Entries - Starting with P

Pomeroy, Leslie Klett (Les)

Although Sierra Club founder John Muir championed forest conservation by setting aside large acreages, it was Leslie Klett Pomeroy who devised a conservation plan for growing and harvesting timber that both conserved it and turned it into a renewable resource. His science-based management plans regenerated timberlands across the South after cut-out-and-get-out practices had decimated its forests. Pomeroy’s groundbreaking work carried out in Arkansas ultimately affected forestry in the South and across America. Leslie Pomeroy was born on December 12, 1896, in Hub City, Wisconsin. He was the only child of William Justis Pomeroy and Anna Barbara Klett Pomeroy. His mother was a housewife, and his father began his employment with Madison Bus Company in 1922 as a motorman on streetcars, …

Ponca Elk Education Center

The Ponca Elk Education Center was established in 2002 to serve wildlife enthusiasts coming to Newton County to view elk, which were introduced to the state in 1981. The center is in a handsome log building on Arkansas Highway 43 in the village of Ponca in western Newton County. The building was for a short time used as a charter school by a religious organization and was later leased by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC). The Ponca facility has displays of elk and many other Arkansas wildlife. It features eye-catching photographs and a gift shop selling nature-related items, as well as hunting and fishing licenses. There is also a small meeting room. Porches offer visitors a chance to …

Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuge

Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuge, the 501st refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge System, protects and preserves one of the last remaining bottomland hardwood tracts in the Red River Basin. Established in 1994 under the Emergency Wetlands Resources Act, the refuge encompasses approximately 28,000 acres and is located in southwest Arkansas along the Texas/Oklahoma border. Originally established as Cossatot National Wildlife Refuge, the name was changed in 1997 at the request of citizens to retain the local name, Pond Creek Bottoms. Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuge is one of four refuges managed as part of the South Arkansas National Wildlife Refuge Complex with headquarters at Crossett (Ashley County). Geographically positioned in an area where the Central and Mississippi flyways overlap, …

Poorhouses

aka: Poor Farms
The use of the poorhouse came to the United States during the nineteenth century and was based on a model used in England during the Industrial Revolution. A poorhouse was meant to be a place to which people could be sent if they were not able to support themselves financially. It was believed that these institutions would be a cheaper alternative to the “outdoor relief” (relief requested from a community) that a community sometimes provided. Although this may not have been the case, the poorhouse was a significant institution in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, providing relief to the poor prior to the establishment of welfare systems. The aiding of a pauper by another person in the community was …

Pope County

Pope County lies in northwest Arkansas, halfway between the state capital and the cities of Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and Fayetteville (Washington County). The county is geographically diverse, with the Ozark National Forest covering most of the northern portion, while the southern portion is located in the Arkansas River Valley and includes the cities of Russellville and Atkins. The county also is home to Arkansas Tech University. Pre-European Exploration Several examples of prehistoric rock art, or pictographs, dating from the Mississippian Period and perhaps earlier are found in Pope County. Four sites containing such paintings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, although to protect them from being disturbed, their precise location is not identified. In 1541, Spanish …

Pope County Historical Association

The Pope County Historical Association was established on October 10, 1948, as the Arkansas Valley Historical Society. The society has remained in almost continuous operation since its founding and publishes the Pope County Historical Association Quarterly. James S. Long was elected as the Arkansas Valley Historical Society’s first president. For approximately two years, the society held regular meetings, but interest had dropped by the fall of 1950, and meetings were suspended from August 1950 through April 1952. There was a reemergence of the society in 1952. In April 1954, it began the publication of the Arkansas Valley Historical Papers, a quarterly magazine highlighting local history and genealogical articles. In December 1966, the society changed its name to the Pope County …

