a museum maintained by the Ouachita County Historical Society. McCollum purchased the building materials in New Orleans, Louisiana, and had them shipped upriver to Camden by steamboat. It was the first planed lumber house in the area of Ouachita County and possibly in southern Arkansas. It boasted the first plastered walls, carpeting, and wallpaper. John Chidester, an enterprising stagecoach owner and mail contractor, purchased the home for $10,000 in gold and moved his family to Camden in 1858. Chidester wanted to expand his growing stage line farther west, using Camden …

McCombs, William

William Frank McCombs, born in Hamburg (Ashley County), became known nationally and internationally for promoting Woodrow Wilson as the Democratic Party’s candidate for the presidency of the United States and for serving as manager of Wilson’s successful campaign for election. William McCombs was born on December 26, 1875, to William Faulkner McCombs and Mary Frances Pugh McCombs, whose family was among the most prominent in the area. He was one of six children—three boys and three girls. Permanently crippled in a fall during infancy, McCombs depended on the support of a cane for the rest of his life. He became an excellent student, taught by his mother and private tutors before enrolling in an exclusive preparatory school in Tennessee. Later, …

McConico, J. H.

aka: John Hamilton McConico
John Hamilton McConico was an African-American educator, newspaper editor and publisher, businessman, national grand auditor for the Mosaic Templars of America, and a civil rights pioneer. His business and civil rights leadership included membership in the National Negro Business League, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the Arkansas Negro Democratic Association. J. H. McConico was born on December 25, 1877, in Livingston, Alabama, to Jessie McConico, a preacher, and Mattie McConico. His sister, Fannie, was four years his senior. After McConico completed the available public school courses, his family sent him to Agricultural and Mechanical College in Normal, Alabama. In 1898, McConico graduated from the department of printing with a literary emphasis. After graduation, he worked …

McConnell, John Paul

John Paul McConnell, a native of Booneville (Logan County), was a West Point graduate and four-star general in the United States Air Force. He ended his career as the Air Force Chief of Staff. John McConnell was born in Booneville on February 7, 1908, to Samuel Paul McConnell, a local physician, and Desseau (Dorsey) McConnell. He had two younger brothers. He attended local schools, where he was not an exemplary student. He did, however, gain admission to Henderson-Brown College in Arkadelphia (Clark County) and graduated in 1927 with a degree in biology. McConnell attended Henderson-Brown after he lost an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point due to his young age. Over the next few years, McConnell …

McCook, Alexander McDonald

Alexander McCook was a Union general during the Civil War and commanded the District of Eastern Arkansas. Alexander McCook was born in Columbiana County, Ohio, on April 22, 1831. The son of Daniel McCook and Martha Latimer McCook, he had two sisters and eight brothers. McCook attended the United States Military Academy at West Point and graduated in 1852. After earning his commission as an officer, he spent time teaching at the academy and served with the Third Infantry Regiment on the frontier. Shortly after the outbreak of war in 1861, McCook received a commission as colonel of the First Ohio Volunteers. Seeing action at the First Battle of Bull Run, he received a promotion to brigadier general of volunteers …

McCool, John Thurman (Murder of)

John Thurman McCool, a prominent businessman of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), was rebuilding his life after serving a prison sentence for forging state treasury warrants when he was shot to death outside Sheridan (Grant County) in 1962. McCool’s murder remains unsolved. The mystery surrounding the killing and the strange circumstances of his life in the six years prior to it made the murder a subject of rumors of a mob killing, of revenge, and of silencing a man who knew too much, although no evidence of any of those motives ever emerged. Thurman McCool was born in Sheridan on August 18, 1913. He grew up in Pine Bluff, married a Pine Bluff woman, and was prominent in the business and …

