Entries - Starting with R

Robinson, Willis (Lynching of)

On December 18, 1918, an African-American man named Willis Robinson was hanged by a mob in Newport (Jackson County) for allegedly murdering police officer Charles Williams and wounding Chief of Police Gus C. Martin. Reports indicate that Robinson was a resident of Little Rock (Pulaski County), and the 1910 census listed nineteen-year-old Willis W. Robinson as living in Owen Township with his parents, Charley and Martha Robinson. According to newspaper reports, by December 1918, Robinson, who was described by the Arkansas Democrat as “a very large black negro, weighing about 240 pounds,” was living with his wife at 1003 Jones Street in Little Rock. Robinson was reportedly well known to local authorities. In defiance of a 1917 Arkansas statute forbidding …

Rock ‘n’ Roll Highway 67

Rock ’n’ Roll Highway 67 is a segment of U.S. Highway 67 running approximately 111 miles through Jackson, Lawrence, Randolph, and Clay counties in northeastern Arkansas, with a portion in Miller County in southwestern Arkansas. Its name is derived from the rockabilly music performed at nightclubs and other venues located on the highway by legendary progenitors of the genre. The designation by Act 497 of the Eighty-seventh Arkansas General Assembly in 2009 has since spawned music festivals, museum exhibits, and plaques in communities situated along the highway. The term “rockabilly”—a portmanteau of “rock ’n’ roll” and “hillbilly”—is defined as a mixture of blues, country and western, and rhythm and blues music that saw its biggest popularity beginning in the post–World War II era …

Rock and Roll Music

Although the roots of rock and roll music can be traced back much farther, the genre made its musical debut in the early 1950s with artists such as Little Richard, Elvis Presley, and Jerry Lee Lewis, all of whom helped shape what rock music has become. The music of the 1950s gave way to the 1960s and the popularity of surf music, as well as the very significant “British Invasion.” Arkansas musicians played an important part in this burgeoning genre. In the mid-1960s, Little Rock (Pulaski County), along with many other mid-sized American cities, saw an explosion in the formation of garage bands, all of which began competing for performance spots at school, fraternity, and country club engagements. This excitement …

Rock Art, Native American

Rock art is a term archaeologists use to describe images on rock surfaces created both prehistorically and historically. Arkansas has one of the richest concentrations of rock art in eastern North America, primarily in the Ozark and Ouachita mountain areas of the state, with a concentration in the central Arkansas River Valley. Rock art has also been discovered along the Mississippi River escarpment toward the eastern part of the state. Most rock art is found in bluff shelters, but it also occurs on exposed boulders, bedrock outcrops, and in caves. Along with the other archaeological resources in the state, rock art is important to understanding the lives of Native Americans living within the region during the pre-colonial era. Rock art …

Rock Island Bridge (Little Rock–North Little Rock)

aka: Choctaw Bridge
aka: Clinton Presidential Park Bridge
The Rock Island Bridge is a lift-span bridge crossing the Arkansas River between downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County) and North Little Rock (Pulaski County). One of six bridges linking the two downtowns, the Rock Island Bridge was originally constructed as a railroad bridge in 1899; it was converted to serve as a pedestrian bridge in 2011 to complement the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park. In late 1898, the Choctaw and Memphis Railroad was organized with the goal of establishing a railroad into the Indian Territory (modern-day Oklahoma). Congress passed legislation authorizing construction of a new bridge across the Arkansas River in January 1899, and the Little Rock Bridge Company formed that May to develop plans for constructing the …

Rock Island Line, The

“The Rock Island Line” is a world-famous song—recorded by the likes of Johnny Cash, Harry Belafonte, and Grandpa Jones—the earliest known performances of which are two 1934 recordings made in Arkansas prisons. A tall tale in rhyme, the song’s subject is a train so fast that it arrives at its destination in Little Rock (at 8:49) before its departure from Memphis (at “half past nine”). The collectors responsible for the first recordings were an unlikely pair. John Lomax was a white, Mississippi-born college teacher already well known as a folksong collector, while Huddie Ledbetter was a black, Louisiana-born singer and guitar player just released from prison and soon to be even better known as “Leadbelly.” Arriving in Arkansas in late …

