Entries - Starting with C

Chickasaw

Heading east, the ancestral Chickasaw crossed Arkansas looking for a new homeland at some point in prehistory. Heading west beginning in 1836, the Chickasaw crossed Arkansas again as the tribe was removed to its new home in Indian Territory. Between these two events, the Chickasaw interacted periodically with tribes living in Arkansas, most notably the Quapaw, whom they warred against during much of the eighteenth century. In all versions of the Chickasaw migration story, the people came from the west, usually from central Mexico. They were led by twin brothers Chatah and Chikasa, who followed a divinely inspired fabusa, or leaning pole. In these versions, the people necessarily must have passed through the land that became Arkansas to get to …

Chicot County

Chicot County is the southeasternmost county in Arkansas. It is bounded by Louisiana to the south and the Mississippi River to the east. The county is located in the heart of the Mississippi Delta; therefore, it is a prime location for agriculture, with some of the richest soils in the state. Because of this, the county continues to have strong ties to the land and is consistently one of the largest producers of cotton in Arkansas. With Lake Chicot as the largest natural lake in Arkansas and the largest oxbow lake in North America, the county provides residents and tourists with ample opportunities for year-round fishing. According to the 2020 Census, the county had a population of 10,208, with three …

Chicot County Courthouse

The Chicot County Courthouse is a 1950s–era Art Deco building incorporating many Corporate or Government Moderne features. It sits at 108 Main Street in Lake Village (Chicot County). Lake Village was chosen as the seat of local government in 1857, the third city to formally hold the title of county seat since the county was formed from a part Arkansas County in 1823. Both Villemont and Columbia, the former seats, were overtaken by the Mississippi River, and a third location, Masona, was temporary, with no buildings or permanent fixtures ever put in place during its two-year stint as county seat. Lake Village was the fourth and final move for local officials. The land on which the courthouse and county jail …

Chicot County Lynching of 1836

aka: Bunch (Lynching of)
According to the Arkansas Gazette, an African American identified only as Bunch was hanged in Chicot County in August 1836. The incident was also reported in a number of newspapers across the United States. According to the Gazette, Bunch, perhaps a member of the free black population in Chicot County, attempted to vote, but the judges turned him back because he was black. Bunch “took umbrage” at this and “resorted to violent measures.” In the midst of the fracas that followed, one Dr. Webb, “a highly respectable citizen,” was stabbed multiple times and was expected to die. Local citizens were so incensed that they promptly hanged Bunch. The Indiana American, quoting the Louisville Journal, reported that Bunch had a copy …

Chicot County Race War of 1871

aka: Chicot County Massacre
In late 1871, Chicot County was taken over by several hundred African Americans, led by state legislator and county judge James W. Mason. The murder of African-American lawyer Wathal (sometimes spelled as Walthall) Wynn prompted the area’s black citizens to kill the men jailed for their role in the murder and take over the area. Many white residents fled, escaping by steamboat to Memphis, Tennessee, and other nearby river towns. Like the Black Hawk War that occurred in Mississippi County the following year, the situation arose, in part, from the radical wing of the Republican Party exercising its power in choosing local officials. Both Mississippi and Chicot counties’ populations were primarily black, with blacks outnumbering whites four to one in Chicot County. …

Chidester (Ouachita County)

Chidester is a second-class city located in northwestern Ouachita County. Like many Arkansas cities that emerged in the nineteenth century, Chidester is a result of the railroad construction that brought many changes to the state. Jefferson Smith acquired land in the area that would become Chidester in 1858 and established a farm; he added an additional parcel of land to the west of his farm in 1860. Moses K. Robertson also owned land adjacent to Smith’s farm. During the Civil War, Smith served as a sergeant in Company D of Arkansas’s Thirty-third Confederate infantry between 1862 and 1864. His unit was active at Prairie Grove (Washington County), in the defense of Little Rock (Pulaski County), and also in the Red …

