Entry Type: Event - Starting with H

Haguewood Prairie, Skirmish at

By late September 1863, Little Rock (Pulaski County) had just fallen to Union forces, and Arkansas Confederate forces were in disarray. Surrendering the state capital with little more than token resistance, the Rebel forces moved the seat of government to Washington (Hempstead County), leaving Union forces in control of most of the state north of the Arkansas River. Colonel Joseph Shelby proposed a raid into his native state of Missouri. His commanding general, John Marmaduke, saw little chance of success but backed Shelby nevertheless, hoping that the diversion would slow Union general Frederick Steele’s further advance, as well as rally the discouraged Southern sympathizers. On September 22, 1863, Shelby and 600 troops filed through Arkadelphia (Clark County) past Missouri Confederate …

Hahn’s Farm, Skirmish at

aka: Skirmish at Waldron
Positioned on the western border of Arkansas and south of the strategically important Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Scott County saw a significant amount of activity during the Civil War. The Attack on Waldron occurred on December 29, 1863, leaving several dead and wounded. Other activity in Scott County included troops traveling through to other destinations, scouting, and foraging expeditions. Brigadier General John M. Thayer received orders by telegraph from the Assistant Adjunct General of Little Rock (Pulaski County), Lieutenant Colonel W. D. Green, to have a detachment from Little Rock met by Federal troops from Fort Smith. He sent troops south from Fort Smith to pass through Scott County en route to Dallas (Polk County). On June 17, 1864, Lieutenant …

Haley, Loy (Lynching of)

Loy Haley, an African-American man, was lynched on June 15, 1915, likely near Lewisville (Lafayette County), for allegedly murdering Roy Lester, owner of a plantation in Lafayette County located in the Red River bottoms. Probably the earliest report on the violent chain of events was a June 13, 1915, article in the Arkansas Gazette. Though titled, “Lynching Near Lafayette County,” the article does not, in fact, describe a lynching but rather reports on the intended lynching of Loy Haley. According to the report, Roy Lester had remained on his plantation despite flooding on the Red River that had left his farm entirely surrounded by water, and made him “the only white man on the place.” No details of Lester’s murder …

Hampton Race War of 1892

aka: Calhoun County Race War of 1892
The Hampton Race War (also referred to as the Calhoun County Race War in many sources) occurred in September 1892 and entailed incidents of racial violence all across the southern part of the county. While many sources have attributed the events in Calhoun County to Arkansas’s passage of the Election Law of 1891, with provisions that vastly complicated the voting process for illiterate citizens of all races and effectively kept them from voting, it seems that the trouble in the county started prior to the early September election. Racial unrest was widespread in Arkansas in the 1890s, especially across the southern counties. Incidents increased after the state began passing Jim Crow legislation that limited the rights of its black citizens. (According …

Harris, Frank (Lynching of)

On August 18, 1871, an African-American man named Frank Harris was lynched at Wittsburg (Cross County) for allegedly murdering a twelve-year-old white girl named Isy Sanders, the daughter of Isaiah Sanders. According to the 1870 census, farmer I. Sanders was living near Wittsburg with his wife K. Sanders, their daughter S. J. (age twelve), and two sons, I. L. G. (age eleven) and M. C. (age five). That same year, a twenty-five-year-old African-American farm laborer identified as F. Harris was also living with his wife near Wittsburg, only two households away from the Sanders family. In addition, there was another African American named Frank Hare living not far away near Wittsburg with his wife M. Hare and four children between …

Harris, George (Lynching of)

On February 23, 1892, an African-American man named George Harris was lynched by a mob near Varner (Lincoln County) for allegedly murdering E. F. Parker (sometimes referred to as S. F. Parker) the previous September. According to newspaper accounts, Parker was a “peaceable and inoffensive citizen of Lincoln County.” He had previously lived in Drew County, where he married Mary McCloy of Monticello in 1882. There is no official record of a man named George Harris in either Lincoln or Drew counties, but the Arkansas Democrat noted that he had formerly lived on Steve Gaster’s plantation in Drew County. At the time of the 1880 census, there was a Steve Gaster living in Ferguson (Drew County) with his mother-in-law, Rachel …

Harris, Gilbert (Lynching of)

On August 1, 1922, a mob of as many as 500 people broke into the Hot Springs (Garland County) jail and, brandishing guns, forcibly took a man and lynched him at the triangle in front of the Como Hotel located at the intersection of Central and Ouachita avenues. In his memoirs, Roswell Rigsby (1910–2001), an eyewitness to the lynching, stated, “I believe this was the last lynching in Hot Springs, at least in public.” There are some conflicting reports as to the first name of the man lynched. There are references to his first name being Punk, Bunk, and Gilbert; however, all accounts list his last name as Harris. Accounts of the hanging appeared in newspapers as far away as …

