Individuals

Subcategories:
  • No categories
Clear

Entry Category: Individuals

Stirman, Erasmus Irving

Arkansas native Erasmus Irving Stirman was a Confederate colonel during the Civil War who, after the hostilities, became a successful politician and lawyer. Erasmus Irving Stirman was born in Benton County on April 16, 1839, soon after his parents, Alfred Addison Stirman and Pauline Fry Stirman, had crossed the state line, moving from Palmyra, Missouri, to Fayetteville (Washington County), where they would establish a mercantile business. Ras Stirman was orphaned at a young age but attended Arkansas College in Fayetteville and worked as a store clerk as he studied to prepare to attend the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. Those plans ended when Arkansas seceded from the Union, and he enlisted as a sergeant in the “Pike Guards,” which …

Stone, James Lamar

James Lamar Stone, born in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), was a career U.S. Army officer who received a Medal of Honor for his actions in opposing an overwhelming attack by Chinese troops during the Korean War. James Lamar Stone was born on December 27, 1922, in Pine Bluff, the son of firefighter Lamar L. Stone and Idell Stone. He grew up in Hot Springs (Garland County) and graduated from the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) in 1947, after which he went to work at a General Electric plant in Houston, Texas. Stone was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1948. He was serving as a first lieutenant in Company E, Eighth Cavalry Regiment, First Cavalry Division, when …

Strong, Erastus Burton

Arkansas native Erastus Burton Strong was a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point who served in the U.S. Army until his death at the Battle of Molino del Rey during the Mexican War. Erastus Burton Strong was born on December 2, 1823, to William Strong and Mourning Cooper Strong, most likely in the part of Phillips County that would become St. Francis County four years later. His father was a prominent pioneer and politician in the area who helped build the Memphis to Little Rock Road and operated an inn and a ferry at the St. Francis River. William Strong was the first sheriff of St. Francis County, a delegate to the 1836 constitutional convention, and …

Sutherland, James W., Jr.

James William “Jock” Sutherland Jr. was an ROTC student at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) who rose to command the U.S. Army’s XXIV Corps in the Vietnam War and retired as a lieutenant general. James W. Sutherland was born on February 8, 1918, in Bentonville (Benton County) to James William Sutherland Sr. and Lena McSpadden Sutherland. After growing up in Rogers (Benton County), he attended UA, where he was in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). After graduating in 1940, he was inducted into the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant through the Thompson Act, which provided regular army commissions to outstanding ROTC participants. Sutherland fought with the First Armored Division in Africa and Italy during …

Talbot, William

William Talbot was a sailor aboard the USS Louisville who received a Medal of Honor for his handling of the vessel’s nine-inch cannon during the 1863 Battle of Arkansas Post. William Talbot (his Medal of Honor papers identify him as Talbott) was born in Liverpool, England, in 1814. At age sixteen, he immigrated to the United States, arriving at Bath, Maine, in August 1830. He got married on September 4, 1834, and he and his wife, Priscilla, would have five sons and a daughter. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States on July 7, 1848. In 1860, he was forty-six years old and worked as a rigger in West Bath, Sagadahoc County, Maine. Talbot apparently enlisted in the …

Tappan, James Camp

James Camp Tappan was a Confederate general, lawyer, and politician from Helena (Phillips County). He is best remembered for commanding a brigade of Brigadier General Thomas J. Churchill’s Arkansas Division. James Tappan was born on September 9, 1825, in Franklin, Tennessee, the son of Benjamin S. Tappan and Margaret Bell Camp Tappan. He was the oldest of thirteen children. He received his education at Exeter Academy in New Hampshire and Yale University in Connecticut, graduating in 1845. He then studied law in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and joined the bar of that state in 1846. In 1848, Tappan moved to Helena and began practicing law there and married his wife, Mary, in 1854. Tappan served a term in the Arkansas legislature as a …

Terry, Seymour W.

Seymour W. Terry was an officer in the U.S. Army during World War II and a recipient of the Medal of Honor. An Arkansas native, Seymour W. Terry served as a first lieutenant in the 382nd Infantry Regiment, part of the Ninety-sixth Infantry Division. Seymour Terry was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on December 11, 1918. Terry attended the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) and was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Seymour Terry’s division, the Ninety-sixth, trained in Hawaii in 1944 before being deployed to the Philippines in October 1944. Following the campaign in the Philippines, Lieutenant Terry and his regiment participated in the Battle of Okinawa, during which he led an attack …

Thach, John Smith (Jimmie)

John Smith (Jimmie) Thach was one of the most influential naval aviators of the mid-twentieth century and is credited with the creation of the Thach Weave, one of the most significant tactical advances in the history of aerial combat. He was awarded the Navy Cross and Distinguished Service Medal for developing this tactical maneuver, which remains a standard of military aviation. Jimmie Thach was born on April 19, 1905, in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) to schoolteachers James H. Thach and Jo Bocage Thach. He grew up in Fordyce (Dallas County). Thach followed in the footsteps of his brother James, Jr. (who also rose to the rank of admiral) and attended the United States Naval Academy. After his graduation in 1927, …