Chiles, Marcellus Holmes

Army captain Marcellus Holmes Chiles is one of twenty-one Arkansas natives to have received the nation’s highest military honor, the Medal of Honor. He is also one of just three Arkansas soldiers to have received the award for his service in World War I. All three received the honor posthumously. Marcellus Chiles was born on February 5, 1895, in Eureka Springs (Carroll County). He was the oldest of three children born to attorney John Horne Chiles and Lillian Irene Hughes. It is not known how long the family remained in Arkansas after Marcellus’s birth, but by 1900, they were living in Denver, Colorado. Sometime after graduating from high school, Chiles enrolled at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, where he was …

Chinese

The introduction of the Chinese to Arkansas can be traced back to their roots as a sojourners’ society—men who left the Chinese “motherland” ready to amass wealth in the United States before returning to their families in China. However, Arkansas did not offer vast riches like that of the fabled gam sahn, or “Golden Mountain,” among the gold mines of northern California. What Arkansas did offer was work in the cotton fields of the Delta. Following a regional conference on Chinese immigration organized by planters from Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas and held in Memphis, Tennessee, on July 13, 1869, local planters met in their own smaller conventions to begin the importation of Chinese labor. There was extensive debate on the …

Chinn Spring (Independence County)

A popular place for church and social picnics in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Chinn Spring is located on Cave Creek in Ashley Township on Chinn Spring Lane just east of Polk (or Poke) Bayou. The community of Chinn Spring emerged near the spring. The Will Chinn Cave is located in this vicinity. Batesville (Independence County), the county seat, is located about five miles south of Chinn Spring. Today, the spring is located on private property owned by a Batesville businessman. John French Chinn was born in 1810 in Fauquier County, Virginia, where, in 1832, he married Lydia Elizabeth Byrne. Following the death of Chinn’s parents, the two moved to Ruddell (Independence County) around 1847. On the 1860 census, …

Chinquapin (Independence County)

Chinquapin is an unincorporated community in Washington Township of Independence County on Chinquapin Loop near its intersection with Earnheart Road. It is about two and a half miles south-southeast of Bethesda (Independence County) and about two miles from White River and Lock and Dam No. 2. It is approximately eight miles from Batesville (Independence County), the county seat. Chinquapin receives its name from the abundant Ozark chinquapin trees, sometimes called Ozark chinkapin and Ozark chestnut, that grew there. People ate the nuts, fed them to livestock, and sold them. The rot-resistant wood made excellent railroad ties and fence posts. Local folk artists even made musical instruments from the wood. Logging practices and a chestnut blight that struck the Ozarks in …

Chisum, John Greene

John Chisum was one of the last thirty surviving Civil War veterans, the last surviving Arkansas-born Confederate veteran, and the next to last surviving Confederate veteran to die in Arkansas. He was outlived in Arkansas only by Jonesboro (Craighead County) resident William M. Loudermilk, who died in 1952 (like Chisum, beyond his hundredth birthday). John Green Chisum was born in Calico Rock (Izard County) on February 19, 1848, to Bill and Mary Chisum. Little is known of his years growing up on the family farm. During the early years of the Civil War, the family was isolated in the Ozarks, but at age sixteen in 1864, Chisum made a trip to Newport (Jackson County) and enlisted in a unit under …

Chitwood, Oscar (Murder of)

Oscar Chitwood was murdered on December 26, 1910, at the Garland County Courthouse in Hot Springs. A deputy sheriff who was with Chitwood at the time of the murder claimed that a lynch mob killed Chitwood, but other witnesses contradicted his account. The murder remains officially unsolved. On August 17, 1910, Garland County sheriff Jake Houpt and his chief deputy (and younger brother) Sid Houpt attempted to arrest Oscar Chitwood and his brother George Chitwood for stealing horses. The Chitwood brothers resisted arrest, and a gunfight broke out on the grounds of the Garland County Courthouse. When the fight ended, George Chitwood was dead, and Jake Houpt was mortally wounded. Oscar Chitwood escaped, although badly wounded. Sid Houpt was unharmed. …

