Entry Category: National

Ellis, Clyde Taylor

Clyde Taylor Ellis was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and a pioneer in the nation’s rural electrification movement. He served as the first general manager of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), which was formed to help promote and protect the interests of the rural electrification program, a New Deal program created in 1935. Clyde Ellis was born on December 21, 1908, to Cecil O. Ellis and Minerva Taylor Ellis on a farm near Garfield (Benton County). He was the oldest of nine children. He attended the rural Ruddick School (also known as Ozark No. 15), then attended two years of high school at Garfield High and two years at University High in Fayetteville (Washington County). …

Farm Resettlement Projects

aka: Resettlement Administration
aka: Farm Security Administration
Many of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs were implemented to help farmers and rural residents weather the effects of the Great Depression. These programs allowed a succession of federal agencies to develop farming colonies throughout Arkansas. In an effort to assist rural residents and tenant farmers, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) urged each state to establish a Rural Rehabilitation Corporation. William Reynolds Dyess, Arkansas’s director of both the FERA and Works Progress Administration (WPA), created this assistance in Arkansas. Under the auspices of the Arkansas Rural Rehabilitation Corporation, Dyess sought to develop a swampy section in southwestern Mississippi County as a planned agricultural community. FERA administrator Harry Hopkins approved the plan in early 1934, and the corporation …

Featherstone, Lewis Porter

Lewis Porter (L. P.) Featherstone was an Agricultural Wheel leader and a politician who served in the state legislature in 1887 and in the U.S. Congress from 1890 to 1891. His electoral defeat in 1888 resulted in federal hearings that highlighted the extent of election fraud in Arkansas and saw him seated in Congress in 1890. L. P. Featherstone, the eldest son of Lewis H. Featherstone and Elizabeth (Porter) Featherstone, was born on July 28, 1851, in Oxford, Mississippi. By 1860, his father, a landowning farmer, had resettled near Memphis, Tennessee, and his family eventually included five more sons. Educated in the local schools, Featherstone attended Cumberland University law school in Lebanon, Tennessee, before failing eyesight forced him to abandon …

Floyd, John Charles

John Charles Floyd was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Third District of Arkansas in the Fifty-Ninth through the Sixty-Third Congresses, serving from 1905 to 1915. John Charles Floyd was born on April 14, 1858, in Sparta, Tennessee, to John Wesley Floyd and Eliza Jane Snodgrass Floyd. Floyd spent his early years in Tennessee while his father served in the Confederate army. After the Civil War, the family moved to Arkansas, settling near Bentonville (Benton County) in 1869. There, Floyd received his early education, attending the local common school and the high school. He continued his education at Arkansas Industrial University in Fayetteville (Washington County), which later became the University of Arkansas, from which …

Fort Smith Council

The gathering of Native Americans, Arkansas territorial officials, and U.S. government representatives held in 1822 at the confluence of the Poteau and Arkansas rivers—the event commonly referred to as the Fort Smith Council—was a laudable effort to establish amicable relations between Osage and Cherokee who were engaged in hostile actions that disrupted a large portion of the frontier region. The event actually had only limited success, but the face-to-face meeting of both Indian and territorial leaders, a rare event in territorial Arkansas, has become a popular fixture in stories about Arkansas’s early history. When several bands of Cherokee settled along the Arkansas River upstream of Point Remove Creek in the spring of 1812, they established their communities in a nearly …

Foster, Vincent Walker (Vince), Jr.

Vincent Walker Foster Jr. was a prominent Little Rock (Pulaski County) lawyer and close friend and associate of Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Although he had a distinguished legal career in Arkansas, he became a historically important figure for the last six months of his life, when he was deputy counsel for the White House in the administration of President Clinton. Despondent over the political turmoil in which he became involved, Foster committed suicide in a suburban Virginia park, triggering a series of investigations that became part of what was popularly called the “Whitewater scandal.” Vince Foster was born on January 15, 1945, to Vincent W. and Alice Mae Foster in Hope (Hempstead County), where his father …

