Entry Type: Person - Starting with G

Gilbert, Cass

Cass Gilbert was one of the most famous and influential architects in American history. He designed numerous government buildings and public institutions that dot the American landscape, with the Arkansas State Capitol being among his earliest efforts. Cass Gilbert was born in Zanesville, Ohio, on November 24, 1859, to Samuel Gilbert and Elizabeth Wheeler Gilbert. He was named for his uncle, Lewis Cass, who served in the U.S. Senate, the Cabinet, and was the Democratic Party’s nominee for president in 1848. Gilbert’s family left Ohio for Minnesota when he was nine years old. His father died shortly after the move, leaving his mother to care for Cass and his siblings. However, she was committed to seeing that her children continue …

Gilbert, Ollie Eva Woody

Both a local and national celebrity, Ollie Eva Woody Gilbert, known popularly as Aunt Ollie, performed with Jimmy Driftwood, Woody Guthrie, and many other folk musicians who have come to define the voice of the Great Depression. Venues ranged from friends’ and family members’ front porches and living rooms in the Ozark Mountains to Cow Palace in San Francisco, California; the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee; and Madison Square Garden in New York City. The eighth of thirteen children of James (Jim) Franklin Woody and Mary Minerva Balentine Woody, Ollie Eva Woody was born on October 17, 1892, in the Hickory Grove area of Stone County. Shelearned to play the banjo at the age of five. Her instrument was made …

Gilchrist, Ellen

Winner of the 1984 National Book Award for Fiction for her collection of short stories, Victory Over Japan, Ellen Gilchrist has been declared “a national treasure” by the Washington Post for her various works, which at present constitute a collection of twenty-three books. She has received numerous other awards for her work, as well as a National Endowment for the Arts Grant in Fiction. A Mississippi native, she currently lives in Fayetteville (Washington County) and was for many years a faculty member at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville. Gilchrist was born on February 20, 1935, near Vicksburg, Mississippi, the second child and only daughter of Aurora (Alford) and William Garth Gilchrist. Much of her young life was spent …

Giles, Albert

Albert Giles was one of twelve African-American men accused of murder following the Elaine Massacre of 1919. After brief trials, the so-called Elaine Twelve—six who became known as the Moore defendants and six (including Giles) who became known as the Ware defendants—were found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. Ultimately, the Ware defendants were freed by the Arkansas Supreme Court in 1923; after numerous legal efforts, the Moore defendants were released in 1925. Albert Giles was born in Louisiana on November 22, 1898, to Sallie T. Giles and an unidentified father. He moved to Phillips County, Arkansas, sometime in the early 1900s and was residing in Elaine (Phillips County) when he was drafted into the U.S. military on September …

Giles, Janice Holt

Janice Holt Giles was a popular and prolific autobiographer and author of historical fiction, much of which addresses themes relating to the rural Appalachian foothills of south-central Kentucky, her adopted home state. Although never quite achieving the stature of literary contemporaries such as Marjorie Rawlings, Jesse Stuart, or Eudora Welty, she was, nevertheless, an accomplished and critically acclaimed writer whose books were frequent bestsellers. Janice Meredith Holt was born in Altus (Franklin County) on March 28, 1905. She was the second child of John Albert Holt and Lucy Elizabeth McGraw Holt, both of whom were educators. The Holts’ first child died at birth. Two other children, a daughter and son, were born in 1907 and 1910. Janice Meredith was to …

Gillam, Isaac Taylor

Isaac Taylor Gillam was an important African-American leader in post–Civil War Little Rock (Pulaski County). His service on the Little Rock City Council, the Arkansas General Assembly, and as Pulaski County coroner typified the strong interest black freedmen took in politics and elections for decades after the Civil War. Isaac Gillam was born a slave in Hardin County, Tennessee. His birth date is unknown, but based upon surviving documents, he was probably born in 1839. Little is known of his life until September 15, 1863, when he enlisted in the Union army at Little Rock, five days after the city fell to Union troops. Gillam served in Company I, Second Regiment, Arkansas Infantry (later renamed Company I, Fifty-fourth Regiment, U.S. …

