Entries - Entry Category: Law - Starting with M

Madden, Owen Vincent

Owen Vincent “Owney” Madden was a gangster and underworld boss in New York City in the 1920s who retired to Hot Springs (Garland County) in the 1930s. Though his role in Arkansas politics and history will forever remain enigmatic, he was a powerful figure (from about 1935 until his death) during the heyday of illegal gambling in Hot Springs and an emblem of the bad old days of machine politics. Owney Madden was born on December 18, 1891, in Leeds, England, to Irish parents, Francis and Mary Madden. He spent his early childhood in Wigan and Liverpool, where Francis worked in textile mill sweatshops until his death in 1902. Mary then took her family, including Madden and perhaps two siblings, …

Magee, Leach (Lynching of)

On June 4, 1887, an African-American man named Leach Magee (sometimes referred to as Zach Magee) was hanged in Clarendon (Monroe County) for allegedly assaulting a woman named Mrs. J. M. Park, a relative of Sheriff J. W. B. Robinson. Neither Mrs. Park nor Leach Magee appear in any public records for Monroe County. In 1880, a single man named James W. B. Robinson, age twenty-four, was farming in Pine Ridge Township. County records indicate that he was sheriff in Monroe County from 1886 until 1890. He apparently later moved to El Paso, Texas, where he died in 1928. The first account of the alleged assault appeared in the Arkansas Gazette on June 3. It said that, on June 2, …

Maledon, George

While much of his life is shrouded in legend, according to a number of sources, George Maledon was the most prolific executioner in the United States in the last third of the nineteenth century. Working as the hangman for the famed Judge Isaac Parker for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas in Fort Smith (Sebastian County), he reportedly performed as many as eighty-one executions, although more recent historical accounts put the number at closer to fifty. George Maledon was born in Germany on June 10, 1830. He immigrated with his parents, about whom little is known, to the United States, settling in the Detroit, Michigan, area, where they joined the small German Catholic community that had …

Malpass, Charles (Lynching of)

On September 27, 1911, a white man named Charles Malpass Sr. was lynched in Desha County following a shootout in which his sons murdered two police officers. According to newspaper accounts, Charles Malpass was a descendent of early French settlers at Arkansas Post. In 1850, the Malpass family was living in nearby Red Fork Township. Farmer Rubin Malpass was living with his wife, Rebecca, and five children, including four-year-old Charles. The family was still in the area in 1860, but by this time there were eight children, among them sixteen-year-old Charles. According to the Arkansas Gazette, Charles began living with a “mulatto” woman named Bettie West in 1868. West had resources of her own, having inherited several thousand dollars when …

Mansfield, William Walker

William Walker Mansfield was a lawyer, legislator, circuit judge, and associate justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. The Sebastian County town of Mansfield is believed to be named in his honor. William Walker Mansfield was born on January 16, 1830, in Scottsville, Kentucky, the son of Colonel George Washington Mansfield and Frances Cockrill Mansfield. Mansfield received a “common-school” education before studying law under Judge William V. Loving in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He was admitted to the Kentucky bar in 1852. A short time later, Mansfield corresponded with fellow Kentucky native and noted Arkansas politician and attorney David Walker in Fayetteville (Washington County) about possible opportunities in the legal field within the state. Despite Walker’s encouragement to consider a practice in …

Marion Lynching of 1910

On March 18, 1910, two African-American men, Robert (Bob) Austin and Charles Richardson, were lynched in Marion (Crittenden County) for allegedly assisting in a jailbreak. The victims were taken from jail by a mob and hanged in front of the Crittenden County Courthouse. There is very little known about the two victims. At the time of the 1900 census, Bob Austin was living in Jasper Township with his stepfather, Bennie Ross, and his mother, Henriette. Bennie was a farmer who was renting his farm, and nineteen-year-old Bob was a farm laborer. The men could neither read nor write, although Henriette could do both. Census records provide no information about Charles Richardson. According to the Arkansas Gazette, a jailbreak occurred on …

