Business Leaders

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Entry Category: Business Leaders - Starting with V

Van Winkle, Aaron “Rock”

African American frontiersman Aaron Anderson “Rock” Van Winkle was recognized throughout northwestern Arkansas as a skilled lumberman, builder, farmer, businessman, and principal agent of Peter Van Winkle, owner of the preeminent sawmill business of the region that supplied lumber throughout the Ozarks for over forty years in the latter half of the nineteenth century. His life spanned seventy-five years during times of turbulence and change in the nation and in Arkansas—from slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the unprecedented industrial and technological development that was the Gilded Age. Aaron Anderson was born enslaved in Alabama in 1829 and brought as a child to Arkansas by slave-holding farmer Hugh Anderson, on whose Benton County farm he came of age. After Hugh …

Van Winkle, Peter

Peter Van Winkle was a prominent lumberman and sawmill owner in northwestern Arkansas who came back from losing most of his property in the Civil War to establish a timber empire that helped rebuild much of the region after the war. Peter Marselis Van Winkle was born in New York State on February 25, 1814. (His middle name is sometimes rendered Manelis, likely an error.) His family moved to Illinois when he was young, and he grew up there before moving to northwestern Arkansas around 1837 and establishing a business breaking prairie land in the region. He married Frances Wilcox, who apparently died, and he then married Temperance Miller on May 3, 1840; they would have twelve children. The Van …