Gillem, Alvan Cullem

Alvan Gillem served as a general in the Union army during the Civil War and in the Fourth Military District, which included Arkansas, during Reconstruction. He was involved in the process of establishing and approving a new state constitution for Arkansas in 1868 so the state could be readmitted to the union. Alvan Cullem Gillem was born in Gainesboro, Tennessee, to a farming family on July 29, 1830. The son of Samuel and Ruth Gillem, Alvan had two brothers and a sister. At the age of seventeen, he received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Graduating in 1851 as the eleventh ranked student in the class, he received a commission as a second lieutenant in …

Gilliland, Charles Leon

Charles Leon Gilliland of Yellville (Marion County) died in combat at the age of seventeen and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in battle in the Korean War. Charles Gilliland was born on May 24, 1933, in the Colfax (Baxter County) to Leon Carl Gilliland, a farmer and construction worker, and Evangeline Margarite Martin Gilliland, a nurse’s aide. Gilliland was the second of nine children and the oldest son. The family moved to neighboring Marion County when Gilliland was a teenager. A country boy who loved to hunt and fish, Gilliland was fascinated by the military and police work. He collected military-related photographs and articles from newspapers and magazines and wore surplus military fatigues and a …

Gillis, Ann

aka: Alma Mabel Conner
Ann Gillis was a child actress and ingénue in thirty-nine Hollywood movies from 1934 to 1947. She played small parts in two perennially famous films—Walt Disney’s Bambi (1942) and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Ann Gillis was born Alma Mabel Conner in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on February 12, 1927, to Mabel Brandon Conner. She later recalled: “My mother was one of those ladies who kept getting married. I guess one might say she was a femme fatale.” Mabel Conner left two husbands, including Alma’s father. The family often consisted only of Mabel, Alma, and Alma’s brother Brandon. Alma’s first show business experiences were in school plays in New Rochelle, New York, and her mother was eager to …

Ginnaven, Robert Addison (Bob)

Robert Addison Ginnaven Jr. was a movie and television actor who was also a leading advertising executive in Little Rock (Pulaski County). As an actor, he is best known for roles in the movies Steel Magnolias (1989) and White Lightning (1973), as well as appearing several times on the hit television series Dallas between 1981 and 1987. Bob Ginnaven was born in Memphis, Tennessee, at one minute after midnight on January 1, 1937, and was officially named the first baby born in Memphis that year. He was the only child of Pauline Madison Boals Ginnaven, who was a medical secretary, and Robert Addison Ginnaven Sr., who worked for the Wonder Bread baking corporation in Memphis. After graduating from Southside High …

Ginocchio, Frank Joseph

Frank Joseph Ginocchio was a Little Rock (Pulaski County) architect whose skills in supervision and in wartime construction shaped the development and expansion of Camp Pike (later renamed Camp Joseph T. Robinson) in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) during World War I and World War II. When his architectural firm merged with architect Charles Thompson’s practice in 1928, Ginocchio became part of the longest-lasting succession of architectural firms in Arkansas, now known as Cromwell Architects Engineers. During Ginocchio’s long career, many of the buildings he worked on were located in the Little Rock area, including the Hall Building, Forest Heights junior high school, M. M. Cohn department store, the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts, and the Governor’s Mansion. He also …

Glascock, Darrell

Darrell Glascock was a well-known political consultant who was an active force in Arkansas politics in the 1980s and 1990s. He also ran for U.S. Congress and sought the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor of Arkansas. Darrell Glascock was born in Tullos, Louisiana, in 1946 to Ray and Louise Glascock. He was interested in politics at an early age, and friends recalled him campaigning on behalf of state Senator Speedy Long when he was fourteen. He graduated from Georgetown High School in nearby Georgetown; he attended Northeast Louisiana University, Northwestern State University, and Louisiana State University, but he did not earn a degree. Glascock married Kitty Lou Rambo in the 1960s, and the couple had two children, a son and …

Glaze, Thomas Arthur (Tom)

Thomas Arthur (Tom) Glaze was a lawyer whose crusade against election fraud in the 1960s and 1970s propelled him into politics and a thirty-year career as a trial and appellate judge. Fresh out of law school in 1964, Glaze went to work for an organization that investigated election fraud and irregularities—an organization secretly funded by Republican Winthrop Rockefeller. The experience consumed him and inspired the rest of his legal career. As a deputy attorney general in 1969, Glaze rewrote Arkansas election laws, although the Arkansas General Assembly drastically weakened his draft before enacting the reforms. He was a justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court for twenty-two years, retiring in 2008. He recounted his battles with what he called “vote thieves” …

