Entries - Entry Category: Law - Starting with F

Fairchild, Barry Lee (Trial and Execution of)

On August 31, 1995, Barry Lee Fairchild became the eleventh Arkansan put to death under the state’s modern capital punishment statute, despite controversy over the methods used to extract a confession that was later repudiated by Fairchild. On February 26, 1983, Arkansas state troopers pursued a car driven by two black males who managed to abandon their car and run away. The car was later identified as belonging to Marjorie “Greta” Mason, whose body was found the next day near an abandoned farmhouse in Lonoke County. Mason, a twenty-two-year-old U.S. Air Force nurse, had been raped and shot twice in the head. Six days later, acting on information provided by a confidential source, police arrested brothers Robert and Barry Lee …

Farmer, John (Lynching of)

On July 19, 1891, an African-American man named John Farmer was lynched in Chicot County for allegedly murdering a prominent local planter named C. C. Buckner. John Farmer may be the same person who was living with his grandmother, Lou Gibson, in the household of another African American, Jack Gillis, in Mason Township of Chicot County in 1880; his grandmother was a servant, and fifteen-year-old Farmer was a farm laborer. This would mean that he was twenty-six at the time he was lynched. According to Paul R. Hollrah’s History of St. Charles County, Missouri (1765–1885), C. C. Buckner was Charles Creel Buckner, born in Kentucky in 1850 to George Roberts Buckner and Harriet Creel Buckner. C. C. Buckner graduated from …

Featherstone v. Cate

  In the Arkansas election of 1888, Agricultural Wheel members and other groups formed the Union Labor Party and allied with the Republicans to offer a serious challenge to the Democrats. In 1889, the Featherstone v. Cate congressional hearings resulted from allegations of election fraud in the race for U.S. representative from Arkansas’s First Congressional District, a district comprising seventeen eastern counties including Craighead, Crittenden, Cross, Lee, Phillips, and St. Francis. In 1888, the race for first district representative pitted Independent candidate Lewis P. Featherstone of Forrest City (St. Francis County) against Democratic judge William Henderson Cate of Jonesboro (Craighead County). Initially, the election results showed Cate the winner with 15,576 votes to Featherstone’s 14,238. In late November 1888, Featherstone, alleging fraud in Crittenden, Cross, …

Feild, William Hume “Rush” Sr.

William Hume “Rush” Feild Sr. was elected in the state’s first popular-vote election for circuit court. He was also a member of the Democratic Party and active in state politics. Rush Feild was born on July 10, 1796, in Brunswick, Virginia. (The origin of the nickname “Rush” is unknown.) He was the only son of James Feild and Henrietta Maria Anderson Feild. He studied law at Hampden-Sydney College and the College of William and Mary. By 1821, he was living in Pulaski, Tennessee. He married Mary Amanda Flournoy four months after her sixteenth birthday. He practiced law there and, at the first sitting of the chancery county court in 1832, was the second-longest-serving lawyer. He served one term in the …

Fendler, Oscar

Oscar Fendler was a prominent Arkansas lawyer who, during his nearly seven decades practicing law in Blytheville (Mississippi County), served as a leader of the state bar and worked to improve the administration of justice in Arkansas. Oscar Fendler was born on March 22, 1909, in Blytheville. His parents, Alfred Fendler and Ray Fendler, were Jews who immigrated to America from Kraków, Poland, around the turn of the century. After moving many times in search of work, the Fendlers eventually settled in the community of Manila (Mississippi County), where they opened a general store. They had four children, of whom Fendler was the eldest. Fendler attended public school in Manila through the tenth grade, which was the highest grade in …

Feuds

A feud (sometimes referred to as a vendetta or private war) is a long-running argument or period of animosity, especially between families or clans. Feuds usually begin over a perceived injustice or insult. The feud cycle is fueled by a long-running cycle of retaliatory violence that often escalates into a “blood feud,” in which the cycle of violence involves the relatives of someone who has been killed or dishonored seeking vengeance by killing the culprits or their relatives. In theory, the cycle of killing continues until one entire family has been killed. Arkansas has had its share of feuds, particularly in the Ozark Mountains region of the state. Pioneers who came west from the southern Appalachian Mountains at the beginning …