Harris, John (Lynching of)

On February 2, 1922, an African-American man was lynched in Malvern (Hot Spring County) for allegedly harassing white women and girls. While a number of newspaper accounts, as well as a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) annual report, identify him by the name of Harry Harrison, the Arkansas Gazette identifies him as John Harris, and there is no record of a Harry Harrison ever living in the Malvern area. John Harris was living in Malvern at the time of the 1920 census; he was thirty-eight years old, married, and worked as a laborer in a lumber mill. He was a native of North Carolina and could both read and write. According to the Arkansas Gazette, he …

Harrison Race Riots of 1905 and 1909

Though nowhere near as murderous as other race riots across the state, the Harrison Race Riots of 1905 and 1909 drove all but one African American from Harrison (Boone County), creating by violence an all-white community similar to other such “sundown towns” in northern and western Arkansas. With the headquarters of the Arkansas Faction of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) located nearby, Harrison has retained the legacy of its ethnic cleansing, in terms of demographics and reputation, through the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. The U.S. Census of 1900 revealed a black community in Harrison of 115 people out of 1,501 residents. This constituted a vibrant community that, despite its poverty, had a cohesive culture and deep …

Harrison Railroad Riot

aka: Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad Strike
The Harrison Railroad Riot was an outbreak of anti-union violence in the town of Harrison (Boone County), supported in part by the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), as well as the city government and local business interests. The riot was in response to a two-year strike along the Missouri and North Arkansas (M&NA) railroad and ended in the lynching of a man accused of harboring militant strikers, along with the forced exodus of most strikers north into Missouri. The St. Louis and North Arkansas Railroad was chartered on May 17, 1899, and extended into Harrison in 1901; tracks were soon laid connecting other Ozark towns such as Leslie (Searcy County) and Heber Springs (Cleburne County) and went farther southeast to Helena …

Harrison’s Landing, Skirmish at

  Shortly after completion of a successful expedition along the White and Little Red rivers, which resulted in the destruction of a Confederate warehouse and a pontoon bridge, along with the capture of two steamers, Union forces were again dispatched upon White River transports on a reconnaissance mission. On August 16, 1863, a force consisting of portions of the Thirty-second Iowa Infantry and the Thirteenth Illinois Cavalry boarded transports docked at Clarendon (Monroe County) and headed down the White River to Harrison’s Landing. The force, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Gustavus Eberhart, arrived at the landing at about nightfall. Upon disembarking from the transports, the Union force was fired upon by hidden Confederates. At about 2:00 a.m. on August 17, Major …

Hatch’s Ferry, Skirmish at

By late May 1864, Brigadier General Joseph O. Shelby was in command of all Confederate forces north of the Arkansas River and was tasked with recruiting a fighting force from the local populace. Over the next three months, Shelby bolstered his command from an estimated 1,200 men in early May to more than 7,000, and his success in frustrating Union garrisons and supply lines along the White River prompted Union command at Little Rock (Pulaski County) to launch several expeditions to neutralize him. During the summer, Shelby established his headquarters at Jacksonport (Jackson County) and set about harassing railroad lines and plantations being used to supply Union forces. In mid-July, Colonel Thomas H. McCray and his brigade made a successful …

Hay Station No. 3, Skirmish at

aka: Skirmish at Brownsville (July 30, 1864)
This brief Civil War engagement took place during the summer of 1864 in eastern Arkansas. This area saw much action during this period, most notably by Joseph O. Shelby and his Confederate cavalry. This engagement, however, was not part of that action. Hay stations were important Federal outposts along the railroad line in eastern Arkansas. The army needed vast quantities of hay on a daily basis to feed the thousands of animals it required. Union commanders in Little Rock (Pulaski County) established small fortified outposts along the railroad to meet several needs. These outposts were tasked with protecting the nearby railroad and disrupting Confederate operations in the area. The outposts were also responsible for growing large amounts of hay to …

Hayden, Bud (Lynching of)

On June 3, 1898, Bud Hayden was lynched in Texarkana (Miller County) for allegedly assaulting twelve-year-old Jessie Scott, the daughter of the late James V. Scott, former circuit clerk. Although Hayden claimed to be twelve years old at the time, the authorities estimated his age to be at least eighteen. The Arkansas Gazette’s reports of the lynching were carried in newspapers across the country, including the Atlanta Constitution, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Herald. At the time of the 1880 census, J. V. Scott was living in Cut Off Township in Miller County. He was a twenty-four-year-old farmer living with his wife, Talitha, who was twenty. There was only one African-American family named Hayden in the county. …

