Entries - Entry Type: Group - Starting with F

Faith Voices Arkansas

aka: Arkansas Interfaith Alliance
Faith Voices Arkansas, founded in 1994 as a chapter of the Interfaith Alliance national organization, has morphed from an organization focused on pulling together ministers and lay leaders from across the religious spectrum for “civil dialogue” about the intersection of faith and politics into a faith-based organization of the political left in the state. Since its founding, the organization has also waxed and waned in its level of visibility and activity. The national organization of which Faith Voices Arkansas was formed as a state chapter had come into being in early 1994 “to challenge the bigotry and hatred arising from religious and political extremism infiltrating American politics.” The Arkansas Interfaith Conference (renamed Interfaith Arkansas two decades later) sponsored the creation of …

Family, The [Political Dynasty]

“The Family”—or “The Dynasty”—was the name given to a powerful group of Democrats who dominated Arkansas politics in the years between statehood and the Civil War. The roots of the Family stretched back into the territorial period, when it coalesced around territorial delegate Henry Conway, the scion of a wealthy Tennessee family. In 1827, Conway was mortally wounded in a duel with Territorial Secretary Robert Crittenden, his former patron and the most powerful political figure in Arkansas in the territorial era. The killing of Conway exacerbated the schism in Arkansas politics between Crittenden and his supporters, who became the basis for the Whig Party in Arkansas, and the followers of the slain Conway, staunch Democrats and supporters of Andrew Jackson, …

Famous and Historic Tree Program

The purpose of the Arkansas Famous and Historic Tree Program (AFHTP) is to create a greater awareness and appreciation of the state’s trees through the recognition of their historical background. The AFHTP used four criteria to determine the historic status of a tree or tree community. These criteria were modeled after the National Register of Historic Places criteria and include a tree’s association with significant events, people, and landmarks. Significant horticultural, ecological, or structural characteristics, or ability to yield cultural information in local, state, or national history are also assessed. The AFHTP formally originated in 1995 within Arkansas State Parks, though its establishment had been the ambition of several state agencies since the 1970s. The creation of the program led …

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 …

Faulkner County Historical Society (FCHS)

The Faulkner County Historical Society (FCHS), sponsored by the Conway Chamber of Commerce, was organized on April 16, 1959, with forty-two charter members. The society’s purposes are “to discover, collect and preserve any material to establish or illustrate the history of our area and to make it available.” The original officers for this group were George Hartje Jr. (president), Victor Hill (vice president), and Guy Murphy (secretary-treasurer). The first directors were Myrtle Charles, Joyce Herndon, and James Clayton. After the society’s founding, a contest was conducted to name the society’s journal. Combined suggestions by James Clayton and Guy W. Murphy, both long-time local historians, resulted in the title Faulkner Facts and Fiddlings. As of 2010, the FCHS has published two …

Fiction Writers of Central Arkansas (FWCA)

The Fiction Writers of Central Arkansas (FWCA) incorporated in 1989 as a nonprofit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of local writers and assistance in helping them get published. The group got its start in the spring of 1984 when Petei Engleby, owner of a secondhand bookstore in Little Rock (Pulaski County), posted a sign in her store inviting anyone interested in writing romances to meet with her. Engleby and three other women—Chrissy (Leister) Willis, Mary Watson, and Cathy Johnson—met and organized as the Central Arkansas Romance Authors. The group grew in size and, at the beginning of 1986, applied to become a chapter of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) but was advised that local chapters had to incorporate, that …

Fiddlin’ Bob Larkan & His Music Makers

aka: Bob Larkan
aka: Bob Larkin
Fiddlin’ Bob Larkan was a well-known country fiddle player whose Music Makers band played on the radio stations of charlatan medical messiahs Dr. John R. Brinkley and Norman Baker and made a number of recordings. The group’s song “Higher Up the Monkey Climbs” became notorious for its suggestive, ribald lyrics. Although “Larkan” was the correct spelling of Bob Larkan’s name, record companies and even his hometown newspaper in his obituary rendered the name “Larkin.” Robert William (Bob) Larkan was born on November 18, 1867, in New York City, his father having migrated from Ireland and his mother from England. A musical child, he learned the violin, banjo, and guitar. The family moved to Boone County, Missouri, by 1870. In 1888, he married a …

Fifteenth (Johnson’s) Arkansas Infantry (CS)