Rock Region Metropolitan Transit Authority

aka: Central Arkansas Transit Authority (CATA)
The Rock Region Metropolitan Transit Authority (Rock Region METRO), previously the Central Arkansas Transit Authority (CATA), is the largest public transit agency in Arkansas. Rock Region METRO provides public transportation services for the metropolitan Little Rock (Pulaski County) area seven days a week. The twenty-two fixed routes and four express commuter routes provide transportation service to 10,000 riders every weekday. A “demand response” Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) para-transit service operates alongside the fixed route hours and coverage area. A heritage streetcar system called the River Rail System operates approximately 3.4 miles of track throughout downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock (Pulaski County). Prior to the creation of CATA, the public transit system was owned and operated by private …

Rock Town Distillery

Founded in 2010, Rock Town Distillery is “the first legal distillery of any kind in Arkansas since prohibition.” Its spirits are sold in at least sixteen states and in the United Kingdom. Its current lineup includes more than thirteen different spirits with names referencing the Natural State; all the grains needed to make their vodka, whiskey, and gin—such as corn, wheat, rye, and barley—are acquired from Arkansas farms. Rock Town Distillery has won numerous international awards, including the prestigious double-gold award at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in March 2011. In 2015, Rock Town Distillery’s world-class Arkansas whiskey won the U.S. Micro Whiskey of the Year Award from Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible. In 2009, Little Rock–based Alltel Communications, LLC, …

Rockabilly

Rockabilly, a musical genre that appeared in the mid-1950s, is an early form of rock and roll initially performed by white musicians from the mid-South. Several Arkansans became leading rockabilly songwriters and performers. A distinctly American phenomenon, rockabilly was strongly influenced by developments of the post–World War II period. These include the introduction of the single-play 45 rpm record, the early phases of the civil rights movement, and the increasing mobility and purchasing power of teenagers. Characterized by a blues structure and a moderately fast tempo, rockabilly music celebrated a world of cars, parties, fast living, and sexual relationships. Its use of slang, much of it from African-American origins, and its themes of rebellious youth and self-indulgence, caused disfavor in …

Rockefeller, Jeannette Edris

Jeannette Edris Rockefeller was a socialite, arts promoter, and civic activist. She was first lady of Arkansas (1967–1971) during Winthrop Rockefeller’s terms as the state’s thirty-seventh governor. Jeannette Edris was born on July 13, 1918, in Seattle, Washington, to William Edris—a high-profile capitalist of Spokane, Washington—and Frances Skinner Edris, who died during the birth of the family’s second daughter. After the death of her mother, Edris found herself under the strong influence of her grandmother, socialite Jeannette E. Skinner (her namesake), who was the wife of capitalist David Skinner, co-founder and president of Skinner & Eddy Shipyard. During her elementary school years, Edris often traveled with her grandmother to places such as Pasadena, California, and Port Maitland, British Columbia. At …

Rockefeller, Winthrop

As governor, Winthrop Rockefeller brought economic, cultural, and political change to Arkansas. “W. R.” or “Win,” as he was known, brought an end to the political organization of former Governor Orval E. Faubus and created a political environment that produced moderate leaders like Dale Bumpers, David Pryor, and Bill Clinton. Rockefeller’s personal belief in racial equality became well known, and he ushered in an era that saw large numbers of African Americans elevated to high positions in state government. Rockefeller was a “transitional leader” in the sense that he helped discredit the “Old Guard” domination of the Faubus years and, in so doing, made Arkansans more receptive to political and social change. Winthrop Rockefeller was born on May 1, 1912, …

Rockefeller, Winthrop Paul

Winthrop Paul Rockefeller, known in his adopted state of Arkansas as Win (or Win Paul to differentiate him from his father, Winthrop Rockefeller), was a scion of Rockefeller family, which made its fortune with Standard Oil. Like his father, who was the first Republican to be elected governor of Arkansas since Reconstruction, Winthrop Paul Rockefeller abandoned his East Coast roots and established a life in the more rural environs of Arkansas before making a name for himself in Republican politics, eventually being elected lieutenant governor. However, his political career was cut short when, at the age of fifty-seven, he died of complications related to a rare blood disorder. Win Rockefeller was born on September 17, 1948, in New York, the …

