Entries - Entry Category: Local

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. …

Dickinson, Townsend

Townsend Dickinson was elected to the territorial legislature and served as prosecuting attorney for his territorial district. He was appointed U.S. Land Office Registrar of Batesville (Independence County) in 1833. He served as a delegate to the state constitutional convention in 1836. Following the convention, he was elected to the first Arkansas General Assembly, which soon made him one of three original members of the Arkansas Supreme Court. Little is known about Dickinson’s childhood, but it appears he was born in Yonkers, New York, in 1795. He was said to be a very polished and well-spoken scholar. In 1821, he moved from New York to Lawrence County, Arkansas. He then moved to Batesville, practicing law and dabbling in real estate. …

Doke, “Preacher”

aka: Nathaniel Mattox Doke
Nathaniel Mattox “Preacher” Doke was a Benton County pioneer, evangelist, entrepreneur, and benefactor. The Methodist exhorter “talked from his heels” in a sincere, convincing manner and was also a master carpenter, blacksmith, farmer, hunter, and fiddler. By the turn of the century, he had married for the third time and fathered a total of twenty-three children. Doke taught his children the same self-sufficient skills he had learned and encouraged them to improve their minds by reading as he had done. “Preacher” Doke was born on December 9, 1833, near Terre Haute in Washington County, Indiana, to Samuel Doke and Mary Mattox. To support the family, Nathaniel and his older brother William worked in a Terre Haute packing house and a …

Dowd, Clark Wayne

Wayne Dowd was a lawyer and politician from Texarkana (Miller County) who accumulated power and influence during twenty-two years in the Arkansas Senate. He had a hand in nearly all the judicial reforms during that period and was the architect of a complete overhaul of Arkansas juvenile justice laws in 1985. He died while attending a convention of the Arkansas Bar Association at Hot Springs (Garland County), where he was about to be honored for fifty years of service to the legal system as a lawyer and lawmaker. Clark Wayne Dowd was born on November 1, 1941, in Texarkana, Texas, one of three sons of Tillman L. Dowd and Blanche Ethel Pope Dowd, both salespeople. He attended a junior college, …

Draughon, James Harris

James Harris Draughon was a prominent businessman and civic booster in Arkansas and Texas following the Civil War. With numerous business interests in the Texarkana (Miller County) area, he was a central figure in the founding of the town that now bears his name, Draughon (Cleveland County). James Harris Draughon was born on June 12, 1843, in Waverly, Tennessee, to William W. Draughon and Cassandra Murphy Draughon. His father died when he was less than a year old, leaving his mother to care for him and his six siblings. He grew up in Waverly and received his early education in the town’s public schools. He got his first job in 1857, working as a clerk in Dresden, Tennessee. Although he …

Drennen, John

John Drennen was a prominent businessman who is called the father of Van Buren (Crawford County). The home he built in Van Buren, now known as the Drennen-Scott House, serves as a museum interpreting local history and Drennen’s legacy. John Drennen was born to Thomas Drennen and Isabelle Moore Drennen on February 5, 1801, in Elizabeth, Pennsylvania. At a young age, he and his family moved to Potosi, Missouri. On March 21, 1826, in Potosi, he married Emily Rosanna Deaderick Stuart, widow of James Stuart; John and Emily Drennen had three daughters, one of whom died in childhood. Later in 1826, he moved to Tennessee and went into business with his brother-in-law David Thompson (the husband of Emily Drennen’s sister, …

Dunaway, Edwin Eagle

Edwin Eagle Dunaway was a lawyer and politician who was a rare unabashed champion of racial equality in the days of total segregation in Arkansas, before and after the historic desegregation crisis at Central High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1957–1959. He served in the Arkansas General Assembly for three terms before and during World War II, was elected prosecuting attorney twice, served more than a year as a justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court, and taught law at the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville (Washington County). He established important civil-liberties laws by taking unconstitutionally coercive acts passed by the Arkansas legislature to the U.S. Supreme Court, where they were nullified. Edwin Dunaway was born …

Duncan, Virginia Maud Dunlap

Virginia Maud Dunlap Duncan was the second woman in Arkansas to secure a registration as a pharmacist. As a young businesswoman and editor of a newspaper, she ran for mayor of Winslow (Washington County) with an all-woman slate for city council. This “petticoat government” was elected to two consecutive terms and gained national attention during its time in office. Maud Dunlap was born on October 22, 1873, in Fayetteville (Washington County) to Dudley Clinton and Catherine Hewitt Dunlap. Her mother died when Dunlap was an infant. She and her brother, Rufus, went to live with her uncle Albert Dunlap and his wife, Virginia, in Fort Smith (Sebastian County). Other foster parents raised Dunlap’s sister and other two brothers. Dunlap’s foster …