McCown, John Porter

Tennessee native John Porter McCown pursued a long military career concluding with service as a major general in the Confederate army in the Civil War. After the war, he moved to Magnolia (Columbia County), where he became a respected citizen and farmer. John P. McCown was born in Sevierville, Tennessee, on August 19, 1815, one of seven children of George Wesley McCown and Mary Caroline Porter McCown. After receiving a basic education in his home state, he accepted an appointment to the military academy at West Point, where he graduated tenth in his class in 1840. After graduation, he embarked upon a long military career, initially as an officer in the artillery, participating in campaigns against western Indian tribes and …

McCoy, Kerrin Lou Krouse (Kerry)

Kerry McCoy is an Arkansas entrepreneur who founded Arkansas Flag and Banner, Inc. (now FlagandBanner.com) in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1975. McCoy is publisher of Brave Magazine and host of the radio show Up in Your Business, and she also drew wide acclaim for overseeing the restoration of the historic Dreamland Ballroom. Kerrin Lou Krouse was born on September 27, 1954, in Little Rock to Edwin Ormond Krouse and Sara Lee Rhea Krouse. Her parents met during World War II while her father was serving in the military and had married in Walla Walla, Washington. After the war, the couple moved to Little Rock and had three children. There, Ed Krouse dabbled in many small businesses. The family moved …

McCoy, Rose Marie

Rose Marie Hinton McCoy broke into the white, male-dominated music business in the early 1950s to become a highly sought-after songwriter whose career lasted over six decades. More than 360 artists have recorded her tunes, including Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, and Sarah Vaughan. She was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame in 2018. Marie Hinton was born in Oneida (Phillips County) on April 19, 1922, to Levi Hinton and Celetia Brazil Hinton. She and her older brother and sister attended the area’s two-room elementary school, went to church regularly, and worked on the forty-acre farm their parents rented. Though Oneida was located in the Mississippi Delta, often referred …

McCracken, Isaac

Isaac McCracken played a prominent role in the farmers’ and labor movements in Arkansas (and, to a lesser degree, nationally) during the late nineteenth century. McCracken was also active in Arkansas politics as an independent and third-party leader during that era. He served in the Arkansas General Assembly in the 1880s and ran for Congress at a time when elections in Arkansas were notoriously violent and fraudulent. Isaac McCracken was born in 1846 in Huntingdon, Quebec, Canada, but he spent most of his childhood in Lowell, Massachusetts, where his family settled when he was eight years old. In 1867, he married Delia Maral Allen in Wisconsin, and the couple moved to Arkansas three years later. They had nine children between 1872 …

McCracklin, Jimmy

aka: James David Walker
Jimmy McCracklin was a renowned blues musician, singer, music industry entrepreneur, and songwriter. His hundreds of songwriting credits include his own recording of “The Walk,” which was a Top 10 hit for him in 1958, and “Tramp,” which was a Top 5 rhythm and blues (R&B) hit twice in 1967, first for Lowell Fulson and then as a duet by Otis Redding and Carla Thomas. McCracklin steadfastly claimed to have composed, uncredited, his friend B. B. King’s blues standard “The Thrill Is Gone,” although that claim remains contested. McCracklin is characterized as having played West Coast blues, a style associated mainly with African-American musicians who, like McCracklin, migrated to the San Francisco Bay Area of California during the 1940s. However, …

McCright, Ewell Ross

Ewell Ross McCright was an Army Air Corps lieutenant in World War II. While a prisoner of war, he secretly recorded detailed information about fellow prisoners of war while captive in Stalag Luft III in Sagan, Germany. McCright was awarded the Legion of Merit posthumously in 2004 after his ledgers were published. Ewell McCright was born on December 4, 1917, in Benton (Saline County) to Lewis Ross and Minnie Lee (Donham) McCright. He never married or had children. On December 4, 1940, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He applied for aviation cadet training on June 21, 1941, and was assigned to training as a bombardier on the B-17 on August 6. McCright was a B-17 bombardier with the 360th …

McCrory (Woodruff County)