Rockport (Hot Spring County)

Rockport is one of the oldest named places in Arkansas, and one of several communities that claims it was “almost” selected for the state capitol. Although the present city is overshadowed by Malvern (Hot Spring County), Rockport served as the county seat of Hot Spring County from 1846 to 1879 and was a landmark community of Arkansas for many years both before and after that time. European Exploration and Settlement through Early Statehood Large novaculite boulders in the bed of the Ouachita River made the location of Rockport ideal as both a river crossing and a resting place for weary river travelers. These boulders gave the community its name. A plaque in Rockport states that Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto …

Rockport Cemetery

Established in 1851 and expanded for the first time around 1900, the Rockport Cemetery is the oldest burial ground in the Hot Spring County town of Rockport. The oldest sections of the cemetery were added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 28, 2002. The first settlers in the Rockport area arrived by the 1820s. A post office serving the community opened in 1837, and the settlement became the county seat in 1846. Never a large town, the community did have several churches, stores, and law offices by 1850. Some sources report that land for the establishment of a cemetery was given by John A. Miller in 1851. This is unlikely, as Miller was only fifteen years old …

Rocks and Minerals

There are three basic classes of rocks: igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary. Igneous rocks are those that solidified from magma (molten rock). Metamorphic rocks are formed from pre-existing rocks in a solid state by heat, pressure, and/or chemical activity. Sedimentary rocks are made up of particles of sediment cemented together. In Arkansas, the overwhelming majority of surface and near-surface rocks are sedimentary rocks. There are a few igneous rocks and some very low-grade metamorphic rocks, but these occupy little area. Out of Arkansas’s total area of 53,179 square miles, only about fifteen square miles are composed of igneous rocks. In the Ozark Plateau and Ouachita Mountains, there are indications of some very low-grade metamorphic effects on the rocks in restricted areas, …

Rocky Point (Independence County)

aka: Rock Point (Independence County)
Rocky Point, originally called Rock Point, is located on Highway 167 (Batesville Boulevard), about seven miles south of Batesville (Independence County), the county seat. Once a thriving community, twenty-first-century Rocky Point consists of a rock quarry called Rocky Point Materials. Rocky Point represents the dividing line between the Southside School District and the Midland School District of Pleasant Plains (Independence County). Rock Point is the rock formation at the southern point of where the Caney Creek bottoms end. In the early days of settlement, the bottomland provided suitable soil for small-scale farming, and the hill area was good for hunting small game, deer, and bears. Ample pasture land allowed for the running of cattle. Initially a part of the Round …

Rodeo of the Ozarks

The Rodeo of the Ozarks in Springdale (Washington and Benton counties) was, in 2008, ranked in the top five of large outdoor rodeos in the United States. It is estimated to have a $6 to $7 million impact on northwest Arkansas. The Rodeo of the Ozarks was founded in 1945. That year, a pair of construction workers from Oklahoma who also worked as rodeo promoters, Paul Bond and Bill Kelley, were working in Springdale and raised the idea of starting an event that summer. Eventually, this idea was passed along to Thurman “Shorty” Parsons and Dempsey Letsch, co-owners of a feed store. Under their leadership, the Rodeo of the Ozarks became a reality in 1945, with the dates July 1, 3, …

Rodger’s Crossing, Skirmish at

aka: Skirmish at White River (September 14, 1864)
aka: Skirmish at Huntsville
On September 12, 1864, Colonel Marcus LaRue Harrison of the First Arkansas Cavalry (US), stationed in Fayetteville (Washington County), heard rumors that a Confederate group under Captain James Cooper intended to attack Union general John B. Sanborn’s train. Harrison ordered that Captain John I. Worthington escort the train to Little Sugar Creek and then move up the White River in the direction of Richland Creek and Huntsville (Madison County). Capt. Worthington attacked Capt. Cooper’s approximately eighty Confederate troops close to Jennings’ Ferry on the White River. The skirmishes that ensued toward Richland Creek and Huntsville saw nine Confederate deaths, with five suffered at the Skirmish at Rodger’s Crossing. On the same day as Worthington’s attack, a Confederate lieutenant called Rogers …

Rodgers, James Ronald, Sr.