Freedmen’s Bureau

aka: Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands
Congress established the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands in March 1865 to help four million African Americans in the South make the transition from slavery to freedom and to help destitute white people with food and medical supplies in the dire days at the end of the Civil War. Headed by General Oliver Otis Howard, the Freedmen’s Bureau was supervised in Arkansas by assistant commissioners General John W. Sprague (April 1865–September 1866), General Edward O. C. Ord (October 1866–March 1867), and General Charles H. Smith (March 1867–May 1869). The bureau attempted to help Arkansas’s estimated 110,000 slaves become truly free as the Civil War ended. Seventy-nine local agents (thirty-six civilians and forty-three army officers) labored from 1865 to …

Fulbright Memorandum

The so-called Fulbright Memorandum was a devastating critique of the National Education Program (NEP), which was founded in the mid-twentieth century by Harding College (now Harding University) president George S. Benson to disseminate his ideas on Americanism. These included three fundamental principles: belief in God, belief in the U.S. Constitution, and belief in the free-enterprise system; the NEP wedded fundamentalist Christian religion with free-enterprise economic thought, which became foundational to the conservative movement that gained prominence with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. The memorandum was sent by Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in June 1961. The memorandum mentioned by name Benson; Clifton L. Ganus Jr., who had become vice president of …

Fulbright, Bill

aka: James William Fulbright
aka: J. William Fulbright
James William (Bill) Fulbright remains one of Arkansas’s most well-known political figures. Like his Oxford University tutor, R. B. McCallum, Fulbright believed that a “Parliament of Man” was possible and that educated, enlightened human beings were able to recognize that their individual interests were inextricably bound up with the well-being of the community. The crux of that education was knowledge about and appreciation of other cultures, which in turn would breed tolerance, peaceful coexistence, respect for human rights, and collective security. To this end, as a U.S. senator, he sponsored the Fulbright Exchange Program and opposed foreign policy isolationists. He also led Senate opposition to the Vietnam War. Bill Fulbright was born on April 9, 1905, in Summer, Missouri, to …

Fuller, Claude Albert

Claude Albert Fuller was a noteworthy lawyer, city clerk, state legislator, prosecuting attorney, mayor, and congressman. As mayor, he made many improvements to his city, and as a Democratic congressman, he was a force for improving the lives of those he represented. Among other accomplishments, he was involved with the Social Security Bill and the lakes of northwest Arkansas. Claude Fuller was born on January 20, 1876, in Springhill, Whiteside County, Illinois, to Wilmont P. and Maria (Ocobock) Fuller. He had a brother and a sister, Harvey and Maude. Fuller’s father, of English ancestry, was a farmer, carpenter, and small contractor. His Pennsylvania Dutch mother was a devout Baptist and insisted the entire family accompany her to Sunday school and …

Gathings, Ezekiel Candler “Took”

Ezekiel Candler “Took” Gathings represented Arkansas’s First Congressional District for thirty years (1939–1969). Throughout this period, he championed the interests of the neo-plantation elite who dominated politics and society in that region and was one of a powerful bloc of conservative Southern Democrats who frequently fought against social reform legislation introduced by more liberal members of their party. “Took” Gathings was born the youngest of eight children of Melville W. Gathings and Virgie Garner Gathings on November 10, 1903, in Prairie, Mississippi. As an infant, his parents referred to him as “Sugar,” which his two-year-old brother pronounced “Tooker”; hence, the nickname that eventually supplanted his given name. His family later moved to Earle (Crittenden County), where he graduated from high …

Gause, Lucien Coatsworth

Lucien Coatsworth Gause was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the First District of Arkansas in the Forty-Fourth and Forty-Fifth Congresses, serving from 1875 to 1879. Lucien C. Gause was born near Wilmington, North Carolina, on December 25, 1836, to Samuel Sidney Gause and Elizabeth Ann Gause. The family, which included another son, moved to Lauderdale County, Tennessee, where Gause received his earliest education, studying with a private tutor. After graduating from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, he studied law at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee. After graduating from Cumberland, he was admitted to the bar and began to practice law in Arkansas at Jacksonport (Jackson County) in 1859. Gause was reputedly an excellent …

Glover, D. D.

