Entry Category: Law - Starting with H

Hensen, Elias (Lynching of)

Elias Hensen was seized from a house and shot to death on March 12, 1879, in Clay County after testifying against a co-defendant in a horse-stealing case and preparing to testify against other members of his gang. The 1870 federal census lists Elias Hensen, born around 1852, as an illiterate farmhand working for Abraham Roberts in Randolph County’s Current River Township, and it indicates that he might have had a diminished mental capacity. By 1879, he apparently was working with the Montgomery Brothers gang and had earned a reputation as a “rather unsavory character in this neighborhood, and was accused of various thefts, horse-stealing among them,” according to the Clay County Courier. Hensen and an accomplice, Charley Jenkins, were arrested …

Henslee, Lee

Lee Henslee was the longest-serving superintendent of the Arkansas prison system. He was appointed head of the state penitentiary in 1949 by Governor Sid McMath and served in that position until 1963. Henslee received praise from Governor Orval Faubus, but he was superintendent in a time when abuse and corruption at the prisons were rampant. Lee Henslee was born on September 4, 1903, on a family farm five miles east of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). He was one of three children born to Edward Anderson Henslee (1863–1949), a native of Mississippi, and Clara Belle Treadwell Henslee (1874–1963), a native of Arkansas. Lee Henslee grew up in Pine Bluff. He married Mississippi native Mary Alcorn (1902–1990) on August 22, 1924, in …

Herrig, William (Lynching of)

William Herrig, a white man described in news reports as “a well-to-do farmer 67 years old” was lynched in Clay County by vigilantes on December 29, 1887, for murdering his young wife and a man with whom she was apparently friendly. No William Herrig was living in Clay County by the time of the 1880s census, although other men of that name were living in various places in the United States at the time, all of them German immigrants. Herrig’s wife, whose maiden name was Julia Bennett (and who is also dubbed “Mrs. Nettie” in reports), was described as “a charmingly plump little 20-years-of-age wife” who “had been for the two years before her marriage an actress in the Pauline …

Hickman, Darrell David

Darrell David Hickman spent almost twenty-two years as a trial-court judge and justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. Hickman, who grew up in Searcy (White County), was first elected chancery judge in a district that stretched to Little Rock (Pulaski County) and was elected twice to the Arkansas Supreme Court before retiring in 1990 to follow the seasons and travel from the Canadian Rockies to Mexico and back. He soon returned to Searcy and the town of Pangburn (White County), where he served two more stints as a chancery or circuit judge. Hickman had a propensity for issuing convulsive orders, such as when he declared the Constitutional Convention of 1975 unconstitutional, and for writing colorful opinions, such as when he …

Hicks, Robert (Lynching of)

In late November 1921, a young African-American man named Robert Hicks was lynched near Lake Village (Chicot County) for writing a letter to an eighteen-year-old white woman. While the identity of the woman remains a mystery, Hicks was probably the same Robert Hicks who was living with his mother, Minnie, in the household of his stepfather, Henry Singleton, in South Charlton Township of Chicot County in 1910. At that time, he was eight years old. In 1920, at eighteen, he was still in South Charlton Township working on a cotton farm owned by his uncle, Jessie E. Cooper. While newspaper reports put his age at twenty-three or twenty-five, the census information shows that he was only nineteen at the time …

Hill, Joseph Morrison

Joseph Morrison Hill was elected chief justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court in 1904, the first person to defeat a sitting justice after Arkansas began electing Supreme Court justices in 1864. Although he served less than five years before resigning, Hill enjoyed a long and eminent career as an attorney, winning major cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He also was a founder of the state tuberculosis sanatorium at Booneville (Logan County), which became the largest treatment facility for tuberculosis in the nation, and was president of its board of trustees most of his life. He died there in 1950. Joseph Hill was born on September 2, 1864, at Davidson College in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, the son of Daniel …

Hindman, Thomas Carmichael

Thomas Carmichael Hindman was a prominent attorney and Democratic politician prior to the Civil War. In the crisis prior to that war, he was a major player in bringing about the state’s secession. He subsequently served in the Confederate army as a brigadier general, playing a prominent role in the defense of Arkansas and later serving in the Army of Tennessee. Thomas Hindman was born on January 28, 1828, at Knoxville, Tennessee, one of Thomas Hindman and Sallie Holt Hindman’s six children. His father was a planter and a federal agent for Indian affairs in Tennessee. In 1841, his father purchased a new plantation in Ripley, Mississippi, and the family moved there. Hindman went to local schools, and then, like …

