Entry Type: Person - Starting with E

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). …

Ellis, William

William Ellis was a sergeant in the Third Wisconsin Cavalry Regiment who received a Medal of Honor for gallantry in the January 14, 1865, Action at Dardanelle. William Ellis was born in England in 1834. After immigrating to the United States, he was living by 1860 in the household of woolen manufacturer Simeon Ford in Watertown, Wisconsin’s Third Ward. Ellis, then age twenty-eight, was a wool carder in Ford’s employ. After the Civil War began, Ellis enlisted as a sergeant in Company K of the Third Wisconsin Cavalry on October 21, 1861, eventually rising to the rank of first sergeant. The Third Wisconsin organized at Janesville on November 30, 1861, and mustered in on January 28, 1862. The regiment served …

Elrod, Ben

Ben Moody Elrod was a prominent educational and civic leader in the latter part of the twentieth century. A minister, fundraiser, and educator dedicated to expanding students’ worldview, he played a central role in the growth and development of what is now Ouachita Baptist University (OBU). Ben M. Elrod was born on October 13, 1930, in Rison (Cleveland County). The second son of Searcy Elrod and Frances Sadler Elrod, he got his early education in Rison, but beginning at age fifteen he spent part of two years serving as a page in the U.S. House of Representatives. It was during his time in Washington DC that he first felt called to the ministry. After returning to Rison in time to …

Elsken, Conrad

aka: Conrad Ilsken
Conrad Elsken was a prominent figure in Logan County for forty years. In 1883, he moved to Paris (Logan County) after he became land agent for the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad. He started the Citizens Telephone Company in 1900 and served as its general manager until it was sold to Western Electric in 1928. Elsken also helped to establish the Bank of Paris, which became the First National Bank of Paris, and served as Logan County treasurer. He established a series of general stores in several Logan County towns. During World War I, he was the head of the Council of Defense for Logan County. He was on the Arkansas State Charity Board under Governor Jeff Davis and …

Endsley, Melvin

Melvin Endsley of Drasco (Cleburne County) was a musician and songwriter most noted for writing both the words and music of “Singing the Blues,” one of the biggest hits of the 1950s and one of the most recorded songs of the twentieth century. Nashville, Tennessee, recording star Marty Robbins, pop singer Guy Mitchell, and teen idol Tommy Steele in the United Kingdom all recorded versions of the song. Endsley composed more than 400 songs, many of them recorded by the top musical artists of the day, including Andy Williams, Johnny Cash, Paul McCartney, Ricky Skaggs, Stonewall Jackson, Black Oak Arkansas, Bill Haley and His Comets, and Don Gibson. Melvin Lorenzen Endsley was born on January 30, 1934, in Heber Springs …

England, John Calhoun

John Calhoun England was a prominent lawyer, businessman, and real estate developer in central Arkansas during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Due to his involvement in the development of southwestern Lonoke County, the town of England (Lonoke County) was named in his honor. On January 18, 1850, John C. England was born in Brownsville (Lonoke County) to John William Harrison England and Laurena Boyett England. He received a basic education in the local schools, but the approaching Civil War interrupted his formal education. The death of his father in April 1860 was hard on the family, resulting in the loss of most of their wealth during the next few years. Sometime during the war, England moved to Huntersville, …

English, Elbert Hartwell

Elbert Hartwell English was one of the most important jurists in Arkansas across a crucial period of legal development and turmoil in the state, including the eras of the Civil War and Reconstruction. In addition to his years of private practice, English served as chief justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court for a total of twenty years, one of only four chief justices to have served over twelve years in the role. E. H. English was born on March 6, 1816, to James English, who was a planter, and Nancy McCracken English in Madison County, Alabama. The family moved to Limestone County, Alabama, and eventually included ten children. English was educated in local schools and through private tutelage. He lived …

Eno, Clara Bertha

Clara Bertha Eno has been called Arkansas’s first lady of history. She devoted her life to researching and recording Arkansas history and collecting Arkansas archival material. Her three published works are History of the Arkansas Federation of Women’s Clubs 1897–1934 (1935), with Frances Marion (Mrs. Frederick) Hanger, Historic Places in Arkansas (1940), and History of Crawford County, Arkansas (1950). During the 1920s and 1930s, she authored numerous historical newspaper articles. In 1940, she compiled Information of Fifty-Five Revolutionary [War] Soldiers buried in Arkansas. Although never published, it has long been a mainstay for early Arkansas research. Eno was born on February 14, 1854, in Van Buren (Crawford County), the daughter of Ellen (Ward) and Jonathan Adams Eno. Her father was …

Epperson, Tom

Tom Epperson is a producer, screenwriter, and novelist from Malvern (Hot Spring County). He is known for his collaborations with fellow Arkansan Billy Bob Thornton: One False Move (1992), A Family Thing (1996), The Gift (2000), Don’t Look Back (1996), Camouflage (2001), and Jayne Mansfield’s Car (2012). In addition to his credits as a writer of Hollywood films, Epperson authored the popular crime novels The Kind One (2008) and Sailor (2012). Tom Epperson was born on May 22, 1951, in Nashville (Howard County). A year later, the Eppersons moved to Malvern. His father, Wendell Epperson, was a lawyer and municipal judge, while his mother, Mabel, stayed home with their four children. In 1963, Epperson met Billy Bob Thornton when he …

Epstein, Sam

Sam Epstein, a Russian-Jewish immigrant, was a merchant, planter, and civic leader in Lake Village (Chicot County) and Chicot County in the early twentieth century. Sam Epstein was born to Menasha Epstein and Malke Epstein on July 25, 1875, on a farm near Riga, Latvia, in the former Russian Empire. He was likely the second of five children. Many Eastern European Jews fled violence and legal restrictions in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. While Epstein’s parents likely did not immigrate, at least five of their children, including Sam, arrived in the United States between 1891 and 1900. Epstein likely arrived in New York City in May 1896. He traveled to Memphis, Tennessee, and joined an older brother, Nathan, …

Erwin, Judson Landers, Jr.