Marisa N. Pavan, et al. v. Nathaniel Smith

aka: Pavan v. Smith
Pavan v. Smith (2017) was a U.S. Supreme Court decision that clarified the legal parenting rights for the non-biological partner in a same-sex marriage. Rather than hearing oral arguments on the matter, the Court summarily rejected the decision of the Arkansas State Supreme Court denying a wife of a mother the opportunity to be listed as a parent on the couple’s child’s birth certificate, a privilege that was presumptively granted to husbands under Arkansas law. In 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that state laws that barred same-sex marriage violated the Due Process and Equal Protections Clauses of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment. Following that victory for marriage equality advocates, the Arkansas State Supreme Court acted …

Markle, John Lawrence

John Lawrence Markle was the perpetrator of a headline-grabbing crime in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in November 1987. The son of Academy Award–winning actress Mercedes McCambridge, Markle murdered his wife and two daughters before taking his own life on November 16, 1987. John Markle was born on December 25, 1941, in Hollywood, California, to Mercedes McCambridge and William Fifield. McCambridge was a radio actress who eventually moved into films, and Fifield was a writer. They divorced in 1946, and when McCambridge remarried in 1950, her second husband, film and television director Fletcher Markle, adopted the boy. John Markle was eight when his mother, who would become known to a later generation through her role as the voice of the demon …

Marmaduke-Walker Duel

aka: Walker-Marmaduke Duel
The Marmaduke-Walker Duel was fought during the Civil War between Confederate brigadier generals John Sappington Marmaduke and Lucius Marshall (Marsh) Walker. Marmaduke was originally from Missouri and was the son of a former governor. Walker was originally from Kentucky and nephew of President James K. Polk. Both graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. They made their way to Arkansas during the war; Marmaduke was stationed there, while Walker was granted a transfer to Arkansas due to trouble with superiors. Disagreement arose between the two in the summer of 1863 over military actions at Helena (Phillips County) and Little Rock (Pulaski County), where Walker failed to carry out operations as planned and exposed Marmaduke and his men to enemy troops. …

Mays, Richard Leon

Richard Leon Mays was an early civil rights attorney during the struggles to integrate public facilities and end bias in Arkansas courts and law enforcement. He was in the first group of African Americans to be elected to the Arkansas General Assembly in the twentieth century and became the second African American to be a justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. Governor Bill Clinton appointed him to the court in 1979. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2016. Richard L. Mays was born on August 5, 1943, in Little Rock (Pulaski County), the younger of two sons of Barnett G. Mays and Dorothy Mae Greenlee Mays. Although the family lived in an integrated neighborhood on …

McClain, Doc (Lynching of)

Doc McClain (whose name is sometimes rendered Dock McLain or McLane) was lynched in Ashdown (Little River County) on May 13, 1910, for allegedly stabbing wealthy young farmer Ernest Hale. According to the 1900 census, farmer Doc McClain (whose age was not given) was living in a rented home in Franklin (Little River County) with his wife Mary (aged thirty) and their two children, Lizzie (seven) and Ezekil (three). They had been married for ten years. Neither Doc nor Mary could read or write. According to numerous accounts, Doc McClain stabbed Ernest Hale in a store sometime in April 1910. Hale survived the attack and was hospitalized. At the time, it was feared that he would die. Local citizens threatened …

McCool, John Thurman (Murder of)

John Thurman McCool, a prominent businessman of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), was rebuilding his life after serving a prison sentence for forging state treasury warrants when he was shot to death outside Sheridan (Grant County) in 1962. McCool’s murder remains unsolved. The mystery surrounding the killing and the strange circumstances of his life in the six years prior to it made the murder a subject of rumors of a mob killing, of revenge, and of silencing a man who knew too much, although no evidence of any of those motives ever emerged. Thurman McCool was born in Sheridan on August 18, 1913. He grew up in Pine Bluff, married a Pine Bluff woman, and was prominent in the business and …

McCoy, Hosey (Lynching of)

On March 9, 1902, an African American man named Hosey McCoy was lynched in Little River County for allegedly having raped a white woman. A relatively detailed account of the event was published in the March 13, 1902, edition of the Fort Smith Times. This account relied upon “authentic advices” received at Texarkana (Miller County) from New Rocky Comfort—now Foreman (Little River County)—on the morning of March 10 and later transmitted onward. According to this account, the woman “criminally assaulted” was one “Mrs. John Lemon, a white woman and wife of a drummer.” This was perhaps Dora Lemons, age twenty-two, who is listed in the 1900 census as the wife of a John Lemons of Little River County, age twenty-nine, …