James Ronald Rodgers Sr. was the nation’s first African American to be appointed manager of a major commercial airport, the first black head of a major independent city agency in Little Rock (Pulaski County), and the state’s first black commercial loan officer. James Rodgers was born on March 15, 1947, in Little Rock to Homer and Ruth Rodgers. The fifth of six children, he spent his childhood in the Tuxedo Courts housing development south of Roosevelt Road. Rodgers grew up working with his mother, brothers, and sister for his father’s janitorial service. After graduating from Horace Mann High School in 1965, Rodgers attended Little Rock University—now the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR)—for a year and a half. In …

Rodriguez, Dionicio

Dionicio Rodriguez, recognized as one of America’s foremost faux bois sculptors, created works that resembled wood, though made of concrete, with its peeling bark, wormholes, and signs of decay. Arkansas was a major beneficiary of his work, which was an outgrowth of a Mexican folk tradition known as el trabajo rustico (rustic work). Under the designation “The Arkansas Sculptures of Dionicio Rodriguez,” his Arkansas work was collectively listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 4, 1986. Dionicio Rodriguez was born in Toluca, Mexico, the son of Catarine Rodriguez; his birthdate is a matter of some dispute, usually stated as either April 11, 1891, or April 8, 1893. With little formal education, he began, at the age of …

Roe (Monroe County)

Roe is a town on U.S. Highway 79 in western Monroe County. Roe is the only incorporated community in Monroe County that is west of the White River. Roe is on the northern edge of the Grand Prairie, a part of Arkansas that was slow to be claimed and settled. Around 1880, the St. Louis Southwestern Railway (also called the Cotton Belt) was constructed through Arkansas. Roe, then located in Prairie County, was one of the depots established by the railroad. It was likely named for a railroad executive or employee. Roe received a post office in 1880; at the time, Roe was in Prairie County, but the county line was adjusted in 1883. Being the first railroad depot south …

Roe, “Preacher”

aka: Elwin Charles Roe
Elwin Charles “Preacher” Roe played professional baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Brooklyn Dodgers. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Roe was one of the top pitchers in the game. Preacher Roe was born on February 26, 1916, to Charles Edward Roe and Elizabeth (Ducker) Roe in Ash Flat (Sharp County). The Roe family, which included six boys and one girl, moved from Wild Cherry (Fulton County), where they had moved in 1918, to Viola (Fulton County) when Roe was six. Roe’s father played for a semi-professional team in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) but gave up baseball as a career and became a country doctor. Roe got his nickname at about three years of age when …

Roescher, Gustavus

aka: Gus Rusher
Gustavus Roescher, who later went by the Anglicized version of his name, Gus Rusher, was a leading figure in the town of Brinkley (Monroe County), serving as an alderman, restauranteur, hotelier, and banker. Little is known about the early life of Gustavus Roescher. Born in 1860, he immigrated to the United States with his father, Charles Roescher (1833–1890), from the German town of Baden-Baden in the mid-1800s. They settled on a farm outside of Brinkley. Gustavus Roescher owned the Arlington Hotel, which was struck by a cyclone in 1909. Roescher also purchased the Brinkley House, which burned down in 1914. This event prompted Roescher to begin construction on a new hotel with three stories and sixty rooms, which was christened …

Rogers (Benton County)

Rogers was founded as a stop on the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway (Frisco) and developed as a shipping point for apples and a trade center for the surrounding rural area. After World War II, agriculture remained important, but business leaders also embarked on a successful effort to recruit light industry. Rogers has several major industrial plants and retail centers and is one of the fastest-growing cities in Arkansas. Louisiana Purchase through Reconstruction Settlers began to arrive in the vicinity of what is today Rogers around 1830. Most came from the Upper South states, especially Tennessee. The foundation of the local economy in the mid-1800s was subsistence farming, with tobacco as the main cash crop. The many streams in the region …