Gleason, George

At age twenty-five, George Gleason left his new legal career with a prestigious Little Rock (Pulaski County) law firm and purchased control of a bank in Ozark (Franklin County). After forty years of his leadership as chairman and chief executive officer, what is now Bank OZK grew to be the largest bank in Arkansas. Publicly owned, it has been nationally recognized as one of the best-performing banks in the nation. The bank expanded to other states and became a major commercial construction lender in large metropolitan centers. Gleason was inducted into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame in 2021. George G. Gleason II was born on November 30, 1953, in Dardanelle (Yell County), the youngest of four children of George …

Glenn, Harold Virgil

Dr. Harold Virgil Glenn was an osteopathic physician in Stuttgart (Arkansas County) whose decades-long efforts in historic preservation and civic leadership made a lasting impact on the region and the state. Harold V. Glenn was born on June 1, 1900, near Allendale, Missouri, the son of Frank Howard Glenn and Naomi Showalter Glenn. His family relocated in 1904 to Stuttgart, where his father had responded to a call for more doctors in the area by setting up an osteopathic practice. Glenn served in the U.S. Army at the end of World War I. Glenn’s father graduated in 1904 from the American School of Osteopathy (ASO)—later renamed A. T. Still University—in Kirksville, Missouri, having studied under the founder of osteopathy, A. …

Glosson, Lonnie Elonzo (Marvin)

Lonnie Elonzo Glosson popularized the harmonica nationwide and had a hand in several hit songs during a time when radio stations employed harmonica orchestras. From a young age, Glosson’s ability and versatility on the harmonica stood out. Lonnie Marvin Glosson was born the seventh of eleven children on February 14, 1908, in Judsonia (White County) to Cora Busby Glosson and George H. Glosson. He later changed his middle name to Elonzo because he did not like the uncle after whom he was named. Glosson’s mother taught him the harmonica after he earned money to buy the instrument by picking cotton: “She showed me how to play ‘Home Sweet Home,’ and I took it from there.” His father owned a boat …

Glover, D. D.

aka: David Delano Glover
David Delano “D. D.” Glover served in the Arkansas legislature (1909–1911), as prosecuting attorney of Arkansas’s Seventh Judicial Circuit (1913–1917), and as a Democratic representative to the U.S. Congress from Arkansas’s Sixth Congressional District (1929–1935). During Glover’s tenure in the Arkansas legislature, he chaired the Capitol Commission that oversaw the troubled completion of the Arkansas State Capitol building. D. D. Glover, the second of William H. Glover and Margaret Crowson Glover’s seven children, was born on January 18, 1868, in Prattsville (Grant County), where his parents owned a family farm. He attended schools in Prattsville and Sheridan (Grant County) and graduated from Sheridan High School in 1886. On December 24, 1891, Glover married Roberta Theodosia Quinn, whose father, Thomas W. …

Glover, Henry Bernard

A trailblazing African-American record executive and businessman, musician, and songwriter, Henry Glover is best known for his work as a producer and A&R (Artist and Repertoire) man for King Records. Over thirty years, Glover worked with a wide array of artists, African-American and white, across popular genres. Among his most famous songs are “Drown in My Own Tears,” a No. 1 record for Ray Charles, and “Blues Stay Away from Me,” which he co-wrote.   Henry Bernard Glover was born in Hot Springs (Garland County) on May 21, 1921, to John Dixon Glover, who was a bathhouse attendant, and Pearl Ware Glover, a homemaker; he had two siblings, Willie and Nelson. Although his non-musician parents were unenthusiastic about his musical pursuits, Glover spent much of his youth playing the cornet and piano and soaking up gospel music, as well as the country, jazz, and …

Gober, Hershel Wayne

Hershel Wayne Gober is an Arkansas native who followed a career in the military with business and government positions. Gober held high-level posts in the Department of Veterans Affairs at both the state and national levels under President Bill Clinton. Hershel W. Gober was born on December 21, 1936, in Monticello (Drew County). One of eight children of Jimmie Price Gober and Wade Harvey Gober, he grew up in Monticello and attended the local public schools. He received his undergraduate degree from Alaska Methodist University (now Alaska Pacific University) in Anchorage. Gober married Olivia DeArmond on April 5, 1956, and they went on to have six children before the marriage ended in divorce. Following graduation from college, Gober joined the …