McCulloch, Edgar Allen

Edgar Allen McCulloch was a lawyer in eastern Arkansas who achieved renown in a long career that included twenty-four years as a justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court, nineteen of them as chief justice, and a critical span of six years as chairman or member of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), where he established important law in the regulation of public utilities in the United States. At the FTC, he personally took on an extensive investigation of public-utility holding companies in America requested by Congress, which resulted in a raft of energy regulation laws during the New Deal. Edgar McCulloch was born in Trenton, Tennessee, on August 1, 1861, to Dr. Phillip Doddridge McCulloch and Lucy Virginia Burrus McCulloch. McCulloch’s …

McDonald (Lynching of)

A pair of Marion County men were shot as suspected horse thieves on Christmas Day of 1870 by a trio of vigilantes from Springfield, Missouri. A man named McDonald was killed in the incident. According to a short article in the January 25, 1871, Arkansas Gazette, three men from Springfield “named Patterson, and Dodson, and a third, name unknown,” rode into Marion County in pursuit of a stolen horse. Once in the county, they apprehended a man named Otterbury, and while one vigilante guarded him, the other two detained a man named McDonald “whom they also accused as being one of their thieves.” After “some altercation,” the Missourians shot the two men after Otterbury “attempted to resist.” McDonald died of …

McDonald, Maurice Neal “Nick”

Maurice Neal “Nick” McDonald was a patrolman for the Dallas Police Department who achieved international renown for arresting Lee Harvey Oswald shortly after the murder of John F. Kennedy. Nick McDonald was born on March 21, 1928, in Camden (Ouachita County), the second of three sons born to Beulah Lee Womack McDonald and Thomas “Bid” McDonald, a laborer in the southern Arkansas and northern Louisiana oil industry. After McDonald’s younger brother died, his parents divorced, and his mother moved to Maine; McDonald remained in Arkansas with his grandparents, Charles Womack, a local businessman, and his wife, Laura. While attending Camden High School, McDonald was given the moniker “Nick,” and, with his grandmother’s reluctant permission, he joined the U.S. Navy at …

McGehee Lynching of 1894

On September 22, 1894, Luke Washington, Richard Washington, and Henry C. Robinson were lynched in McGehee (Desha County) for allegedly murdering local merchant H. C. Patton and robbing his store. One of the interesting aspects of this case is that the African-American population of McGehee (then known as McGehee Junction) reportedly took an active part in the three men’s lynching. On September 20, 1894, Patton locked his store, which was located on the edge of a cotton field some distance from the depot in McGehee, and proceeded along the walkway to his bedroom. There, Robinson and the two Washingtons allegedly killed him with a club. Although Patton was armed with a pistol, he was unable to use it in time. His attackers then …

McHaney, Edgar Lafayette

Edgar McHaney contributed to legal proceedings that changed constitutional law in the United States. With co-counsel Scipio Africanus Jones, he appealed the convictions of twelve men convicted of murder after the 1919 Elaine Massacre. The case of six of the men, Moore v. Dempsey, was eventually heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, and a precedent-setting decision allowed federal courts to override state appellate courts if constitutional rights were denied. McHaney also served for a short time in the Arkansas House of Representatives before a long tenure on the Arkansas Supreme Court. Born on November 6, 1876, in Gibson, Tennessee, Edgar Lafayette McHaney was one of nine children of William W. McHaney and Mary Ellen Hicks McHaney. He grew up on …

McHaney, James Monroe

James Monroe McHaney, a Little Rock (Pulaski County) native who graduated from law school in 1942, was recruited in 1946 to participate in the trials of German Nazi war criminals after World War II. In his obituary in the New York Times in 1995, he was lauded for his success as a prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials. James McHaney was born on April 23, 1918, one of the six children of Edgar L. McHaney, who was later an Arkansas Supreme Court justice, and Gail Myers McHaney. After receiving both a bachelor’s degree and a law degree from Columbia University, he joined a New York law firm. (This was during World War II, but he was determined physically unqualified for military …

McIntyre, Samuel (Lynching of)

