Entries - Starting with P

Pulaski County Historical Society

Founded in the fall of 1951, the Pulaski County Historical Society (PCHS) is the second oldest county historical society in Arkansas. The PCHS’s founders were James H. Atkinson, a history teacher at Little Rock Junior College (now the University of Arkansas at Little Rock); Claude Rankin, state land commissioner; C. C. Allard, editor of the Arkansas Democrat’s magazine section; and Louise Porter, head of North Little Rock High School’s social science department. Membership increased rapidly due to publicity given the society by the local press. The society originally held its meetings in the Little Rock Public Library at 7th and Louisiana. After it was demolished in 1963, the society met at various places, including the new public library and the …

Pulaski County Lynching of 1894

On March 11, 1894, a group of African Americans discovered the body of a “mulatto” woman hanging from a tree about halfway between Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Marche (Pulaski County). The woman was never identified but was estimated at thirty years old. The body, according to reports, appeared to have been there for several days (the Arkansas Gazette even described the corpse as “decayed”). Around her neck was a placard reading, “If any body cuts this body down, they will share the same fate.” As the Arkansas Gazette reported, “The woman is supposed to have been lynched, but when, by whom and for what reason no one is able to state.” Indeed, although this murder is typically counted among …

Pulaski County Medical Society

The Pulaski County Medical Society (PCMS), founded in 1866, is Arkansas’s largest and one of the state’s oldest county medical organizations for regular physicians (meaning those within the medical mainstream.) (Although sources identify the PCMS as the “first medical organization chartered by the state of Arkansas,” an earlier organization, known as the Crawford County Medical Society, was established in the early 1840s.) The PCMS supports physicians and promotes public health. In nineteenth-century America, regular physicians formed professional organizations to advocate for themselves. In 1866, a group of Little Rock (Pulaski County) physicians, including Philo Oliver Hooper and Roscoe G. Jennings, formed the Little Rock and Pulaski County Medical Society. The PCMS, whose members were required to be American Medical Association …

Pulaski County Reported Lynching of 1889

In rural Pulaski County in 1889, three or four men were reportedly lynched for having beaten a prosperous farmer to death while robbing or attempting to rob him. However, the reports surrounding this event are very vague and sometimes contradictory. Although this event is included in many tabulations of lynching victims for the state, there may be reason for doubting whether a lynching actually occurred. National reports provide the most details about this event. For example, the December 18, 1889, report in the Indianapolis Journal, is one of many similar articles that circulated nationally. On Saturday, December 14, 1889, Henry Wright, described as a “well-to-do farmer,” was on his way to Fletcher’s store in the community of Big Maumelle when …

Pulaski Heights (Pulaski County)

Pulaski Heights, an affluent neighborhood in Little Rock (Pulaski County), was originally a suburban development located on the outskirts of the state’s capital city. Work began on the Pulaski Heights development in the late nineteenth century, and it incorporated as its own town in 1905. The Pulaski Heights development marked the beginning of Little Rock’s westward expansion, a trend that greatly accelerated in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Like many suburban developments of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it was racially exclusive, enforcing an all-white residence primarily by means of restrictive covenants. Pulaski Heights was the project of Michigan industrialist Henry Franklin (H. F.) Auten, who settled in Little Rock by 1890 and later organized the …

Pulaski Light Artillery Battery (CS)

aka: Totten Artillery Company
While Arkansas militia laws in the antebellum period authorized the formation of four militia companies of artillery, cavalry, infantry, and light infantry in each county, few such organizations existed. Pulaski County was an exception to this, and in the years before Arkansas’s secession, there were four volunteer militia units there, including the Totten Artillery, later renamed the Pulaski Light Artillery. While their service was brief compared to other Arkansas units during the Civil War, the men of the Pulaski Light Artillery played a pivotal role in the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, Missouri, on August 10, 1861. On February 14, 1861, Captain William C. Woodruff composed a letter to Colonel Craven Payton of the Thirteenth Regiment, Arkansas State Militia, informing him …

Pulitzer Prize (Arkansas Recipients and Nominees)

The Pulitzer Prize is awarded annually in American journalism, literature, and music composition. It was named for newspaperman Joseph Pulitzer and has been awarded since 1917. Prizes are given from twenty-one possible categories, but not all categories are awarded every year. Winning comes with considerable prestige as well as a $10,000 prize for twenty of the categories and a gold medal for the Public Service category in journalism. There is a $50 entry fee, and works may be entered in up to two categories for consideration. The nominees are selected by 102 judges serving on twenty juries who select three nominees per category. The judges and the final winners are chosen by the Pulitzer Prize Board. Aside from prize winners …

Pullers

Tom Graves’s 1998 novel Pullers features rare subject matter: the sport of arm wrestling (participants refer to themselves as “pullers”). The Southern Gothic–style novel opens with an arm-wrestling contest at Bad Bill’s Hawg Trawf in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). The novel then shifts to Memphis, Tennessee, where most of the story takes place. But characters spend time on both sides of the Mississippi River, enough that Pullers should be regarded both for its Arkansas and Tennessee pedigrees. The winner of the Pine Bluff contest, Scud Matthews, makes his grand entrance at the event with a much smaller man on a leash, both wearing T-shirts that read: “We’re Queer Dear.” With his use of juxtaposition and stereotypes, Graves is primarily going …