Thayer, John Milton

John Milton Thayer was a lawyer and politician. During the Civil War, he was a major general in the Union army who served extensively in Arkansas. A native of Massachusetts, Thayer is most associated with Nebraska, where he served as both a senator and governor and commanded troops from that state during the war. Thayer was born in Bellingham, Massachusetts, on January 24, 1820; he was the youngest of nine children. Thayer’s parents, Captain Elias Thayer and Ruthe Staples Thayer, owned a farm. Thayer worked as a school teacher before entering Brown University, from which he graduated in 1841. He married Mary Torrey Allen in 1842; they had six children. Joining the bar in Massachusetts the same year he graduated …

Thomas, William

William H. Thomas, a native of Wynne (Cross County), was an American soldier in World War II who was awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry in battle against the Japanese in the Philippines. William H. Thomas was born in Wynne on January 13, 1923, to lumber mill worker John Thomas and Jessie Thomas. The Thomas family, which included two daughters and four other sons, apparently moved around the Arkansas Delta, as the family lived in Trumann (Poinsett County) in 1930 and in Brinkley (Monroe County) by the mid-1940s. William Thomas, who had worked as a farmer and timber worker, attempted to enlist in the U.S. Army in 1943 but was turned away because of a heart condition. He succeeded …

Thompson, M. Jeff

Meriwether “Jeff” Thompson was a brigadier general in the Missouri State Guard who served and led troops in Arkansas during the Civil War, ultimately surrendering the troops in the northeastern part of the state in 1865 after earning a reputation as a wily commander. Meriwether Thompson was born on January 22, 1826, in Harpers Ferry, Virginia, the son of U.S. Army paymaster Captain Meriwether Thompson and Nancy Slaughter Broadus Thompson. As a youth, Thompson would skip school to accompany a black deliveryman named Jeff on his rounds, which led his family to begin calling him by that name. His friends soon followed suit, and after moving to Missouri in 1847 he had his name legally changed to M. Jeff Thompson. …

Thruston, Henry Clay

Henry Clay Thruston was a Confederate soldier who fought at the Battle of Pea Ridge and in the Camden Expedition, as well as in General Sterling Price’s Missouri Raid of 1864. Thruston is perhaps best known for reportedly being the tallest Confederate soldier of the Civil War at over seven and a half feet tall. Later in life, he worked for P. T. Barnum’s circus, being advertised as the world’s tallest man. Information is sketchy about the early life of Henry Clay Thruston. He was born in South Carolina in either 1830 or 1833, with the exact day variously recorded as May 4 or May 5. His father, Street Thruston, served in the American Revolutionary War, and he had four …

Tinker, Frank Glasgow

Frank Glasgow Tinker was a distinguished American mercenary pilot for forces of the Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939). A graduate of DeWitt High School and the Naval Academy, Tinker was the top American ace for the Republican Air Force during the Spanish Civil War. Frank Tinker was born on July 14, 1909, in Kaplan, Louisiana, the son of Frank Glasgow and Effie Tinker. He had two sisters. The family moved to DeWitt (Arkansas County) on July 3, 1924. Tinker graduated from high school in DeWitt in 1926 and, at the age of seventeen, joined the U.S. Navy. Tinker spent three years in the navy before receiving a prestigious appointment to the Naval Academy at Annapolis. After graduating …

Totten, James

James Totten was an officer in the U.S. Army and was the commander of the Little Rock Arsenal during the Arsenal Crisis of 1861. He later served in the Civil War, commanding units in both the Trans-Mississippi and Western theaters. James Totten was born on September 11, 1818, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His father, William E. Totten, was a doctor who later served at the Little Rock Arsenal and had a private practice; there is no information on Totten’s mother or siblings. He attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1841. Commissioned a second lieutenant, he was promoted to first lieutenant in 1847. In 1849–50, Totten served in Florida to help suppress the Seminole Indians. Totten was promoted …

Turner, Frederick Cornelius Jr.

Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Cornelius Turner Jr. was a commander of U.S. Army Forces at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Belgium. During his military career, he served in South Vietnam on three separate occasions, during which time he commanded a detachment of Armed Door Gunners, a company in the Twenty-seventh Infantry Regiment, and was a senior advisor to South Vietnamese Regional and Popular Forces in Long An province. In 1969, he returned to his alma mater, Arkansas State University (ASU), to serve as an assistant professor of military science and tactics, making him the university’s first Black faculty member. Frederick Cornelius Turner Jr. was born in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) on June 15, 1937, to Frederick Turner …

Upham, Daniel Phillips

Daniel Phillips Upham was an active Republican politician, businessman, plantation owner, and Arkansas State Militia commander following the Civil War. He is perhaps best remembered, and often vilified, for his part during Reconstruction as the leader of a successful militia campaign against the Ku Klux Klan in the Militia War from 1868 to 1869. D. P. Upham was born in Dudley, Massachusetts, on December 30, 1832, to Clarissa Phillips and Josiah Upham. His mother died less than a week later at age 29. His father remarried Betsy Larned in March 1836, and the couple had four sons. Upham received his education at Dudley’s public schools, and he married Massachusetts native Elizabeth (Lizzie) Nash on February 15, 1860. The couple eventually …