aka: David Delano Glover
David Delano “D. D.” Glover served in the Arkansas legislature (1909–1911), as prosecuting attorney of Arkansas’s Seventh Judicial Circuit (1913–1917), and as a Democratic representative to the U.S. Congress from Arkansas’s Sixth Congressional District (1929–1935). During Glover’s tenure in the Arkansas legislature, he chaired the Capitol Commission that oversaw the troubled completion of the Arkansas State Capitol building. D. D. Glover, the second of William H. Glover and Margaret Crowson Glover’s seven children, was born on January 18, 1868, in Prattsville (Grant County), where his parents owned a family farm. He attended schools in Prattsville and Sheridan (Grant County) and graduated from Sheridan High School in 1886. On December 24, 1891, Glover married Roberta Theodosia Quinn, whose father, Thomas W. …

Gober, Hershel Wayne

Hershel Wayne Gober is an Arkansas native who followed a career in the military with business and government positions. Gober held high-level posts in the Department of Veterans Affairs at both the state and national levels under President Bill Clinton. Hershel W. Gober was born on December 21, 1936, in Monticello (Drew County). One of eight children of Jimmie Price Gober and Wade Harvey Gober, he grew up in Monticello and attended the local public schools. He received his undergraduate degree from Alaska Methodist University (now Alaska Pacific University) in Anchorage. Gober married Olivia DeArmond on April 5, 1956, and they went on to have six children before the marriage ended in divorce. Following graduation from college, Gober joined the …

Goodwin, William Shields

William Shields Goodwin was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Seventh District of Arkansas in the Sixty-Second through the Sixty-Sixth Congresses, serving from 1911 to 1921. William Shields Goodwin was born on May 2, 1866, in Warren (Bradley County) to Thomas Morrison Goodwin and Esther Shields Goodwin. He was educated in the local public schools before attending Farmers’ Academy in Duluth, Georgia; Cooledge’s Preparatory School; and Moore’s Business College in Atlanta. He also studied at both the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) and the University of Mississippi. He also studied the law and was admitted to the Arkansas bar in 1894, after which he opened a practice in Warren. He soon …

Goss, Kay

Kay Goss is an author, educator, historian, lecturer, and emergency management official. Goss served as senior assistant for intergovernmental relations for two Arkansas governors (1982–1994) and was appointed associate director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), serving from 1994 to 2001. She also wrote the first full-scale biography of powerful U.S. congressman from Arkansas Wilbur D. Mills, published in 2012. Kay Gentry Collett, a native of Fayetteville (Washington County), was born on August 7, 1941. She majored in political science, public administration, and government, with a minor in history, at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville, graduating in 1963. She earned a master’s degree from UA in 1966 before embarking on doctoral studies in public administration at West …

Greenwood, Alfred Burton

Alfred Burton Greenwood was an early settler in Benton County who served in local, state, and national public offices for twenty years. During his career, he served as state representative, prosecuting attorney, circuit judge, U.S. congressman, and tax collector for the Confederacy. A. B. Greenwood, born in Franklin County, Georgia, on July 11, 1811, was the eldest of five children born to Hugh B. Greenwood, a carpenter and cabinetmaker, and Elizabeth Ingram Greenwood. Greenwood was educated in Lawrenceville and Athens, Georgia, where he studied the classics, and he graduated from the University of Georgia. At the age of eighteen, he began the study of law with William Izzard. Admitted to the bar at Monroe, Georgia, in 1832, Greenwood relocated to …

Grey, William Henry

William Henry Grey emerged as a leader of African Americans in Arkansas after he settled in Helena (Phillips County) in 1865. Never a slave himself, he was a tireless fighter for the rights of freedmen. His involvement in politics included being a Republican member of the 1868 state constitutional convention and a member of the Arkansas General Assembly, as well as serving as the Commissioner of Immigration and State Lands. In 1872, he became the first African American to address a national nominating convention, seconding the nomination of Republican presidential candidate Ulysses S. Grant in 1872. He was also the first Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge (Colored) of Free and Accepted Masons of Arkansas, established in 1873 from the merger …