Rogers Academy

The Rogers Academy was organized in 1883 by the American Home Missionary Society (AHMS) of the Congregational Church. During its three decades, the academy trained many of the early educators who taught in the Rogers (Benton County) public schools. A number of local business and civic leaders received their secondary educations there, and musical and dramatic performances by the students and faculty made the academy a cultural center for the community. Rogers, founded in 1881, was named for C. W. Rogers, general manager of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad. Rogers and his wife took a keen interest in the town and are credited with establishing the Congregational Church in Rogers. The only public school serving the new town …

Rogers Historical Museum

The Rogers Historical Museum is the largest and most comprehensive history museum in Benton County. The museum is a department of the City of Rogers, governed by a city commission. Founded in 1974, the museum’s mission is to serve the community through educating the public, preserving the local heritage, and providing enriching and enjoyable experiences for all. In 1974, the Rogers City Council, at the urging of Councilwoman Opal Beck and in response to citizen concerns about the loss of local heritage, formed a museum commission to oversee the creation and operation of a city history museum. The commission leased space in a 1905 bank building in downtown Rogers and began collecting historic artifacts. The first chairperson of the commission …

Rogers, Anthony Astley Cooper

Anthony Astley Cooper Rogers was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Second District of Arkansas in the Forty-First Congress, serving from 1869 to 1871. Anthony Rogers was born on February 14, 1821, in Clarksville, Tennessee. He received only minimal formal education and worked as a clerk in a dry-goods store from age fifteen to twenty-two. Looking for new opportunities, Rogers relocated to Arkansas in 1854, apparently settling in the Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) area, where he bought land and slaves and joined the ranks of planters. With the possibility of civil war on the horizon, and supported by pro-Union forces, Rogers sought election as a delegate to the state secession convention in 1861. Although …

Rogers, Betty Blake

Betty Blake Rogers was the wife of Will Rogers, one of the most beloved entertainers of the twentieth century. In addition to her roles as wife and mother, she managed the family’s finances, a job made difficult by Will’s enormous success and generous nature. She was a partner in his career, encouraging him to start on the lecture circuit and helping him choose film scripts. Betty Blake was born on September 9, 1879, at Silver Springs, later called Monte Ne (Benton County), to James Wyeth Blake, a miller, and Amelia Crowder Blake. Her father died when she was young, and the family moved a few miles north to Rogers (Benton County). Betty was seventh in a family of nine, and …

Rogers, John Henry

John Henry Rogers was a Civil War Confederate hero, a lawyer in Fort Smith (Sebastian County), a four-term Congressman, and a United States District Court judge for the Western District of Arkansas. John Rogers was born on October 9, 1845, in Bertie County, North Carolina. His father, Absolom Rogers was a successful planter and slaveholder. In 1861, when Rogers was fifteen years old, he became the drillmaster for a company of home guards, and in March 1862, he was mustered into Company H, Ninth Regiment, Mississippi Volunteers, as a private soldier. Rogers served in the same regiment until it was surrendered at Greensboro, North Carolina, on May 1, 1865. He saw a considerable amount of action and was twice wounded, …

Rohwer (Desha County)

Rohwer of Desha County is a historic community ten miles northeast of McGehee (Desha County). It is perhaps best known as the site of the Rohwer Relocation Center, one of two internment camps for Japanese Americans during World War II located in the area. In September 1904, the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad (later acquired by the Missouri Pacific) completed a rail line over the Arkansas River from Helena (Phillips County). The railroad allowed local timber to be harvested, processed, and shipped out. Several stores opened in Rohwer to support the sawmills and the numerous families farming nearby. Prior to the railroad construction, the community was mostly non-existent. The post office, which was first called the Harding Post …

Rohwer Relocation Center

The Rohwer Relocation Center in Desha County was one of two World War II–era incarceration camps built in the state to house Japanese Americans from the West Coast, the other being the Jerome Relocation Center (Chicot and Drew counties). The Rohwer relocation camp cemetery, the only part of the camp that remains, is now a National Historic Landmark. The camp housed, along with the Jerome camp, some 16,000 Japanese Americans from September 18, 1942, to November 30, 1945, and was one of the last of ten such camps nationwide to close. The Japanese American population, of which sixty-four percent were American citizens, had been forcibly removed from the west coast of America under the doctrine of “military necessity” and incarcerated …