Choctaw

The Choctaw are of the Western Muskogean language stock, which is also the same stock as the Chickasaw. When first encountered by Europeans, the Choctaw were located in three geographic divisions in the area that is now Mississippi and western Alabama. The three divisions each had some distinguishing cultural practices, which may indicate they had separate origins and that the Choctaw came together as a single people only in more recent times. There are two widespread traditions within the Choctaw about their origins. One is that they came from the far west and were led eastward by a sacred pole that was placed in the ground each night; one morning, the pole did not lean but stayed straight upright near …

Choctaw Boundary Line

Determining the Choctaw Boundary Line and thus the western boundary of Arkansas below the Arkansas River was a process that involved political maneuvering, treaties with the Choctaw tribe, and other negotiations. The line was not even determined for one small strip of land until 1905. The Louisiana Purchase opened up a vast territory for the United States, and a few pioneers began to move into the lands west of the Mississippi River. In 1818, the first treaty was negotiated with the Quapaw tribe for the land west of a line that ran south from the “little rock” on the Arkansas River. The formation of Arkansas Territory in March 1819 brought more settlers. The settlers considered the lands to be in …

Choctaw Freight Terminal

The Choctaw Freight Terminal served the Choctaw and Memphis Railroad Company (originally the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad) as a hub for the transportation of goods to and from Little Rock (Pulaski County). Located in the eastern part of the city, it was covered over by a superstructure in the 1960s and then razed in 2001 to make way for the construction of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park. At the time of its demolition, it was the last surviving example of a traditional two-story brick freight station in Arkansas. When the Choctaw and Memphis Railroad Company began freight and passenger service from Little Rock to Memphis, Tennessee, in 1899, a depot for passengers stood on the Little …

Choctaw Scrip

Land ownership was the desire of many individuals moving west across the United States in the nineteenth century. A person who obtained the initial title for a parcel of land in the public domain states, such as Arkansas, was issued a patent—that is, a deed transferring land ownership from the U.S. government to a buyer. Patents were obtained by various methods. Perhaps the least understood method was the use of Choctaw Scrip certificates to obtain a patent. Descendants of original Arkansas land owners finding Choctaw names on their patents often believed their ancestors either bought the land directly from the Choctaw or were, in fact, Choctaw themselves. The origins of Choctaw Scrip go back to the U.S. government’s plan to …

Cholera

Cholera, a deadly, infectious gastrointestinal disease that usually spreads through contaminated water, is an acute infection of the small intestine caused by the toxin released by the Vibrio cholerae bacteria, leading to severe diarrhea and dehydration. Left untreated, cholera can be fatal in a matter of hours. The first cholera pandemic of 1817–1823 spread from India to Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, Russia, and Europe, especially England. Cholera was prevalent in the 1800s in America beginning in New York City. Due to increased traveling, the use of steamboats, and more navigable waterways, cholera made its way to the Mississippi Delta region. In October 1832, cholera reached Arkansas. An infected passenger boarded the steamboat Volant, captained by Charles Kelley. …

Chordate Parasites

aka: Parasitic Chordates
Although the majority of the world’s parasites are protists, helminths, invertebrates, and other miscellaneous groups of organisms, parasitism has also arisen within animals of the phylum Chordata (subphylum Vertebrata). All chordates, at some time in their development, possess five derived morphological characteristics as follows: (1) a dorsal tubular or hollow nerve cord, (2) a notochord, (3) pharyngeal gill slits or pouches, (4) an endostyle, and (5) a post-anal tail. Some examples of parasitic chordates are remoras (which attach to sharks and rays); the jawless fishes (lampreys and hagfishes), which prey upon other fishes; some birds that practice brood parasitism; and vampire bats. The Superclass Agnatha has both extinct groups and extant species, including the “jawless” fish (lamprey and hagfish) that …

