Entries - Starting with P

Proturans

aka: Coneheads
Proturans belong to the Phylum Euarthropoda, Class Entognatha, and Class Protura. The Protura constitute a taxon of hexapods that were previously thought to be insects and now are considered as a class on their own. Proturans are cosmopolitan in distribution (except for both polar regions and snow zones of mountains) with more than 800 described species belonging to three distinct orders (Acerentomata, Eosentomata, and Sinentomata) and seven families (Acerentomidae, Antelientomidae Eosentomidae, Fujientomidae, Hesperentomidae, Protentomidae, and Sinentomidae). As of 2019, seventy-six genera are known worldwide, with nearly 300 species contained within the single cosmopolitan genus, Eosentomon. There are about twenty-six species in North America, though there is no exact number of species reported, to date, from Arkansas. However, four species of …

Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary

Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary began with just one horse on five acres of rural land outside Sarasota, Florida, and eventually evolved into an award-winning, 320-acre facility located in Mena (Polk County). Melanie and Jim Bowles, the founders of Proud Spirit, originally earned their livings as professional firefighters for Sarasota County, Florida. In 1990, they purchased a small home on five acres out in the country. A few months later, they decided they had room for a horse and began looking for one to purchase. In their search, they discovered a thoroughbred mare that was being neglected and purchased the horse to get her out of the abusive situation. In 1992, they opened their five acres to more horses in need, …

Pruden, James Wesley, Jr.

Wesley Pruden was an American journalist best known for serving as a reporter, editor, and columnist with the Washington Times for more than three decades. He was a leader of the paper’s effort to establish itself as a conservative alternative to the U.S. capital city’s iconic Washington Post. James Wesley Pruden Jr. was born on December 18, 1935, in Jackson, Mississippi, to James Wesley Pruden Sr. and Anne Wilder Pruden. His father was a prominent and controversial minister who abandoned his itinerant preaching shortly after his son’s birth. Returning to Little Rock (Pulaski County), he pioneered radio preaching before becoming chaplain for—and later president of—the Capital Citizens’ Council, which was the Little Rock chapter of the White Citizens’ Council, a …

Pruden, James Wesley, Sr.

James Wesley Pruden Sr., a Southern Baptist minister, was first chaplain and then president of the Little Rock (Pulaski County) chapter of the White Citizens’ Council during the volatile school desegregation period of 1957–58. Pruden led a campaign in the newspapers and in the streets to stop the desegregation of Central High School. Journalist Roy Reed’s analysis of Pruden is that, had it not been for the school crisis, he would have been “destined for the obscurity of a second-tier Baptist Church,” and that he was “a man whose ambition out-paced his abilities.” Wesley Pruden was the great-grandson of John Pruden, a North Carolina slaveholder. He was born near Alexander (Pulaski and Saline counties) in 1908. He moved early in …

Pruitt, John Henry

John Henry Pruitt of Newton County is one of only nineteen soldiers in U.S. military history to be twice awarded the Medal of Honor. Both presentations were for a single action as a combat Marine during World War I. John Pruitt was born on October 4, 1896, at Pruitt Hollow Boston Township near the small settlement of Fallsville (Newton County) to George B. and Melissa Belle Pruitt. Most sources incorrectly list his birthplace as Fayetteville (Washington County). At a very early age, Pruitt, along with his family, moved to Jerome, Arizona, where his older brother was a blacksmith in the local mines. Little is known of Pruitt’s early years. It is believed that he attended school in Jerome before the …

Pryor, Barbara Jean Lunsford

Barbara Pryor is an Arkansas filmmaker, businesswoman, and arts advocate. As the wife of David Pryor, she was Arkansas’s thirty-ninth first lady. Outside of politics, she has been best known for her work as a film producer, in the arts, and for the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). Born on December 26, 1938, in Fayetteville, Barbara Jean Lunsford was the only daughter of five children born to Bruce and RosaLee Lunsford. The Lunsfords were antique dealers in Fayetteville. After graduating from Fayetteville High School in 1956, she enrolled at UA. In her freshman year, Lunsford met an upperclassman from Camden (Ouachita County) named David …

Pryor, David Hampton

David Hampton Pryor, arguably the most popular Arkansas politician of the modern era, held four different political offices during his career: state House of Representatives member, U.S. congressman, governor, and U.S. senator. A Democrat, Pryor played a crucial role in limiting the rise of Republicanism in Arkansas in the latter decades of the twentieth century. David Pryor was born on August 29, 1934, in Camden (Ouachita County) to William Edgar Pryor and Susan Pryor. His father and grandfather were both sheriffs. His mother was the first Arkansas woman to run for elective office (she ran unsuccessfully for county circuit clerk in 1926); she later won a school board race. Pryor had three siblings. The role of Pryor’s family in public …