On April 23, 1919, an African-American man named Sam McIntyre was hanged near Forrest City (St. Francis County) for allegedly murdering another black man, John Johnson, the previous February. According to the February 10, 1919, edition of the Arkansas Gazette, on February 6, Johnson was shot through the window while playing checkers with a friend at his home on the Graham farm. McIntyre was arrested after the killing, along with U. L. “Hub” Lancaster (a white man) and Rube McGee (a black man). According to the report, “Johnson was a witness against Lancaster and McIntyre in several liquor cases, one case of assault to kill and another case charging burglary and grand larceny.” He was to testify when the case …

McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education

The 1981–82 federal court case McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education constituted a challenge to the state’s Act 590, which mandated the equal treatment of creation science in classrooms where evolution was taught. On January 5, 1982, U.S. District Court Judge William R. Overton ruled Act 590 unconstitutional in light of the establishment clause of the First Amendment. His determination that creationism constituted a religious doctrine rather than a scientific theory had a profound impact on the nation, the ramifications of which are still being felt today. The draft of the model act which eventually became Act 590 originated in an Anderson, South Carolina, organization called Citizens for Fairness in Education. Its founder, Paul Ellwanger, working from a model prepared …

McMath, Phillip Hal

Phillip Hal McMath is a Little Rock (Pulaski County) trial attorney, an award-winning writer, a Marine Corps Vietnam War veteran, and an ardent advocate for preserving and promoting Arkansas literature and history. McMath has published four novels and numerous short stories and articles, along with producing two plays. His book Lost Kingdoms was the winner of the Arkansiana Fiction Award in 2009, while The Broken Vase received the Booker Worthen Prize in 2011 . McMath established the Porter Prize in 1984, which has made a significant contribution to literature in Arkansas. Phillip McMath was born in Memphis, Tennessee, to Sidney Sanders McMath and Anne Phillips McMath on December 25, 1945; he has two brothers and two sisters. In 1948, McMath’s father was elected …

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is professional misconduct by physicians and surgeons toward a patient. Historically, malpractice falls into two categories: criminal malpractice covers actions contrary to or expressively forbidden by law; civil malpractice, the dominant form in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, refers to injurious treatment of the patient that includes unnecessary suffering or death that is due to professional ignorance, carelessness, a want of proper medical skills, and a disregard for established rules and practices. More rarely, malpractice can cover lawyers and other professionals. Medical malpractice suits emerged in the nineteenth century and came about only after the practice of medicine became informed by a scientific revolution that involved such discoveries as sepsis, immunization, and the germ theory. Suits were rare …

Miller, James Brown (Jim)

James Brown (Jim) Miller was an Arkansas native but spent much of his life in Texas and Oklahoma, where he earned the reputation of a professional assassin, manipulating the court system to avoid prison. From his early years in Van Buren (Crawford County) to his death in Ada, Oklahoma, Miller proved to be a man to be feared. Jim Miller, the eighth of nine children of Jacob and Cynthia Miller, was born near Van Buren on October 25, 1861. His father was a miller and, at times, a stone mason by trade. Miller received the typical education of the times, and nothing stands out in his life until the family relocated to Coryell County, Texas. The exact year of this …

Miller, John Elvis

John Elvis Miller, the son of a Confederate veteran, had a distinguished career in the law, sandwiched around a political career that took him to the U.S. Senate in one of the most startling Arkansas elections of the twentieth century. He was a prosecuting attorney, a congressman, and a senator, resigning the last position in 1941 when President Franklin Roosevelt appointed him U.S. judge for the Western District of Arkansas. John E. Miller was born on May 15, 1888, in Stoddard County, Missouri, the son of John A. and Mary Harper Miller. As a child, he helped his parents and seven siblings raise cotton and corn on their Missouri bootheel farm. When he finished the ninth grade, he took an …

Millwee, Minor Wallace

Minor Wallace Millwee was a distinguished justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court who was the first political victim of the surge of racism that followed the showdown over school desegregation at Little Rock Central High School in 1957. After Governor Orval E. Faubus dispatched National Guardsmen to stop nine Black students from entering the high school, and President Dwight Eisenhower nationalized the guard and sent federal troops to protect the Black students in school, former state senator James D. Johnson, Arkansas’s most determined segregationist, ran against Justice Millwee in 1958, calling him “a pawn of integration,” although the judge had never expressed an opinion publicly about the issue. Johnson posited that his own election, rather than Millwee’s, would show the …