Chowning, Frank Edwin

Frank Chowning was a longtime Little Rock (Pulaski County) attorney. He was also a plant enthusiast whose work with irises, especially his hybridization efforts, earned him an international reputation. Francis Edwin Chowning was born on May 26, 1894, in Rison (Cleveland County) to Nathaniel Barnett Chowning and Deborah Curtis Marks Chowning. Chowning grew up and received his early education in Rison before attending Henderson-Brown College (now Henderson State University) in Arkadelphia (Clark County). His time at Henderson-Brown was interrupted by World War I, during which Chowning served in the U.S. Army, earning the rank of lieutenant while stationed in France. Following the war, he earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University in 1922. He married Martha Speakes Bradford in 1928, …

Christ Church Parochial and Industrial School

Christ Church Parochial and Industrial School was a private school for African-American children operated in Forrest City (St. Francis County) by the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas from 1923 until 1968. It was closely related to Christ Church Mission, an African-American congregation founded in 1921. The mission and school were founded by the Right Reverend Edward T. Demby, the African-American suffragan (assistant) bishop for “Colored Work” in the Diocese of Arkansas and in the southwestern province of the national Episcopal Church. Bishop Demby sought to build a thriving African-American ministry in eastern Arkansas and also saw the need for quality education in academic and vocational skills for the black children of Forrest City and the surrounding county. He requested and received …

Christ of the Ozarks

Christ of the Ozarks is a statue located in Eureka Springs (Carroll County) on top of Magnetic Mountain. The white mortar figure of Jesus Christ is seven stories tall and weighs almost two million pounds (about 540 tons). The statue is one of five giant statues of Christ in the world and one of only two in North America. It was sculpted by Emmet A. Sullivan and funded by the Elna M. Smith Foundation. The Elna M. Smith Foundation was founded in 1965 as a non-profit organization named for, and headed by, the wife of Gerald L. K. Smith, who gained prominence as an anti-Semitic minister and political agitator in the 1930s. At a reported cost of $5,000, the foundation …

Christadelphians

Christadelphians have had a presence in Arkansas since 1852, but their impact upon the state is difficult to measure. Christadelphians, following an interpretation of Christianity as basically apolitical, consider themselves to be strangers and pilgrims on the earth. Consequently, they neither individually nor as a group engage in civic affairs but await political change to be effected upon the return of Jesus Christ. The Christadelphian movement was founded in 1847 by John Thomas, a medical doctor from London, England, who sailed to New York in 1832 and later traveled on to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he became associated with Alexander Campbell and the Restoration movement. His studies during this period led to debates with Campbell, and the two parted company. Those …

Christensen, Les

aka: Leslie Ann Christensen
Leslie Ann (Les) Christensen is director of the Bradbury Art Museum at Arkansas State University (ASU) in Jonesboro (Craighead County), but she is best known as a sculptor who works in mixed media using everyday objects to offer a vision of universal experience and common responsibility. Her artwork has been exhibited in solo and group shows throughout the United States and in Europe. Les Christensen was born on July 3, 1960, in Omaha, Nebraska, as the second of four children (and the only daughter) of Dean and Carol Christensen. She attended the University of Iowa, where she received a BFA in sculpture in 1982. She spent a year of graduate school at the Rijksuniversiteit te Utrecht in the Netherlands and …

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

The Christian movement called “Disciples” (among other names) came to Arkansas in the 1830s. Ministers who were initially associated with other denominations began work in the state, and then, as Disciples moved west, they were caught up in the wave of those leaving behind their former ties and becoming “Christians only.” Disciples in the United States The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is one of three denominations descending from the Stone-Campbell movement of the nineteenth century, which has its source in the Second Great Awakening—a period during which a number of Christian denominations underwent changes due to revivals and several new sects were created. Along with Churches of Christ and the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, Disciples help make the “three …

Christian Scientists

aka: Christian Science
aka: Church of Christ, Scientist
Despite smaller numbers of followers than other denominations in Arkansas, the Christian Science movement has had a significant impact upon the state. A review of the Arkansas code yields numerous citations and accommodations for Arkansans who find that religious nonmedical healthcare meets their healthcare needs. These citations and accommodations are found in both criminal and civil codes and have been introduced in large part by Christian Scientists. Mary Baker Eddy, “the only American woman to found a lasting American-based religion,” according to the National Women’s Hall of Fame, founded the First Church of Christ, Scientist in 1879 “to commemorate the word and works of our Master, which should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing.” Thirteen years earlier, …