Pope County Militia War

The Pope County Militia War was a conflict between the Reconstruction government of the state and county partisans, some of them former Confederates, who opposed Reconstruction. It entailed the assassination of many local officials and is often seen as a prelude to the Brooks-Baxter War of 1874. Pope County, lacking a large slave economy, had been divided in terms of loyalty during the Civil War, and those divisions ran high even after the formal end of hostilities. In 1865, Governor Isaac Murphy appointed Archibald Dodson Napier, a former Federal officer, as sheriff of Pope County. On October 25, 1865, he and his deputy, Albert M. Parks, were both shot from ambush as they rode horseback along the old Springfield road …

Pope-Noland Duel

The Pope-Noland Duel took place in Arkansas Territory in 1831 between William Fontaine Pope and Charles Fenton Mercer (Fent) Noland. Little is known about Pope other than that he was the nephew and secretary of territorial governor John Pope, who was a member of the Democratic Party during his tenure in Arkansas. Fent Noland originally hailed from Virginia and was the son of politician and plantation owner William Noland, who drafted Virginia’s anti-dueling law. As a young lawyer, Fent Noland was mentored by James Woodson Bates, who was the first Arkansas territorial representative to the U.S. Congress, and went on to become a well-known writer who regularly published in the New York–based Spirit of the Times. The political scene in …

Pope, John

John Pope served variously from 1798 to 1842 as a U.S. senator and congressional representative from Kentucky, secretary of state for Kentucky, and the third territorial governor of Arkansas. Initially affiliated with the Democratic-Republican Party, he joined the Whig Party in the 1830s. During his tenure as territorial governor, he worked to establish a legislative program to promote migration and economic development and to rid the region of its reputation as a violent and politically unstable frontier. John Pope was born in February 1770 (exact date not known) in Prince William County, Virginia, the eldest son of Colonel William and Penelope Edwards Pope. The Pope family moved near Louisville, Kentucky, in 1779 at the height of the American Revolution. After …

Populist Movement

aka: People's Party
aka: Populism
During the last three decades of the nineteenth century, American farmers faced a variety of economic problems including rising business costs, a scarcity of credit, and falling crop prices. Frustrated farmers formed organizations to address such problems and ultimately turned to independent or third-party politics. These efforts coalesced in the 1890s with the founding of the People’s (or Populist) Party, which drew most of its support in the West and the South. In Arkansas, the third-party movement actually peaked between 1888 and 1890 under the guise of the Union Labor Party (ULP), which lasted fewer years than the Populist Party but won more support, unlike in other states. Origins of the Populist Movement The organized farmers’ movement in Arkansas began …

Porter Prize

aka: Porter Fund Literary Prize
The Porter Fund, established in 1984, is a not-for-profit unincorporated association founded in honor of Dr. Ben Kimpel, who was chairman of the English department at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). It supports the written arts in the state of Arkansas, specifically by awarding an annual prize, which has been designated as the “Porter Prize,” to an Arkansas writer. (At Kimpel’s request, the prize was named in memory of his mother, Gladys Crane Kimpel Porter.) The prize is funded strictly with private donations and is presented annually at an awards ceremony to an Arkansas writer who has accomplished a substantial and impressive body of work that merits enhanced recognition. Its prize, $2,000, makes it one of the …

Porter, Art, Jr.

aka: Arthur Lee Porter Jr.
Arthur Lee (Art) Porter Jr. was an extremely talented musician proficient on saxophone, drums, and piano. He was an energetic, engaging entertainer and a creative composer whose work ranged across jazz, rhythm and blues, funk, and ballads. The son of legendary jazz musician Art Porter Sr., he released four albums through Polygram/Verve Records before his accidental death in 1996. Art Porter Jr. was born on August 3, 1961, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Thelma Pauline Porter and Arthur Porter Sr.; he had four siblings. Porter played alto saxophone in the Benkenarteg, Inc., sound group, which was composed of the five siblings. Porter was awarded the title of most talented young jazz artist in America by the Music Educators of …

Porter, Art, Sr.

aka: Arthur Lee Porter Sr.
Arthur Lee (Art) Porter Sr., referred to as an “Arkansas treasure,”was a pianist, composer, conductor, and music teacher. Though best known as a jazz musician, he also performed classical compositions and spirituals. Some of his more memorable performances include two gubernatorial inaugurations for Governor Bill Clinton. Joined by Art Porter Jr. on saxophone, he performed at President Clinton’s Inaugural Interfaith Prayer Service in January 1993 at one of the inaugural receptions in Washington DC. Porter was also responsible for entertaining many heads of state who visited Arkansas during the tenure of governors Dale Bumpers, David Pryor, and Jim Guy Tucker. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1994. Art Porter was born on February 8, 1934, in Little …

Porter, Jim Skillern, Jr.