McCrory is one of the many towns in northeast Arkansas that sprang up around a railroad, but the area was settled many years before its incorporation in 1890. Early Statehood through Civil War There are several versions of how the early settlement was named. As one story goes, in about 1840, a traveler riding through what is now Woodruff County stopped at a cabin in the woods to ask for directions. A woman named Jennie came to the door, surrounded by children of all sizes. Later, the traveler jokingly said he had stopped at Jennie’s Colony, referring to the multitude of children. The name stuck, and for many years the area was known as Jennie’s Colony. Another source said the …

McCrory Waterworks

The McCrory Waterworks, located southeast of the junction of North Fakes and West Third streets in McCrory (Woodruff County), was constructed in 1935–36 and installed with assistance from the Public Works Administration (PWA), a New Deal public relief agency. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 20, 2007. As the United States struggled with the Depression of the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration enacted the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) to ease the effects of businesses closing. The act included an organization called the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works (or Public Works Administration), which was created on June 16, 1933, to help finance federal construction projects and create jobs. With a population of …

McCulloch, Benjamin

Benjamin McCulloch served in the War for Texas Independence and the Mexican War, and as a United States marshal, before becoming a brigadier general in the Confederate army. McCulloch led Arkansas troops at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek in Missouri but was killed at the Battle of Pea Ridge in Arkansas. While not a native Arkansan, McCulloch played an important role in the state’s military history. He led Arkansas troops at both the first major battle fought west of the Mississippi River in the Civil War, as well as at the first major battle in the state. Born to Alexander McCulloch and Frances LeNoir McCulloch in Rutherford County, Tennessee, on November 11, 1811, Benjamin McCulloch was the fourth of thirteen …

McCulloch, Philip Doddridge, Jr.

Philip Doddridge McCulloch Jr. was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the First District of Arkansas from 1893 to 1903, beginning in the Fifty-Third Congress and extending through the Fifty-Seventh Congress. Philip McCulloch Jr. was born on June 23, 1851, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to Philip D. McCulloch, who was a doctor, and Lucy Burrus McCulloch. When he was three years old, McCulloch’s family moved to Trenton, Tennessee. He received most of his early education in the area’s private schools before attending Andrew College in Trenton. He studied law and after being admitted to the Tennessee bar in 1872, he opened a practice in Trenton. In early 1874, McCulloch moved to Marianna (Lee County) and began …

McDaniel, Irven Granger

Irven Granger McDaniel was a World War II bomber pilot and prisoner of war (POW) who, after returning home, joined his father’s architecture firm and later formed his own, designing a number of noteworthy buildings in Hot Springs (Garland County). Irven Granger McDaniel was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 24, 1923, one of four children of architect Irven Donald McDaniel and Camille Lewis McDaniel. McDaniel’s father had established a practice in Hot Springs by 1930, and McDaniel was a student at Hot Springs High School and taking flying lessons by the time he was seventeen years old. As Europe became embroiled in World War II, McDaniel went to Canada and enlisted in the Royal Air Force on July 4, …

McDermott, Charles M.

Charles M. McDermott was a medical doctor, minister, plantation owner, Greek scholar, charter member of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, and inventor. His patented inventions include an iron wedge, iron hoe, a cotton-picking machine, and a “flying machine.” He was a regular contributor to the Scientific American, and he was among the first to advocate the germ theory of disease. Charles McDermott was born on September 22, 1808, in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. His parents, Emily (Ozan) and Patrick McDermott, owned sugarcane plantations. He had four brothers and two sisters. It was at the plantation home, Waverly, where McDermott became interested in flying. McDermott entered Yale University in 1825 and obtained a bachelor’s degree with honors in 1828. On December …