The Fifteenth (Johnson’s) Arkansas Infantry Regiment was a Confederate unit that served in the Western and Trans-Mississippi Theaters during the American Civil War. Organized in January 1862 of six companies, it was composed primarily of men from Columbia, Ouachita, Union, and Lafayette counties. The original command staff consisted of Colonel James M. Gee, Lieutenant Colonel John C. Wright, and Major P. Lynch Lee. The unit was originally organized by Captain John L. Logan of the Eleventh Arkansas Infantry, and Gee was elected colonel in January 1862. The regiment was ordered to Memphis, Tennessee, and soon afterward to Fort Henry on the Tennessee River. In February 1862, the Union army began its assault on Fort Henry, and the Fifteenth Arkansas retreated …

Fifteenth (Josey’s) Arkansas Infantry (CS)

The Fifteenth Arkansas Infantry Regiment was a Confederate unit that served in the Western Theater during the American Civil War. Not to be confused with the Fifteenth (Northwest) or Fifteenth (Johnson’s), it fought with the Army of Tennessee in all its major engagements until surrender at Greensboro, North Carolina, on April 26, 1865. The regiment was organized on May 14, 1861, as the First Regiment Arkansas State Troops, consisting of companies from Phillips, Monroe, Jefferson, Desha, Mississippi, and Prairie counties. Its first commander was Colonel Patrick R. Cleburne, an Irish immigrant from Helena (Phillips County). On July 23, 1861, the regiment was enrolled in Confederate service as the First Arkansas Infantry at Pittman’s Ferry, Arkansas. Due to there being another …

Fifth Arkansas Infantry (CS)

The Fifth Arkansas Infantry was a regiment that served in the Confederate army during the Civil War. Spending most of its service in the Western Theater, the regiment served for the duration of the war. After Arkansas seceded from the Union on May 6, 1861, a number of military units began to form. Companies organized in communities around the state and moved to a number of centralized locations to create regiments. Ten companies from across Arkansas organized into the Fifth Arkansas Infantry at Gainesville (Greene County) on June 28, 1861. The companies were from Poinsett, Bradley, Greene, and Prairie counties. Two companies were organized in Wittsburg (Cross County), which became the seat of Cross County when it was formed in …

Fifty-seventh Regiment, United States Colored Troops (US)

aka: Fourth Arkansas Infantry (African Descent)
The Fifty-seventh regiment of United States Colored Infantry began its service as the Fourth Arkansas Infantry (African Descent). Recruited and organized at DeValls Bluff (Prairie County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), and Helena (Phillips County), the regiment mustered into Federal service on December 2, 1863, and served with the Seventh Corps in the Department of Arkansas. Thomas D. Seawell received a commission as the regiment’s colonel on August 10, 1863, after previous service throughout Mississippi as captain of Company E in the Tenth Missouri Infantry. He served until the end of May 1864 and received a brevet promotion to brigadier general on March 13, 1865. The Bureau of Colored Troops, commonly known as the United States Colored Troops (USCT), was organized …

Fine Arts Club of Arkansas

In 1914, a group of women formed the Fine Arts Club of Arkansas, an organization dedicated to the establishment of a permanent art gallery in the state. The group was instrumental in the creation of the Museum of Fine Arts in Little Rock (Pulaski County), which opened in 1937 and was renamed the Arkansas Arts Center in 1961. In the twenty-first century, the purpose of the Fine Arts Club is to promote and extend the activities, usefulness, and enjoyment of the Arkansas Arts Center. The Fine Arts Club serves as an auxiliary group of the Arkansas Arts Center, providing volunteers, hosting events with speakers for the public, and conducting special member preview parties. The first fundraiser the Fine Arts Club …

First (Crawford’s) Arkansas Cavalry (CS)

aka: Tenth Trans-Mississippi Cavalry
The First (Crawford’s) Arkansas Cavalry Regiment was a Confederate cavalry unit that served in the Trans-Mississippi Theater during the American Civil War. Also designated as the Tenth Trans-Mississippi Cavalry, it is one of three regiments to be designated First Arkansas Cavalry. Participating in military engagements in Arkansas at Mount Elba, Longview Prairie (Easling’s Farm), Poison Spring, and Marks’ Mills, as well as Price’s Missouri Raid, it was stationed in Texas when Confederate forces in the Trans-Mississippi Theater surrendered on May 26, 1865. The regiment was organized at Camden (Ouachita County) on December 30, 1863, by Colonel William A. Crawford of Saline County. It consisted of ten companies from Clark, Columbia, Ouachita, Lafayette, Saline, and Union counties, with two companies added …

First Arkansas Infantry (US)