In the early 1960s, Jim Skillern Porter Jr. was a leader in integrating the music venues in Little Rock (Pulaski County), and he produced Arkansas’s first integrated-seating concert. Later that decade, he operated Arkansas’s first integrated country club, the Riverdale Club, offering golf, tennis, swimming, dining, and dancing. (The name is not to be confused with Riverdale Country Club, whose members had previously moved west and formed Pleasant Valley Country Club.) During the two years the club was open (1968–1970), integrated groups played jazz nightly to full houses. Porter continued his work as a booking agent, trying to interest other venues in hiring integrated groups. Jim Porter Jr. was born on September 1, 1932, in Little Rock to James Skillern Porter …

Porter, Ray Edison

Ray E. Porter was a career U.S. Army officer who served in World War I as well as World War II, in which he rose to the rank of major general and led the Seventy-Fifth Infantry Division during the latter part of the war. Ray Edison Porter was born on July 29, 1891, in Fordyce (Dallas County), the eldest of three sons and a daughter of Hattie E. Porter and blacksmith and farmer William L. Porter. He attended the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), and, on May 15, 1917, enlisted in the U.S. Army at Fort Logan H. Roots; his draft card showed that he shared responsibility for his family with his mother and three siblings, his …

Portia (Lawrence County)

The area that became the town of Portia in the late nineteenth century was home to some of Arkansas’s earliest settlers. Incorporated in 1886, the town, located on U.S. Highway 63, was once an important business center and timber-producing area. In the twenty-first century, however, its business district is declining. Native Americans were the first to settle the area around Portia, as evidenced by the many artifacts found along the banks of the nearby Spring and Black rivers. The first white settlers to the area probably arrived around 1800 as a result of two Spanish land grants, one of which included the land where the present town is located. In 1816, the General Land Office in Washington DC confirmed the …

Portis, Charles McColl

One of the finest of Arkansas’s fiction writers, Charles McColl Portis was best known for the western novel True Grit. Portis’s other novels—Norwood, The Dog of the South, Masters of Atlantis, and Gringos—are set in the twentieth century and are more purely comical. Whereas True Grit has sold copies into the millions and was made into films in 1969 and 2010 (with an Oscar-winning performance by John Wayne in the first adaptation), Portis’s other novels, though of high quality, have gone in and out of print over the years and have sold much more modestly. Portis’s protagonists are staid and ill at ease in modern society. The possibility of “true grit”—unyielding courage in the face of danger—is absent from the worlds of …

Portland (Ashley County)

Portland is a small Delta town in Ashley County. It began as a settlement on Bayou Bartholomew and became a steamboat port, an agricultural center, and a railroad town. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The earliest known settlers were John P. Fisher and William Brady, who were there in the 1830s. Fisher arrived by 1833, established a plantation, and constructed a two-story house on the west side of the bayou. A short distance down the bayou from Fisher’s house, a small settlement emerged on the opposite side. Steamboat captains called this stopping place “the port,” and upon establishment of a post office in 1857, it was named Portland. The bayou village consisted largely of mercantile stores that received their goods …

Possum Grape (Jackson County)

Possum Grape is an unincorporated community in Glaize Township located in the western panhandle of Jackson County near Highway 367, about eleven and a half miles southwest of Newport, the county seat, and about four and a half miles northeast of Bradford (White County). Possum Grape lies just west of the White River where the flat land meets the Ozark Mountains. Possum Grape is near the historic riverboat town of Grand Glaise (Jackson County). The community most likely received its unusual name from the wild grape called the possum grape, popular in the area for making jam and wine. A few locals say Possum Grape was named in 1954 following a disagreement on whether to call it “Possum” or “Grape.” …