McDermott, Lillian Dees

Lillian M. Dees McDermott was a social worker and community leader in Little Rock (Pulaski County). She made great strides to improve the juvenile courts, schools, and the field of social work. Referred to as the “dean of social workers in Arkansas,” she was the first person in Arkansas to become a certified professional social worker. Lillian Dees was born to Hardy Scott Dees, a farmer and businessman, and Mary Frances Pace Dees on October 4, 1877, near Little Rock. After attending Little Rock public schools, Dees graduated with a degree from Galloway Female College in Searcy (White County), which merged with Hendrix College in Conway (Faulkner County) in 1933. She later served on the Board of Trustees for Hendrix …

McDiarmid, Clara Alma Cox

Clara Alma Cox McDiarmid was Arkansas’s foremost nineteenth-century women’s reformer. She supported suffrage, temperance, women’s education, and the women’s club movement. Active locally and nationally and concerned about women’s inequalities under the law, she also supported cultural activities in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and farther afield. Clara Cox was born on December 11, 1847, the second of six children in a prominent Noblesville, Indiana, family. Her father’s mother was renowned preacher Lydia Sexton of New Jersey, the first female chaplain for Kansas State Prison. Her mother was Catherine Rowan Allison of Ohio. Her father, John Thomas Cox of Ohio, was a surveyor who moved his family to Coffey County, Kansas, in 1857, where he laid out the town of Ottumwa, …

McDonald (Lynching of)

A pair of Marion County men were shot as suspected horse thieves on Christmas Day of 1870 by a trio of vigilantes from Springfield, Missouri. A man named McDonald was killed in the incident. According to a short article in the January 25, 1871, Arkansas Gazette, three men from Springfield “named Patterson, and Dodson, and a third, name unknown,” rode into Marion County in pursuit of a stolen horse. Once in the county, they apprehended a man named Otterbury, and while one vigilante guarded him, the other two detained a man named McDonald “whom they also accused as being one of their thieves.” After “some altercation,” the Missourians shot the two men after Otterbury “attempted to resist.” McDonald died of …

McDonald-Wait-Newton House

aka: Packet House
aka: 1836 Club
The McDonald-Wait-Newton House, also commonly referred to as the Packet House, is located in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The nineteenth-century house is a good example of the Second Empire architectural style and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places due primarily to its architectural significance. When the Packet House was constructed, its address was 1406 Lincoln Avenue; the road name was later changed to Cantrell. The people who built in the area had some association to the North; either they supported the North during the Civil War, or they moved south during Reconstruction, leading to the nickname of “Carpetbagger’s Row” for the homes along the road. According to the National Register of Historic Places nomination form, “The Packet …

McDonald, Alexander

As one of Arkansas’s Republican senators during Reconstruction, Alexander McDonald played a role in the return of the state to its place in the Union. Possibly, though, McDonald’s roles as banker and railroad executive were more important to the state than his brief political career. Alexander McDonald was born on April 10, 1832, near Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, one of several children of John and Lucy McDonald. He attended Dickinson Seminary in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and also Lewisburg University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, although it appears that he did not graduate from any institution. In 1857, he traveled west to the Kansas Territory and became a businessman. Along with his brother, Benjamin P. McDonald, he ran a sawmill—variously known as “Bowen and McDonald” …

McDonald, Andrew Joseph

Andrew Joseph McDonald served as the fifth Roman Catholic bishop of Little Rock (Pulaski County)—a diocese that encompasses the boundaries of the state of Arkansas—from 1972 to 2000. During his tenure, the Catholic Church in Arkansas witnessed significant growth. In 1970, Catholics numbered 55,283 (or 2.8 percent) out of a total state population of 1,923,000. However, in the 1990s, the number of Catholics in Arkansas ballooned, and by 2000, they constituted 93,480 (or 3.4 percent) out of a total state population of 2,643,400. This growth was fed mainly by Catholics from other states retiring to Arkansas, coinciding with a Hispanic influx, primarily from Mexico. Andrew McDonald was born on October 24, 1923, in Savannah, Georgia, the eleventh of twelve children …