Chrystal

Chrystal is a film written and directed by longtime Arkansas resident Ray McKinnon. The movie stars McKinnon’s wife, Fayetteville (Washington County) native Lisa Blount, who played the title character alongside Hot Springs (Garland County) native Billy Bob Thornton, who played her husband. The movie was shot in and around Eureka Springs (Carroll County) in 2003 and is set in a small, unnamed community in the Ozark Mountains. It was the second project of Ginny Mule Productions, a company co-owned by McKinnon, Blount, and Walton Goggins, who also acted in the movie. The three had received an Academy Award for best live action short in 2001 for their first project, the film The Accountant. Chrystal centers upon the reunion of Joe (played …

Church of God in Christ (COGIC)

The Church of God in Christ (COGIC) is a predominantly African-American Pentecostal Christian denomination, headquartered at Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee. Its doctrine and practice are charismatic in nature, much like the Assemblies of God, meaning that they emphasize personal religious experience and divinely inspired powers, such as healing, prophecy, and speaking in tongues. Founded in Arkansas in 1897, the COGIC is the fourth-largest Christian denomination in the United States (as of 2003), with 5.4 million members, behind the Roman Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention, and the United Methodist Church. Its founder, Charles Harrison Mason, became a Christian in 1879. He was baptized by his brother, who was then pastoring near Plumerville (Conway County). Mason later became a minister …

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

aka: Mormons
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes shortened to the LDS Church, Mormon Church, or Church of Jesus Christ) was first introduced into Arkansas upon the arrival of missionaries Henry Brown and Wilford Woodruff, who came in to Arkansas from Clay County, Missouri, on January 28, 1835. Jonathan Hubble and his wife were the first Arkansas converts. They were baptized by immersion, as is the custom among Latter-day Saints, on February 22, 1835. Years later, Wilford Woodruff, the first LDS missionary to preach in Arkansas, would become the fourth president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. From that modest 1835 beginning, Mormons in Arkansas number 27,559 as of 2012. LDS meetinghouses (chapels) are frequently shared …

Church of the Nazarene

The state of Arkansas was one of the cradles for the early expansion of the Church of the Nazarene, America’s largest Wesleyan-holiness denomination. Nazarenes are evangelical Methodists who emphasize John Wesley’s core preaching, including the conversion of sinners, the sanctification of believers, and the witness of the Holy Spirit to these Christians’ experiences. The Nazarenes grew from the nineteenth-century holiness movement in American Methodism. The denomination was constituted by mergers in 1907 and 1908 of three regional Wesleyan-holiness bodies located on the East Coast, on the West Coast, and in the South. A strong missionary spirit emerged early in Nazarene life; that spirit is the primary reason why the denomination today is global in scope and structure and why over …

Churches of Christ

The churches of Christ make up the second-largest religious fellowship in Arkansas in regular attendance numbers, behind the Southern Baptists and just ahead of the United Methodists, according to a 2000 study. Congregations of the churches of Christ are found in all of the state’s seventy-five counties. Of the three branches of the Restoration Movement, the others being the Christian Churches and the Disciples of Christ, the churches of Christ are the largest branch. This was not always so, however. Background The Restoration Movement, which emerged out of the nationwide Second Great Awakening which swept the frontier beginning in the 1790s, began dually on the Kentucky frontier in 1801, under the leadership of Barton W. Stone, and in 1809 in …

Churchill, Sylvester (Lynching of)

On October 20, 1885, a white man named Sylvester Churchill was lynched in Murfreesboro (Pike County) by being burned alive for having apparently murdered a local man named W. F. Brooks. This was the second time in as many months that the local jail was set afire; on September 6, 1885, brothers Henry and Sylvester Polk had been burned alive when a mob set fire to the new jail. Churchill’s apparent victim was, according to early reports in the Arkansas Gazette, named Dennis Brooks, but an account of the lynching that appeared in the Pike County Sentinel on October 22, 1885, and was reprinted in the Arkansas Gazette five days later, gave his name as W. F. Brooks. Reportedly, there …

