Criminal Activities

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Entry Category: Criminal Activities - Starting with V

Van Buren County Lynching of 1894

In early February 1894, three white men—Robert Plunkett, Charles Plunkett, and Henry Bruce—were lynched in Van Buren County for allegedly attacking and robbing an unidentified elderly couple. While no specific date is given in any of the reports, the lynching had to have happened before February 10, when the first accounts were published. Citing “meager details,” accounts indicate only that the lynching happened in what was known as “the Gulch,” and that the men’s alleged crime had “aroused great indignation” in the neighborhood. For additional information: “A Lynching.” Arkansas Gazette, February 10, 1894, p. 2. “Three Men Lynched. Indianapolis Journal, February 10, 1894, p. 3. “A Triple Lynching.” Forrest City Times, February 16, 1894, p. 8. Nancy Snell Griffith Davidson, …


The Vapors was a nightclub in Hot Springs (Garland County) during the last era of illegal gambling in the city. Upscale entertainment in the style of Las Vegas, Nevada—featuring well-known acts like Edgar Bergen, the Smothers Brothers, and Tony Bennett—distinguished it from many of the rival clubs in the area. Dane Harris, who had been a World War II pilot, accumulated money from a stake he had in the Belvedere Country Club and casino during the 1950s and used that money to build the Vapors nightclub. Harris partnered with Owen Vincent “Owney” Madden, owner of the Cotton Club in New York and a noted gangster, to build the nightclub at a site at 315 Park Avenue formerly occupied by the …