McDonald, Harry Pelot

Harry Pelot McDonald was a doctor, medical missionary, civil rights activist, and humanitarian in the second half of the twentieth century. A leader of the Fort Smith (Sebastian County) branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), McDonald advocated for the African-American community by fighting for desegregation and increased employment opportunities. Harry Pelot McDonald was born on September 1, 1923, in Sumter, South Carolina. He was the youngest son of Adelaide Palmer McDonald and Samuel James McDonald. Samuel McDonald worked for the railway postal service and taught at Claflin University, in addition to serving as president of the Sumter NAACP. Adelaide McDonald was a homemaker and music teacher. Harry grew up in Sumter and was educated …

McDonald, Maurice Neal “Nick”

Maurice Neal “Nick” McDonald was a patrolman for the Dallas Police Department who achieved international renown for arresting Lee Harvey Oswald shortly after the murder of John F. Kennedy. Nick McDonald was born on March 21, 1928, in Camden (Ouachita County), the second of three sons born to Beulah Lee Womack McDonald and Thomas “Bid” McDonald, a laborer in the southern Arkansas and northern Louisiana oil industry. After McDonald’s younger brother died, his parents divorced, and his mother moved to Maine; McDonald remained in Arkansas with his grandparents, Charles Womack, a local businessman, and his wife, Laura. While attending Camden High School, McDonald was given the moniker “Nick,” and, with his grandmother’s reluctant permission, he joined the U.S. Navy at …

McDonald, Thomas Newton (Tom)

Photographer Thomas Newton McDonald, a resident of Jonesboro (Craighead County), accumulated many honors in his lifetime, including the United Nations award for service to humanity, Gerard Bakker Award for teaching, and National Award for Service from both the Arkansas Professional Photographers and Southwestern Professional Photographers. His primary work focused on portrait photography, but he also took scenic and artistic photographs. In 1996, McDonald wrote The Business of Portrait Photography: A Professional’s Guide to Marketing and Managing a Successful Studio, with Profiles of 30 Top Portrait Photographers. The book, published by Amphoto Books of New York, was later published in a second edition and translated into Mandarin for publication in China. Born in Lake City (Craighead County) on July 2, 1933, …

McDonnell, James Smith, Jr.

James Smith McDonnell Jr. was one of the most significant aerospace industrialists of the twentieth century, building McDonnell-Douglas into the second largest military and commercial aviation corporation in the United States. James McDonnell was born on April 9, 1899, in Denver, Colorado, to James Smith McDonnell Sr. and Susie Belle McDonnell. The youngest of four McDonnell children, he was raised in central Arkansas, graduating from Little Rock High School in 1917. He spent his childhood in Altheimer (Jefferson County), where his parents had one of their two mercantile stores. Although McDonnell initially leaned toward a career in politics, his father encouraged him to pursue a career more suited to his personality. Completing his BS in physics with honors at Princeton …

McDonnell, John

John McDonnell served as track and field coach at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) from 1972 to 2008. In total, his teams won forty NCAA championships and eighty-four conference championships. His teams also produced 116 NCAA individual champions and 652 All-American certificates, while McDonnell himself was awarded thirty National Coach of the Year awards. John McDonnell was born on a dairy farm near Crossmolina, County Mayo, Ireland, on July 2, 1938, just a few miles from Ireland’s west coast. He was the seventh child of eight born to Bridget and Michael McDonnell. He was raised as a Roman Catholic and spent much of his childhood working on the family farm. McDonnell finished high school in 1958 in Dublin …

McDougal (Clay County)

McDougal is a city in Clay County on U.S. Highway 62 about halfway between Piggott (Clay County) and Corning (Clay County), the two county seats. Established as a railroad depot early in the twentieth century, McDougal did not incorporate as a city until 1954. Because of its location on the highway, it has survived into the twenty-first century while similar railroad towns have disappeared. Northeastern Arkansas is part of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain (commonly called the Delta). As such, the land was covered with swamps and hardwood forests when it was acquired by the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811–1812 changed the contour of the area, diminishing the interest of settlers in …

