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Morgan, Stokeley P.

Union County native Stokeley Morgan was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and by the time of his death in 1900, he had completed over twenty-three years of service in the U.S. Navy. He is best known for having commanded the battery onboard the battleship USS Olympia at Manila Bay, Philippines, that is credited with having fired the first shots by the United States in the 1898 Spanish-American War. Stokeley Morgan was born in August 1859 in Mount Holly (Union County) to Asa Morgan and Eliza Wright Morgan. He had two older brothers, a younger sister, and a half-brother. He completed his early education in Union County and in 1876 secured an appointment to the U.S. …

Munn, John Calvin

Lieutenant General John Calvin “Toby” Munn was a commander in the Pacific Theater of World War II and a pioneer among U.S. Marine aviators who perfected the use of aircraft carriers for combat operations. After the war, he was responsible for securing the major Japanese Yokosuka Naval Base, which became the largest U.S. naval base in the Far East. During his career, he continued to guide the improvement of U.S. Marine air capabilities, and he rose to the top echelon of marine leadership as the assistant commandant of the United States Marine Corps. John Calvin Munn was born in Prescott (Nevada County) on October 17, 1906, to a recently widowed schoolteacher named Cora Hitt Munn. At the age of five, …

Murray, John Edward

John Edward Murray was a West Point cadet and Confederate officer who is popularly known as the youngest general in the Confederate army, though he was never thus promoted. John Murray was born in March 1843 to John C. Murray and Sarah Ann (Carter) Murray in Fauquier County, Virginia. His parents also had three other sons and one daughter. At the age of six, Murray moved with his family to Arkansas, settling near Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), where his father became a judge. In 1860, Murray received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point and attended that institution until the next year. With the secession of Arkansas, Murray returned home, where his military skills were put …

Nelson, Allison

Allison Nelson was the mayor of Atlanta, Georgia; a state legislator; and a brigadier general in the Confederate army. He died while serving in Arkansas and is buried in the state. Allison Nelson was born on March 11, 1822, in Fulton County, Georgia, the son of John Nelson; his mother’s name is unrecorded. His father was a ferry operator on the Chattahoochee River and was murdered in 1825. Nelson married Mary Sledge Greene in 1840, and the couple would eventually have two daughters and a son. During the Mexican War, Nelson raised a company of volunteers from Georgia and was elected as captain of the unit, known as the Kennesaw Rangers. The Georgians never saw any action during the war, …

Newton, Robert Crittenden

Robert Crittenden Newton was a noted Confederate officer who served in several roles during the Civil War. He attained the rank of colonel and led a brigade during part of his service. Robert C. Newton was born on June 2, 1840, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to U.S. Representative Thomas Newton and Mary Allen Newton. He had three brothers and a sister. Thomas Newton died in 1853, and Mary Newton married James Johnson, a planter. Newton studied at the Western Military Institute in Tennessee and with private tutors in Little Rock before serving as the deputy clerk for the Pulaski County Circuit Court. Studying for the bar at the same time, Newton became a lawyer in 1860. While practicing law, …

Noble, Marion Monden

Marion Monden Noble was an Arkansas-born lifelong communist who is one of three Arkansans known to have served with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade during the Spanish Civil War (the others being pilot Frank Glasgow Tinker and composer Conlon Nancarrow). Marion Noble was born on May 4, 1911, in Garner (White County), one of six children of Isom J. Noble and Cora Noble. His father was a railroad worker known for treating both black and white workers equally, but he lost his job along with thousands of others during a railroad strike. By 1920, the family was living in Higginson (White County), where his father started a car repair business. Noble worked there as a mechanic before leaving to attend the …

Nunn, Ira Hudson (1901–1990)

Ira Hudson Nunn was a U.S. Navy officer who was much decorated for his World War II actions, later serving as the Navy’s Judge Advocate General. Ira Hudson Nunn was born in Camden (Ouachita County) on March 16, 1901, to merchant James B. Nunn and Henrietta Hudson Nunn; he was a descendant of some of the earliest white settlers of the area. Nunn entered the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, in 1920 after attending the Marion Military Institute at Marion, Alabama. He graduated from the academy on June 4, 1924, with the rank of ensign. Nunn married Esther Wagner of Washington DC. They had one daughter. Nunn served in the U.S. Navy’s Ordnance Bureau in Washington DC immediately after …

Ord, Edward Otho C.