Possum of Tomorrow Program

The Possum of Tomorrow Program was developed by the Arkansas Agriculture Department in the early 1950s to encourage the breeding of opossums (commonly referred to as “possums”) that would be suitable for mass consumption. Organizers believed that there was the potential to develop the opossum market beyond remote Arkansas hill counties and thus revitalize the economies of these struggling areas. However, the program was a complete and total failure and actually landed the state in a costly lawsuit with Warner Bros. Studios. The Possum of Tomorrow Program was initiated by the state to capitalize on the increasing popularity of “alternative” (non-beef and non-pork) meats during the World War II years, since a great deal of beef and pork was being …

Possum, The

“The Possum” is an 1837 poem written by early Arkansas settler Gammon Lausch—apparently his only work. Although not particularly significant in its own right, it is noted for the apparent influence it exerted upon the much more famous poet and author Edgar Allan Poe, whose poem “The Raven,” published eight years later, copies the general theme and rhyming pattern of “The Possum.” In fact, many scholars have been forced to reevaluate Poe’s own poem in the light of “The Possum”—a work that lingered in obscurity after its publication until its rediscovery in 2014. Little is known about Gammon Lausch. On the 1840 census, he was listed as a farmer, with his age given as approximately thirty-one. He lived in rural …

Post Familie Vineyards and Winery

Post Familie Vineyards and Winery is located on state Highway 186 in the town of Altus (Franklin County), on the old farm of Professor Joseph Bachman, a noted creator of new grape varieties. Post Familie Winery has its origins in the immigration into the area of German and Swiss Catholics in the 1880s—which made Altus one of the leading wine communities in the state by the turn of the century—and is today one of the 100 largest wineries in the nation. The great-grandfather of this branch of the Post family was Jacob Post, who made wine along with his wife, Anna. Originally, the family made wine from wild grapes as well as other fruits and berries before acquiring grape cuttings …

Post Office Art

Arkansas has nineteen Depression-era works of art created for U.S. post office buildings. Two are sculpture bas-reliefs, and seventeen are paintings. In addition, another painting was destroyed in a post office fire, and one was never installed and was lost during World War II. The art was part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and was created to reflect life in the United States at the time and to honor hard work. During a time of national economic crisis and with the specter of World War II on the horizon, images of strong workers, productive farmers, and determined pioneers were intended by Roosevelt to reassure and motivate Americans. The goal was to remind Americans of their history at a time …

Post-bellum Black Codes

aka: Black Codes
Immediately after the Civil War, Southern states passed onerous laws to maintain their legal control and economic power over African Americans in response to the 1865 passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which ended slavery. Under slavery, whites had disciplined blacks mostly outside the law. After emancipation, fearing blacks’ revenge, slave owners sought to institute a comparable level of legal control over former slaves. While some Black Codes were not harsh, most were: African Americans could not serve on juries; could not sue or testify against whites; were prohibited from owning farms; and were forced to sign unequal labor contracts. The U.S. Congress immediately responded to the Black Codes by passing the Civil Rights Act of 1866, …

Post-Reconstruction through the Gilded Age, 1875 through 1900

In the years that followed Reconstruction, Arkansas experienced changes that paralleled trends taking place elsewhere in the nation. Nationally, the creation of the mass market and the economic growth that followed gave the era its basic character. The economy, and particularly the rise of industry, produced great prosperity for some whose spending habits gave the period its name—the Gilded Age. These developments also encouraged the movement of many people from the countryside to the city, producing a cultural and social transformation. But all of this came at a cost. Changes disrupted traditional economies and society, and many, particularly farmers and workers, failed to share in the bounty of the new world. In a state with an economy still largely agricultural, …