Roland (Pulaski County)

Roland is an unincorporated community north of Pinnacle Mountain State Park in western Pulaski County, not far from the Arkansas River. It is crossed by State Highway 300, part of which is a component of the Arkansas River Trail, a pedestrian and bicycle trail that goes through Little Rock (Pulaski County) and North Little Rock (Pulaski County). Once a stop on the Rock Island rail line, Roland is home to nearly 750 residents; its post office also serves nearby Natural Steps (Pulaski County), as well as many rural residents and businesses in the area. The Roland post office was established in 1884, several years before the arrival of the railroad. Although the origin of the name is unknown, the post …

Rolla (Hot Spring County)

Rolla is an unincorporated community in Hot Spring County located one mile west of Lono (Hot Spring County) and about fourteen miles south of Malvern (Hot Spring County). Founded as a stop on the Malvern and Camden Railroad, linking the county seat with Camden (Ouachita County), Rolla quickly grew into a bustling community. Due to the proximity of Rolla to the older community of Lono, it is difficult to determine the earliest settlers in the community. The first settlers in the area arrived in the 1840s and began small-scale farming. Richard Jennett obtained eighty acres of land in the area on July 10, 1848. Later that year, Arthur Yates and John Gray both obtained land. Yates appears in the 1850 …

Roller Derby

Roller derby, a national sport that has experienced several cycles of growth and decline, began increasing in popularity in Arkansas in the mid-2000s. Although a co-ed sport when it originated, roller derby’s current status is that of a women’s sport. Roller derby’s roots date back to the 1930s when dance marathons and bike races were popular. Leo Seltzer conceived the sport in 1933. For what was initially a no-contact sport, twenty-five teams made up of one male and one female skated for twelve to fourteen hours a day, with the men competing with the men and the women competing with the women. The goal was to cover the distance between New York City and Los Angeles, or about 3,000 miles. …

Rolling Prairie, Skirmish at

In early 1864, the northern tier of Arkansas counties of Carroll, Searcy, Newton, and Izard had been decimated by the war. This area had become a haven for jayhawkers and bushwhackers from both armies. Union general John B. Sanborn wrote to General W. S. Rosecrans in early February 1864 that 1,200 to 2,000 Confederate soldiers and bushwhackers had gathered in the aforementioned counties and were contemplating a raid into Missouri, with a view of capturing Federal trains and supplies. Sanborn then ordered 200 men of the First Arkansas Cavalry, 200 men of the Second Arkansas Cavalry, and 200 men of the Eighth Missouri State Militia Cavalry into Newton County, then to march so that they would arrive at Rolling Prairie …

Rolling Stones, Arrest of the

The July 5, 1975, lunch stop and subsequent arrest of Rolling Stones guitarists Ron Wood and Keith Richards in Fordyce (Dallas County) is fabled in the town, and the incident became a footnote in the police record of the English rock and roll band. The quintet had cultivated an outlaw image since its early 1960s inception. According to Arkansas native Bill Carter, the Rolling Stones’ attorney from 1973 to 1990, everywhere the Stones went in 1975, it was a challenge for authorities. Riot squads and narcotics units were common during the group’s twenty-eight-city, $13 million-grossing tour. On July 4, the Stones played Memphis, Tennessee. Richards and new member Wood decided to sightsee and drive with two others to their July …

Roman Catholics

aka: Catholics
Roman Catholicism is the oldest form of Christianity in the state, yet it has remained the faith of a minority of the population. Catholicism first arrived in Arkansas via Spanish explorers and a French Jesuit missionary, and there were a few Catholics living at Arkansas Post (Arkansas County) during the French and Spanish colonial era of the eighteenth century. Once Arkansas became attached to the American Union by the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the area underwent a demographic and religious metamorphosis. A wave of Anglo-American Protestants overran the area so that, by 1850, Catholics made up approximately one percent of the total population of the state. The great European migration to the United States between 1840 and 1920, which contained …