Hodges v. United States

Hodges v. United States, 203 U.S. 1 (1906) is a U.S. Supreme Court case resulting in the overturning of the convictions of three white men convicted in 1903 of conspiring to prevent a group of African-American workers from holding jobs in a lumber mill in Whitehall (Poinsett County), a small town in northeastern Arkansas. It was overruled by another Supreme Court decision in 1968, but the decision in Hodges represented an important step in the evolving judicial interpretation of the constitutional amendments passed in the aftermath of the Civil War. The Court’s decision imposed a strict limitation on the application of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime), as well …

Hogan, John (Lynching of)

On June 28, 1875, an African American named John Hogan was lynched near Russellville (Pope County) for allegedly attempting to assault one of Russ Tucker’s daughters. Public records provide some information about the lynching victim. The 1870 census (five years before the incident) lists a twelve-year-old African American named John Hogan, who was living on the farm of a twenty-two-year-old white man named Reece B. Hogans. Hogans had a wife, Josephine, and a two-year-old daughter. Also living on the farm was another black laborer, fifteen-year-old Rose Hogan, who may have been John Hogan’s sister. If this is the correct John Hogan, he would have been only seventeen when he was lynched. Russ Tucker was probably David Russell Tucker, who in …

Holland, Jim (Lynching of)

On Saturday, November 26, 1881, Jim Holland, a white man, was lynched in Dardanelle (Yell County) for the crime of murder. Jim Holland, along with William Casey and Charles G. Helphrey, were accused of having murdered a cotton buyer, Burgess James, near Dardanelle in the fall of 1878. They were eventually captured and placed in the jail at Ozark (Franklin County) to protect them from a lynch mob. However, on July 18, 1881, Holland and his accomplices were able to escape from the jail; either their guard, Jim Hill, was careless or they may have drugged him. Holland and Casey were later recaptured in Polk County, Tennessee, having been trailed there by a Yell County lawman named Captain Poole. Holland …

Hollingsworth, Perlesta Arthur “Les”

Perlesta Arthur “Les” Hollingsworth was a lawyer whose battle for equal justice for African Americans took him through the trial courts as a civil rights litigator, into municipal politics, and eventually to the state’s highest court, where he served for fourteen months as a justice in 1983 and 1984. He was the second Black member elected to the Little Rock (Pulaski County) city board of directors and the third African American to be appointed justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. Les Hollingsworth was born on April 12, 1936, in Little Rock to Perlesta Gomez Hollingsworth, who was a soldier, and Eartha Mae Frampton, a schoolteacher in Sherwood (Pulaski County). His father spent part of his life in a veterans’ home …

Holt v. Sarver

In the landmark Arkansas case Holt v. Sarver, inmates of the racially segregated Cummins Farm and Tucker Intermediate Reformatory units of the Arkansas prison system brought suit against the commissioner of corrections, Robert Sarver, and the Arkansas Board of Corrections, challenging their conditions of confinement. The case was heard in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division, before Chief Judge J. Smith Henley. Holt v. Sarver was a turning point in the history of court intervention in the management of American prisons. The decision marked the end of the “hands-off” era of the federal judiciary toward prisoners and the beginning of an era of prisoners’ rights. Holt v. Sarver, which inspired the 1980 film …

Holt, Elias (Lynching of)

Elias Holt was murdered in Mississippi County by a gang of disguised men on January 25, 1872, after an accused horse thief implicated him as a conspirator in the crime. Elias Holt, a Kentucky native, was listed in the 1870 census as a twenty-nine-year-old farmer living with his wife, Martha, age nineteen, in Mississippi County’s Big Lake Township. In early 1872, a young man named Jones was arrested and charged with horse theft. During his initial questioning, Jones claimed that Holt had recruited him to steal the horse (with plans to steal another himself), meet him in Jacksonport (Jackson County), and then ride to Texas to get rid of the stolen animals. Jones’s statement, which the Osceola Times decried as …

Holt, J. Seaborn

James Seaborn Holt was a lawyer who spent fifty years in private and government practice, the final twenty-three as a justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. He was a member of a prominent family from Boone County that provided three generations of leaders of the Arkansas bar, including three Supreme Court justices and three attorneys general. J. Seaborn Holt, as he was known, was born on November 17, 1884, in Bellefonte (Boone County), a tiny community southeast of Harrison (Boone County), to Joseph Rutherford Holt and Paralee Elizabeth Coffman Holt. His father was a farmer who grew corn, wheat, and oats, and raised cattle. He thought banking would be a good career for the boy and got him a job …

Holt, Jack Wilson, Jr.

Jack Wilson Holt Jr. was chief justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court for ten years, and his landmark lawsuit against the Arkansas penitentiary caused the entire Arkansas prison system to be declared unconstitutional in 1970, triggering judicially inspired prison reforms in many states. Jack Holt Jr. was born Samuel Wilson Holt on May 18, 1929, in Harrison (Boone County) to Jack Wilson Holt Sr. and Margaret Spikes Holt; he had a younger sister. He insisted that his parents change his name to Jack because children teased him that he had a girl’s name, Sammie. In 1928, his father was elected prosecuting attorney and, in 1934, circuit judge for the Fourteenth Circuit. His father was elected attorney general in 1936, and …

Holt, Jack Wilson, Sr.