Poteau River

The Poteau River rises in Arkansas from springs east of Waldron (Scott County) and flows westward for approximately thirty-nine miles before entering Le Flore County, Oklahoma. From there, the river continues to flow west until entering Wister Lake. Exiting the north side of the lake, the river flows northeast until finally emptying into the Arkansas River in Fort Smith (Sebastian County). The river flows for a total length of 141 miles. Early inhabitants were located along the Poteau River during the Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian eras. There are numerous archaeological sites located along the river, giving evidence indicating that the Caddo Indians once inhabited the area. The Poteau River and its banks served as hunting and fishing grounds for early …

Poteau Work Center

The Poteau Work Center is located east of Waldron (Scott County) along Highway 80. The work center building was constructed circa 1939 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 20, 1993. The building was constructed by members of the 1707th Company of the Arkansas CCC District, which was stationed at the Waldron Camp located fourteen miles to the east. It was built as the repair and maintenance shop for the Poteau Ranger District of the Ouachita National Forest. The building, along with the residence in the same location, was built as the headquarters for the district, which extends westward into Oklahoma. It is significant for its association with …

Potlatch Conservation Education Center at Cook’s Lake

Potlatch Conservation Education Center at Cook’s Lake is located near the small community of Casscoe (Arkansas County) approximately twenty miles southeast of Stuttgart (Arkansas County). The general purpose of the facility is conservation education, focusing on the bottomland hardwood forests and upland community of forests that surround the center. This is accomplished by introducing various audiences to hands-on outdoor learning activities. The property is recognized as an important wildlife sanctuary, especially for migrating waterfowl. In 1990, the forty-nine nations of the Ramsar Convention (an international treaty for conserving and sustainably utilizing wetlands) recognized the 200-acre Cook’s Lake and its surrounding property as a “wetland of international importance,” representing the diverse natural features of the Cache/Lower White River ecosystems. In 2001, …

Pott’s Hill, Action at

aka: Skirmish at Big Sugar Creek
The Action at Pott’s Hill, also known as the Skirmish at Big Sugar Creek, on February 16, 1862, was the first engagement between Union and Confederate armies in Arkansas during the Civil War. The action was a precursor to the Battle of Pea Ridge on March 7–8, 1862. As Brigadier General Samuel Curtis’s Union Army of the Southwest marched south toward Arkansas in February, pursuing Major General Sterling Price’s Confederate Army of the West, the Union front met the Confederate rear guard just across the Arkansas border, north of Pea Ridge (Benton County). Curtis, who had sent his men on a forced march south in search of the fleeing Confederates, was determined to engage Price’s army as soon as possible. …

Pottery

Pottery has been produced in Arkansas from prehistoric times up to the present day. Of note are prehistoric Native American wares from the Woodland Period beginning 2,500 years ago and the prehistoric and historic Caddo pottery tradition that flourished from AD 800 to 1660. Commercial manufacturing and regional ware made by the Ouachita Pottery in Hot Springs (Garland County), the Hyten Pottery (later the Eagle Pottery) in Benton (Saline County), Camden Art and Tile Company in Camden (Ouachita County), and the Dryden Potteries, Inc., in Hot Springs have their roots in the American Art Pottery movement of the late nineteenth century and the American Craft movement of the early twentieth century. Smaller production studios evolved after the Korean War, and …

Potts, John Kirkbride

John Kirkbride Potts laid the groundwork for the founding of the town of Pottsville (Pope County). He patented 160 acres of land between Crow Mountain and the Arkansas River and later enlarged his holdings to 650 acres. His house, which served as a post office and railroad rest stop, was entered in the National Register of Historic Places on June 22, 1970, and is now a museum. John Potts was born in Pennsylvania on March 24, 1803, to Joshua Potts and Mary (Bunting) Potts. He had five siblings. The family moved from Pennsylvania to New Jersey in 1812. At age seventeen, Potts went west, traveling by wagon with two slave families to Wayne County, Missouri, where he met William Logan …

Pottsville (Pope County)