Churchill, Thomas James

Thomas James Churchill, the thirteenth governor of Arkansas, led advances in health and education while in office. During his administration, legislation set standards for practicing medicine and established the Medical Department of Arkansas Industrial University (now the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences) in Little Rock (Pulaski County). In addition to creating a facility for the mentally ill and a state board of health, his administration appropriated funds for purchasing a building for the branch normal school in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), which served African-American students. Born on March 10, 1824, on his father’s farm near Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas Churchill was one of sixteen children born to Samuel and Abby (Oldham) Churchill. The children grew up on the farm and attended …

Churchill’s Arkansas Division (CS)

The largest unit of Arkansas Confederate troops during the Civil War, this division saw action in both Arkansas and Louisiana. It was named for its commander, Major General Thomas James Churchill. The first regiments that eventually belonged to the division were organized in the summer of 1862. After the Confederate defeat at the Battle of Pea Ridge in March 1862, Major General Earl Van Dorn led the majority of Confederate troops in the state east of the Mississippi River, where most remained for the duration of the war. Arkansas was left almost completely defenseless, and the new commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department, Major General Thomas C. Hindman, immediately began efforts to raise new units of troops in the state. Numerous …

Chytrid Fungus

Chytrid (pronounced “kit-rid”) fungus belongs to the Kingdom Fungi, Phylum Chytridiomycota, Class Chytridiomycetes, and Order Rhizophydiales, a division of zoosporic organisms. The fungus causes the disease chytridiomycosis, originally generated by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). An amphibian chytrid (discovered in 1998)—which causes an infection of the skin, with an affinity to frogs and toads—is present on every amphibian-inhabited continent. Further, broad lineage and genotypic variation have been found in B. dendrobatidis. The disease has resulted in a serious decline and extinction of more than 200 species of amphibians worldwide and poses the greatest threat to biodiversity of any known disease. By 2021, the fungus had pushed the regression of at least 501 amphibian species, or about one out of every 16 (6.3 …

Circuit Riders

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, some ministers served multiple churches spread out over an area known as a circuit. In the nineteenth century, the practice of “circuit riding” was introduced to Arkansas. There were Baptist and Methodist circuit riders, but it was the Methodists in particular who used the term “circuit” to describe the area of service and whose denominational structures did the most to keep track of the work their riders did. The first Methodist circuit rider to enter Arkansas was William Stevenson, who probably entered northeastern Arkansas for the first time around 1809, during his work in the Illinois District of the Tennessee Conference. Stevenson, together with his brother James, began to travel through the settlements of Arkansas in …

Citizens Bank Building (Jonesboro)

The Citizens Bank Building in Jonesboro (Craighead County) is a seven-story structure located on the northwestern corner of the intersection of Washington Street and Main Street, due north of the Craighead County Courthouse. The composite steel-frame building with a flat roof was originally home to commercial banking on the ground level and offices on the upper floors. The building is an excellent and unique example of the International Style of architecture because of its flat roof without a ledge, metal windows set flush with the outer walls, smooth wall surfaces with minimal decorative detailing, and asymmetrical elevations. The building, which was vacated in 2000, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 15, 2020. What is now …

City of Hot Springs v. Creviston

The Arkansas Supreme Court upended fifty-two years of financial practice by Arkansas cities and counties and numerous decisions of the Supreme Court when it ruled on March 3, 1986, that the Arkansas Constitution required the state and local governments to get voters’ approval before issuing bonds for capital improvements or any other purpose. The decision, in a case styled City of Hot Springs v. Tom Creviston, stunned local governments and financial institutions and briefly halted the issuance of financial instruments called revenue bonds, which were debts that were to be repaid from revenues generated by the project rather than from taxes. But a constitutional amendment to lift the election requirement was hastily drafted, petitions placed it on the ballot, and …