Eagle-Booe Feud

On April 25, 1898, three men were shot to death in Lonoke (Lonoke County). These killings—and the conflicts that took place before and after—have come to be called the Eagle-Booe Feud. The prominent Eagle family of Lonoke County, including the brother of a former Arkansas governor, was roped into the feud and ended up being defended in court by a distant relation who would became governor himself, and later a U.S. senator. Approximately a week before the killings, on or about April 19, 1898, an unknown assailant shot Charles (Charley) Booe (wrongly spelled sometimes as Booie) outside of his law office in England (Lonoke County). Charley Booe, for reasons unknown, accused Robert (Bob) Eagle of shooting him. Booe’s father, William …

Erwin, Judson Landers, Jr.

Judson Landers (J. L.) Erwin Jr. served as the county judge of Desha County from 1947 to his death in 1968. He was never opposed for reelection. During his time in the position, he was a strong supporter of libraries and brought many improvements to the county. J. L. Erwin was born on August 11, 1909, in McGehee (Desha County), son of Judson L. Erwin Sr., who was a railroad engineer, and Batie Rhodes Erwin. He had three younger sisters, one of whom died in childhood. His father died when Erwin was seventeen. The family got by with only his after-school earnings and money from renting out rooms in the house; this experience shaped the lifelong frugal financial policies by …

Faucette, James Peter

James Peter Faucette was a politician, businessman, and the third mayor of Argenta, now North Little Rock (Pulaski County). He was a leader in the separation of Argenta from Little Rock (Pulaski County) after a forced annexation. Jim Faucette was born on September 28, 1867, in Pope Station, Mississippi, the fifth child and second son of James Beard Faucette and Eliza Jane Hubbard. The Faucette family settled in Texas in 1878 and then in Arkansas in 1880, moving to Searcy (White County), Dover (Pope County), and Russellville (Pope County) within a year. Faucette moved to Argenta, a small settlement on the north shore on the Arkansas River, opposite Little Rock in 1885, following his older brother Will Faucette, who settled …

Faucette, Will

aka: William Chesley Faucette
William Chesley Faucette was a politician, businessman, and the first mayor of Argenta, now North Little Rock (Pulaski County). He was a leader in the decade-long fight to separate Argenta from Little Rock (Pulaski County) after a forced annexation. Will Faucette was born on August 13, 1865, in Pope Station, Mississippi, and was the fourth child of James Beard Faucette and Eliza Jane Hubbard. The Faucette family moved to Texas in 1878, then to Arkansas in 1880, living in Searcy (White County), Dover (Pope County), and Russellville (Pope County) within the space of a year. Around 1883, Faucette moved to the small settlement of Argenta on the north side of the Arkansas River opposite Little Rock. The rest of the …

Feild, William Hume “Rush” Sr.

William Hume “Rush” Feild Sr. was elected in the state’s first popular-vote election for circuit court. He was also a member of the Democratic Party and active in state politics. Rush Feild was born on July 10, 1796, in Brunswick, Virginia. (The origin of the nickname “Rush” is unknown.) He was the only son of James Feild and Henrietta Maria Anderson Feild. He studied law at Hampden-Sydney College and the College of William and Mary. By 1821, he was living in Pulaski, Tennessee. He married Mary Amanda Flournoy four months after her sixteenth birthday. He practiced law there and, at the first sitting of the chancery county court in 1832, was the second-longest-serving lawyer. He served one term in the …

Ford, Joe Thomas

Joe Thomas Ford, son of Arkansas’s longtime top school official Arch Ford, embarked on a political career as a young man but then devoted himself to his business, building it into one of the largest communications companies in the world. His political career comprised four terms—sixteen years—as a state senator from Pulaski County. His once tiny rural telephone company was growing rapidly and in 1982 he had to make a choice: to either quit politics or his business. His name had come up in speculation about higher offices—governor or Congress. He quit politics, or at least the electoral aspect of it, and did not run for reelection. In 2008, Ford sold his company, Alltel, to Verizon Communications, Inc., for $28 …

Foster, William Franklin (Bill)