Van Dorn, Earl

A noted Mexican War veteran and Indian fighter, Earl Van Dorn was the Confederate general defeated at the Battle of Pea Ridge and at Corinth, Mississippi. Following the defeat at Pea Ridge, he stripped Arkansas of badly needed Confederate troops, leaving the state nearly destitute of defenders. Earl Van Dorn was born near Port Gibson, Mississippi, on September 17, 1820, to Sophia Donelson Caffery, a niece of Andrew Jackson, and Peter Aaron Van Dorn, a lawyer and judge. He married Caroline Godbold in December 1843. They had one son, Earl Jr., and one daughter, Olivia. Some believe that Van Dorn fathered other children through adulterous affairs prior to, and possibly during, the Civil War. Graduating fifty-second of fifty-six cadets from …

Vandever, William

Representing Iowa in the U.S. House of Representatives, William Vandever led Union troops at three major Civil War battles in Arkansas. His war service concluded with a promotion to brevet major general and service after the war included a second stint in the House representing California and a term as United States Indian Inspector. Born on March 31, 1817, in Baltimore, Maryland, Vandever was the son of William Vandever and Margaret Denike Vandever. Attending schools in Baltimore and Philadelphia, Vandever moved to Rock Island, Illinois, in 1839. Trained as a surveyor, he worked in Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin, while also operating the Rock Island Advertiser newspaper. He married Jane Williams in 1847, and the couple moved to Dubuque, Iowa, in …

Vaughns, Thomas Franklin

Arkansas native Thomas Franklin Vaughns served in both World War II and the Korean War as an enlisted aircraft mechanic. His service during World War II was with the Tuskegee Airmen, and he returned home to Arkansas after his service where he spent a long career working with veterans and agricultural programs. Born on July 7, 1920, in Lee County to Harrison and Dessie Vaughns, Thomas Vaughns grew up in Felton (Lee County) on the family farm. At the time of the 1930 federal census, he lived at home with his parents and four siblings. The family owned a fifty-acre farm purchased by Vaughns’s great-grandfather in 1872. His father also worked as a carpenter. Vaughns walked more than three miles …

Vaugine, Marcellus

Marcellus Vaugine was a Confederate guerrilla chieftain who was active in the Jefferson County area during the final months of the Civil War before being murdered by a fellow bushwhacker. Very little information is available about Marcellus Vaugine’s early life. He was born on February 9, 1841, and is listed in the 1860 census in the household of F. G. Vaugine, age twenty-nine and apparently an older brother, in Jefferson County’s Plum Bayou Township. Marcellus Vaugine’s occupation is listed as “gentleman.” There is no evidence that he served in the Confederate military, although his older brother was a captain in the First Arkansas Cavalry Regiment (CS). Marcellus Vaugine first appears in the Official Records in a report by a captain in …

Velazquez, Loreta

In late spring of 1861, a Cuban woman named Loreta Janeta Velazquez (sometimes spelled Velasquez) adorned herself with a Confederate uniform and fake facial hair, assigned herself the rank of lieutenant in the Confederate army, and adopted the name of Harry T. Buford. According to her own account, Velazquez embarked on a remarkable career as both a Confederate soldier and spy during the turbulent years of America’s Civil War, partially in Arkansas. As professor Jesse Alemán points out in the introduction to Velazquez’s memoir, there are historical inaccuracies in the memoir (which was put together by Velazquez and her editor, C. J. Worthington) that cast some doubt on Velazquez’s authenticity. However, Alemán stresses that the memoir holds its own as …

Von Berg, Charles Ludwig “Old Scout”

Carlos Ludwig von Berg was a German immigrant, a Civil War soldier, a postwar scout during the last Indian Wars, and an artist and guide who settled in the Fayetteville (Washington County) area later in life. He was featured in the 2012 documentary Up Among the Hills: The Story of Fayetteville. Carlos Ludwig von Berg was born on October 18, 1835, in the Duchy of Baden, where his family members were foresters. His first schooling was in Karlsruhe, followed by the University of Heidelberg. His studies were interrupted by the 1848 revolutions that caused his family to flee to Switzerland. He returned to Heidelberg but in 1854 immigrated to the United States. He traveled west, and he took up trading …

Wade, Horace M.

Horace M. Wade was a United States Air Force officer whose thirty-nine-year career concluded with him holding the rank of four-star general and serving as vice chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force. Horace Milton Wade was born in Magnolia (Columbia County) on March 12, 1916, one of five children of the Reverend Junius Wade and Ira Antoinette (Nettie) Torbet Wade. The family lived briefly in El Dorado (Union County) before moving to Wortham, Texas, where Wade graduated from high school. He returned to Arkansas, where he graduated in 1936 from Magnolia Agricultural and Mechanical Junior College (now Southern Arkansas University) in Magnolia. His military career began in Magnolia in 1934 when he served in Company D of the …