Helena Expedition (March 5–12, 1863)

aka: St. Francis River Expedition
aka: Little River Expedition
Traveling up the St. Francis River from Helena (Phillips County) on March 5, 1863, Colonel Powell Clayton’s command moved into the Little River in Poinsett County, dispersing Confederates along the way and seeking the steamer Miller. The Union forces engaged the Confederates traveling upriver at Madison (St. Francis County), found the sunken Miller, and engaged Confederates north of, and again in, Madison while traveling back downriver. Overall, Clayton’s expedition took a number of prisoners and supplies that Confederates could not afford to lose in this region. With a firm hold on Helena, state-level Union leadership focused on the wearing down of Confederate resistance in Arkansas, but commanders in occupied cities like Helena had to remain aware of the immediate area. …

Helena, Affairs at

A pair of brief engagements near the Federal outpost of Helena (Phillips County), these actions demonstrate just how dangerous serving in Arkansas was for Union troops. After the Battle of Pea Ridge in March 1862, the Federal Army of the Southwest moved across southern Missouri and northern Arkansas in an effort to take Little Rock (Pulaski County). Unable to do so, the Union troops eventually took Helena on the Mississippi River and held the town for the remainder of the war. Deep in enemy territory, the Federals in Helena worked hard to establish defensive positions and regularly launched patrols into the surrounding countryside to gather intelligence on Confederate troops in the area. On December 13, 1862, twenty-six men of Company …

Helena, Battle of

The Confederate attack on the Mississippi River town of Helena (Phillips County) was, for the size of the forces engaged (nearly 12,000), as desperate a fight as any in the Civil War, with repeated assaults on heavily fortified positions similar to the fighting that was to be seen in 1864 in General Ulysses Grant’s overland campaign in Virginia and General William T. Sherman’s Atlanta, Georgia, campaign. It was the Confederates’ last major offensive in Arkansas (besides cavalry raids and the repulse of the Camden Expedition) and the last Confederate attempt to seize a potential choke point on the Mississippi. But the Battle of Helena has been little noted and not long remembered because it was fought the day the Confederate …

Helena, Expedition from (November 14–17, 1863)

  On November 14–17, 1863, Union forces sent a small expedition along the Mississippi River to gauge Confederate strength around Helena (Phillips County). The fighting that ensued is typical of the combat that both sides engaged in during this period. On the evening of November 14, 1863, a detachment of the Tenth Illinois Cavalry under the command of Major Eagleton Carmichael departed Helena on the steamer Hamilton Belle. The steamer first patrolled along the Mississippi side of the river, before halting for the night. The next morning, the steamer continued to patrol and troops disembarked at the house of a man named Gillen. There, the Federals captured a member of the Third Arkansas Cavalry and a commissary sergeant, as well as …

Helena, Skirmish at (September 19–20, 1862)

A small and inconsequential action, the September 19–20, 1862, Skirmish at Helena is typical of the war fought around Helena (Phillips County) after that city’s capture by Federal troops. Following the capture of Helena by the Federal Army of the Southwest in July 1862, Confederate leaders in Little Rock (Pulaski County) continued to fear that an attack on the capital would be launched from the Mississippi River port town of Helena. With few troops available to defend Little Rock, Texas cavalry units were tasked with harassing the Union troops in Helena and gathering information about the enemy. A brigade under the command of Colonel William Henry Parsons was the only unit available to perform these tasks and soon began attacking …

Helena, Skirmishes near (October 11, 1862)

aka: Battle of Jones's Lane
aka: Battle of Lick Creek
aka: Battle of Shell Creek
As Confederate cavalry harassed the Federal forces occupying Helena (Phillips County), the Union troops slowly began to learn how to fight back effectively. The October 11, 1862, Skirmish at Helena saw an initial Confederate success but ended with an overwhelming Federal victory. Confederate cavalry were tasked with patrolling around Helena and observing the enemy after the Union Army of the Southwest captured the city in July 1862. The Confederates were part of a brigade of Texas cavalry under the command of Colonel William Henry Parsons. As part of the brigade, the Twenty-first Texas Cavalry under the command of Lieutenant Colonel DeWitt Clinton Giddings was tasked with scouting near the city in October 1862. Giddings decided to lead the scout on …

Hensen, Elias (Lynching of)

Elias Hensen was seized from a house and shot to death on March 12, 1879, in Clay County after testifying against a co-defendant in a horse-stealing case and preparing to testify against other members of his gang. The 1870 federal census lists Elias Hensen, born around 1852, as an illiterate farmhand working for Abraham Roberts in Randolph County’s Current River Township, and it indicates that he might have had a diminished mental capacity. By 1879, he apparently was working with the Montgomery Brothers gang and had earned a reputation as a “rather unsavory character in this neighborhood, and was accused of various thefts, horse-stealing among them,” according to the Clay County Courier. Hensen and an accomplice, Charley Jenkins, were arrested …