Romani

aka: Gypsy
The Romani, commonly referred to as Gypsies, have a longstanding tradition of immigration and migration, in which the economic draw of the United States and the Southeast has always been very strong. Romanies trace their heritage to ninth-century India. Western migration from this point of origin has helped to develop a culture that is truly unique. While many Romani still speak a language that is closely related to Sanskrit, each different ethnic group of Romani has incorporated loan words from other languages. Romani culture has been subdivided through this continued migration to the West. For example, two major Romani ethnic groups are present in the United States: the Romanichals of the British Isles and the Vlax of southeastern Europe. Small …

Rome (Clark County)

The small community of Rome was once located six miles south of Okolona (Clark County) in western Clark County along the Old Military Road and the Little Missouri River. Today, the only remaining evidence of the once vibrant community is two cemeteries. The community was located in Section 19, Township 9 South, Range 21 West, along present-day state Highway 51. Rome was founded in the 1850s by a man known as Mr. Dickey, who originated from Corinth, Mississippi. Several families followed Dickey to Rome, drawn by the fertile soil in the area. Among those early settlers were Dickey, Joshua Stewart, and Newt Noland. The first store was established by Noland and was supplied by goods shipped by wagon from Camden …

Rondo (Lee County)

  The town of Rondo in Lee County—not to be confused with a settlement of the same name across the state in Miller County—was laid out at the intersection of the tracks of the Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad and those of the Missouri Pacific Railroad. The town, founded early in the twentieth century, dwindled as a result of the mid-century improvement of roads, which caused many businesses to relocate to larger cities such as Marianna (Lee County). Rondo was established on land that had been part of Phillips County until Lee County was established in 1873. At that time, most of the land was devoted to cotton farming, although some parts were still heavily forested. Construction of the railroads facilitated …

Ronoake Baptist Church

The Ronoake Baptist Church is a Craftsman-style, historically African-American house of worship located near Gurdon (Clark County). Constructed in 1945, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 23, 2011. The church, also known as Ronoke and New Ronok Baptist Church, is still active in the twenty-first century. The church is located at the north end of Ronoake Baptist Church Road, north of the Gurdon city limits. The church was founded near Smithton (Clark County) in 1893. After meeting for several years on privately owned land, the church members began raising money by 1918 to purchase land on which they could build a permanent church. By the next year, land had been purchased near a cemetery …

Rooker, Oley Eldon

Oley Eldon Rooker was a Little Rock (Pulaski County) businessman whose neighborhood engagement and support of library funding led to a branch of the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) that opened in 2010 being named in his honor. Oley Eldon Rooker was born on November 2, 1931, in Des Arc (Prairie County) to Darrell Rooker and Tura Louise Guess Rooker. Young Oley and his mother moved to Little Rock at some point—the 1940 census shows him as a resident of the Working Women’s Home in the capital city. His mother married D. Wylie Hall, who would later stand as Rooker’s best man at his wedding. He was an active student, and newspaper accounts of the period show him involved in …

Roots, Logan Holt

Logan Holt Roots settled in Arkansas after serving the Union in the Civil War. He was a congressman, banker, and promoter of the state. Born at Locust Hill, near Tamaroa, Illinois, on March 26, 1841, Roots was the third of four children of Benajah Guernsey Roots, an educator, and Martha Sibley Holt. His early academic interest focused on mathematics, although he worked with an engineering corps engaged in railroad construction at fifteen, acquiring a lifetime interest in railroad development. He enrolled in Illinois State Normal University in 1857, taught for a year then returned and graduated valedictorian in 1862. After graduation, Roots enlisted in the Eighty-first Illinois Infantry, a volunteer regiment, and served in the Union Army until the Civil …