Purcell, Joe Edward

Joe Edward Purcell was a lawyer and politician who shocked the political establishment in 1966 by defeating the state’s colorful attorney general, Bruce Bennett, in the Democratic primary. Although Purcell never realized his dream of becoming governor, he was elected attorney general twice and lieutenant governor three times during his political career. Joe Purcell was born on July 29, 1923, in Warren (Bradley County). He was the oldest of three children of Edward L. and Lynelle Cunningham Purcell. His father, known as “Buddy,” remarried and moved to Texas. His mother worked in her father’s grocery store in Warren and, many years later, at the Arkansas Department of Education at Little Rock (Pulaski County). His grandfather, Fred Purcell, was the town’s …

Purcell, Lee

Emmy Award–nominated actress, producer, writer, and director Lee Purcell has starred in numerous films, television shows, and stage productions. At the beginning of her career, she was mentored by legendary movie star Steve McQueen, who said he chose her from about 500 actresses because she “seemed to jump right out of the screen.” Lee Purcell was born Lee Jeune Williams at the Cherrypoint Marine Corps Air Station in North Carolina on June 15, 1947. Her father, Major Frank D. Williams Jr., was a highly decorated Marine Corps pilot who was killed while on active duty when she was a child. She was placed into the care of various relatives until her mother, Lee McKnight Williams, married again, this time to …

Purdue, Albert Homer

Albert Homer Purdue was the ex officio state geologist from 1907 to 1912. He published many works on the geology of both Arkansas and Tennessee. Purdue was a renowned geologist and taught at Arkansas Industrial University, which is now the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville. Albert Purdue was born on March 29, 1861, on a farm near Yankeetown, Indiana, to Samuel Leroy and Phoebe (Priest) Purdue. Albert was the second oldest of eight children and spent his youth working on the family farm, receiving only minimal formal education. At the age of twenty, however, he entered the Indiana State Normal School (later Indiana State University) in Terre Haute. He received his diploma on June 8, 1888. Until 1896, Purdue …

Purtle, John Ingram

John Ingram Purtle was a populist lawyer and politician who spent eleven tempestuous years as a justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court late in the twentieth century. Purtle—who was called “the Great Dissenter” in a law review article after his death—resigned from the court in 1989 because of enduring conflicts with his fellow justices, most of whom he said had judicial philosophies that were “not in harmony” with his own. Four years before his resignation, Purtle had been charged in an arson-for-profit scheme with his legal secretary and another person, but he was acquitted in a jury trial. John Purtle was born on September 7, 1923, the middle child of nine children of John Wesley Purtle and Edna Gertrude Ingram …

Purvis, Hoyt

Hoyt Hughes Purvis was a longtime professor of journalism at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). Prior to going into teaching, he served as press secretary and aide to Senator J. William Fulbright as well as an advisor to Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia. In addition, he was a political reporter for the Houston Chronicle. Hoyt Purvis was born on November 7, 1939, in Jonesboro (Craighead County) to Hoyt Somervell Purvis and Jane Hughes Purvis. After growing up in Arkansas, he received his undergraduate degree in 1961 from the University of Texas (UT) in Austin, where the budding journalist served as editor and sports editor for the Daily Texan; he also earned a master’s degree in …

Puryear (Scott County)

Puryear is an unincorporated community in western Scott County. Puryear was established in 1915 along Haw Creek. The agriculture and timber industries have contributed the economy and way of life in Puryear. Prior to European exploration, the area surrounding Puryear was a wilderness. Several species of wildlife that no longer inhabit the area, such as elk and buffalo, were present throughout the region. Numerous archaeological sites and burial mounds can be found along the banks of prominent waterways such as the Fourche La Fave River and Black Fork Creek. Archaeological findings have provided evidence of early inhabitants dating to the Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods. Further archaeological evidence has indicated that the people of the Caddo tribe later inhabited the …

Pyatt (Marion County)

Pyatt is a town located on Crooked Creek in Marion County. It is connected by U.S. Business Highway 62 to U.S. Highway 62, which crosses the creek a few miles south of Pyatt. Native Americans were frequent visitors to the Crooked Creek valley before white settlers began arriving in the area. The first land survey conducted in Marion County found that the land along the creek had been cleared and planted with cotton by 1832. Settlers referred to the early settlement as Stringtown because of the way homesteads were strung along the creek. When a post office was established at the settlement in 1855, it was given the name Clear Creek. The community had a cotton gin and a steam …

Pyeatte-Mason Cemetery

The Pyeatte-Mason Cemetery is a small burial ground located in Maumelle (Pulaski County). It contains the graves of some of the early settlers of Crystal Hill, the first town in Pulaski County. The cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 7, 1996. The first settlers to the Crystal Hill area arrived in 1812. The Pyeatte and Carnahan families were originally from Alabama and arrived in Arkansas in 1811. After some time at Arkansas Post, the families continued up the Arkansas River and selected a site near Crystal Hill to build their homes. More settlers arrived over the next decade, and with the establishment of the Arkansas Territory in 1819, community members lobbied to have the …

Pyramid Place

aka: Southern Trust Building
The ten-story Southern Trust Building in downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County) opened in 1907 as the first skyscraper in Little Rock. Later called Pyramid Place, it began housing retail spaces, restaurants, and offices. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 26, 2013. In the early twentieth century, Little Rock was transitioning from a river town to a major city, thanks in part to its rapid population growth. According to the U.S. Census, Little Rock’s population more than tripled during this time, from 13,138 in 1880 to 45,941 in 1910. A 1906 Arkansas Gazette editorial complained that despite Little Rock’s growth, the city did not have a single skyscraper. Plans for a skyscraper had been under …