William Franklin (Bill) Foster was a longtime and influential member of the Arkansas House of Representatives. Serving in the state legislature for over three decades beginning in the early 1960s, he was particularly well known for his work on behalf of senior citizens. Bill Foster was born on August 2, 1916, in Lonoke County. He was the oldest of three children born to Joseph R. Foster and Josephine Margaret Crutchfield Foster. Foster grew up in Lonoke County, graduating from Lonoke High School in 1934. In the midst of the Great Depression, he worked for the Arkansas Department of Transportation as a statistician for eight years. In 1943, with World War II raging, he joined the U.S. Army Air Force. Discharged in …

Frauenthal, Max

Max Frauenthal, a German immigrant noted for bravery in the Civil War, established an important mercantile business in Conway (Faulkner County). He was later known as the “Father of Heber Springs and Cleburne County.” Max Frauenthal was born on November 11, 1836, in Marienthal, Bavaria, Germany. No definite records of his parents’ or any siblings’ names are available. According to family history, his grandfather was called simply Meyer until the early nineteenth century, when the enactment of the Napoleonic Code required European Jews to take surnames; Meyer took Frauenthal, the name of a town south of Vienna, Austria. Max Frauenthal was fifteen when he came to the United States, eventually settling in Brookhaven, Mississippi. At Summit, Mississippi, he enlisted in …

Frazier, George Thomas

George Frazier was a well-known business, civic, and political leader in Hope (Hempstead County) for six and a half decades. He served as a close friend and advisor to prominent Arkansas Democrats, most notably two Hope natives: Bill Clinton and Mack McLarty. Frazier was also a key figure in the effort to preserve Clinton’s boyhood home in Hope as a National Historic Site. George Thomas Frazier was born on October 29, 1918, in Anderson, Kentucky, to Leonard Leigh, a machinist, and Faye Thomas, a secretary. Leigh left his family when George was two, and his mother married John Joseph Frazier, a construction worker from St. Louis, Missouri, in 1923. John Frazier adopted George, and the family lived in St. Louis …

Furbush, William Hines

William Hines Furbush was an African-American member of the Arkansas General Assembly and the first sheriff of Lee County. His political career began in the Republican Party at the close of Reconstruction and ended in the Democratic Party just as the political disfranchisement of African Americans in the post-Reconstruction era began. William Furbush was born in Carroll County, Kentucky, in 1839 and was often described as a “mulatto.” Nothing is known of his parentage or childhood, but judging from his literacy and scripted handwriting, he received an early and formal education. Around 1860, Furbush is known to have operated a photography studio in Delaware, Ohio. In March 1862, he traveled to Union-controlled Helena (Phillips County) on the Kate Adams, where …

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 …

Hall, David

David Hall was an African-American pioneer who was part of a free black community that existed in Marion County prior to the Civil War. David Hall left no diaries or letters, but a document trail of tax records, censuses, and folk stories reveal details about his life. He was born in North Carolina in 1783, and sometime prior to 1805, he married a woman named Sarah (called Sallie), a free woman of Tennessee. Hall arrived at Bull Shoals (Marion County) in 1819 from Bedford County in central Tennessee. He and his wife settled on the White River with the two sons they already had, Absalom and David. They would later have five more children: Willoughby, Joseph, James, Margaret, and Eliza. …

Hamblen, Samuel George

Samuel George Hamblen was the second superintendent of the Hot Springs Reservation, now Hot Springs National Park. As superintendent, he was mainly noted for his design of the arching of Hot Springs Creek. The arching was instrumental in the development of modern-day Central Avenue in the city of Hot Springs (Garland County). Some of his other notable feats were the laying out of the first drives and bridle paths on the Hot Springs and North Mountains and enlarging the “Mud Hole.” Samuel Hamblen was born on February 7, 1836, the ninth of ten children born to Ichabod and Lydia Fickett Hamblen in Standish, Maine. Hamblen’s father, who moved his family from Standish in the fall of 1839, bought a farm located …

Hardin, Joseph Carrol

Joseph Carrol Hardin was a civic leader and politician throughout most of the twentieth century. He is best known for running for governor against Orval Faubus in 1960. While Hardin maintained his segregationist stance during the 1960 campaign, he proclaimed, “I am not a dynamiting, riot-calling segregationist.” Joe Hardin, one of the five surviving children of Thomas J. Hardin Jr. and Bettie Hall Hardin, was born on June 1, 1898, at Grady (Lincoln County). His father died when Hardin was a boy, leaving his mother to raise the children and run the family farm. Hardin attended Grady public schools and, with the help of teacher Edith Jackman Combs, was able to graduate from the nearest high school, at Pine Bluff …