Jack Wilson Holt Sr. was an eminent Arkansas politician for two decades in the mid-twentieth century. He was attorney general for three terms before World War II but lost three bitter races for governor and U.S. senator to the dominant politicians of the postwar era—John L. McClellan, Sid McMath, and Francis Cherry. Jack Holt, one of eleven children of Bud and Adeline Holt, was born on February 7, 1903, on his family’s farm along Crooked Creek north of Harrison (Boone County). He entered the first grade at a one-room school at Walnut Grove and graduated from Harrison High School, where he was a basketball and track star. He often rode a pony into town to attend high school. Holt received …

Holt, Joseph Frank

J. Frank Holt was a major figure in Arkansas legal and political circles in the 1950s and 1960s. He served in numerous public offices, including two terms on the Arkansas Supreme Court. Joseph Franklin Holt was born on October 22, 1910, in Harrison (Boone County). One of eleven children of Noah Calvin “Bud” Holt and Malicia Adeline Moore Holt, he grew up in Harrison, where he sold newspapers and worked in a garage while in high school before attending the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). He had to drop out of college and return home due to the Great Depression. He worked a variety of jobs, including selling insurance, teaching in the Cotter (Baxter County) school district, …

Hoofman, Clifton Howard (Cliff)

Clifton Howard (Cliff) Hoofman, who was reared by grandparents on tenant farms in White County, became a lawyer and politician and held constitutional offices in all three branches of state government. He served in the Arkansas House of Representatives for eight years, the Arkansas Senate for twenty years, four years as a state highway commissioner, and two years on the Arkansas Supreme Court; he also had two separate sojourns of two years each on the Arkansas Court of Appeals. As a close friend and ally of two governors, Bill Clinton and Mike Beebe, Hoofman was instrumental in passing much of the major legislation enacted during their combined twenty years in the governor’s office. Cliff Hoofman was born on June 23, …

Hopkins v. Jegley

Hopkins v. Jegley is an ongoing legal challenge to four abortion restrictions passed by the Arkansas state legislature in 2017. Unless Roe v. Wade (1973) is overturned before the case is settled, women’s abilities to continue to exercise their right to access legal abortion in Arkansas likely depend on the outcome of this case. Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe, opponents of the legal right to abortion have pursued legislation aimed at restricting access to the procedure. As these efforts have escalated since 2011, states have enacted more than 450 new abortion restrictions, which disproportionally impact the lives of young people, people with low incomes, and minorities. Anti-choice state lawmakers support measures that are designed to ban specific …

Hot Springs Shootout

aka: Hot Springs Gunfight
aka: Gunfight at Hot Springs
The Hot Springs Shootout, also known as the Hot Springs Gunfight or the Gunfight at Hot Springs, occurred on March 16, 1899. Sparked by a dispute over which agency would control gambling in Hot Springs (Garland County), this shootout between the Hot Springs Police Department and the Garland County Sheriff’s Office resulted in the deaths of five men. The shootout represented a continuation in the battle for control of gambling in Hot Springs and was preceded by the Flynn-Doran blood feud that lasted from 1884 until 1888. Frank Flynn controlled gambling in Hot Springs until former Confederate major Alexander Doran began opening gambling houses there in 1884. The first blood was drawn when Flynn challenged Doran to a duel. Flynn was …

Howard County Race Riot of 1883

aka: Hempstead County Race Riot of 1883
The Howard County Race Riot occurred along the Howard and Hempstead county line in late July and early August 1883. Two events spurred the outbreak of violence. First, a disagreement over the surveying of a property line led to the beating of Prince Marshall and his brother James Marshall, both African-American farmers, by Thomas Wyatt, a white sharecropper living on land owned by Joseph Reed, a white farmer. Second, a few days later, Wyatt is alleged to have approached a young black woman, a member of Prince and James Marshall’s family, as she was plowing alone in a field and “solicited” her. When she began to cry out, he hit her over the head with a fence rail. The latter …

Howard County Reported Lynching of 1894

Brief accounts of lynchings sometimes appeared in newspapers across the country but were later corrected or contradicted by local newspapers. Such was the case with an unidentified African-American man who was supposedly lynched in Howard County in December 1894. In mid-December, several out-of-state newspapers—including Memphis’s Commercial Appeal, the Indianapolis Journal, the New York Sun, the New York Times, and the Raleigh News and Observer—reported that on Monday, December 10, a Black man had “outraged” a small white child (some reports say that she was only two years old) near Center Point (Howard County). He was allegedly chased away by two women but was caught and jailed. On the night of December 11 (some sources say December 12), a mob removed …

Howard, George, Jr.