McDougal, Jim

aka: James Bert McDougal
James Bert (Jim) McDougal was at various times a political aide, politician, instructor of political science, real estate developer, and banker who attained national attention due to his involvement in what came to be called the Whitewater scandal. His second wife, Susan Henley McDougal, was also implicated in the investigation. Jim McDougal was born on August 25, 1940, in Bradford (White County), the only child of Leo and Lorene McDougal. He attended public schools. In 1960, he helped with the presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy in Arkansas and was later offered a position as an aide in the office of Senator John McClellan. McDougal left the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) after his freshman year to …

McDougal, Susan Carol Henley

Susan Carol Henley McDougal became famous in the 1990s for refusing to testify before Kenneth Starr and the Office of Independent Counsel (OIC) grand jury held in Little Rock (Pulaski County) during the Whitewater scandal investigation. She was imprisoned for almost two years, before ultimately being found not guilty and released. Susan Henley was born in 1955 in Heidelberg, Germany, to James Henley, a U.S. Army sergeant originally from Camden (Ouachita County), and Laurette Mathieu Henley, a native of Belgium. Susan grew up in Camden, the middle child of seven, and attended public schools. She entered Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) at Arkadelphia (Clark County) in the fall of 1972 on a Latin scholarship. At OBU, she met Jim McDougal, then …

McDougall, Jo Garot

Jo Garot McDougall is a poet of the Arkansas Delta. Her work is noted for its sparseness and evocation of small-town life. Her poems are subtle portraits of the lives of rural families, farmers, housewives, and the struggles and tragedies they face. She has won many prizes for her work, which has been published in books, literary journals, and anthologies. In 2018, she was named Poet Laureate of Arkansas. Jo Garot was born on December 15, 1935, and raised near DeWitt (Arkansas County). Her father, Leon Joseph Garot, was a rice farmer. Her mother, Ruth Maurine Merritt Garot, was a secondary education teacher. She has one sister, Nancy. Garot grew up on a rice farm and received a Bachelor of …

McFerrin, Robert, Sr.

Robert McFerrin Sr. was an African-American baritone opera and concert singer who became the first black male to appear in an opera at the Metropolitan Opera house in New York City, his debut following by less than three weeks the well-publicized breaking of the color barrier by contralto Marian Anderson. However, McFerrin’s career at the Met was brief, being limited to ten performances in three seasons over three years. Although he sang in European opera houses and performed concerts extensively, he failed to attain major prominence. He is best remembered as the father of singer and conductor Bobby McFerrin, with whom he sometimes performed. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1995. Robert McFerrin was born on March …

McGehee (Desha County)

McGehee (Desha County) is a small town located in southeast Arkansas. It had its beginnings as a hub of transportation—the railroad branched from it in four directions. Its progress has mirrored that of the railroads, growing during the railroad boom and declining as the railroad declined. Transportation is once again bringing hopes of prosperity, with the Yellow Bend Port on the Mississippi River and the possibility of the Interstate 69 corridor—a highway connector between Quebec, Canada, and Mexico City, Mexico—becoming a reality. Louisiana Purchase through the Gilded Age Benjamin McGehee came from Alabama in 1857 and settled in southeast Arkansas in what was then Chicot County. Benjamin brought with him his wife, Sarah, and his three children. The McGehees, like …

McGehee Lynching of 1894

On September 22, 1894, Luke Washington, Richard Washington, and Henry C. Robinson were lynched in McGehee (Desha County) for allegedly murdering local merchant H. C. Patton and robbing his store. One of the interesting aspects of this case is that the African-American population of McGehee (then known as McGehee Junction) reportedly took an active part in the three men’s lynching. On September 20, 1894, Patton locked his store, which was located on the edge of a cotton field some distance from the depot in McGehee, and proceeded along the walkway to his bedroom. There, Robinson and the two Washingtons allegedly killed him with a club. Although Patton was armed with a pistol, he was unable to use it in time. His attackers then …

