Entries - Entry Category: Local - Starting with C

Cabe, Gloria Buford

Gloria Cabe was a major political figure in Arkansas from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s. She was a member of the Arkansas General Assembly, and her close ties to Governor Bill Clinton would lead her to move to Washington DC following Clinton’s election to the presidency in 1992. Gloria Burford was born in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) on September 15, 1941. She graduated from Pine Bluff High School in 1959. She went on to Hendrix College, where she earned a BA in French in 1963. Burford married Robert Cabe, a Hendrix classmate who would become a prominent attorney, and the couple had a daughter and a son. While raising her young children, Cabe became involved in the local community, …

Caldwell, Creed Sr.

Creed Caldwell was a prominent attorney, as well as an influential figure in Arkansas politics in the first decades of the twentieth century. He served in the Arkansas Senate for almost two decades after building a prosperous and well-respected law practice beginning in the later part of the nineteenth century. Creed Caldwell was born on October 4, 1864, in the family home near Double Wells, about ten miles west of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). He was born to Matthew Caldwell and his second wife, Harriett Stribling Caldwell. As Creed Caldwell was born near the end of the Civil War, which had decimated the Caldwell family’s property holdings, he did not have the same educational opportunities his older siblings had had. …

Campbell, John

John Campbell was a Searcy County pioneer after whom the historic community of Campbell was named. He also served in both houses of the Arkansas General Assembly and was a second lieutenant during the Mexican War. John Campbell was born on May 9, 1806, in Warren County, Tennessee, to James Campbell and Lucy Howard Campbell. Campbell became a colonel in the Tennessee militia while still in his twenties; he was usually called Colonel Campbell by his friends and neighbors. On July 29, 1835, he married Ann Blassingame in McNairy County, Tennessee. Following the birth of their son Charles Henry Campbell on September 4, 1837, the family traveled by ox cart on a six-week journey across the Mississippi River and up …

Canada, Eugene “Bud”

Eugene “Bud” Canada was a longtime member of the Arkansas General Assembly, serving in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Over the course of his distinctive career, he became known as a passionate opponent of the state’s tax on groceries, believing that the tax placed an unfair burden on Arkansas families. Eugene Canada was born on June 6, 1925, in Hartshorne, Oklahoma, to Laura Inez Canada and William Canada. “Bud,” as he was known, grew up in Hot Springs (Garland County). He sold newspapers while in high school, where he was an accomplished athlete, starring for the Hot Springs High School football team and winning the Arkansas Gold Gloves. His athletic success earned him many college scholarship offers, …

Capitol Zoning District Commission

The Capitol Zoning District Commission (CZDC) is a state government agency created by the Arkansas General Assembly in Act 267 of 1975 to be a proponent of the historic preservation and development around the Arkansas State Capitol Building and Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Several historic districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places are located within the CZDC, including the Governor’s Mansion Historic District, the South Main Street Historic District, and several blocks of the MacArthur Park Historic District. The agency issues permits to those who want to alter the exterior of historic structures and regulates land use in those areas. The CZDC was created to address a transitioning neighborhood with declining residential use around the …

Catterson, Robert Francis

Robert Francis Catterson was an officer in the Union army during the Civil War. Ending the war as a brigadier general, he led militia units in Arkansas after the adoption of the 1868 constitution. He also fought in the Brooks-Baxter War and served as the mayor of Little Rock (Pulaski County). Robert Catterson was born on March 22, 1835, in Beech Grove, Indiana, the son of Patrick and Sarah Catterson. His father died about five years after his birth, and Catterson was raised by his mother alongside his five siblings. He attended local schools and then Adrian College in Michigan and Cincinnati Medical College. Upon the completion of his studies, he opened a medical practice in Rockville, Indiana. Catterson joined …

Caulder, Peter

Peter Caulder was born in Marion County, South Carolina, and was of African descent. The U.S. Army listed him as “a colored man.” In three U.S. censuses, he was categorized in race as “mulatto.” His life in Arkansas represents the success free blacks could achieve prior to their banishment by the state government. At the beginning of the War of 1812, seventeen-year-old Peter joined a state militia unit for three months. He was discharged without seeing any action in the war. When the British burned Washington DC in August 1814, Peter Caulder and his father, Moses Caulder, joined the Third U.S. Rifles and marched with the regiment to defend the capital. Four other Marion County mulattoes, friends and relatives of …

Chaffin, Charlie Francis Cole

Charlie Cole Chaffin of Benton (Saline County) served in the Arkansas Senate representing District 16 (Saline County, parts of Perry and Garland counties) from 1984 to 1994. She was a delegate to the 1979–1980 Arkansas Constitutional Convention and the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in 1994 and 1996.  Charlie Francis Cole was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on September 13, 1938, to Grace Francis “Frank” Cole, who was a nurse anesthetist, and John Walton Cole, a fourth-generation physician. She was raised in Sheridan (Grant County) and Malvern (Hot Spring County) in a politically active family. Her grandfather, Dr. Charles F. Cole, served on the Grant County Quorum Court. Her father served on the Grant County Democratic Central Committee and eighteen years on the Arkansas Board of Education. Her uncle Ed McDonald was Arkansas’s secretary of state and a candidate for governor. Another uncle, Jim Cole, served as prosecuting attorney and state legislator. Her mother marched for civil rights with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and her brother, John Cole, served as prosecuting attorney and circuit judge. She and family members worked on campaigns …