Hickory Plains, Skirmish at

This skirmish was part of a larger expedition launched to gather information and destroy Confederate supplies north of the Arkansas River. Several Confederate forces, including troops under Brigadier General Joseph Shelby, operated in this area during the summer of 1864. Federal forces used expeditions like this one to gather intelligence. In August 1864, Federal commanders in Little Rock learned about Confederate cavalry operating near the Little Red River in north-central Arkansas. Brigadier General Joseph West received orders to lead a force of Union cavalry to capture or disperse these troops. Divided into two provisional brigades, the force was stationed at both Little Rock (Pulaski County) and DeValls Bluff (Prairie County). West departed the capital city with one brigade, while a …

Hickory Station, Skirmish at

This brief engagement occurred on the Little Rock and DeVall’s Bluff section of the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad and was one of the final Civil War engagements in Arkansas. On the morning of April 2, 1865, Captain Michael F. Mayberry led twenty-six men from Company D of Colonel Charles H. Carlton’s Regiment of Arkansas Cavalry in an attack against the railroad approximately four miles from Hickory Station, located in what is now Lonoke County. Mayberry’s men removed two rails, as well as the spikes from eight or nine additional rails, all of which caused the morning train to derail, except for the passenger car. Captain Richard C. Custard (who served previously in Arkansas as a sergeant with the Third …

Hicks, Robert (Lynching of)

In late November 1921, a young African-American man named Robert Hicks was lynched near Lake Village (Chicot County) for writing a letter to an eighteen-year-old white woman. While the identity of the woman remains a mystery, Hicks was probably the same Robert Hicks who was living with his mother, Minnie, in the household of his stepfather, Henry Singleton, in South Charlton Township of Chicot County in 1910. At that time, he was eight years old. In 1920, at eighteen, he was still in South Charlton Township working on a cotton farm owned by his uncle, Jessie E. Cooper. While newspaper reports put his age at twenty-three or twenty-five, the census information shows that he was only nineteen at the time …

Hill’s Plantation, Action at

aka: Action at Cache River
aka: Action at Cotton Plant
aka: Action at Round Hill
The major Confederate attempt to halt General Samuel Curtis’s march across northeast Arkansas and destroy his army took place near the Cache River in July 1862. The Confederates were decisively defeated, allowing Curtis to proceed on to Clarendon (Monroe County) and ultimately to Helena (Phillips County), where he resupplied his army. The Federals turned Helena into an important river base and held the town for the rest of the war. Troops from Helena captured Little Rock (Pulaski County) the following year. In the summer of 1862, Union Major General Samuel R. Curtis led the Army of the Southwest through northeast Arkansas in an attempt to capture Little Rock. Facing shortages and a supply line stretching to Rolla, Missouri, Curtis decided …

Hogan, John (Lynching of)

On June 28, 1875, an African American named John Hogan was lynched near Russellville (Pope County) for allegedly attempting to assault one of Russ Tucker’s daughters. Public records provide some information about the lynching victim. The 1870 census (five years before the incident) lists a twelve-year-old African American named John Hogan, who was living on the farm of a twenty-two-year-old white man named Reece B. Hogans. Hogans had a wife, Josephine, and a two-year-old daughter. Also living on the farm was another black laborer, fifteen-year-old Rose Hogan, who may have been John Hogan’s sister. If this is the correct John Hogan, he would have been only seventeen when he was lynched. Russ Tucker was probably David Russell Tucker, who in …

Holt v. Sarver

In the landmark Arkansas case Holt v. Sarver, inmates of the racially segregated Cummins Farm and Tucker Intermediate Reformatory units of the Arkansas prison system brought suit against the commissioner of corrections, Robert Sarver, and the Arkansas Board of Corrections, challenging their conditions of confinement. The case was heard in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division, before Chief Judge J. Smith Henley. Holt v. Sarver was a turning point in the history of court intervention in the management of American prisons. The decision marked the end of the “hands-off” era of the federal judiciary toward prisoners and the beginning of an era of prisoners’ rights. Holt v. Sarver, which inspired the 1980 film …

Hope Watermelon Festival

Hope (Hempstead County) annually celebrates its claim as the home of the world’s largest watermelons with a yearly watermelon festival. The event first originated in 1926 and has been ongoing, though not continuous, since 1977. There is no admission fee for the four-day event scheduled for the second week in August at Hope Fair Park. It is sponsored by the Hope–Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce. Activities include watermelon-eating and seed-spitting contests, fiddling, arm wrestling contests, as many as 200 vendors displaying their wares, and much more. The competition for growing big melons was a creation of John S. Gibson, who, in 1916, began to offer modest prizes for the largest vegetables and watermelons. Hugh and Edgar Laseter, local farmers, developed …