McGehee National Guard Armory

The McGehee National Guard Armory was built in 1954 and reflects standardized plans that featured open floor plans, steel-framed roofs, and concrete block walls—a functional design typical of National Guard armories built during a period when larger facilities were needed. Citizen-soldier militias have had a constant presence in the United States since the colonial era, but it was not until Congress passed the Militia Act of 1903—also known as the Dick Act for sponsor Senator Charles W. F. Dick, chairman of the Committee on the Militia—that the National Guard became an official partner in the nation’s armed services, receiving federal support for training, equipment, and wages. Arkansas’s state militia was organized into the Arkansas National Guard as a result of …

McGehee, Peter Gregory

Gay Arkansas-born novelist Peter Gregory McGehee was praised by reviewers for his outrageous comedies of Southern manners, in particular the sly humor with which he explores what he saw as a hypocritical society that easily rationalizes its own moral lapses even as it enforces a narrow, judgmental morality upon others. Peter McGehee was born in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) on October 6, 1955, to Frank T. and Julia Ann May McGehee. The middle of three children, he was six years old when the family moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County), where he attended Forest Park Elementary School and, in 1973, graduated from Parkview High School. Shortly before he would have completed a BFA degree at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, …

McGraw, Patricia Washington

Patricia Washington McGraw, a scholar, professor, and author, has made a significant impact throughout the country and the world as an educator and African-American cultural preservationist. Patricia Washington was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to William and Ruth Washington, natives of Danville (Yell County), on May 6, 1935. While she was growing up in a time of school segregation and Jim Crow laws, her parents instilled in her the value of education and the importance of embracing her African-American heritage. In 1953, she graduated from all-black Dunbar High School in Little Rock. McGraw graduated from San Francisco State College in California in 1957 and earned a master’s degree in American literature from the college in 1967. She was the …

McGraw’s Mill, Skirmish at

During the winter of 1862–1863, Union sympathizers avoiding Confederate conscription officers fled their homes throughout western Arkansas and hid in the Ouachita Mountains, where they joined Confederate deserters. These bands stole supplies from the local population. Civilians in the area were uneasy with this development and urged the Confederate government to act. One of these bands was led by Andy Brown—who was called “Captain”—of Arkadelphia (Clark County). Brown’s band had eighty-three members and was most active in the Ouachita Mountains northwest of Arkadelphia, stealing horses and wagons from nearby civilians. In response to these events, a group of mounted and armed civilians organized in Arkadelphia under the command of Lieutenant Colonel William A. Crawford. Divided into two companies, the men …

McGuire’s, Affair at

A reconnaissance raid, this engagement saw Federal forces charging into the midst of an enemy encampment before withdrawing. Although the skirmish involved a daring attack, neither side reported any casualties. Major Thomas Hunt commanded part of the First Arkansas Cavalry (US) stationed in Fayetteville (Washington County) in October 1863. The Federals knew that Confederate units under the command of Colonel William Brooks were operating in the area, and Hunt estimated that the enemy numbered around 1,000. The Union troops in the area numbered approximately 500. On October 11, Hunt received a demand for surrender of the town and his command from Brooks. Hunt replied that he would not surrender without a fight and immediately reinforced his picket posts and sent …

McHaney, Edgar Lafayette

Edgar McHaney contributed to legal proceedings that changed constitutional law in the United States. With co-counsel Scipio Africanus Jones, he appealed the convictions of twelve men convicted of murder after the 1919 Elaine Massacre. The case of six of the men, Moore v. Dempsey, was eventually heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, and a precedent-setting decision allowed federal courts to override state appellate courts if constitutional rights were denied. McHaney also served for a short time in the Arkansas House of Representatives before a long tenure on the Arkansas Supreme Court. Born on November 6, 1876, in Gibson, Tennessee, Edgar Lafayette McHaney was one of nine children of William W. McHaney and Mary Ellen Hicks McHaney. He grew up on …