Chambers, Erle Rutherford

Erle Rutherford Chambers was a pioneering woman in Arkansas in the early part of the twentieth century. In addition to being the first woman to graduate from the Law Department of the University of Arkansas, she was also the first to be elected to the Arkansas General Assembly. Erle Rutherford Chambers was born in 1875 in Tennessee to Thomas Chambers and Henrietta Davidson Chambers. She had one younger sister. Little is known about her youth or when she came to Arkansas, but she worked as a teacher before moving into law. Chambers had become interested in the law as a secretary in the Little Rock (Pulaski County) firm of Moore, Smith and Trieber. She began her legal studies while still …

Clark, Moses Aaron

Moses Aaron Clark rose from slavery to become one of the most successful black Arkansans of his time. Elected as a Helena (Phillips County) alderman during Reconstruction, Clark became a lawyer and was one of Arkansas’s first black justices of the peace. After Reconstruction, Clark became arguably the most important black Masonic leader in Arkansas. For more than a quarter of a century, he led the Arkansas Prince Hall Free and Accepted Masons, one of the oldest and most prestigious African American fraternal orders. He was also a major Masonic figure on the national stage. As a prosperous Lee County real estate owner, planter, and businessman during the post-Reconstruction era, for forty years, Clark reached statewide audiences through annual travels and speeches in …

Clayton, William Henry Harrison

William H. H. Clayton moved to Arkansas in 1864 and like his brothers, Powell Clayton and John Middleton Clayton, he was an important figure in the history of the state during Reconstruction. Most notably, he held the position of district attorney for the Western District of Arkansas. His home in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) was made into a museum. William Henry Harrison Clayton and his twin brother, John Middleton Clayton, were born on October 13, 1840, in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Their parents, John and Ann Clayton, named the boys after the Whig presidential candidates William Henry Harrison and John Tyler. The twins, along with their older brothers, Thomas and Powell, lived on the family farm and received their education at …

Clemmer, Ann Veasman

Ann Veasman Clemmer is a professor, politician, and public servant from Saline County. She taught political science at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock from August 1992 to January 2015. She was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives in 2008 and served three consecutive terms, followed by service in the Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE). Carol Ann Veasman was born in Osceola (Mississippi County) on August 10, 1958, to Martha Lee Robinson Veasman, a teacher, and Joseph Christian Veasman, a farmer. Her father left farming for agricultural related public service, which included the Agency for International Development (USAID) in Vietnam (during the conflict years) as an agricultural advisor. The Veasman family lived in the Philippines during that …

Cockrill, Sterling Robertson Jr.

Sterling R. Cockrill Jr. was in the insurance business with his father, Sterling R. Cockrill, in 1956 when he decided to run for one of Pulaski County’s eight seats in the Arkansas House of Representatives and was elected. Handsome and collegial, but soft-spoken, Cockrill was instantly a promising political star. However, in 1970—by which time he was the Democratic majority leader of the Arkansas House of Representatives, a former speaker of the House, and a leading prospect for governor—Cockrill suddenly joined the Republican ticket with Governor Winthrop Rockefeller and ran for lieutenant governor. His and Rockefeller’s lopsided defeat in 1970 by Democrats, after his defection from the party, signaled that his political career was over, and he never again ran …

Cohn, Mathias Abraham

Mathias Abraham Cohn was a businessman, newspaperman, educator, elected official, and lawyer who immigrated to America from Germany. Moving to Arkansas in 1868, Cohn became a leader in the Jewish community of Little Rock (Pulaski County). The son of Abraham and Doris Cohn, Mathias Abraham Cohn was born on May 29, 1824, in Hildesheim, Germany, and was educated in the schools near Bremen, where he also received private instruction in English. He came to the United States prior to 1849, moving to Cincinnati, Ohio. On March 14, 1848, in Cincinnati, he married Theresa Kobner, a native of Odense, Denmark, whom he had met in Hamburg, Germany, and who had arrived in the United States on July 30, 1847; they had …

Collins, Linda F.

Linda F. Collins was a state legislator in the early part of the twenty-first century. First elected as a Democrat, she switched parties not long after her first election, eventually sponsoring a controversial “bathroom bill” that was opposed by the LGBTQ+ community and others. In June 2019, she was murdered by a former member of her campaign staff. Linda Collins was born on April 17, 1962, in Pocahontas (Randolph County) to Benny Collins and Caroline Vernice Hunnicutt Collins. She grew up poor in Williford (Sharp County), once saying that she did not have running water until she was in her teens, and she attended school at Williford. She married Philip Smith in 1995, and they had two children. During their …

Columbia County Courthouse

The Columbia County Courthouse, an early twentieth-century building designed by W. W. Hall, is a classic example of the Second Renaissance Revival style. Located at 1 Courthouse Square in Magnolia (Columbia County), the current Columbia County Courthouse was finished in 1906 and is the third courthouse to be located on these grounds. The first was a temporary log courthouse built immediately after the county formed in 1852. In 1856, a more permanent courthouse was built. In 1903, a tax levy was created to provide funds for construction of the current courthouse. While the courthouse was originally only two stories, the courthouse rotunda—which centers the building and once served as the courtroom—has been divided to form two floors, giving the building …

Comer, James A.