Harding, Dexter

Dexter Harding was one of the early citizens of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) and owned the first sawmill in town, providing lumber for the homes and businesses from 1850 to 1860. In the 1980s, his pioneer home was converted to a tourist bureau because it was the oldest house in town. He was a brother to Chester Harding, a well-known artist who painted a picture of Daniel Webster and the only painting done from life of Daniel Boone. Dexter Harding was born on July 8, 1796, in Massachusetts. He was the sixth of fourteen children born to Abiel and Olive Smith Harding. When he was ten years old, the family moved to Madison County, New York. They grew up poor. …

Harris, Carleton

Carleton Harris was a lawyer and politician who was chief justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court during a tumultuous period in Arkansas political and judicial history. When he was elected to the court in 1956, Harris was the youngest chief justice in the nation; he served in the position for twenty-three years, longer than any other Arkansan except Griffin Smith, whose seat he filled upon the judge’s death and after the brief interim appointment of Lee Seamster. He was elected three times to the Arkansas House of Representatives, first when he was twenty-two years old, and he was elected to one term as prosecuting attorney, to eight years on the chancery bench, and to all or parts of four terms …

Hartman, Alexis Karl

Alexis Karl Hartman was the first elected Reconstruction mayor of Little Rock (Pulaski County), winning the office in January 1869 for an eleven-month term and again in November 1869 for a two-year term. Reflecting the contentious politics of the Reconstruction years, he is the only Little Rock mayor who was twice suspended from office by the city council. In 1871, he lost his bid for a third term. Alexis Hartman was born on August 22, 1838, in Saxony, a province of Prussia, and studied medicine there. In the late 1850s, he immigrated to the United States, and on June 7, 1859, he married Margaret Althus in St. Clair County, Illinois. The couple settled in O’Fallon, a town near St. Louis, …

Harvey, Robert Drennen (Bob)

Robert Drennen (Bob) Harvey was a farmer and lawyer in Jackson County who spent thirty-two years in the Arkansas General Assembly after World War II, most notably fighting relentlessly for a lean state government. He announced to his colleagues in 1978 that he was not going to run for the Arkansas Senate again because he had finally recognized the loneliness and futility of trying to maintain frugal government in Arkansas. Harvey, a soft-spoken bachelor, was an icon in Jackson County, his forebears having arrived there in 1849. Bob Harvey was born on May 22, 1914. His father and mother, William Richard Harvey and Lula Belle Shaver Harvey of nearby Strawberry (Lawrence County), were farmers near the town of Swifton (Jackson …

Hawkins, Marlin Conover

Marlin Conover Hawkins served Conway County as an elected official for thirty-eight years. His ability to deliver votes to statewide and national candidates gave Hawkins a profile in state politics that was rare for a county official. His political machine is an important part of Arkansas’s political lore, and the effects of his political contacts are still evident in Conway County. Marlin Hawkins was born on April 22, 1913, near Center Ridge (Conway County) to John Carl and Nettie Mae Hawkins. John Carl Hawkins, a sharecropper and part-time barber, died in 1929. As the second of seven children, part of the burden of supporting the family fell on Hawkins. He worked as a sharecropper and part-time janitor until Olen Fullerton, …

Hollensworth, Carroll Charles

Carroll Charles Hollensworth was a prominent member of the Arkansas General Assembly in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Serving as the Speaker of the House and then as the floor leader, he was a central figure in the legislature’s work throughout that period. Carroll Charles Hollensworth was born in Warren (Bradley County) on January 6, 1900, to Presbyterian minister Eli Asa Hollensworth and Mary Elizabeth Lee Hollensworth. He had an older brother and a younger sister. He grew up in Bradley County and attended the local schools, but little is known about the specifics of his early life. He served in the U.S. Army during World War I and afterward married Mayme Bird Stevens. The couple had a son and …

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, …

Hudson, Dianne Elizabeth Ferguson

Dianne Hudson served as a state representative from Sherwood (Pulaski County) in the 81st Arkansas General Assembly from 1997 to 1998. Dianne Elizabeth Ferguson was born in 1939 in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Ralph James Ferguson, who was a civilian employee at Camp Joseph T. Robinson, and Josephine Margurite Uekman Ferguson, a homemaker. She grew up in North Little Rock (Pulaski County), graduating from St. Patrick’s Catholic School in 1953 and Mount St. Mary Academy in 1957, and worked as a cashier at the Rialto Theatre. She later audited classes at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She married Freddie D. Hudson in September 1958, and they had three daughters: Donna, Chris, and Connie. She was a homemaker …

Hughes, Green B.