Edward Otho C. Ord was a major general in the Union army during the Civil War and commanded the Department of Arkansas and the Fourth Military District during Reconstruction. Born in Cumberland, Maryland, on October 18, 1818, Edward O. C. Ord was the son of James and Rebecca Ord. The family moved to Washington DC when Ord was young. Tutored by his father, he was known as a mathematical genius. He entered the United States Military Academy at West Point at the age of sixteen. He graduated in 1839 and received a commission as a second lieutenant in the Third United States Artillery. After service during the Second Seminole War and a promotion to first lieutenant in 1841, Ord sailed …

Orto, Zaphney

Zaphney Orto, a prominent physician who helped discover the link between malaria and mosquitoes, was a U.S. army major and surgeon during the Spanish-American War, and the second president of Simmons First National Bank, founded in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). Born to Leonidas Orto and Martha G. McElwee Orto in Somerville, Tennessee, in 1842, Zaphney Orto lived on a farm near Somerville until he was eighteen, then worked in a store for two years. He studied medicine with Dr. S. W. Thompson of Evansville, Indiana, and graduated from the Miami Medical College of Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1872. Shortly afterward, he moved to Arkansas, where he settled in Clover Bend (Lawrence County). He practiced medicine there for two years before moving …

Osterhaus, Peter Joseph

Peter Joseph Osterhaus was a German immigrant who rose through the ranks in the Civil War to the post of major general of volunteers in U.S. Army. He fought in several Trans-Mississippi battles, including Pea Ridge and Arkansas Post, and was the most accomplished of the German-born generals who fought for the Union. Peter Joseph Osterhaus was born on January 4, 1823, in Koblenz, Prussia, the second of three sons of contractor Josef Adolf Oisterhusz and Eleanora Kraemer Oisterhusz, who chose to change their sons’ surnames to the German version. He received a military education and served in the Twenty-Ninth Reserve Regiment of the Prussian army. Osterhaus was involved in the revolutions that convulsed Europe in 1848–1849 and was forced …

Pace, Frank

Frank Pace Jr. was an Arkansas native who served as Secretary of the Army under President Harry S. Truman from 1950 to 1953 and as the first president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting from 1968 to 1972 under Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon. Pace served in many capacities—such as attorney, civil servant, corporate executive, and nonprofit director—in his long career. Frank Pace Jr. was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on July 5, 1912, to Frank Pace and Flora Augusta Layton Pace. The family soon moved to Pennsylvania. He received a private school education in Pennsylvania before attending Princeton University. He received his law degree from Harvard University Law School in 1936. Pace returned to Arkansas, …

Parks, William Pratt “Buck”

William Pratt “Buck” Parks was a captain of a heavy artillery battery at the Battle of Vicksburg in Mississippi. Following the Civil War, Parks became a prominent leader of agrarian protest in Arkansas. The 1860 Census shows William Pratt Parks living in Little Rock (Pulaski County) at the residence of Joshua and Susan Jones, along with four younger siblings. A newspaper article appearing in the Arkansas Gazette on May 16, 1911, listed Parks as being enrolled at St. Johns’ College when it first opened, in October 1859. Parks served as a private in the Pulaski County Field Artillery Battery (Arkansas state troops). This battery, originally organized in late 1860 as the Totten Light Battery, became the Pulaski County Field Artillery …