Pottsville is sixty-nine miles northwest of Little Rock (Pulaski County) and six miles east of Russellville (Pope County) the county seat of Pope County. It has one of Pope County’s five school districts and serves as a bedroom community for both Little Rock and Russellville. Early Statehood through the Gilded Age Pottsville was founded by Kirkbride Potts who, in 1820 at age seventeen, traveled from New Jersey to Missouri and then to Arkansas with two slave families. Arriving in Arkansas in 1824, he became acquainted with two brothers, William Logan and Robert A. Logan, soon settling along with them in an area south of the Arkansas River in present-day Logan County. This area was ceded by the Choctaw tribe to …

Pottsville Citizens Bank

In 1913, some sixteen years after the incorporation of Pottsville (Pope County), the town’s first bank—the Pottsville Citizens Bank—was chartered. On March 28, 2002, the bank, located at 156 East Ash Street, was added to the National Register of Historic places based on its contribution to the development of town commerce and the commercial architecture style of the building. The town of Pottsville slowly developed in the immediate area surrounding the house of the area’s first settler, John Kirkbride Potts, who arrived in the 1820s. As the town grew, town leaders determined that there was a need for a bank. A bank was chartered, and a one-story brick building was constructed across from Potts’s home. On September 2, 1913, the …

Poultry Industry

A staple of the state’s economy, the Arkansas poultry industry first emerged in the 1890s. A century later, Tyson Foods, based in Springdale (Washington County), had become one of the largest agribusiness firms in the United States. Northwest Arkansas, particularly Washington and Benton counties, produces the majority of poultry in Arkansas. The topography of the Ozark highlands—in contrast to the relatively flat eastern half of the state—is well suited to raising chickens. The hilly terrain has historically prevented the widespread cultivation of rice and cotton, which led northwest Arkansas farmers to pursue interests in timber, fruit orchards, and especially poultry. In 1893, Millard Berry of Springdale acquired an incubator with the intent of raising chickens on a large scale. By …

Pounds, Winston (Lynching of)

Winston Pounds, accused of breaking into a white man’s house and assaulting his wife, was hanged by a mob near Wilmot (Ashley County) on August 25, 1927. Census records indicate that Winston Pounds Jr., born around 1906, was the son of farmer Winston Pounds and his wife, Florence Pounds. As sometimes happens, published accounts of the lynching vary significantly, especially between white-owned and African-American-owned newspapers. According to the Arkansas Gazette, Pounds, described as a “Negro farmhand,” entered the J. W. McGarry home while he and his wife were sleeping and assaulted Mrs. McGarry. She screamed, and he fled. Some accounts say that J. W. McGarry was actually in Little Rock (Pulaski County), and that Mrs. McGarry’s sister was staying with …

Poverty

In 2008, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the national average of individuals living in poverty was 13.2 percent. At 17.3 percent, Arkansas tied for second among states with the highest poverty rates. The two states with the highest poverty rates are adjacent to Arkansas: Mississippi was the highest with 21.2 percent, and Louisiana second highest at 17.3 percent. They were followed by West Virginia at 17 percent and Kentucky, which tied Arkansas with 17.3 percent. Seven of the top ten impoverished states were in the South. Historical BackgroundThe story of poverty in the South is the story of economic development and social changes over time. Patterns of poverty in Arkansas have developed and fluctuated over time in relation to …

Powder Magazine (Scott County)

The Powder Magazine is located approximately fifty yards south of the junction of County Roads 96 and 99 in northeastern Scott County. The structure was built around 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 20, 1993. The structure was built by the 1707th Company of the Arkansas CCC District, which was stationed at the Waldron Camp. The structure was intended to store explosives that were used for bridge and road construction, as well as other conservation projects such as erosion control within the Ouachita National Forest. The Powder Magazine is significant due to its association with the Civilian Conservation Corps, which made significant contributions to American social history. …

Powell, Charles (Lynching of)