Green B. Hughes was an influential figure in early Arkansas. He served as the first postmaster at what is now Benton in Saline County in 1836. Later, Hughes served as county clerk and county judge before being elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives. He also served as a railroad commissioner and chairman of the Saline County Democratic Party. Hughes died in the summer of 1858, reportedly leaving behind an estate worth a considerable amount. Green B. Hughes was born in Tyrrell County, North Carolina, in 1800 to parents of Welsh descent. He moved to Hot Springs (Garland County) in 1818, when Arkansas was still a territory. He married Louisa West, the sister of Claiborne West, one of the signers …

Hunt, Frances Rowena Mathews Jones

Frances Hunt was a representative from Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) in the Forty-third, Forty-fourth, and Forty-fifth Arkansas General Assemblies, serving from 1922 to 1926. She was the first woman to serve in the Arkansas General Assembly.  Frances Rowena Mathews was born on June 6, 1874, in Des Arc (Prairie County) to Julia Ann Wair Mathews and Allen C. Mathews, a Confederate veteran and editor of the Des Arc Citizen. Her friends and family called her “Fannie Dear.” She was educated in the Des Arc schools and learned the printing trade in her father’s newspaper office.   Her father died in 1891, shortly after purchasing the Prairie County Democrat and founding the Des Arc Guidon. Her mother moved with her family to live on the plantation of her brother, Samuel T. Wair, in Redfield (Jefferson County). Wair was active in politics, representing Barraque Township on the Jefferson County Democratic Central Committee and serving as a delegate to the Democratic State Convention. Another …

Hunter, Andrew

Andrew Hunter, one of the earliest and longest-surviving itinerant preachers in Arkansas, was an influential, popular, and highly respected leader in the development of Methodism in Arkansas. He served in almost every capacity in the Methodist organization and was involved in most of the historic events in the Methodist Church during his fifty-five years of active ministry and subsequent services after retirement in 1889. Andrew Hunter was born on December 26, 1813, in Ballymoney County, Antrim, Ireland. His mother converted from Catholicism to Presbyterianism before the family migrated to Pennsylvania, while he was still very young. The attentive ministrations of a Methodist preacher during the illness and subsequent death of Andrew’s father led to the family’s conversion to Methodism. Hunter converted on …

Hurst, Quincy Byrum

Quincy Byrum Hurst Sr. was a lawyer, banker, and politician whose battle to protect and legalize gambling in his hometown of Hot Springs (Garland County) resulted in a historic conflict with Governor Winthrop Rockefeller in the 1960s. Hurst began his political career as a reformer in the famous GI Revolt of returning soldiers from World War II, led by future governor Sidney S. McMath, but he ended his career in the service of the state’s “Old Guard” politicians and as the lawyer of two major figures in organized crime. He served twenty-two years in the Arkansas Senate and ran for governor, unsuccessfully, in 1972 while he was under investigation for bank fraud. In 1974, he was convicted in Missouri of …

Jeffery, Jehoiada

Jehoiada Jeffery and his family are believed to have been the first permanent settlers in Izard County. Jeffery was a prosperous farmer who was a war veteran and served as justice of the peace, county judge, and territorial legislator. While in the legislature, he introduced the bill that created Izard County.  Jehoiada Jeffery was born in Rutherford County, North Carolina, on August 10, 1790, to James Jeffery and Jane Mason Jeffery. He was the oldest of their four sons and two daughters. About 1800, his family moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, and a short time later to Christian County, Kentucky. In 1808, the family moved once again to Union County, Illinois, where they remained for about eight years.  Little is known of Jeffery’s educational training, which was likely very limited due to the family’s regular moves. However, his mother was educated and served as a teacher for the entire family. He married Mary Weir on February 12, 1811. The couple had …

Jeffery, Robert Emmett Jr.