Mitchell v. Globe International Publishing

aka: People's Bank and Trust Company of Mountain Home v. Globe International Publishing
Mitchell v. Globe International Publishing, Inc. 978 F. 2nd 1065 was a legal case involving First Amendment freedom of the press, as well as privacy issues. It originated in a lawsuit filed by ninety-six-year-old Nellie Mitchell, a native of Mountain Home (Baxter County). Mitchell sued Globe International, the publisher of the tabloid paper the Sun, for false light invasion of privacy after the paper published a photograph of her to illustrate one of its articles. When the jury returned a verdict in favor of Mitchell and awarded her a total of $1.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages, Globe appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, which upheld the verdict. A final effort to appeal to …

Mitchell v. United States

Mitchell v. United States et al., 313 U.S. 80 (1941), came on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, challenging discriminatory treatment of railroad accommodations for African-American passengers on interstate train coaches passing through Arkansas, where a state law demanded segregation of races but equivalent facilities. The Supreme Court had held in earlier cases that it was adequate under the Fourteenth Amendment for separate privileges to be supplied to differing groups of people as long as they were treated similarly well. Originating in Arkansas in April 1937, the suit worked its way through the regulatory and legal system, finally ending up on the calendar of the Supreme Court in 1941. The circumstances surrounding the matter began after the only African American …

Mitchell, Charles (Lynching of)

On November 2, 1884, Charles Mitchell was murdered near Richmond (Little River County) for the alleged murder of a prominent farmer’s wife, Kate Waddell. The incident made news not only in Arkansas, but also in Texas, the Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma), and Michigan. At the time of the 1880 census, forty-year-old Charley Mitchell—an African-American or biracial man—was living in Johnson Township of Little River County with his wife, Isabella, and their two sons, William (thirteen) and Mitchel (eleven). The census lists no occupation for Mitchell, but his two sons were working as servants. According to an October 31 article in the Arkansas Gazette, Mrs. Waddell, “an estimable woman,” was murdered on October 29 “by a notorious negro by the name …

Mitchell, Elton (Lynching of)

On June 13, 1918, an African-American farm worker named Elton Mitchell (referred to in some reports as Allen Mitchell) was hanged by a mob in Earle (Crittenden County). Newspaper reports give different dates for Mitchell’s murder, including June 22, June 13, and June 14, but the Pine Bluff Daily Graphic reported on June 14 that the murder took place on Thursday, June 13, so that is the most probable date. Mitchell’s personal history is a bit confusing, with public records placing him in several adjacent counties in northeastern Arkansas and northwestern Mississippi. At the time of the 1900 census there was an Etten Mitchell, age ten, living in Tyronza (Poinsett County) with his parents, Andrew and Parthenia Mitchell, and five …

Mitchell, Juanita Jackson

Juanita Jackson Mitchell was a pioneering African-American attorney whose many accomplishments included being the first black woman to practice law in Maryland. Born in Arkansas, she grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. There, she became a civil rights attorney, as well as the matriarch of one of Maryland’s most politically influential black families. Juanita Elizabeth Jackson was born on January 2, 1913, in Hot Springs (Garland County) to Keiffer Albert Jackson and Dr. Lillie Mae Carroll Jackson. Keiffer Jackson was an exhibitor of religious and educational films, which he showed across the country, and he and his wife were apparently in the midst of one of the exhibition tours when their daughter was born, but as soon as they were able, …

Mitchell, William Starr (Will)

William Starr Mitchell was a distinguished Arkansas lawyer who emerged as a leader in 1959 during the crisis involving the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School and the subsequent closing of the city’s schools, serving as campaign manager for Stop This Outrageous Purge (STOP). Mitchell was long remembered for his television appearance in the midst of a recall election aimed at ousting segregationists from the school board when he told Governor Orval Faubus: “Governor, leave us alone! Let us return our community to a rule of reason.” Will Mitchell was born on June 5, 1907, in Little Rock (Pulaski County), the son of William Starr Mitchell and Frances Emily Roots Mitchell. His father was affiliated with the Democrat Printing …