The First Arkansas Infantry Volunteers (US) was recruited and organized in Fayetteville (Washington County) by Dr. James M. Johnson of Huntsville (Madison County) following the Battle of Prairie Grove. Johnson and his brother were associates of noted loyalist Isaac Murphy, who later became governor of Arkansas. The unit consisted of unionists from Washington County and other northwestern Arkansas counties including Madison, Newton, Benton, Searcy, and Crawford. The unit was mustered in on March 25, 1863, with thirty-six officers and 810 enlisted men. An April 1 report from Colonel M. LaRue Harrison of the First Arkansas Cavalry makes clear the condition of the first recruits: “The First Arkansas Infantry will number in a few days an aggregate of 830 men; probably 700 of them effective. …

First Arkansas Light Artillery (CS)

The First Arkansas Light Artillery was a militia battery mustered on September 27, 1860, at Fort Smith (Sebastian County) as part of the Provisional Army of Arkansas. The volunteer unit was first commanded by Captain J. G. Reid under the designation of the Fort Smith Artillery. The battery first marched north alongside units under Brigadier General Nicholas Bartlett Pearce to join secessionist forces in southwestern Missouri, before being mustered in as part of the Confederate army. On August 10, 1861, after combining with a large but poorly organized rebel force of Missouri State Guard troops under General Sterling Price, they were attacked by Federal forces at Wilson’s Creek near Springfield, Missouri. During the resulting Battle of Wilson’s Creek, the battery held …

First Arkansas Light Artillery Battery (US)

The First Arkansas Light Artillery Battery was a military unit organized from Arkansas Unionists during the Civil War. The battery served in Arkansas, Missouri, and the Indian Territory. The battery was the first artillery unit raised by Federal forces in the state. Denton Stark, the adjutant of the First Arkansas Cavalry, received permission to raise the unit in January 1863. Recruiting began immediately, and men from Benton, Washington, Madison, Crawford, Sebastian, Franklin, Johnson, and Sevier counties joined the battery. It reached full strength of 110 men by April 1 and began active service in Fayetteville (Washington County). Stark became the first commander of the battery. Although the battery was an artillery unit, it was not armed at this time and …

First Arkansas Union Cavalry (US)

Although Arkansas joined the Confederacy in 1861, not all of its citizens were committed to the new nation. Support for the Federal government remained strong in the northwest corner of the state, and many Arkansans were eager to defend the Union. Although the Unionists were a minority in the state, Arkansas still furnished approximately 10,000 men for the Northern armies. Those men filled the ranks of ten infantry regiments or battalions, four cavalry regiments, and two artillery batteries. Of these, the First Arkansas Cavalry became the most famous Union regiment raised from the state. After being mustered into service at Springfield, Missouri, in July 1862, the regiment returned to Arkansas and operated as a counter-guerrilla force. Roaming bands of Confederate sympathizers often harassed …

First Arkansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment (African Descent) (US)

aka: Forty-sixth Regiment U.S. Colored Troops
In April 1863, an organization of African-American troops was commenced in the Mississippi River Valley under the personal supervision of the adjutant-general of the army, Lorenzo Thomas. His first regiment was mustered into service on May 1, 1863, as the First Arkansas Volunteers of African Descent, designated the Forty-sixth Regiment U.S. Colored Troops on May 11, 1864. The First Arkansas would be one of four regiments of African Americans that was raised in Helena (Phillips County), a fortified city and naval port on the Mississippi River. Arkansas would be credited with 5,526 men in six regiments of African descent for Federal service. Allowing African-American men to serve was due in part to the Emancipation Proclamation and the Militia Act of …

First Arkansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment (CS)

As secession loomed in the spring of 1861, thousands of Arkansas men enrolled in volunteer companies and offered their services to the Confederacy. Ten such companies—raised in Union, Clark, Ouachita, Jefferson, Saline, Jackson, Arkansas, and Drew counties—were organized as the First Arkansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment and were transferred to Lynchburg, Virginia. After Arkansas seceded from the Union on May 6, 1861, the 905 men in the First Arkansas mustered into service on May 19. James Fleming Fagan, the captain of the Saline County Volunteers, was elected to serve as colonel of the regiment. The First Arkansas was present but did not see action at the First Battle of Manassas on July 21, 1861. The regiment remained in Virginia through the …

First Ladies

Although there is no defined position mandated by the Arkansas General Assembly for the state’s first lady, today’s Arkansas citizens expect the occupant of the position to hold many roles, including supportive spouse to the governor, hostess, social activist, and speech maker. But such was not always the case for Arkansas’s first ladies. In fact, not much was expected from this position until after World War II, and those increased expectations came to be as a result of increased media scrutiny. Arkansas’s territorial period (1819–1836) saw the beginnings of organized government in the form of president-appointed governors to the territory. The wives of these governors did not play an active part in the formation of the Arkansas Territory. In fact, …