Finney v. Hutto

aka: Hutto v. Finney
In this series of landmark court cases, prisoners at the Cummins Farm and Tucker Intermediate Reformatory units of the Arkansas prison system continued to challenge their conditions of confinement, several years after Chief Judge J. Smith Henley of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas declared in Holt v. Sarver I (1969) and Holt v. Sarver II (1970) that confinement in the prisons constituted cruel and unusual punishment, violating the Eighth and Fourteenth amendments. Judge Henley called the conditions that prisoners faced “a dark and evil world completely alien to the free world.” The prisoners were represented by attorneys Jack Holt Jr. and Philip Kaplan of Little Rock (Pulaski County). Henley’s original decision ordered the Arkansas Department of Correction to remedy the …

Fleming, Sam (Lynching of)

On May 6, 1907, an African-American man named Sam Fleming—who was reportedly from Pine Bluff (Jefferson County)—was hanged at McGehee (Desha County) for winning a fight with a white bartender named Henry Vaughan. According to the Arkansas Gazette, Fleming was a “former Pine Bluff negro” who had lived in McGehee for several years. He was working in a saloon for black patrons owned by a man named Hellworth. Fleming had supposedly been in frequent trouble in Pine Bluff, once throwing a glass at a liquor dealer named Edward Wertheimer and wounding him in the head. Next door to Fleming’s workplace was a saloon for whites, also owned by Hellworth, where Henry Vaughan worked. Fleming and Vaughan had a fight, and …

Flemming, Owen (Lynching of)

On June 8, 1927, a mob murdered Owen Flemming, an African-American man, near Mellwood (Phillips County). At the time of the lynching, Arkansas was experiencing unprecedented flooding. The Flood of 1927 remains the most destructive in Arkansas history, covering about 6,600 square miles and inundating thirty-six of the state’s seventy-five counties. Many black citizens who lived along the Mississippi River and other flooding waterways were forced to work on the levees, often at gunpoint. One of these forced workers was Owen Flemming (or Fleming, according to some accounts). There is little information available about Flemming, but he is described in several articles as a “prominent black man.” According to the Arkansas Gazette, however, Flemming had a bad reputation. Officials at …

Flowers, William Harold

William Harold Flowers was a lawyer, minister, social and political activist, and one of the leading figures in the civil rights movement in Arkansas in the 1940s. He was the first African-American special circuit judge in Jefferson County and a president of the African-American National Bar Association. He was also active in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in the state, serving as president of the Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) branch and as president of the state conference of branches. Born on October 16, 1911, in Stamps (Lafayette County), William Harold Flowers was the son of Alonza (often spelled Alonzo) Williams Flowers Jr., a businessman, and Beulah Lee Sampson, a schoolteacher. He was the eldest of …

Fort Smith Sedition Trial of 1988

For seven weeks beginning on February 16, 1988, Fort Smith (Sebastian County) was the site of a major trial in which a twelve-person jury sought to determine the guilt or innocence of fourteen right-wing radicals who were charged with a variety of crimes, most prominently conspiracy to engage in sedition. After hearing from a total of almost 200 witnesses, the jury found none of the defendants guilty. In the almost two-month-long proceeding, federal prosecutors presented evidence intended to prove that ten of the defendants had conspired and plotted to overthrow the federal government while also asserting that the others were guilty of trying to kill a federal judge and a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent. According to the scenario …

Fox, Warren (Lynching of)

On July 9, 1915, an African-American man named Warren Fox was lynched in Crittenden County for allegedly murdering a white man named John Millett. There is almost no information available on the principals in this incident. The Arkansas Gazette identified Millett as a “Frenchman and gardener” who worked for G. W. Sims on his plantation at the Crittenden county community of Kanema. Although the Gazette noted that Millett had previously been in Caruthersville, Missouri, and Johnson City, Illinois, he is not listed in census records for Arkansas, Missouri, or Illinois. Similarly, there is no record of an appropriate Warren Fox in Arkansas census records. George W. Sims, however, is well known. He owned extensive property in Crittenden County and worked …