Monroe County Lynching of 1893

In January 1893, five men were lynched in Monroe County near Cotton Plant (Woodruff County) for allegedly murdering Reuben Atkinson, his housekeeper, and her child, and then torching Atkinson’s house to cover up the crimes. Census and other public records yield no information on either Atkinson or his alleged murderers. According to the Arkansas Gazette, on January 7 a “prosperous farmer” named Rube Atkinson went to sell his cotton. He returned to his farm on January 8, and the following morning neighbors awoke to find that Atkinson’s house had burned down. When they went to inspect, they found three bodies in the ruins, which were later identified as those of Atkinson, his housekeeper, and her child. Authorities arrested several African …

Monroe County Lynching of 1915

aka: H. M. Gandy (Lynching of)
aka: Jeff Mansell (Lynching of)
On February 27, 1915, two pearl fishermen—H. M. Gandy (sometimes referred to as Candy) and Jeff Mansell—were lynched near Indian Bay, located on the eastern bank of the White River in Monroe County. Both men were white. Most lynching victims in Arkansas’s history were black, but this incident is reminiscent of pre–Civil War days in Arkansas when vigilante justice was often meted out to white criminals. Records reveal nothing about either Gandy or Mansell. According to the Arkansas Gazette, they were fishermen and pearl hunters and lived in cabin boats on the river near Indian Bay. Although the killings occurred in Monroe County, the men’s boats were moored across the river near St. Charles (Arkansas County). They and their families …

Moore v. Dempsey

The 1923 U.S. Supreme Court decision Moore v. Dempsey changed the nature of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The ruling allowed for federal courts to hear and examine evidence in state criminal cases to ensure that defendants had received due process. The case that resulted in this decision was one of two lawsuits pursued by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in the aftermath of the 1919 Elaine Massacre. After short trials, dominated by citizen mobs, twelve African Americans—six who became known as the Moore defendants and six who became known as the Ware defendants—were found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. Ultimately, the six Ware defendants were freed by the Arkansas …

Morgan Nick Alert

The Morgan Nick Alert is the Arkansas name for the nationally recognized Amber Alert Program designed to alert citizens that a juvenile is missing. For this reason, the Morgan Nick Alert is more formally known as the Morgan Nick Amber Alert. Named after Morgan Nick, a then six-year-old girl who went missing from Alma (Crawford County) in 1995, the Morgan Nick Alert is a partnered approach by local law enforcement, media, and civic groups to increase awareness of a possible abduction and thereby increase the probability of locating a missing child. On June 9, 1995, Morgan Chauntel Nick was presumably abducted from the parking lot of a city park in Alma. Although thousands of leads have been investigated by the …

Morrilton School District No. 32 et al. v. United States of America

Morrilton School District No. 32 et al. v. United States of America was a school desegregation case that began in 1972. However, aspects of the lengthy litigation were still being contested into the mid-1980s. The case began in December 1972 when the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit against the State of Arkansas, the Arkansas Department of Education, the members of the state Board of Education, and the school districts of Conway County, as well as the local school board members and superintendents. The federal government charged that, in the process of consolidating the county’s school districts in response to a federal desegregation order, the school officials had in fact purposely created segregated school districts and, in doing so, had …

Morrison v. White

Morrison v. White was a case involving slavery in which, after numerous legal twists and turns, Jane/Alexina Morrison, who claimed to be a free white woman from Arkansas, was granted her freedom by a Louisiana district court jury in 1862. As did several other freedom suits of the time (such as Guy v. Daniel and Gary v. Stevenson), this one went well beyond the usual issue of ownership and addressed the fundamental question of who could, in fact, be enslaved—and, in particular, whether a white person could be a slave. Unlike the famous case of Dred Scott, a black man whose claim to freedom was based on his residence in a statutorily free area of the country, Jane/Alexina Morrison rested …

Morrison, Lee (Lynching of)

On September 27, 1868, an African-American man named Lee Morrison (sometimes referred to as Morsen or Morson) was lynched near Helena (Phillips County) in retaliation for a number of murders he was presumed to have committed, including that of deputy sheriff Joseph W. Maxey, and the wounding of Sheriff Bart Y. Turner the previous March. There is no information on Lee Morrison or anyone of a similar name available in public records. Sheriff Turner, born around 1840 in Tennessee, had been in Phillips County since at least 1860, when he was living in Big Creek Township. Joseph W. Maxey had been in the county since at least 1850, when he was working as a druggist and living in the household …