Fort Smith Historical Society

The express purpose of the Fort Smith Historical Society (FSHS) is to locate, identify, collect, and preserve historical data; to record oral history; and to publish source materials and historical articles relating to Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and the surrounding area. The society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, staffed by volunteers and funded entirely by memberships and contributions. A small group of people concerned with preserving the written and oral history of Fort Smith held the organizational meeting of the Fort Smith Historical Society on April 15, 1977. The first issue of The Journal of the Fort Smith Historical Society, Inc., was published in September 1977, with Amelia Martin and state Representative Carolyn Pollan serving as co-editors. The FSHS publishes …

Fourth Arkansas Cavalry (US)

The Fourth Arkansas Cavalry was a regiment formed by white Arkansans who supported the Federal government during the Civil War. The Fourth Arkansas Cavalry began organizing in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in November 1863. William Fishback led the effort to recruit part of the regiment. Organized in two battalions of six companies each, the first company was mustered into service in December. LaFayette Gregg was commissioned as the colonel of the regiment and commanded it for its entire existence. The first battalion was originally enlisted as a one-year regiment, but this designation was rejected by the War Department. The battalion was disbanded, and recruitment continued as a three-year unit. The first eight companies of the regiment were organized by May …

Fourth Arkansas Infantry (CS)

The Fourth Arkansas Infantry Regiment was a unit of the Confederate army that served in the Western Theater during the Civil War. The unit was organized in Lawrence County, Missouri, on August 17, 1861, from companies that marched from Arkansas to join the army organizing in southwestern Missouri. Known as the Southwestern Arkansas Regiment, the unit consisted of companies from Calhoun, Hempstead, Montgomery, Lafayette, Pike, and Polk counties. Evander McNair of Washington (Hempstead County) was selected to lead the new regiment. The regiment organized with only eight companies, but two more joined the unit in November 1861 to bring the unit to full strength. Measles and other illnesses soon struck the unit, and a number of men died or were …

Fourth Military District

The Fourth Military District was an area under the control of the U.S. Congress during Reconstruction. Consisting of the Department of Arkansas and the Department of Mississippi, the district was created after the passage of the Reconstruction Acts of 1867. At the conclusion of the Civil War, the states that seceded from the Union began a process to reacquire admission. Presidential Reconstruction began during the war while Confederate states were occupied by Federal forces. With the fall of Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Union forces in September 1863, steps began to reestablish a state government loyal to Washington DC. A constitutional convention was held in early 1864, and Isaac Murphy was selected to serve as governor. The influence of the …

Free Blacks

aka: Free Negroes
The terms “Free blacks” or “Free Negroes” refer to people of African descent in the United States who were neither enslaved nor subject to the ownership of another person prior to the Civil War, after which slavery was abolished. Blacks were first documented as coming to Arkansas in the eighteenth century when the French brought slaves with them, and white American settlers in the following decade continued the practice of slavery. Other blacks passed through the region with Native Americans during the period of Indian Removal, both as free blacks and as slaves. Free blacks seem to have first appeared in Arkansas in 1803, when officials at Arkansas Post recorded 107 slaves and two free blacks in the state. By …

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 …

Freemasons

aka: Masons
History of Freemasonry The history of Freemasonry in Arkansas is closely linked to the history of Arkansas. Many of the founders of the state were the leaders and founders of Freemasonry, and the early impact of the fraternity was in education and government. The Grand Lodge established one of the state’s first institutions of higher education, St. Johns’ College, in 1859, and in 1853, it established the second public library in Arkansas; both institutions were in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Many of the state’s early governors, judges, representatives, and senators were members of the fraternity. Freemasonry has been described as a system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols, the goal of which is to take good men …

French Explorers and Settlers

The French settlers’ experience in colonial Arkansas was vital to the history of the French presence in the Mississippi River Valley. The French settlers at Arkansas Post forged alliances and cohabited with the “Arkansas” Indians (Quapaw), the native inhabitants of what became Arkansas, who were known for their consistent loyalty to the French. Father Jacques Marquette, a Jesuit, and Louis Joliet, a trader, were the first Frenchmen to set foot in the Arkansas land, in 1673. They found four Quapaw villages: Kappa, Tongigna, Tourima, and Osotouy. Immediately, the two peoples entered into an alliance. Because they feared a potential alliance between the French and their rivals, the Tunica and the Yazoo, the Quapaw convinced the French to end their trip …