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Entries - Entry Category: Individuals - Starting with R

Rayburn, Howell A. “Doc”

Howell A. “Doc” Rayburn was a Civil War guerrilla chieftain who operated in the area between West Point (White County) and Des Arc (Prairie County). His legacy is a mix of fact and legend. His attacks and those of other guerrillas on Union outposts and expeditions tied up countless Union military assets that otherwise could have been used elsewhere. Doc Rayburn was born about 1841 in Roane County, Tennessee, one of six children born to farmer Hodge Rayburn and Susan Rayburn. A few years later, the family relocated to Texas. Rayburn joined the Confederate army on October 21, 1861, when he enlisted in Company C, Twelfth Texas Cavalry. The regiment moved to Des Arc in March 1862 and prepared to …

Reid, Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson Reid was a physician and a colonel in the Confederate army during the Civil War. Reid not only fought during the war—and at one point escaped from a prisoner-of-war camp—he also served at times in a medical role. After the war, he practiced medicine in Arkansas. He moved to Illinois around 1880, where he lived the rest of his life. Thomas Jefferson Reid was born on January 6, 1838, in Caswell County, North Carolina. He was one of twelve children born to Thomas Jefferson Reid and Frances Lightfoot Edwards “Fannie” Reid. Thomas Sr. was a descendant of Major John Reid of Virginia, who had served in the American Revolution. Reid’s mother was well educated and from a slaveholding …

Reynolds, Daniel Harris

Daniel Harris Reynolds was a lawyer, Confederate general, and state senator who ranks as one of Arkansas’s most talented and dedicated citizen-soldiers during the Civil War. Daniel Reynolds was born on December 14, 1832, in Centerburg, Ohio, to Amos and Sophia (Houck) Reynolds. He studied at Ohio Wesleyan University in the town of Delaware, where he joined the Masonic order in 1853. He studied law privately in Louisa County, Iowa, and Somerville, Tennessee, where he befriended fellow future Confederate general Otho French Strahl. Admitted to the bar in 1858, he established a legal practice in Lake Village (Chicot County) At the outset of the Civil War, Reynolds raised a cavalry company, the “Chicot Rangers,” and entered Confederate service as a …

Ricks, Earl Thornton

Major General Earl Thornton Ricks served as chief of the Air Force Division, National Guard Bureau, in Washington DC and as mayor of Hot Springs (Garland County), helping end Leo McLaughlin’s political domination there. The Ricks National Guard Armory in Little Rock (Pulaski County) was named for him to commemorate his career, which spanned the most significant years of early aviation history. Earl Ricks was born on July 9, 1908, in West Point, Mississippi, the only child of Nancy Jordan and Earl Paul Ricks, an ice plant owner/manager. The family moved to Stamps (Lafayette County) in about 1916. After high school graduation at Stamps, Ricks followed his lifelong interest in flying at Parks Air College in St. Louis, Missouri. After …

Risner, James Robinson

James Robinson (Robbie) Risner, a native of Mammoth Spring (Fulton County), was a much-decorated fighter pilot famed for his resistance to his North Vietnamese captors as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. Robbie Risner was born on January 16, 1925, in Mammoth Spring, the son of sharecroppers Grover W. Risner and Lora Grace Robinson Risner. He was the fifth of seven children. Risner apparently did not live in Arkansas for long, with census records showing the family living in Oak Grove, Missouri, in 1930, and in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by 1940. Risner joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1943 at age eighteen and served in Panama during World War II, seeing no action, although he trained as a …

Robinson, James H.

James H. Robinson was a soldier in the Third Michigan Cavalry who was awarded a Medal of Honor for his actions in Arkansas during the Civil War. However, his record of service proves a mystery, and it appears likely that he was awarded the Medal of Honor in a case of mistaken identity. Little is known about the early life of James H. Robinson. The son of Cyrus Robinson, who was a farmer, and Deborah Robinson, he was eighteen years old when he enlisted in the Third Michigan Cavalry Regiment at Corunna, Michigan, on February 22, 1864, for a three-year term. The Third Michigan had completed its initial three-year term of service and reorganized as a veteran regiment on January …

Ross, Jimmy Douglas

Jimmy Ross was an officer in the U.S. Army who rose to the rank of general. Ross was named as a Distinguished Alumnus of Henderson State University in 1986 and to the university’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. Jimmy Douglas Ross was born in Hosston, Louisiana, on May 23, 1936, to Horace and Lucile Ross. The Ross family was originally from Arkadelphia (Clark County), and Horace was a worker in the oil industry. The family had an older son, Bob. The Ross family moved to Curtis (Clark County) in 1942 before living in Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, and California. Returning to Curtis in 1945, Jimmy Ross attended school in Arkadelphia. Playing football, basketball, and baseball, as well as running track, …

Russell, William Leon

William Leon Russell, who served in World War II and the Korean War, ranks as the Arkansas National Guard soldier who has received the most Purple Hearts. William Leon Russell was born on July 26, 1914, near Cecil (Franklin County) to the farming family of James W. Russell and Belah Eubanks Russell; he had five siblings. He was recruited by Coach “Peanut” Ralston to play high school football at Charleston (Franklin County), where he excelled as a lineman. Following graduation from Charleston High School, he attended Arkansas State Teachers College—now the University of Central Arkansas (UCA)—in Conway (Faulkner County) with a football scholarship. He became captain of the team for the 1940 season and was named to the 1940 All-State …

Rust, Albert

Albert Rust—Confederate general, congressman, legislator, and lawyer—helped shape the course of Arkansas in the early years of its statehood. Rust served as an important figure in helping to build the communities of Union County. Rust was born in 1818 in Fauquier County, Virginia, near the Maryland border. His exact birth date is uncertain. In 1837, he made the trek from Virginia to Arkansas, settling on the banks of the Ouachita River in Union County. Soon after his arrival, he bought a few acres of land and a store house near the river. In 1838, he became a county surveyor, helping organize the untamed land into defined sections for sale. In 1839, the county seat was moved to Scarborough’s Landing (called …