Mosely, Julius (Lynching of)

On July 13, 1892, Julius Mosely, an African-American man accused of raping his stepdaughter, was lynched near Halley (Desha County) by a mob of fellow black residents. While the majority of lynchings in the South were perpetrated by white mobs against blacks, in a very small number of cases, lynchings were carried out either by mixed-race mobs or by mobs of African Americans. William Fitzhugh Brundage speculates that perhaps African Americans doubted that the all-white legal system would deal properly with crimes occurring within the black community. In addition, such lynchings often took place in cases of family-oriented crimes like incest. Interestingly, Brundage finds that such black-on-black violence was most prevalent in the Mississippi Delta regions in Mississippi, Arkansas, and …

Moses, Colter Hamilton (Ham)

Colter Hamilton (Ham) Moses served as secretary to governors George W. Donaghey, George W. Hays, and Charles Hillman Brough prior to becoming general counsel, president, and chairman of the board of Arkansas Power and Light (AP&L). Well known as an eloquent speaker, Moses represented the Governor’s Office in an entourage that traveled around the country promoting Arkansas; however, his greatest contribution to Arkansas resulted in the state moving from an agricultural economy to an industrial one during the post–World War II years. Although the state’s economy grew monumentally because of Moses’s efforts, he credited the people of Arkansas for the success of his “Arkansas Plan.” C. Hamilton (Ham) Moses, the eldest of Angelus Gaston “A. G.” Moses and Mary Eulodia …

Mullens, Nat (Lynching of)

On June 23, 1900, an African American named Nat Mullens was shot and killed by a posse in Crittenden County after he allegedly killed Deputy Sheriff P. A. Mahon. Statewide newspapers reported that on June 13, Mahon went to arrest Mullens near Earle (Crittenden County) for attempting to murder his own mother. Mullens shot at him, and before dying, Mahon returned fire. Mullens escaped, but a posse was assembled and trailed him through the river bottoms. By June 22, the posse had discovered Mullens hiding in a plantation house not far from Earle. He again attempted to escape but was shot and killed by members of the posse. For additional information: “All Over the State: An Officer Wounded.” Arkansas Democrat, …

Murray, James (Murder of)

On December 6, 1897, the dead body of Constable James Murray was found by the roadside near Bonanza (Sebastian County). His hands were tied, and he had an injury to his head and bruises around his neck. Lying nearby was the unconscious body of Grant McBroom, whom he had earlier arrested. Both Murray and McBroom were white. The case attracted national attention, with newspapers such as the New York Times and the Los Angeles Herald speculating wildly and describing the murder as a “lynching” to showcase the apparent lawlessness of western Arkansas during this post-Reconstruction era. Bonanza and nearby Jenny Lind (Sebastian County) are located south of Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and were centers for coal mining in the region. Bonanza enjoyed …

Murrell, John Andrews

Among legendary characters associated with nineteenth-century Arkansas, John Andrews Murrell occupies a prominent place. Counterfeiting and thieving along the Mississippi River, Murrell was only a petty outlaw in a time and place with little law enforcement. However, he became a greater figure in legend following his death. John A. Murrell was born in Lunenburg County, Virginia, in 1806. His father, Jeffrey Gilliam Murrell, was a respected farmer who, with his wife, Zilpha Murrell, raised eight children. Shortly after John was born, the Murrells and other relations moved to Williamson County, Tennessee. However, Murrell’s father fell on hard times, and his sons, who were wild and errant, began to have trouble with the law. At the age of sixteen, Murrell, along …

Murton, Thomas Orhelius

Tom Murton is best known for his attempts to reform the Arkansas prison system during the governorship of Winthrop Rockefeller. Intelligent and conscientious with a dry sense of humor, Murton could also prove abrasive and uncompromising with others, especially his superiors. His uncovering of three skeletons at Cummins prison farm in early 1968 gained national attention, and his handling of the matter drew the ire of the Rockefeller administration. Murton wrote a bestselling book about his time in Arkansas, Accomplices to the Crime (1969), on which the 1980 movie starring Robert Redford was loosely based. Thomas Orhelius Murton was born in Los Angeles, California, on March 15, 1928, the son of Oregon native Edmund T. Murton and Oklahoma native Bessie Glass Stevens …