George Howard Jr. was a trailblazing African-American attorney and judge in the second half of the twentieth century. After becoming one of the first black graduates of the University of Arkansas School of Law, he pursued a career dedicated to the expansion and guarantee of civil rights for all citizens. He became the first African American to be appointed to numerous Arkansas judicial posts, including the Supreme Court of Arkansas. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1994. George Howard Jr. was born on May 13, 1924, in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) to George Howard and Sara Howard, who was a public school teacher. He received his early education in Pine Bluff but left home to serve …

Howard, Jesse (Lynching of)

On May 26, 1883, an African-American man named Jesse Howard was fatally shot in Marianna (Lee County) for allegedly setting fire to a livery stable. The Arkansas Gazette, in a brief report published on May 27, does not name Howard, but newspapers across the country reported on the incident, giving not only Howard’s name but additional details. Interestingly, a few of these additional reports mistakenly identified the lynching victim as Henry B. Derrick, who was, in fact, the owner of the livery stable. Jesse Howard had lived in Arkansas since at least 1870, when the census listed him as a farmer and a native of Virginia living in Phillips County with his wife, Susan. By 1880, he and Susan were …

Hubbell, Webster Lee (Webb)

Webster Lee (Webb) Hubbell was a college football star and then a lawyer who became mayor of Little Rock (Pulaski County) and chief justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. Hubbell was associate attorney general of the United States, the number-three job in the Department of Justice under his friend President Bill Clinton, but he resigned in 1994 and was convicted of defrauding his former partners at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock. Further investigations and indictments followed him until 1999. During eighteen months in prison and afterward, Hubbell turned to writing—first a memoir and then legal thrillers. Webb Hubbell was born on January 18, 1948, in Little Rock to Webster Edward Hubbell, who was a construction engineer, and Virginia …

Humphreys, Thomas Hadden

Thomas Hadden Humphreys, son of a Confederate army officer, spent some thirty-nine years on the judicial bench, the last twenty-six as a justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court, and held elective political offices for forty-four years without ever having had an opponent. Governor Jeff Davis, the populist orator who later became a U.S. senator, appointed Humphreys, a Fayetteville (Washington County) lawyer, to a new chancery judgeship in the Eleventh District in 1903, and Governor George Washington Hays named him to a vacancy on the Arkansas Supreme Court in 1916 when Justice William F. Kirby was elected to the U.S. Senate. Humphreys’s father, John T. Humphreys, was a lawyer in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) who joined the First Arkansas Light Artillery …

Humphries, Ban, and Albert H. Parker (Murders of)

Sometime on the night of August 28–29, 1868, an African-American man named Ban (sometimes referred to as Dan) Humphries was killed near Searcy (White County). Reports indicate that he was killed by William E. Brundidge (sometimes referred to as Brundridge or Bundridge) and two other alleged members of the Ku Klux Klan. In September or October 1868, Albert H. Parker, who had been sent to White County to investigate the murder of Humphries and general Klan activities in the area, was also murdered. These events were part of a larger pattern of upheaval surrounding the election of 1868. Arkansas had been readmitted to the Union in June of that year and would be able to participate in a national election …

Hunley, Dan (Lynching of)

On October 6, 1885, an African-American man named Hunley (or Hunly) was murdered for an alleged attack on a young white girl near Tuckerman (Jackson County). Although most reports identify the girl as Priscilla Bundy, census records reveal that her name was probably Drucilla Bandy. One account identifies Bandy’s attacker by the last name Hunly, but it is probable that Dan Hunley was the alleged perpetrator, as, in 1880, a widow named Nelly Hunley was living in Breckenridge Township of Jackson County with her two sons, Anderson (thirteen) and Dan (nineteen), and a daughter, Judy (ten). At the time of the 1880 census, nine-year-old Drucilla was living in Bird Township of Jackson County with her parents, farmer George W. Bandy …

Hunter, Buck (Lynching of)

On December 1, 1886, an African-American man named Buck Hunter was lynched in Monticello (Drew County) for allegedly threatening to kill “two respected citizens of that county.” While the identities of his intended victims are unknown, Buck Hunter does appear in Drew County records. In August 1884, a man named Buck Hunter married Julia Carr there; they were both listed as residents of Saline Township. According to the St. Paul Evening Globe, Hunter (referred to as “Brick” Hunter) was being held in the Monticello jail when group of masked men surrounded the jail and demanded the prisoner. The jailer, being outnumbered, surrendered the key. According to the Arkansas Gazette, the mob then “placed a rope around his neck, led him …