Pryor, Mark Lunsford

Mark Lunsford Pryor is an Arkansas lawyer and politician. Following in the footsteps of his father, David Pryor, he served two terms in the U.S. Senate as a Democrat before he was defeated for reelection in 2014. Mark Pryor was born in Fayetteville (Washington County) on January 10, 1963, to David Pryor and Barbara Jean Lunsford Pryor. With his father serving first as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives—followed by service as governor and U.S. senator—Mark Pryor grew up in a politically oriented household in both Arkansas and Washington DC. He received a BA in history from the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville in 1985. He continued his studies at the University of Arkansas School of Law, …

Pryor, Susan Hampton Newton

Susan Hampton Newton Pryor was the first woman in Arkansas to run for a political office after women obtained the vote and was one of the first women to hold a seat on a local school board. She also participated in one of the first historic preservation projects in the state, was the mother of David Pryor (who served as governor of Arkansas and U.S. senator), and was the grandmother of Mark Pryor (who served as Arkansas’s attorney general and was elected U.S. senator in 2002). Susie Newton was born in Camden (Ouachita County) on November 9, 1900, to Robert D. and Cornelia Ellen Newton. Her father owned the Camden Shingle Mill and was the sheriff of Ouachita County. After …

Public Health

Public health is a dynamic, interdisciplinary field with the goal of improving and maintaining the health and well-being of communities through education, the promotion of healthy behaviors and lifestyles, the creation of health-related government policy, and research on disease and injury prevention. In Arkansas, the field of public health has been active since territorial days, when infectious diseases such as malaria plagued the area. In the early days, efforts to improve sanitation, prevent the spread of disease, and treat the health problems of the public in Arkansas centered on diseases—particularly malaria, hookworm, polio, yellow fever, typhoid, and tuberculosis. In modern times, public health campaigns in Arkansas have moved toward a focus on chronic health problems such as obesity and diabetes. …

Public Land Surveys

The survey and division of the public lands that would make up the state of Arkansas was vitally important to the orderly settlement and development of the future territory and state. The modern survey system devised by the United States in the late 1700s provided the basis for subdividing the vast new lands acquired by the expanding nation into more identifiable, transferable tracts. Soon after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the U.S. government began the process of dividing the vast addition into smaller tracts, including the eventual survey and charting of nearly all of the newly acquired public land in the territory that would become Arkansas. That process in Arkansas would last nearly half a century. Prior to 1815, the …

Public Works Administration

The U.S. Congress passed the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) on June 16, 1933, as part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal to combat the effects of the Great Depression and the ensuing failures of businesses across the country. As part of the act, the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works—called the Public Works Administration (PWA) after 1935—was established on June 16, 1933, to provide grants and loans to finance public works projects that would help “promote and stabilize employment and purchasing power.” Across the country, the PWA funded some 34,000 projects between July 1933 and March 1939, expending $6 billion over the lifetime of the agency. President Herbert Hoover had sought to establish a public works division within …

Pugsley v. Sellmeyer

Pugsley v. Sellmeyer is the title of an Arkansas Supreme Court case that dealt with a disciplinary decision made by the school district of Knobel (Clay County) pertaining to a student being suspended for wearing talcum powder on her face. The case has been cited in other legal actions, namely in students’ rights lawsuits, and appears in various books focusing on these matters. At the beginning of the 1921–22 academic year, Knobel High School principal N. E. Hicks informed a student assembly of new rules of conduct adopted by the district’s school board. One of the mandates prohibited female students from wearing low-necked dresses or immodest clothing, as well as banning cosmetics. Earlier in the day, senior Pearl Pugsley had …

Pulaski County

Pulaski County has a diverse population, economy, natural setting, and social structure. Its balanced economy results from state and local government, business and industry, and finance and nonprofit sectors. Three of Arkansas’s six natural divisions converge in Pulaski County—the Ouachita Mountains, the Mississippi Alluvial Plain (the Delta), and the Coastal Plain—representing the state’s wealth of flora, fauna, and geological features. In the geographic center of Arkansas, Pulaski County is one of the state’s five original counties and has been at the center of state government, politics, business, art, and culture for almost two centuries. Pre-European Exploration The Plum Bayou culture flourished in central Arkansas between AD 600 and 1050, as can be seen in sites such as the Toltec Mounds …

Pulaski County Courthouse

The Pulaski County Courthouse, located at 405 Markham Street, is in the heart of downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County). Two distinct buildings make up the Pulaski County Courthouse: a Romanesque Revival completed in 1889 and a Beaux Arts structure completed 1914. The styles are divergent from each other and symbolize different eras in Little Rock’s history. The Pulaski County Courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 18, 1979. The 1889 building was the first permanent courthouse in the county and was meant to demonstrate Arkansas’s growing prominence. Along with a new seat of justice, the city installed a water system in 1885, and the first paved streets were introduced in 1887. Little Rock and Pulaski …

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 …