Entries - Entry Category: Local - Starting with P

Petticoat Governments

“Petticoat government” is a phrase used to describe a local government—usually a town council and mayor—in which all of the members are female. In May 1920, the same year that the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted, giving women the right to vote, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, elected what is believed to have been the first all-woman municipal government in the world, taking the 1916 revolution in Umatilla, Oregon—an election that saw voters elect a female majority to their town council, as well as a female mayor—to the next level. Five years later in 1925, Arkansas voters in Winslow (Washington County) followed suit in an even more resounding fashion, as the increasingly popular resort town elected local newspaper publisher …

Pike, Annie Zachary

Annie Zachary Pike is a farmer and community activist from Phillips County who became the first African-American appointee to a state board and was later appointed to a variety of federal organizations by President Richard M. Nixon. Annie Ruth Davidson was born on May 12, 1931, in Big Creek in Phillips County to Mississippi-born farmer Cedel Davidson and native Arkansan Carrie Washington Davidson. She was first educated at Trenton Elementary School in Trenton (Phillips County). Later, she attended the Consolidated White River Academy (CWRA), a co-educational boarding school founded in Monroe County by black Baptists in 1893. While at CWRA in the mid-to-late 1940s, Davidson was class secretary and president. She also played baseball and basketball and was a member …

Pittman, Jennie Carr

Jennie Carr Pittman was one of Arkansas’s most prominent and influential figures in the campaign to secure the prohibition of alcohol in the United States. A major force in the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), the nation’s largest temperance organization, she played a substantive role—at both the state and national level—in the group’s ultimately successful effort to help enact the Eighteenth Amendment. Jennie Carr was born on December 26, 1858 (some sources have it as 1856), in Fredonia—later called Biscoe (Prairie County)—to Charles Turner Carr and his second wife, Susan Wesley Capehart Carr. Not much is known about her youth. While she was christened Mildred Jane, she later went by the name Jennie Mildred Carr until her marriage. On her …

Pocahontas Post Office (Historic)

The historic Pocahontas Post Office is a one-story, brick-masonry building built between 1936 and 1937. Located a few blocks away from the historic downtown square of Pocahontas (Randolph County), this building served as the post office for the area until 1986, when post office operations moved to new facilities. The old post office was built in the Art Deco style, which was a common form of architecture for Works Progress Administration (WPA) post offices at that time. This style of architecture is represented by vertical pilasters and brick segments with stylized ornamental decorations within the pilasters. Pocahontas got its first post office after the town was voted the Randolph County seat in 1835. By 1936, that original post office building …

Pollan, Carolyn

Carolyn Pollan, a longtime Republican officeholder, served twelve two-year terms and twenty-four years in the Arkansas House of Representatives, making her both the longest-serving Republican and longest-serving woman in Arkansas House history. Carolyn Joan Clark was born on July 12, 1937, in Houston, Texas, to Rex Clark and Faith Basye Clark. After years working in the oil fields in Texas, Rex Clark moved his family to Springdale (Washington and Benton counties), where he worked in the poultry business. Carolyn Clark graduated from Springdale High School (where one of her teachers was former legislator Helen Buchanan) in 1955 and then went on to what later became John Brown University, a private Christian college in Siloam Springs (Benton County). She graduated in …

Potts, John Kirkbride

John Kirkbride Potts laid the groundwork for the founding of the town of Pottsville (Pope County). He patented 160 acres of land between Crow Mountain and the Arkansas River and later enlarged his holdings to 650 acres. His house, which served as a post office and railroad rest stop, was entered in the National Register of Historic Places on June 22, 1970, and is now a museum. John Potts was born in Pennsylvania on March 24, 1803, to Joshua Potts and Mary (Bunting) Potts. He had five siblings. The family moved from Pennsylvania to New Jersey in 1812. At age seventeen, Potts went west, traveling by wagon with two slave families to Wayne County, Missouri, where he met William Logan …

Purtle, John Ingram

John Ingram Purtle was a populist lawyer and politician who spent eleven tempestuous years as a justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court late in the twentieth century. Purtle—who was called “the Great Dissenter” in a law review article after his death—resigned from the court in 1989 because of enduring conflicts with his fellow justices, most of whom he said had judicial philosophies that were “not in harmony” with his own. Four years before his resignation, Purtle had been charged in an arson-for-profit scheme with his legal secretary and another person, but he was acquitted in a jury trial. John Purtle was born on September 7, 1923, the middle child of nine children of John Wesley Purtle and Edna Gertrude Ingram …