Rosalie Goes Shopping

Rosalie Goes Shopping (1989) is an eccentric, comical critique of American consumerism. In its quirky fashion, the film reflects the growing multinational, digitized nature of debtor economics and underscores the reality that consumerism is not limited to those living in large cities. Filmed almost entirely in Arkansas, this German-produced film is centered in Stuttgart (Arkansas County)—a town founded, not coincidentally, by German settlers. The film was directed by German director Percy Adlon, who with wife Eleonore Adlon wrote and produced it. Marianne Sägebrecht plays the title character, Rosalie Greenspace, a plump Bavarian with a serious addiction to buying things. Her goofily demented Arkansan husband, Ray “Liebling” Greenspace, is played by Brad Davis (in his final film role). Rosalie had met …

Rosboro (Pike County)

Rosboro is an unincorporated community located in the northeastern corner of Pike County. It is five miles west of Amity (Clark County) and six miles east of Glenwood (Pike County). During its heyday, Rosboro was a major operational center for the Caddo River Lumber Company in the Ouachita Mountains, placed in an area that was a vast virgin forest of short-leaf pine trees. Thomas Whitaker “Whit” Rosborough, a sawmill owner who lived near Kansas City, Missouri, became interested in this Arkansas forest and decided to move there, bringing some of his employees with him. After arriving and investigating the area, he decided that an area near Amity would be an ideal place to build his sawmill. However, the local citizens …

Rose Bud (White County)

  Rose Bud is a town in western White County, located at the intersection of State Highways 5 and 36. Settled before the Civil War, it has long been a center for agriculture and education, but the town did not incorporate until 1969. Several families from western Kentucky moved to Arkansas around 1851. They chose to settle in the lowlands of western White County because of the natural springs that watered the area. Cotton was their chief cash crop, although they dedicated much of their land to subsistence farming. A post office was established for the area in 1858. The name of the post office, Rose Bud, was reportedly supplied by Louise Hill, younger sister of the first postmaster, William “Jimmy” …

Rose Hill Cemetery

Rose Hill Cemetery is a historic cemetery located in Arkadelphia (Clark County). It was officially opened in 1876, although some graves in the cemetery date to the 1850s. The cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 1, 1999. The first public cemetery in Arkadelphia was established shortly after the town was settled. It was named the Blakely Graveyard for an early name of the settlement. The graveyard was closed by the city board to future interments in 1869. In 1876, the Maddox family donated land for a new cemetery. In 1880, the Maddox Cemetery was renamed Rose Hill, although it is unclear why this change occurred. Several graves from the Blakely Graveyard were moved to …

Rose Law Firm

Rose Law Firm of Little Rock (Pulaski County) is the oldest law firm west of the Mississippi River. The firm traces its origins to November 1, 1820, before Arkansas was a state, when Robert Crittenden, first secretary and acting governor of Arkansas Territory, and Chester Ashley, a land speculator, entered into a “Partnership in the Practice of Law.” This hand-inked agreement remains on display at the firm. Crittenden and Ashley ultimately ended their partnership over political issues, but the firm continued its existence when Ashley partnered with George C. Watkins in 1837. Ashley and Watkins practiced law together until Ashley was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1844. In 1852, Watkins became the chief justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court, …

Rose, Uriah Milton

Uriah Milton Rose was a nationally prominent attorney who practiced in Little Rock (Pulaski County) for more than forty years at what is now known as the Rose Law Firm. He was a founder and president of both the Arkansas Bar Association and the American Bar Association, and he was appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt as an ambassador for the United States to the Second Hague Peace Conference in 1907. U. M. Rose was born on March 5, 1834, in Bradfordsville, Kentucky, to Nancy and Joseph Rose. His father was a physician. He was his parents’ third son and had two half-siblings from his father’s first marriage to a Miss Armstrong from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Rose’s mother died in 1848, and …

Rosedale Plantation Barn

The Rosedale Plantation Barn is a hand-hewn log barn located near Arkadelphia (Clark County). Constructed around 1860, it is the largest known log barn in Clark County and possibly the state. It was moved from its original location southeast of Arkadelphia in 2002 and reassembled in its current location north of the city. The barn was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 2004. Rosedale Plantation was built by Joseph Allen Whitaker, who arrived in Clark County around 1855. Purchasing land in Manchester Township, which belonged to both Dallas and Clark counties during its history, Whitaker hired a number of carpenters to follow the plans by architect Madison Griffin. Along with a plantation house, a brick …