James Comer was a prominent Little Rock (Pulaski County) lawyer and Republican Party leader in the early 1900s who became, in the 1920s, Arkansas’s head of the reorganized Ku Klux Klan (KKK). James A. Comer was born on September 18, 1866, in East St. Louis, Illinois, to John F. Comer and Hester Perry Comer. He graduated from what became Valparaiso University in Indiana. On June 1, 1893, he married Elma Coble of Delphi, Indiana, and the couple had two sons, James Omer Comer and Eben Darwin Comer. Soon after their marriage, the couple moved to Little Rock, where Comer managed the Union Pacific Tea Company. He was admitted to the Arkansas bar in 1897. Thereafter, he practiced law and co-owned …

Conner, Laura Cornelius

Laura Nancy Cornelius Conner was a prison reformer, educator, and farmer. In the 1920s, she served on the penitentiary board during the governorship of Thomas McRae. Conner was shocked by the conditions in the Arkansas prisons, but despite support from prisoners, community leaders, and legal experts, she was unable to make progress in reforming the penitentiary. She returned to her hometown, where she was an educator and planter until her death. Laura Cornelius was born on October 24, 1864 in Augusta (Woodruff County). She was one of eight children born to William Cornelius and Arabella White Cornelius. Arabella Cornelius died when Laura was three. After the death of her father in 1876, Laura moved in with her sister Ella and …

Corbin, Donald Louis

Donald Louis Corbin had a career as a state legislator and appellate judge spanning forty-four years. As a state representative, Corbin developed a reputation as a plainspoken maverick, and, as a judge, a reputation for pushing his colleagues to take unpopular stands, particularly on social issues. As his twenty-four-year career as a justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court was coming to an end in 2014, he had a bitter disagreement with other justices whom he thought had connived to avoid rendering a decision in the controversy over legalizing marriages of same-sex couples. Donald L. Corbin was born on March 29, 1938, in Hot Springs (Garland County), where his father, Louis Emerson Corbin, was a meat-market manager for a Kroger grocery …

Crittenden County Expulsion of 1888

In July 1888, a group of influential white citizens in Crittenden County expelled a number of prominent African-American citizens and county officials. Apparently weary of the fusion governments that had prevailed there for years, as well as fearful of the outcome of the upcoming September and November elections, they hoped their actions would intimidate black voters and ensure a victory for white Democrats. Following the Civil War, land agents began to recruit black laborers from around the South to work in the cotton fields. By 1870, the black population in Crittenden County had reached sixty-seven percent, the majority for the first time. The emergence of a black middle class tied to the Republican Party threatened the hegemony of the white …

Crossett, Edward Savage

Edward Savage Crossett was a pioneer Arkansas lumberman during the late nineteenth century. As the great Southern forest was being developed to meet a growing nation’s need for lumber and wood fiber, Crossett and two associates—all from Davenport, Iowa—came to south Arkansas, acquired land, and began a sawmilling operation that was one of the largest of its kind. The city of Crossett (Ashley County) was named for him and came to be known as “The Forestry Capital of the South.” Edward Crossett was born on February 4, 1828, in West Plattsburgh, New York, one of three children of Mary Gregory and John Savage Crossett, a veteran of the War of 1812. Crossett received his early education in the public schools …

Crowley, Benjamin

Benjamin Crowley and his family were among the early settlers of northeast Arkansas. In 1821, they settled near the present community of Walcott (Greene County) on a ridge that would bear his name. Crowley, one of eleven children of Benjamin and Sarah Strong Crowley, was born in 1758 in Halifax County, Virginia. He married Catherine Annie Wiley of Augusta County, Virginia, on December 15, 1795. They had eight children. Crowley was a surveyor by trade and also raised cattle and dabbled in horse breeding. By 1785, the Crowleys had relocated to Oglethorpe County, Georgia. They moved to Christian County, Kentucky, by 1810 and moved again to Henderson County, Kentucky, by 1821. Crowley had served in the military during the War …

Cunningham, Charles Franklin

Charles Franklin Cunningham Sr. was instrumental in the creation and leadership of the Central Arkansas Development Council (CADC) and served as its executive director for thirty-seven years. In 1981, he became the first African-American mayor of Benton (Saline County). As mayor, Cunningham presided over Benton’s change from a city-manger system to a mayor-council form of government, which cut short his term in office. From 2003 to his death in 2017, he served as alderman for Benton’s Ward 2, which encompasses much of Benton’s Southside, including the communities of Christy Acres and the historic Ralph Bunche Community. Charles F. Cunningham was born on January 17, 1933, in South Pittsburg in Marion County, Tennessee, to Floyd S. Cunningham and Georgia Anna Cunningham. …