Entries - Entry Type: Event - Starting with K

Kahl, Gordon (Shooting of)

aka: Smithville Shootout
Gordon Kahl was a North Dakota farmer and World War II veteran who, starting in the late 1960s, refused to file his federal income taxes on the grounds that the American government operated under the Communist Manifesto and violated his religious principles. After over a decade of militant tax evasion and a year in prison, Kahl was shot during an attempted arrest in Smithville (Lawrence County) by County Sheriff Gene Matthews in an incident that made national headlines as the “Smithville Shootout.” Kahl’s life and the circumstances of his death have since become a popular subject for conspiracy theorists and those on the far right of the political spectrum. Gordon Wendell Kahl was born in 1920 in Heaton, North Dakota, …

Kees, Willie (Lynching of)

On April 29, 1936, a nineteen-year-old African-American man named Willie Kees was shot near Lepanto (Poinsett County) for allegedly attempting to attack a white woman. It was both the first recorded lynching in Poinsett County and the last recorded lynching in Arkansas. On April 18, Kees allegedly attacked the woman on a bridge just outside of town. She screamed, and two men came to her rescue. Kees was turned over to city marshal Jay May and put in jail. That night, May intercepted a mob that was coming to the jail to get Kees and dissuaded the citizens from doing so. He told reporters for the Arkansas Gazette that, because of the darkness, he was unable to identify anyone in the mob. Kees had …

Kendal’s Grist Mill, Affair at

Part of a Union expedition to disrupt Confederate operations in eastern Arkansas, this action helped deny Confederate forces needed food and other supplies. In late August 1864, Colonel John Hudson of the Sixtieth U.S. Colored Infantry received orders to lead an expedition of troops against suspected enemy concentrations along the White River. Hudson created a force of approximately 500 men, including detachments from his regiment as well as troops from the Fifteenth Illinois Cavalry, Fifty-sixth U.S. Colored Troops, and Second U.S. Colored Light Artillery. The planned route took the troops down the Mississippi River to the White River before marching back to Helena (Phillips County). Aboard the steamers Dove and Hamilton Bell, the expedition departed Helena at 8:00 p.m. on …

Kennedy, James (Lynching of)

James Kennedy was a white man lynched in Dallas County in 1866, apparently for his open Unionist leanings. His murder shows the risks that many people who had allied with the Union during the Civil War faced in parts of Arkansas in the immediate postwar period, when pro-Confederate vigilantes perpetrated with impunity a number of assassinations and attacks under the guise of lawfulness. The August 3, 1866, lynching of forty-four-year-old James Kennedy and other men made news in the August 10, 1866, Little Rock Daily Gazette (under which name the Arkansas Gazette then operated) as follows: “We learn from a reliable source that on Wednesday night last a party of ten or twelve men went to the residence of James …

Kickapoo Bottom, Skirmish at

aka: Skirmish at Sylamore (May 29, 1862)
During the Civil War, present-day Stone County was part of Izard County. The county seat was at Mount Olive five miles upriver from Sylamore, present-day Allison (Stone County), on the west side of the river. (Due to the rail station established on the east side of the White River in 1902, the name Sylamore was usurped by the east side, and the western community was rechristened Allison.) The first military encounter in the area occurred here on May 29 and 30, 1862, at a place called Kickapoo Bottoms (or Kickapoo Bottom), today known as Harris Bottoms, three miles north of present-day Allison. An “‘uprising” at Sylamore followed the November 1861 Izard County Investigative Committee’s arrest, detainment, hanging, shooting, and forced …

King Biscuit Blues Festival

aka: Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival
The first weekend in October, the Mississippi River town of Helena-West Helena (Phillips County), about seventy miles southwest of Memphis, Tennessee, becomes a thriving community of blues musicians and their fans, gathered to celebrate the King Biscuit Blues Festival.  The festival grounds now lie along a levee, but during the early years, the festival was held on the back of a flatbed truck in front of an old train depot, which is now a museum and the site of the Delta Cultural Center on Cherry Street. Cherry Street, which parallels the Mississippi River, is a National Historic District and the historic commercial center of the town. What began in 1986 as a one-day event with a crowd of 500 has …

King’s River, Skirmish at

One of a number of skirmishes fought in northwestern Arkansas in April 1864, this engagement was part of an effort by Federal forces to disrupt Confederate operations. Major James Melton received orders to lead 200 men of the Second Arkansas Cavalry (US) on a mission to find and defeat Confederate forces under the command of Colonels Bailey and Sissell (first names unknown). Separating from the regiment on April 15, 1864, the Union troops found and engaged the enemy on April 17 at Limestone Valley. The Confederates fled, but not before suffering casualties and losing armaments and other equipment. Melton continued his pursuit of the enemy force, reengaging the Confederates on April 19 on the King’s River. Moving against the enemy, …

Kingston, Skirmishes at

Only two Civil War skirmishes are known to have occurred near Kingston (Madison County). One of the best-known area skirmishes occurred when a detachment of the First Iowa Cavalry captured and destroyed a saltpeter works southeast of Kingston on January 10, 1863. (Saltpeter is a major component of gunpowder.) Information about the operation of these works reached General Francis J. Herron in early 1863, and he was determined to destroy the works at once, thus depriving the Confederacy of the means of obtaining powder for its troops that were so near his lines. He ordered Major J. W. Caldwell of the First Iowa Cavalry, then encamped at Huntsville (Madison County), to take 300 men of his regiment and proceed to …

Kirkendall, Mose (Lynching of)

On July 20, 1878, an African American named Mose Kirkendall was hanged in Boone County for allegedly attempting to rape a “Miss Walters,” a young white woman. This was reportedly the first lynching in Boone County. Although there was no Mose Kirkendall recorded as living in Boone County at the time of the 1870 census, there was a thirteen-year-old named Moses Kirkendale living in the household of farmer J. M. Moore and his wife, America, near Searcy (White County). There were other unrelated people living with the family, including fifteen-year-old A. Kirkendale, who may have been Moses’s brother. The alleged victim may have been Martha Walters, who was thirteen years old by the 1870 census and one of six children …

Klepper’s Sawmill, Skirmish at

aka: Skirmish at Clapper's Sawmill
In early 1863, Confederate general John Sappington Marmaduke moved his forces out of Lewisburg (Conway County) to attack Springfield, Missouri. This action caused Union general Francis J. Herron to move to reinforce Springfield and defend against the Confederate forces. After the battle, the Federals retained control of the town, and Confederate forces filtered back down into Arkansas. General Herron sent Colonel William Weer to disrupt the Confederate forces in the Crooked Creek valley, forces which were concentrated between Carrollton (Carroll County) and Yellville (Marion County). Confederate captain E. G. Mitchell was also in the area recruiting. On March 31, 1863, Confederates under one Colonel Woodson and Colonel John F. Hill of W. H. Brooks’s command were in camp when attacked …

Knight’s Cove, Skirmish at

  In the absence of Colonel Thomas Freeman (CS), who had been captured at the Battle of Pea Ridge, a somewhat disorganized band was left in charge of protecting the Confederate munitions efforts in the White River valley under the direction of William Chitwood. On May 11, 1862, ferry owner Charles Grigsby and Chitwood, the husband of Grigsby’s cousin, Sarah Fulks, had rigged the ferry, a vital means of crossing the White River, with explosives mimicking a snag in the water, thus sinking the Grigsby Ferry and killing eleven Union soldiers, including Captain Thomas McClelland. “The Union army has very little options in crossing the White River,” General Samuel Curtis wrote in his report. The Union officially deemed it an …