Judson Landers (J. L.) Erwin Jr. served as the county judge of Desha County from 1947 to his death in 1968. He was never opposed for reelection. During his time in the position, he was a strong supporter of libraries and brought many improvements to the county. J. L. Erwin was born on August 11, 1909, in McGehee (Desha County), son of Judson L. Erwin Sr., who was a railroad engineer, and Batie Rhodes Erwin. He had three younger sisters, one of whom died in childhood. His father died when Erwin was seventeen. The family got by with only his after-school earnings and money from renting out rooms in the house; this experience shaped the lifelong frugal financial policies by …

Eskridge, Thomas P.

Thomas P. Eskridge was a judge on the Superior Court of Arkansas Territory, which eventually became the Arkansas Supreme Court. Though he left the spotlight to others, he played a substantive role in the development of the Arkansas court system. While there is little documentation on his early life, it appears that Thomas Eskridge was born around 1797 to William Eskridge and Elizabeth Scott Eskridge in Staunton, Virginia. He came from a large family with possibly as many as ten children. It is believed that he received his legal training serving as a clerk for a Virginia lawyer. He moved to Arkansas in 1820 or 1821, just as the Arkansas Territory was developing and its judiciary was taking shape. Eskridge …

Eudy, Sid

aka: Sid Vicious
Sid Eudy is a professional wrestler who has used the ring names Lord Humongous, Sid Justice, Sid Vicious, and Sycho Sid. He is the only Arkansan to win the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) Championship and the World Championship Wrestling (WCW) World Heavyweight Championship. Sidney Ray Eudy was born on December 16, 1960; according to some sources, his birthplace was West Memphis (Crittenden County). Eudy got started in the business with the help of professional wrestlers Randy Savage and Lanny Poffo. Eudy spent the beginning of his career wrestling in the southern United States as Lord Humongous, a persona who wore a hockey mask. In 1989, he signed a contract with World Championship Wrestling, a company based in Atlanta, Georgia. He …

Evans, Dale

aka: Frances Octavia Smith
Dale Evans was an actress, author, and songwriter who was raised in Osceola (Mississippi County), where she attended school for the first time and met her first husband. She rose to fame as America’s “Queen of the West” (sometimes called “Queen of the Cowgirls”) alongside her fourth husband, Roy Rogers (“King of the Cowboys”). She starred in movies, television shows, and evangelical Christian programs. Evans wrote twenty-eight inspirational books and composed many songs, including the popular song of faith, “The Bible Tells Me So,” as well as the iconic American standard, “Happy Trails.” Dale Evans was born in her grandparents’ home at Uvalde, Texas, though her family lived in Italy, Texas. Her father, Walter Smith, was a middle-class farmer who …

Evans, David L.

David L. Evans worked as an engineer on the Saturn rockets and Apollo moon landing missions but became best known later for his recruitment efforts on behalf of Harvard University, where his work led to greater diversity in the student body. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2005. David L. Evans was born in 1939 in Wabash (Phillips County), near Helena (Phillips County), to sharecropper parents; he was the fourth of seven children. His father died when he was ten years old. Family members encouraged his mother, pregnant with her seventh child, to move to Chicago, Illinois, or Cleveland, Ohio. Instead, his mother left tenant farming and became a maid. When Evans was sixteen, his …

Evans, Grover

Grover Evans was known throughout central and northeastern Arkansas for his political endeavors, sports accomplishments, and career as a motivational speaker. In 1978, he was in a single-car accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down. The road to recovery placed many challenges in his path, but he was able to meet those challenges and he was inducted into both the Arkansas Swimming Hall of Fame and the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. Grover Evans was born on March 6, 1952, the first African American born at St. Bernards Hospital in Jonesboro (Craighead County); he was named after the delivering doctor, Dr. Grover Poole. His parents were William Evans and Georgia Lee Holiday, and he had five younger siblings. …

Evans, Timothy C.

Timothy C. Evans of Hot Springs (Garland County) was the first African American to be elected as chief judge of the Cook County Circuit Court of Illinois. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2010. Timothy Evans was born on June 1, 1943, in Hot Springs, to George Evans and Tiny Marie Evans. His father would later become a bailiff for the Illinois State Supreme Court, a position he held for twenty-seven years. Evans has two siblings: George W. Evans and Sandra M. Johnson. As a child in Hot Springs, Evans wanted to be a doctor. The family moved to Chicago, Illinois, shortly after Governor Orval Faubus closed Little Rock (Pulaski County) public schools to impede …