Parsons, Mosby Monroe

Mosby Monroe Parsons served as a Confederate officer throughout Arkansas during the Civil War. Parsons saw action at Prairie Grove (Washington County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), and Helena (Phillips County), and he faced off against General Frederick Steele in the Camden Expedition. He also participated in General Sterling Price’s Missouri Raid in 1864. Mosby Monroe Parsons was born on May 21, 1822, in Charlottesville, Virginia, to Gustavus Adolphus Parsons and Patience Monroe Parsons; he had seven siblings. He moved to Cooper County, Missouri, in 1835. Parsons began studying law at St. Charles College in St. Charles, Missouri, in 1844, and he was admitted to the bar in 1846. During the Mexican-American War, Parsons commanded the First Regiment, Missouri Volunteers, Company …

Partain, Edward Allen (Ed)

Edward Allen (Ed) Partain was a U.S. Army officer who fought in the wars in Korea and Vietnam, eventually leading the Fifth Army as a lieutenant general. Ed Partain was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on June 26, 1929, to Eugene and Zoe Partain. He had one brother. His family moved to Paragould (Greene County) when he was a child, and he grew up there prior to attending the Western Military Academy in Alton, Illinois. After graduating, he was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, where he was a cadet company commander and taught Sunday school. Immediately after graduating from West Point, he married Mary Frances Johnson of Paragould on June 5, 1951; they had known …

Pearce, Nicholas Bartlett

Nicholas Bartlett Pearce commanded the First (western) Division of the Arkansas Army in the Battle of Wilson’s Creek (Oak Hills) on August 10, 1861, and served subsequently as a Confederate commissary officer. Nicholas Bartlett Pearce was born on July 20, 1828, in Princeton, Kentucky, to farmers Allen Pearce and Mary (Polly) Morse Pearce; he had four sisters and one brother. He reportedly graduated from Cumberland College in 1845 and then attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, graduating in the class of 1850, ranking twenty-sixth in a class of forty-four. Entering the service as a second lieutenant, he saw service in Texas and Utah and, in June 1855, while stationed at Fort Smith (Sebastian County), married Nancy …

Phelps, John Elisha

John E. Phelps recruited and served as colonel of the Second Arkansas Cavalry Regiment (US), which saw extensive service in northern Arkansas and in Missouri during the Civil War. John Elisha Phelps was born in Springfield, Missouri, on April 6, 1839, one of five children of John Smith Phelps and Mary Whitney Phelps. He attended school in Fayetteville (Washington County) but finished his education at a private school in Springfield. He went into business for himself at age thirteen, buying and selling cattle, and in 1859, he and two others established a wholesale grocery store in Springfield, with Phelps also traveling on horseback to sell items. When the Civil War began, Phelps acted as a volunteer scout for the Union …

Pickett, Alexander Corbin (A. C.)

Known personally and professionally as A. C. Pickett or Colonel Pickett, Alexander Corbin Pickett was a lawyer in Jacksonport (Jackson County) and later Augusta (Woodruff County), organizer of the Jackson Guards (CS) in the Civil War, and later a colonel in the Tenth Missouri Infantry (CS). Following the war, Pickett was head of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) in Woodruff County during Reconstruction. A. C. Pickett, whose birth date is unknown (sources range from 1820 to 1823), was the sixth of the nine children of Steptoe Pickett and Sarah Chilton Pickett who survived into adulthood. Originally from Warrenton in Fauquier County, Virginia, the Picketts came to Mooresville, Alabama, around 1820, just as the area was opening to settlement. Pickett and …

Pike, Albert

Albert Pike was a lawyer who played a major role in the development of the early courts of Arkansas and played an active role in the state’s politics prior to the Civil War. He also was a central figure in the development of Masonry in the state and later became a national leader of that organization. During the Civil War, he commanded the Confederacy’s Indian Territory, raising troops there and exercising field command in one battle. He also was a talented poet and writer. Albert Pike was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 29, 1809. He was one of the six children of Benjamin Pike, a cobbler, and Sarah Andrews. He attended public schools in Byfield, Newburyport, and Framingham, Massachusetts. …

Pike, Edward M.