Griffin, John Timothy

John Timothy (Tim) Griffin has been a major figure in Arkansas Republican politics in the first decades of the twenty-first century, serving in a wide variety of positions, both elected and appointed. Griffin began serving as lieutenant governor in 2015, but with term limits ensuring that his term would be set to end in January 2023, he announced his candidacy for state attorney general in the 2022 elections. Tim Griffin was born on August 21, 1968, in Charlotte, North Carolina, the youngest child of a preacher and a teacher. The family moved back to their hometown of Magnolia (Columbia County) when Griffin was in sixth grade. After graduating from Magnolia High School, he went to Hendrix College in Conway (Faulkner …

Guedetonguay

aka: Guedelonguay
aka: Quedetongue
Guedetonguay was a Quapaw Indian leader in the mid-eighteenth century who was the most important contact between the Quapaw and French colonial officials in Louisiana. In 1752, the Quapaw lived along the lower Arkansas River near the Mississippi River. Their population had been greatly reduced, mainly through disease, since the arrival of French settlers in Louisiana. They were still considered important allies of French colonial authorities in New Orleans, however, even though they were able to muster only about 150 men to serve in military engagements and war parties. Guedetonguay was made medal chief of the Quapaw in 1752 by Paul Augustin Le Pelletier de La Houssaye, who was then commander of Arkansas Post (Arkansas County). He became the principal …

Gunter, Thomas Montague

Thomas Montague Gunter was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. From 1874 to 1883, he represented first the Third District of Arkansas and then later, due to redistricting, the Fourth District. His service began in the Forty-Third Congress and extended through the Forty-Seventh Congress. Thomas M. Gunter was born on September 18, 1826, near McMinnville, Tennessee. The son of John Gunter and Lavina Thomason Gunter, he pursued classical studies and graduated from Irving College in Tennessee in 1850. After graduation, he taught school for a year in Alabama. With his earnings, he began to study law, a course he continued when he moved to Arkansas in 1852. There, he began to work and study under a relative, …

Haley, George Williford Boyce

George Williford Boyce Haley was a U.S. ambassador, politician, civil rights activist, attorney, and policy analyst. He was one of the first African-American students to attend the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) since Reconstruction. He was also one of the first African Americans elected to the Kansas Senate. George Haley was born to Simon Haley and Bertha Haley in the small western Tennessee town of Henning on August 28, 1925. He had two brothers, one of whom, Alex, wrote the bestselling book Roots. His mother died when he was six years old. The family later moved to Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), where, in 1939, Haley’s father accepted a position as head of the agriculture department at AM&N …

Hammerschmidt, John Paul

In 1966, John Paul Hammerschmidt, a native of Harrison (Boone County), became the first Republican elected to Congress from Arkansas since Reconstruction. He served Arkansas’s Third District for twenty-six years in Congress. His ability to relate to and serve the home population through effective casework management is perhaps his most lasting legacy. John Paul Hammerschmidt was born on May 4, 1922, in Harrison to Arthur Paul and Junie M. Hammerschmidt. Hammerschmidt was the fourth of five children. Both sets of grandparents migrated to Boone County in the early years of the twentieth century and were of German descent. His paternal grandfather began the Hammerschmidt Lumber Co., which his father and later Hammerschmidt himself managed. Hammerschmidt’s family settled in a modest …

Harris, Oren

Oren Harris served as prosecuting attorney of Arkansas’s Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (1937–1940) and in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the Fourth Congressional District from 1941 to 1953 and, following redistricting, the Seventh Congressional District from 1953 to 1966. Harris resigned his congressional seat in February 1966 after President Lyndon Johnson appointed him U.S. district judge for the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas. Although Harris took senior status with the court in 1976, he fulfilled his promise to work until “he couldn’t put his socks on” and carried a full docket of cases for two additional decades. Oren Harris was born on a farm in Belton (Hempstead County) on December 20, 1903, to Homer Harris and Bettie Bullock Harris, …