Franklin, Connie (Alleged Murder of)

The alleged murder of Connie Franklin in 1929 scandalized the state and served to reinforce negative stereotypes about Arkansas in the national mass media. The uproar surrounding the apparent murder only increased with the reappearance of the “victim,” alive and well, shortly before the trial of his accused murderers. In January 1929, Connie Franklin wandered into the community of St. James (Stone County), where he found work cutting timber and as a farm hand. He claimed to be twenty-two years old, rather than his actual age of thirty-two. He reportedly courted the town’s girls, particularly sixteen-year-old Tillar (or Tiller) Ruminer. According to later testimony by Ruminer, on March 9, 1929, she and Franklin were going to Justice of the Peace …

Franklin, Monroe (Lynching of)

On August 19, 1912, an African-American man named Monroe Franklin was hanged in Russellville (Pope County) for an alleged attack on an unidentified white woman. Officials believed that a second black man, Pet (sometimes referred to as Pete or Pit) Grey, was also involved. Although the Arkansas Democrat described the lynching as the first in Pope County, research indicates that it was at least the third. John Hogan was lynched there in 1875, followed by Presley Oats in 1897. There is some possible information available on Franklin and Grey. Newspapers reported that Franklin had recently come into the area from Oklahoma. In 1910, there was a twenty-nine-year-old African American named M. F. Franklin living in Bearden Township, Okfuskee County, Oklahoma, …

Frauenthal, Samuel

Samuel Frauenthal was a prominent lawyer and judge in Arkansas in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. With his appointment in 1909, he became the first person of the Jewish faith to serve on the Arkansas Supreme Court. Samuel Frauenthal was born on August 8, 1862, in Louisville, Kentucky. He was one of seven children of Jacob and Yetta Frauenthal, both of whom had been born in Bavaria, Germany. The family moved to Russellville, Kentucky, and Frauenthal received his early education in the Russellville schools. He then attended the local Bethel College, from which he received a BA in 1880. Following his graduation from Bethel, he pursued the study of law, although there are conflicting reports about whether he …

Frederick, Bart (Lynchings Related to the Murder of)

On January 7, 1898, in Little Bay (Calhoun County), African-American men Charley Wheelright (or Wheelwright) and A. A. Martin were lynched for the alleged murder of Bart Frederick, a white man. Jim Cone, another suspect in the case, was probably lynched around the same time. Six months later, Goode Gray (a.k.a. Tobe Gray) was lynched at Rison (Cleveland County) for the same crime. According to the Arkansas Gazette, Bart Frederick was murdered in the first week of January while he was operating a handcart on the Cotton Belt Railroad near Kingsland (Cleveland County), where he was a waterman (a worker who supplied water to the railroad tanks). A letter written by Dr. William Buerhive to Bart Frederick’s brother in Michigan, …

Fussell, Robert Foreman (Bobby)

Robert Foreman (Bobby) Fussell had a long career as a lawyer championing the legal rights of disabled veterans and the deaf, prosecuting prominent state political figures, and presiding over federal bankruptcy courts. He was a U.S. bankruptcy judge for twenty years, most of them as the chief bankruptcy judge of the Arkansas courts. Bobby Fussell was born on January 1, 1938, at Forrest City (St. Francis County), one of three sons of James V. Fussell Jr. and Dorothy Hall Fussell. His father ran a cotton gin and a service station. Fussell got a degree in business in 1959 and a law degree in 1965 from the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). He then became a U.S. Army …

Fyler, Eliza A. (Lizzie) Dorman

Lizzie Dorman Fyler was an activist in Arkansas in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Although she died at the age of thirty-five, she had already made a mark as a leader in the temperance movement, and she laid the early foundation for the drive to achieve women’s suffrage in Arkansas. Eliza (Lizzie) Dorman was born on March 11, 1850, in Massachusetts to Dr. Uriah Dorman and Eliza Alma Dorman. She moved with her parents and her mother’s parents to Wisconsin in 1853. While little is known about her youth, she appears to have grown up and received her early education in Wisconsin before marrying Frank F. Fyler in 1870. The couple had a daughter in 1871, by which time …