Civil Rights and Social Change

What exactly constitutes “rights” and who holds them has changed over time. The 1776 Declaration of Independence famously declared “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” This is a very broad conceptualization of what are often termed “natural” or “human” rights. The idea of civil rights has a much narrower definition, being those rights specifically ascribed to citizens by governments. This entry examines the evolution of civil rights in the United States and how they have impacted Arkansans since the Civil War. Its particular focus is on how civil rights and citizenship were expanded through the social changes that …

Civil Rights Movement (Twentieth Century)

The 1957 desegregation crisis at Central High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County) is often viewed as the most significant development in the civil rights struggle in Arkansas. However, this event is just one part of a struggle for African-American freedom and equality that both predates and outlasts the twentieth century. African Americans in Arkansas at the turn of the twentieth century were in an embattled state, as they were across the rest of the South. They were politically disfranchised and increasingly segregated in most areas of public life. In the Arkansas Delta, where the vast majority of Arkansas’s black population was concentrated throughout the twentieth century, blacks were often bound to the land by exploitative peonage contracts with white …

Civil War Archaeology

Since the late twentieth century, Civil War archaeology has been a thriving research area. Arkansas has been a location of much interest and continues to attract attention for work being done around the state. Federal and state agencies, along with private firms, have been part of this process. Their work focuses on several types of sites, including battlefields, camps, and civilian locations. Battlefields Battlefields get the most attention, as they are the Civil War sites people think of most commonly. For many years, archaeologists thought it was impossible to study battlefields because of their large size and the thin scattering of artifacts. Then, in 1983, a brush fire burned across the Little Bighorn Battlefield in Montana, exposing the ground surface …

Civil War Centennial

As the nation approached the 100th anniversary of the Civil War in 1961, Arkansas also prepared to commemorate the events of those horrific years. Advance preparation began in 1959, with the legislature’s creation of the Civil War Centennial Commission (CWCC) of Arkansas, with Sam D. Dickinson as chairman. The CWCC coordinated Little Rock (Pulaski County) events with the Arkansas Commemorative Commission (later the Old State House Commission), headed by chairman Dr. D. D. McBrien of Henderson State Teachers College (now Henderson State University), with Agnes Loewer as executive director. These commissions also worked with state, city, and community organizations to coordinate and advertise programs across the state to commemorate Arkansas’s part in the Civil War. On August 27, 1960, the CWCC …

Civil War Markers and Memorials

Across the state of Arkansas, many markers and memorials commemorate the events of the Civil War. Some are located at or near the locations of significant events of the war, while others are located near county courthouses or in cemeteries. Some markers and monuments remain well-maintained, while others have disintegrated due to neglect and vandalism. In some cases, damaged markers and memorials have been replaced, and some monuments have been removed or relocated. Most of the earliest memorials were established in cemeteries where Civil War soldiers are buried. These cemetery markers can be found in Fayetteville (Washington County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), and Camden (Ouachita County), as well as other places. Other early markers of Civil War events were placed …

Civil War Markers and Memorials (Outside Arkansas)

During the Civil War, soldiers from Arkansas volunteered and served in many skirmishes and battles across the South, often combined with other state regiments. The legislature of Arkansas and interested citizens deemed their service worthy of recognition and remembrance and have therefore provided for several memorials at significant battlefields. Major Arkansas memorials are located at the national battlefields of Gettysburg (Pennsylvania), Shiloh (Tennessee), and Vicksburg (Mississippi). Though not within the scope of this article, there are also monuments to Arkansas soldiers in other locations, such as one located on private land in Tennessee commemorating the role of Arkansas Confederate soldiers in the November 30, 1864, Battle of Franklin. GettysburgThe Gettysburg battlefield, first envisioned as a cemetery just after the battle in …