Edward M. Pike was a sergeant in the Thirty-Third Illinois Infantry Regiment who received the Medal of Honor for rescuing an imperiled cannon during the 1862 Action at Hill’s Plantation in Arkansas. Edward M. Pike was born on July 1, 1838, at Raymond, Maine, the son of wealthy farmer Harrison N. Pike and Susan A. Pike. He was the oldest of their five sons and two daughters. By 1860, the family had moved to Bloomington, Illinois. After the Civil War began, Pike served in the Union army, as did several of his brothers. Twenty-four-year-old student Pike enlisted as an orderly sergeant in Company A of the Thirty-Third Illinois Infantry Regiment on August 21, 1861, at Bloomington. The Thirty-Third Illinois served …

Pittman, Samuel Pinckney

Samuel Pinckney Pittman came to prominence in northwestern Arkansas as a Confederate veteran, civic leader, Washington County official, memoir writer, and advocate for agricultural and educational interests. Born to James and Mary Pittman on June 27, 1836, ten miles southwest of Fayetteville (Washington County) in what is now Prairie Grove Township, Samuel Pinckney Pittman grew up on the family farm. He received an education at Ozark Institute in Mount Comfort (Washington County). After his father’s death in 1847, Pittman continued to farm and raise livestock. In 1858, Pittman married Sarah Boone. They had a son named William in 1859; he died of typhoid fever at the age of eighteen. Their daughter, Mary was born in 1866; she died in 1904. …

Polk, Lucius Eugene

General Lucius Eugene Polk, who for a brief time made Arkansas his home, was a nephew of Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk (the “Fighting Bishop” whose responsibilities included Arkansas) and also a distant relative of President James K. Polk. His greatest claim to fame, however, was rising from the rank of private in the Yell Rifles at the outbreak of the Civil War to the rank of brigadier general under Major General Patrick Cleburne late in 1862. He achieved this command post while being wounded numerous times in the course of the war. Lucius Polk was born on July 10, 1833, in Salisbury, North Carolina, to William J. Polk and Mary Rebecca A. Long. He was one of twelve children. When …

Porter, Ray Edison

Ray E. Porter was a career U.S. Army officer who served in World War I as well as World War II, in which he rose to the rank of major general and led the Seventy-Fifth Infantry Division during the latter part of the war. Ray Edison Porter was born on July 29, 1891, in Fordyce (Dallas County), the eldest of three sons and a daughter of Hattie E. Porter and blacksmith and farmer William L. Porter. He attended the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), and, on May 15, 1917, enlisted in the U.S. Army at Fort Logan H. Roots; his draft card showed that he shared responsibility for his family with his mother and three siblings, his …

Powell, Morgan Allen

Morgan Allen Powell was a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy who retired in 1957 to his native Independence County, where he researched local history. Morgan Powell was born on March 2, 1901, in the McHue community south of Batesville (Independence County). His parents were John Thomas and Mary Morgan Powell; he had two sisters. While he was still a student at Batesville High School, he joined the Army and served in World War I. He returned to Batesville in and graduated from Batesville High School in 1921. From there he went to the U.S. Naval Academy, where he received a BS degree and was commissioned an ensign with the U.S. Navy in 1925. Powell served two years in the …

Power, Albert

Albert Power is one of four people to receive a Medal of Honor for actions during the Battle of Pea Ridge, March 7–8, 1862. Power received the honor for his deeds at the Leetown sector of the battlefield on March 7. Private Power was one of five Medal of Honor recipients from his unit, the Third Iowa Cavalry, during the course of the Civil War. Albert Power was born in Liberty, Ohio, on June 18, 1842. Power enlisted in the Third Iowa Cavalry, Company A, at Keokuk, Iowa, on August 31, 1861. Power became a part of General Samuel Ryan Curtis’s Army of the Southwest at the rank of private. Appointed on Christmas Day 1861, Curtis was given one task—to …

