Entries - Entry Category: Folklore and Folklife - Starting with H

Hell’s Half Acre

Hell’s Half Acre is a talus hillside (a slope formed by an accumulation of broken rocks) located on Indian Mountain, about four miles northeast of downtown Hot Springs (Garland County). Since the first white settlers arrived in Arkansas, the unique contrast of blighted rock surrounded by otherwise ordinary forest has captured the imaginations of locals. Through the efforts of tourism boosters and storytellers, the area earned its name and its popularized reputation as an area haunted by the Devil himself. A Hot Springs tourist guide published in 1892 described Hell’s Half Acre as “[a] barren, weird, forbidding conglomeration of boulders, an arsenal for Titans. Not a blade of grass, not a shrub, not even a lichen dares brave the atmosphere …

High, Fred

aka: Fredrick Green High
Fredrick (Fred) Green High, who lived in Carroll County from birth to death, was one of Ozark folk culture’s most notable characters. His contributions to Ozark heritage are evident in the many recordings of his folk song performances. The John Quincy Wolf Folksong Collection at Lyon College consists of a dozen recordings of High, and Missouri State University’s Max Hunter Collection contains thirty-one additional High recordings. A 1953 Arkansas Gazette feature captured his near legendary status in the Ozarks: “Everybody in north Arkansas knows Fred High for he seldom misses a fair, festival, picnic, public sale, apple peeling, corn husking, or other public gathering.” Fred High was born on January 15, 1878, to Jacob and Sarah Ann (Roberts) High in …

Hillbillies

The “hillbilly” has been an enduring staple of American iconography, and Arkansas has been identified with the hillbilly as much as, if not more than, any state. Despite the lack of scholarly consensus on the origin of the term—historian Anthony Harkins gives as the most likely explanation that Scottish highlanders melded “hill-folk” with “billie,” a word meaning friend or companion—there is no shortage of hillbilly images in American popular culture. Whether a barefoot, rifle-toting, moonshine-swigging, bearded man staring out from beneath a floppy felt hat or a toothless granny in homespun sitting at a spinning wheel and peering suspiciously at strangers from the front porch of a dilapidated mountain cabin, the hillbilly, in all his manifestations, is instantly recognizable. Wrapped …