Washington Leaders

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Bandini, Pietro

Father Pietro Bandini is most widely remembered in Arkansas for the 1898 founding of Tontitown (Washington County), located in the northwest corner of the state, which he named after Henry de Tonti, an Italian explorer who established, with René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, the first European settlement in Arkansas in 1686. However, the founding of Tontitown is but a regional capstone on a life spent working for the betterment of Italian immigrant communities in the nation. Bandini was born on March 31, 1852, in Forli, which is in the Romagna region of Italy. Little is known about Bandini’s family, described as of the upper class and refined. He is known to have had two older brothers, one of whom …

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 …

Tebbetts, Jonas March

Jonas March Tebbetts of Fayetteville (Washington County) was a prominent lawyer, judge, and politician known for his abhorrence of slavery and support for the Union during the Civil War. His aid to Union forces led to his later arrest by Confederates, who condemned him to death. But fortuitous circumstances led to his freedom, and he lived a long life. Jonas M. Tebbetts was born on January 5, 1820, in Rochester, New Hampshire, one of five sons of Enoch Tebbetts and Anne Roberts Tebbetts. Tebbetts attended Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire. At sixteen, he was working as a marketing agent selling copies of The Family Expositor by English religious nonconformist Philip Doddridge. As a salesman, he traveled throughout New England, Pennsylvania, …