On August 11, 1926, an African-American man named Charles Powell was lynched near Lewisville (Lafayette County) for allegedly murdering sheriff’s deputy James Dooley. According to the Shreveport Times, a warrant was issued for railroad worker Charles Powell on charges of beating his wife. On Wednesday morning, August 11, Deputy Dooley was sent to serve a warrant on Powell at the railway car on a side track of the Cotton Belt Railroad where he was living. Dooley was described by the Arkansas Gazette as “one of the most popular officers of the county,” while Powell was referred to as “a powerful negro…known as a bad actor” who had previously resisted arrest. When Dooley approached, Powell drew a pistol and shot Dooley …

Powell, Dick

aka: Richard Ewing Powell
Richard Ewing Powell was a musician, actor, and director. An ambitious man always pursuing new avenues for his creativity, Powell experimented with different media (radio, film, and television) at a time when not many did. The films of which he was a part ranged from 1930s comical musicals to 1940s films noir. Dick Powell was born in Mountain View (Stone County) on November 14, 1904, the second of three sons of Sallie Thompson and Ewing Powell. His father was a machinery salesman sometimes credited with introducing the gasoline engine to north Arkansas. Powell’s mother encouraged her three sons’ interest in music. His most important early musical influence was George R. “Dick” Case, a Mountain View merchant for whom he was …

Powell, Dwane

Dwane Powell was an award-winning political cartoonist who spent most of his career in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he crafted an artistic chronicle of state politics. Powell brought to life in his portrayals the influential conservative Senator Jesse Helms and the colorful four-term Democratic governor Jim Hunt, among others. Drexel Dwane Powell Jr. was born on November 7, 1944, in Lake Village (Chicot County) to Drexel Dwane Powell and Minnie Louise Ruth Powell. Not long after Powell was born, the family, which eventually included four children, moved to a farm outside McGehee (Desha County). The family grew cotton, rice, and soybeans while also raising whiteface Herefords, Brahma bulls, and Angus cows. After graduation from McGhee High School following an undistinguished …

Powell, Morgan Allen

Morgan Allen Powell was a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy who retired in 1957 to his native Independence County, where he researched local history. Morgan Powell was born on March 2, 1901, in the McHue community south of Batesville (Independence County). His parents were John Thomas and Mary Morgan Powell; he had two sisters. While he was still a student at Batesville High School, he joined the Army and served in World War I. He returned to Batesville in and graduated from Batesville High School in 1921. From there he went to the U.S. Naval Academy, where he received a BS degree and was commissioned an ensign with the U.S. Navy in 1925. Powell served two years in the …

Powell, Nathan Lee (Nate)

Nathan Lee (Nate) Powell, winner of a National Book Award and an Eisner Award, is a New York Times bestselling graphic novelist. He is best known for his graphic novels Swallow Me Whole and Any Empire, which he wrote and illustrated, as well as the March series of graphic novels, co-written by Congressman John Lewis, for which he provided the art. Nate Powell was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on July 31, 1978. He grew up as an ardent comics fan in North Little Rock (Pulaski County), reading such titles as The ’Nam, Transformers, X-Men, Daredevil, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Appleseed, and G.I. Joe. In the 1990s, Powell became involved in the DIY (do-it-yourself) punk subculture, self-publishing a zine …

Powell, Sam (Lynching of)

On July 6, 1910, an African-American man named Sam Powell was lynched near Huttig (Union County) for allegedly robbing A. E. Lucas and setting his house on fire. The Nashville Tennessean reported that Powell was only eighteen years old at the time. He may have been assisted in the crime by another African-American man named Claude Holmes. There is no record of a young African American named Sam Powell living in Arkansas in either 1900 or 1910. However, in 1900, an eight-year-old African American named Sam Powell was living in Lincoln Parish in northern Louisiana with his parents and eight siblings, and news stories about the lynching reported that Powell initially escaped to a lumber town named Rochelle in Grant …

Power, Albert

Albert Power is one of four people to receive a Medal of Honor for actions during the Battle of Pea Ridge, March 7–8, 1862. Power received the honor for his deeds at the Leetown sector of the battlefield on March 7. Private Power was one of five Medal of Honor recipients from his unit, the Third Iowa Cavalry, during the course of the Civil War. Albert Power was born in Liberty, Ohio, on June 18, 1842. Power enlisted in the Third Iowa Cavalry, Company A, at Keokuk, Iowa, on August 31, 1861. Power became a part of General Samuel Ryan Curtis’s Army of the Southwest at the rank of private. Appointed on Christmas Day 1861, Curtis was given one task—to …