Robert E. Jeffery Jr. was a descendent of one of the earliest families to settle in north–central Arkansas. With very little formal education, he practiced law and also served as a prosecuting attorney, circuit judge, and member of the Arkansas General Assembly. In 1915, he was appointed a minister to Uruguay by President Woodrow Wilson.  Robert Emmett Jeffery Jr. was born in Mount Olive (Izard County) on January 30, 1875, to Dr. Robert Emmett Jeffery Sr. and Mary Cason Jeffery. He was the great-grandson of Jehoida Jeffery, considered by some to be the first white settler in present–day Izard County. He was the oldest of eight brothers and two sisters.   Jeffery, who was called Boyse by his family, grew up in rural Arkansas and had few opportunities for a formal education, attending local schools for no more than …

Jeffries, Peggy Sue Newlon

Peggy Jeffries was a senator from Fort Smith (Sebastian County) in the Eightieth and Eighty-first Arkansas General Assemblies, serving from 1995 to 1998. Although she served only one term, she was a significant forerunner of the extreme Republican Party lawmakers who would take over state government more than a decade after she left.  Peggy Sue Newlon was born on June 4, 1940, in St. James, Missouri, to Thelma Geneva Edgar Newlon, who was a homemaker, and Graydon Hopkins Newlon, a truck driver with England Brothers Truck Line who also had a career as a construction foreman with Southwestern Bell Telephone Company. Due to her father’s work, she attended first grade in Fayetteville (Washington County) and fifth grade in Mena (Polk County) but otherwise attended Fort Smith public schools at Trusty Elementary and Fort Smith Senior High School (Northside), graduating in 1958. In high school, Peggy …

Johnson, Lycurgus Leonidas

Lycurgus Leonidas Johnson was one of the largest cotton planters and slaveowners in antebellum Arkansas. Around 1860, he built an imposing, seventeen-room Greek Revival mansion along the banks of the Mississippi River at his Lakeport Plantation in Chicot County. Lycurgus Johnson was born on March 22, 1818, the eldest of nine children born to Joel Johnson and Verlinda Offutt Johnson of Scott County, Kentucky. The Johnsons were among the most prominent families in early Kentucky. Johnson’s paternal grandfather, Robert Johnson, was a political, educational, and religious leader in the Bluegrass State; he had been instrumental in establishing Transylvania Seminary (later Transylvania University) at Lexington, the Rittenhouse Academy in Scott County, and the Kentucky Society for Promoting Useful Knowledge. One of …

Jones, Green Hill

Green Hill Jones was an African-American politician and Free Will Baptist minister in Chicot County. Born into slavery, Jones served in the Union army during the Civil War and received an education in the North following his discharge. Upon returning to Chicot County, he became county treasurer and county assessor and served two terms in the Arkansas General Assembly. Throughout his adult life, he was known as G. H. Jones, Greenhill Jones, Green Hill Jones, or Hill Jones. However, in an interview with the U.S. Pension Office, he stated that his true name when he attained his freedom was Green Hill Jones Haywood. Born a slave in Maury County, Tennessee, on December 18, 1842, Green Hill Jones was part of …

Jones, James Fred

J. Fred Jones was a farmer, laborer, lawyer, and populist politician who aspired to be a justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court and made it in 1967 after his third race for the position. His ten years on the bench, begun as he approached retirement age, were marked by sympathy for underdogs, workers, and educators. He found that the law nearly always sided with them rather than their adversaries.  James Fred Jones—he went by “J. Fred”—was born on January 12, 1907, on a Ouachita Mountain farm near Mount Ida in Montgomery County. His children described his childhood home as so remote and untamed that a mountain lion once crashed through the roof of the house. His parents were Ira S. Jones and Ella Tyler Jones.   Jones attended Montgomery County’s rural schools and …

Jones, Myra

Myra Jones was a political activist and governmental official as well as an entrepreneur in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in the latter part of the twentieth century. Throughout two decades in elective office, Jones made a substantive impact on the direction of both Little Rock and the state, becoming the first woman elected to the Little Rock Board of Directors and later serving from 1985 through 1998 in the Arkansas General Assembly. Myra Lee Gutsche was born on March 8, 1936, near Belle Fourche, South Dakota, to Ernest and Edith Gutsche. She was raised on a ranch in Belle Fourche, which was north of Rapid City. She learned to drive a tractor at an early age and was active in …

Jones, Oscar Eve (O. E.)

Oscar Eve (O. E.) Jones Sr. was a successful Batesville (Independence County) newspaper publisher and a state senator representing Independence and Jackson counties. O. E. Jones Sr. was born in Newport (Jackson County) on June 20, 1905, to Dr. Oscar Eve Jones and Frances “Fannie” Redman Jones of Newport. He had one brother, Lacy R. Jones. O. E. Jones was educated in the public schools of Newport and received a degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). His mother died when he was in his teens, and his father died about two years later. Jones went to live with his maternal uncle and aunt, Harry Brandenburg and Minnie Redman Brandenburg of Newport. On January …