Hays, Lawrence Brooks

Lawrence Brooks Hays was a twentieth-century political, civic, and religious leader in Arkansas. He was one of the most influential members of the state’s congressional delegation after World War II and one of the few laymen to serve as the president of the Southern Baptist Convention. While he often referred to himself as a politician, his wife thought the label that best described him was “Arkansas social worker.” Brooks Hays was born on August 9, 1898, in London (Pope County) at the base of the Ozark Plateau. His father, Steele Hays, was a schoolteacher who later became a prominent lawyer, and his mother, Sallie Butler Hays, was also a schoolteacher. Brooks grew up in Russellville, the seat of Pope County, …

Heckaton

Heckaton was the hereditary chief of the Quapaw during their long and painful removal from their homelands in Arkansas during the 1830s. At the time of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, fewer than 600 Quapaw remained of the thousands who had lived in the region in the late seventeenth century. Most of these lived in three traditional villages near Arkansas Post (Arkansas County). Each village had its own leader, and one leader was overall tribal chief by family inheritance. A few Quapaw lived in homesteads along the Arkansas River as far north as the site of Little Rock (Pulaski County). For a decade, there were no official relations between the Quapaw and the American government. After the War of 1812, …

Hill, James French

French Hill is a U.S. congressman from Arkansas’s Second District who was first elected in 2014. He is associated with the wave of new conservatives who made up the Tea Party Movement that helped the Republicans regain the majority in the House of Representatives in 2010. Prior to running for office, he held a number of staff and appointive governmental positions and also had a successful business career. Since taking his seat in 2015, Hill has established himself as a reliable conservative vote, strongly supportive of pro-business measures and a loyal supporter of former president Donald Trump. James French Hill was born on December 5, 1956, in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The only child of Jay French Hill and Patricia …

Hill, Samuel Billingsley

Samuel Billingsley Hill was an Arkansas-born politician who represented the state of Washington in Congress for over a decade. An expert on taxation and an influential member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Hill left the House in 1936 to accept a presidential appointment to the United States Board of Tax Appeals (now the Tax Court of the United States), where he served for approximately seventeen years. Samuel B. Hill was born on April 2, 1875, in Franklin (Izard County). One of eight children born to Margaret Billingsley Hill and William Hill, he received his early education in the area’s common schools before attending the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). He graduated from the university’s law …

Hinds, James

James M. Hinds was an Arkansas politician during the Reconstruction era. He served as a representative to the Arkansas Constitutional Convention of 1868 and to the U.S. Congress upon Arkansas’s readmission to the Union after the Civil War. During his four months as representative, Hinds helped introduce a bill for the sale of what is now Hot Springs National Park, aided in establishing agricultural colleges, and promoted the interests of black soldiers. Upon the passage of the Reconstruction Acts, Hinds advocated the measures on a state level, as well as taught enfranchised African-American men about their newly acquired rights as citizens. His assassination by a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) member was deemed politically motivated. He is one of the six …

Hodges, Asa

Asa Hodges was a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives. He represented the First District of Arkansas in the Forty-Third Congress, serving from 1873 to 1875. Asa Hodges was born on January 22, 1822, near Moulton, Alabama, to William Hodges and Jeanette Daugherty Hodges. He and his family later moved to Marion (Crittenden County). After receiving his early education in local schools, he graduated from LaGrange College in LaGrange, Missouri, in 1848. Hodges also studied law and was admitted to the Alabama state bar in 1848. He then began to practice law, working first in the offices of L. P. Walker in Florence, Alabama, and later forming a legal partnership with Thomas M. Peters, who would later …

Hodges, Kaneaster, Jr.

Kaneaster Hodges Jr. served as a Democratic interim U.S. senator representing Arkansas from December 10, 1977, to January 3, 1979. He was appointed to the post by Governor David Pryor after the death of the incumbent senator, John L. McClellan. Hodges also served as city attorney and deputy prosecuting attorney of Newport (Jackson County) and held a number of positions in state government. Kaneaster Hodges Jr. was born to Harryette Hodges and Kaneaster Hodges Sr. in Newport on August 20, 1938; he was one of six children. His father, whose career path Hodges would follow, was a lawyer. Hodges graduated from Newport High School in 1956 and went on to receive his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 1960 and …