Powhatan (Lawrence County)

Powhatan was the Lawrence County seat of government for almost ninety-five years. Founded in the early nineteenth century on the banks of the Black River, the town became the county’s most important port on the Black River. When bypassed by the railroad in the 1880s, the town began a steady decline and is best known today as the site of a historic state park. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood White settlers established themselves in the area at about the same time as the creation of the Missouri Territory county of Lawrence. One of the earliest, John Ficklin, settled on the west bank of the Black River and, by 1820, began operating a ferry. Within a few years, the crossing and …

Powhatan Courthouse

The Powhatan Historic Courthouse is located in the Powhatan Historic State Park, a stretch of a nineteenth-century river port town, and represents the rich judicial history and healthy commerce of northeastern Arkansas. It stands on a hill overlooking the Black River, not far from a collection of buildings that Arkansas State Parks also controls: the Powhatan Jail, the Ficklin-Imboden House, a commercial building, and the Powhatan Male and Female Academy. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the courthouse as significant for Lawrence County’s history, while also serving as a good example of historic preservation. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 16, 1970. In 1869, Lawrence County voters approved moving their county seat from the …

Powhatan Historic State Park

Powhatan Historic State Park preserves a small nineteenth-century river port town in Lawrence County, once a hub of northeast Arkansas commerce, industry, and government. Located on the Black River at the juncture of the Ozark Plateau and the Arkansas Delta, Powhatan pioneers had the advantages of easy river access, plentiful resources in the foothills, and fertile land. The first steamboat, the Laurel, arrived around 1829, beginning a series of landings that spanned over 100 years and stimulated civic and regional growth. Footpaths transformed into roads, a river ford into a ferry, and swampy delta into rich farmland, attracting merchants, farmers, and families. In 1837, the settlement name “Powhatan” was selected to honor the Virginia Native American chief, father of Pocahontas. …

Powhatan Jail

The Powhatan Jail was built in 1873 in Powhatan (Lawrence County) and is one of the few nineteenth-century jails still standing in Arkansas. The jailhouse was constructed as a companion building to the nearby courthouse. Originally, it was built with six cells, each quite large. The cells, built from strap iron and assembled by a riveted structure in a lattice pattern, were shipped in from Ohio by steamboat. John D. Edwards designed both the Powhatan Jail and first courthouse. This jail is thought to be the first jailhouse in Lawrence County built from locally extracted stone. The jailhouse’s design is common for nineteenth-century architecture, with the front third of the building intended to have a jail keeper’s residence. However, the residence …

Powhatan Male and Female Academy

aka: Powhatan School House
The Powhatan Male and Female Academy, first located in a log cabin built by Andrew Imboden in 1854, was the first school in the settlement of Powhatan (Lawrence County). The school remained open for just over 100 years, closing due to consolidation in 1955. Shortly after the construction of the school, Benjamin F. Mathews was retained as its first school master. It is believed that he gave the school its name. The first school term covered just two months. Being the only school in the immediate area, it saw steady growth until forced to close due to the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. The academy reopened shortly after the end of the war. Apparently around 1880, the old …

Powhatan Methodist Church

The Powhatan Methodist Church is one of the historic buildings found at Powhatan State Park. The church exemplifies the nineteenth-century Greek Revival architectural style in which it was built. Records indicate that the Powhatan Methodist Church was formed in 1858 with a 284-member congregation under the direction of four local pastors. Members included white settlers, probationers, and African-American residents. Before the church building was constructed, church members in Powhatan (Lawrence County) may have gathered at the Black River for worship services. Around 1874, building plans for the Powhatan Methodist Church included one double-door entrance at the front and windows placed on each side of the building. The interior of the church has a large sanctuary with two cloak rooms that …