Entries - Entry Category: Local - Starting with G

Gantt, Edward W.

Edward W. Gantt became one of southwestern Arkansas’s leading politicians in the Civil War era. He pushed for secession in 1860, led Confederate troops in 1861–1862, and then abruptly supported the Union from 1863 to 1865. He promoted radical social, economic, and political change during Reconstruction as he led the Freedmen’s Bureau and Radical Republicans in Arkansas. Edward W. Gantt was born in 1829, the son of George Gantt, a teacher and Baptist preacher, and Mary Elizabeth Williams. He decided to become a lawyer and attended the 1850 Nashville Convention, which considered secession during the crisis over California statehood. Hoping to find opportunities in the booming Southwest, he moved to Washington (Hempstead County) in 1854. The Sixth Judicial District elected …

Garland County Courthouse

The Garland County Courthouse is located at Ouachita Avenue and Hawthorne Street in Hot Springs (Garland County). The four-story brick building is recognized by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program to be both architecturally and historically significant, with one source calling it perhaps the finest example of Renaissance Revival–style architecture in the state. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. After the Civil War, Hot Springs grew into one of the nation’s leading health resorts. At that time, the county seat of Hot Spring County was in Rockport (Hot Spring County) near Malvern (Hot Spring County), a day-long trip for the citizens of Hot Springs. They urged the Arkansas General Assembly to create a new county, …

Gillam, Isaac Taylor

Isaac Taylor Gillam was an important African-American leader in post–Civil War Little Rock (Pulaski County). His service on the Little Rock City Council, the Arkansas General Assembly, and as Pulaski County coroner typified the strong interest black freedmen took in politics and elections for decades after the Civil War. Isaac Gillam was born a slave in Hardin County, Tennessee. His birth date is unknown, but based upon surviving documents, he was probably born in 1839. Little is known of his life until September 15, 1863, when he enlisted in the Union army at Little Rock, five days after the city fell to Union troops. Gillam served in Company I, Second Regiment, Arkansas Infantry (later renamed Company I, Fifty-fourth Regiment, U.S. …

Gillett Coon Supper

In Arkansas, one of the most acknowledged, anticipated, and attended wild game dinners is the annual Gillett Coon Supper held on the second weekend of January, with proceeds providing scholarships to Gillett (Arkansas County) area graduating high school seniors. The Gillett Coon Supper has also become a veritable rite of passage for people seeking election to political office. Hunters in Gillett, named in honor of railroad president Francis M. Gillett, at first gathered to share successful hunts, in this case raccoon, with friends and neighbors in a social gathering, which then escalated to an organized fundraising event for the Gillett High School Wolves football program. Recognizing the need for the community to have an avenue to deal with community ills …

Good Government Committee (Little Rock)

Little Rock (Pulaski County) business leaders formed the Good Government Committee in October 1956, which convinced the city’s voters to implement the city manager form of government in the November election. The Good Government Committee insisted the city manager system would make the municipal government more efficient and honest. Critics—mostly trade unionists and African Americans—charged that the Good Government Committee was simply a front for the Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce and argued that the city manager form of government would place municipal power firmly in the hands of the city’s economic elite. On October 10, 1956, Mayor Woodrow Wilson Mann called for a vote on the city manager plan in the wake of a Pulaski County Grand Jury …

Graham, Paul Miller

Paul Miller Graham was a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County). Graham worked for Ponder and Lingo Real Estate before running as a Democrat in 1954 for a seat in the Arkansas General Assembly. He served five consecutive terms. Paul Miller Graham was born on July 26, 1903, likely at home, in the Water Valley Township in Randolph County, west of Pocahontas (Randolph County). His parents were Roxie McAfee Graham and John Jefferson (J. J.) Graham. His father was a farmer and broom maker in the area. Graham’s younger siblings were Margaret, Wiley, and Bruce Graham. In the twelfth grade, Graham dropped out of school to work as a farmer. On January 5, 1929, …

Green, Mary Beth Caldwell

Mary Beth Green was a state representative from Van Buren (Crawford County) in the 82nd, 83rd, and 84th Arkansas General Assemblies, serving from 1999 to 2004. Mary Beth Caldwell was born on April 16, 1957, in Carlisle (Lonoke County) to Nettie Jean Park Caldwell and Edgar Eugene Caldwell. In 1958, the family moved to Brinkley (Monroe County). Her father worked at the rice mill, farmed, and was a maintenance engineer, and her mother was an optometrist. Caldwell attended Partee Elementary School and Marion Anderson Junior High and graduated from Brinkley High School in 1975. In junior high, she was a volunteer for Winthrop Rockefeller’s gubernatorial campaign; acting in high school plays helped her overcome her shyness. She was selected for …