McHaney, James Monroe

James Monroe McHaney, a Little Rock (Pulaski County) native who graduated from law school in 1942, was recruited in 1946 to participate in the trials of German Nazi war criminals after World War II. In his obituary in the New York Times in 1995, he was lauded for his success as a prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials. James McHaney was born on April 23, 1918, one of the six children of Edgar L. McHaney, who was later an Arkansas Supreme Court justice, and Gail Myers McHaney. After receiving both a bachelor’s degree and a law degree from Columbia University, he joined a New York law firm. (This was during World War II, but he was determined physically unqualified for military …

McHue (Independence County)

The community of McHue in Independence County is located about four miles away from Hutchinson Mountain and the community of Hutchinson (Independence County), or about six miles south of the White River. Before McHue was founded in 1896, the Alderbrook (or Alder Brook) post office, located just south of what is today Desha (Independence County) on the Jamestown Road, served the entire area—as did, for a short time, a post office which opened in Jamestown (Independence County) in 1881—and the settlement was often referred to as Alderbrook. The small community was once a commercial hub for the region, but, in the twenty-first century, agriculture is the chief vocation for residents. In the vicinity of where McHue now sits was a Native American town …

McIntosh, James McQueen

James McQueen McIntosh served as a Confederate colonel in the Second Arkansas Mounted Rifles and as a brigadier general before losing his life at the Battle of Pea Ridge. James McIntosh was born at Fort Brooke, near present-day Tampa, Florida, in 1828. His father was Colonel James Simmons McIntosh of the U.S. Army. The elder McIntosh served in both the War of 1812 and the Mexican War, during which he was killed at the 1847 Battle of Molino del Rey. The younger McIntosh graduated last in his class the next year from the United States Military Academy at West Point. Serving on active duty with the U.S. Army on the western frontier, McIntosh was promoted to captain of the First Cavalry …

McIntosh, Robert “Say”

Robert “Say” McIntosh is a restaurant owner, political activist, and community organizer distinctly tied to the Little Rock (Pulaski County) area and Arkansas politics. A political gadfly during the 1980s and 1990s, McIntosh was responsible for many political protests that were statewide news during the time. Say McIntosh was born in 1943 in Osceola (Mississippi County), the fifth of eleven children. In 1949, he and his family moved to the Granite Mountain area of Little Rock. McIntosh attended Horace Mann High School but dropped out in the tenth grade. He spent much of his early life learning the restaurant business, which led him to establish his own eatery, serving home-style cooking and his famous sweet potato pie. “The Sweet Potato …

McIntyre, Samuel (Lynching of)

On April 23, 1919, an African-American man named Sam McIntyre was hanged near Forrest City (St. Francis County) for allegedly murdering another black man, John Johnson, the previous February. According to the February 10, 1919, edition of the Arkansas Gazette, on February 6, Johnson was shot through the window while playing checkers with a friend at his home on the Graham farm. McIntyre was arrested after the killing, along with U. L. “Hub” Lancaster (a white man) and Rube McGee (a black man). According to the report, “Johnson was a witness against Lancaster and McIntyre in several liquor cases, one case of assault to kill and another case charging burglary and grand larceny.” He was to testify when the case …

McKay, Eugene

Eugene McKay was a prominent educator in Arkansas in the second half of the twentieth century. He is most closely identified with Arkansas State University–Beebe (ASU–Beebe), where he spent just short of five decades, eventually rising to become the school’s chancellor, a post he held for a little over twenty years before retiring in 2016. Eugene McKay was born on May 5, 1941, in Amagon (Jackson County). His parents were farmers. Much of McKay’s early life was spent picking and chopping cotton. The McKay family moved frequently to do farm work, but they were usually in the Amagon area. McKay attended a number of rural schools in Amagon, Wiona (Independence County), and Charlotte (Independence County) before the family settled in …