Prentiss, Benjamin Mayberry

Benjamin Mayberry Prentiss served as a major general in the Union army during the Civil War. He most notably served as the Federal commander at the Battle of Helena and was captured leading his division at the Battle of Shiloh. Benjamin Prentiss was born in Belleville, Virginia, on November 23, 1819, to Henry Leonidas Prentiss and Rebecca Mayberry Prentiss. At the age of seventeen, he moved with his family to Marion County, Missouri, where he worked as a rope maker. In 1841, he moved to Quincy, Illinois, where he joined the militia and was active in the conflict between local citizens and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Prentiss was married twice. He and his first …

Price, John Dale

John Dale Price was a pioneering naval aviator who made the first ever night landings on an aircraft carrier in 1925 and served with distinction during World War II. John Dale Price was born in Augusta (Woodruff County) on May 18, 1892, to farmer David Flournoy Price and Anna S. Corley Price. He attended the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) for one year before receiving an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, in 1912. He graduated in 1916 and was designated as a naval aviator on May 21, 1920. Price worked at the Naval Air Craft Factory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, before being assigned to the battleship USS Maryland, which had the first turntable aircraft …

Price, Sterling

Sterling Price was a farmer, politician, and soldier who served as a general from Missouri in Arkansas during the Civil War. Most notably, he commanded the Confederate Department of Arkansas during the fall of Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Federal forces and during the Camden Expedition. Born in Prince Edward County, Virginia, on September 20, 1809, into a wealthy planting family, Price attended Hampton-Sydney College for one year and then studied law. Sterling’s parents, Pugh Price and Elizabeth (Williamson) Price, had three other sons and a daughter. Around 1831, Price accompanied his parents west to Missouri. There, he married Martha Head on May 14, 1833, and was active in a number of enterprises, most notably tobacco farming. Residing near Keytesville …

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 …

Quantrill, William Clarke

A pro-Confederate guerrilla leader who operated primarily in Missouri, Kansas, and the Indian Territory during the Civil War, William Quantrill also spent time in Arkansas during the conflict. His actions against Federal troops and civilians led to much notoriety. William Clarke Quantrill was born on July 31, 1837, to Thomas Henry Quantrill and Caroline Cornelia Clarke Quantrill in Canal Dover, Ohio, where his father was a tinsmith and school principal. He had two brothers and a sister. At the age of sixteen, he began working as teacher and, in 1857, moved to Kansas Territory with a number of other men from Canal Dover. While in Kansas, he espoused abolitionist views. Quantrill received a land claim but fell out with his …

Rains, James Spencer

Serving in the Missouri State Guard, James S. Rains led troops at the Battle of Pea Ridge in Arkansas and several engagements in Missouri. Never officially commissioned into the Confederate army, and despite a dismal performance, he nevertheless held multiple commands during the first year and a half of the Civil War. Born on October 2, 1817, in Tennessee, Rains was the son of Asahel Rains and Malvina Duncan Rains. His older brother, Emory Rains, moved to Texas the year Rains was born, serving in both the Texas Congress and the state legislature. His maternal uncle was Alexander Duncan, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio in the 1830s and 1840s. Little is known of the early …

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 …

Rice, Samuel Allen

Samuel Allen Rice was a Union brigadier general who led troops at Helena (Phillips County) and in the campaign to capture Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1863 before suffering a wound during the Camden Expedition in 1864 that proved mortal. Samuel Allen Rice was born on January 27, 1828, in Olean, New York, the sixth of eight children (his younger brother Elliot Warren Rice would also become a brigadier general during the Civil War). The family moved to western Pennsylvania when he was one year old and then to Pittsburgh in 1834. They finally moved to Martinsville, Ohio, in 1837. Rice graduated from the State University of Ohio at Athens before receiving a law degree from Union College in New …