Civil War Medicine

Medical treatment during the Civil War focused on two major areas: disease and wound care. As many as 700,000 members of the military lost their lives during the war, and approximately two-thirds of these deaths were due to disease. These figures do not include deaths suffered by the civilian population. Diseases were common before the war, especially yellow fever, cholera, and typhoid, but the war magnified their effect and sometimes brought them to epidemic proportions. The outbreak of war led to a massive mobilization effort in the state. Thousands of men joined military units and moved into camps with limited sanitary facilities. This lack of clean water, coupled with the large numbers of men living in close proximity, led to …

Civil War Pensions

The granting of pensions for military service presented unique problems to the ex-Confederate states and the federal government after the Civil War. Before the war, small annual pensions and land grants had been given to qualifying veterans of the U.S. military who had served in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Mexican War. What originally began as limited payments to former soldiers (and their widows and orphans) eventually became a huge federal bureaucracy of old-age pensions for almost one-third of the elderly population of the United States. Burdened by fraud, the two Civil War pension systems were not alike. Union veterans applied for their monthly payments under a federal pension system. Ex-Confederate soldiers had to look to …

Civil War Recruitment

When the American Civil War began in April 1861, the recruitment of soldiers was not a problem for either side. Partisans of both the Union and the Confederacy were so confident that victory could be achieved in a few months that young men volunteered by the thousands to make sure that they did not miss out on the war. The turnout was so much greater than expected that the major problem facing the War Departments of both the Union and Confederacy was not the enlistment of soldiers but the procurement of food, clothing, and armaments to sustain them. The recruitment and organization of both armies began even before hostilities commenced, which was necessary given the size and condition of both …

Civil War Refugees

The Civil War that beset Arkansas for four years quickly depleted the modest infrastructure and resource base that then existed throughout the young state. The burden of armies supplying themselves with forage and requisitions from civilians compounded with marauding guerrillas and bushwhackers left many citizens utterly destitute, threatened with starvation. During wartime, order was often imposed only by means of military superiority over opposing forces, and civilized society in much of Arkansas began to break down as the fighting wore on. The prospect of survival in a war-torn state turned thousands of Arkansans into refugees who sought the charity of bare sustenance within Union lines or by leaving Arkansas altogether. Even before the war, Arkansas was bitterly divided from within …

Civil War Roundtable of Arkansas (CWRTA)

Jerry Russell, Bill O’Donnell, and Cal Collier began the Civil War Roundtable of Arkansas (CWRTA) in March 1964 during the height of the national Civil War Centennial celebrations. Russell served as its first president. The CWRTA has been active continuously since 1964, with eleven meetings each year (no meeting in December). The CWRTA has sponsored a number of bus tours over the years to regional Civil War battlefields and sites, including the Pea Ridge National Military Park (with Professor Bill Shea of the University of Arkansas at Monticello as the guide) and sites associated with General Frederick Steele’s Camden Expedition through southern Arkansas (guided by Ed Bearss, the retired chief historian of the National Park Service). In commemoration of the …

Civil War Sesquicentennial

The Civil War Sesquicentennial was commemorated in Arkansas from 2011 to 2015. The planning of events related to the sesquicentennial began in 2007 with the establishment of the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission by the Arkansas General Assembly as part of Act 635. The Civil War in Arkansas was commemorated during several anniversary events during the twentieth century. The United Confederate Veterans held a reunion in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1911, the fiftieth anniversary of the outbreak of the war. In 1959, the Arkansas General Assembly created the Civil War Centennial Commission of Arkansas, which operated until at least 1965. While other events commemorating the Civil War were held in the state over the next several decades, the Arkansas …

Civil War through Reconstruction, 1861 through 1874

In the last years of the 1850s, Arkansas enjoyed an economic boom that was unparalleled in its history. But in the years between 1861 and 1865, the bloody and destructive Civil War destroyed that prosperity. The conflict brought death and destruction to the state on a scale that few could have imagined, and the war and the tumultuous Reconstruction era that followed it left a legacy of bitterness that the passage of many years did little to assuage. Prelude to War In the 1850s, Arkansas was a frontier state. Most Arkansans, especially those who lived in the highlands of the north and west, were farmers engaged in subsistence agriculture on small parcels of land. In the fertile lands along the …