Goff, “Tuffy”

aka: Findley Norris Goff
Findley Norris Goff and his partner, Chet Lauck, created Lum and Abner, a radio program based on the people of Pine Ridge (Montgomery County). It was one of the longest running and most popular programs ever on radio, heard daily across the country from 1931 to 1955 and broadcast on Armed Forces Radio during World War II. The Pine Ridge partners also successfully transferred their Lum and Abner characters to movies. Norris Goff was born on May 30, 1906, to Rome and Dora Goff in Cove (Polk County). The family moved to Mena (Polk County) by 1911, where Rome Goff expanded his wholesale general merchandise warehouse business that served stores in several surrounding counties. Another prominent Mena family was the …

Good, Mary Lowe

Mary Lowe Good was a renowned chemist, industrial innovator, professor, and government leader. Good was the first woman in Arkansas to earn a PhD in the so-called hard sciences such as chemistry or physics (fellow Arkansan Margaret Pittman was awarded a PhD in bacteriology in 1929). Good was the first woman elected to the board of the American Chemical Society, and she held important U.S. government positions under the administrations of four presidents. Mary Lowe was born in Grapevine, Texas, on June 20, 1931. Her parents were Winnie Lowe, who was a teacher and librarian, and John Lowe, a school principal; she had three siblings, including Betty Ann Lowe, who became a renowned hospital administrator. In 1942, the family moved …

Goodwin, Harvey Wilson

aka: Harvey Lee
Harvey Wilson Goodwin, who used the stage name Harvey Lee, was a gifted stage performer, singer, and internationally recognized female impersonator during the decades of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Harvey Wilson Goodwin was born on August 14, 1912, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Ernest Eugene Goodwin, who was a contractor, and Ella Lorena (Hicks) Goodwin, who was a homemaker; he had three siblings. His family apparently recognized and supported his early interest in the theater because his father reportedly arranged makeshift stages out of canvas and drapery material for Goodwin’s neighborhood theatrical performances. Goodwin attended elementary school in Little Rock, graduated from Little Rock High School in 1930, and briefly attended business school before he left for Washington …

Goodwin, William Shields

William Shields Goodwin was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Seventh District of Arkansas in the Sixty-Second through the Sixty-Sixth U.S. Congresses, serving from 1911 to 1921. William Shields Goodwin was born on May 2, 1866, in Warren (Bradley County) to Thomas Morrison Goodwin and Esther Shields Goodwin. He was educated in the local public schools before attending Farmers’ Academy in Duluth, Georgia; Cooledge’s Preparatory School; and Moore’s Business College in Atlanta. He also studied at both the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) and the University of Mississippi. He also studied the law and was admitted to the Arkansas bar in 1894, after which he opened a practice in Warren. He …

Gordon, Anderson

Anderson Gordon was a state legislator, Confederate officer, and participant in the Brooks-Baxter War. Anderson Gordon was born on February 13, 1820, in Maury County, Tennessee. The son of John Gordon and Nancy Tomlinson Gordon, he spent part of his childhood in Alabama and moved to Arkansas in 1839. The family settled about six miles north of Lewisburg (Conway County). When he was a child, his right hand was partially disabled due to a fever. Gordon engaged in a number of enterprises in Conway County, including store clerk, grocer, and farmer. He married Lydia Griffin on April 22, 1846, and the couple had ten children, three of whom survived to adulthood. In 1854, he obtained forty acres of land from …

Gordon, Nathan Green

Nathan Green Gordon was a naval pilot in World War II, Medal of Honor recipient, and lawyer. He served as lieutenant governor from 1947 to 1967, the longest tenure of one person in that office in Arkansas history. Nathan Gordon was born on September 4, 1916, in Morrilton (Conway County), the second of four children of Edward (Ed) Gordon Sr., a lawyer and one-time state representative, and Ada Ruth Gordon. Noted as “a boy who couldn’t pass up a challenge or a dare,” he showed excellence at a young age. Growing up in Morrilton, he attended public school through the tenth grade before finishing high school at Columbia Military Academy in Tennessee, where he played baseball and football and was …

Goss, Kay

Kay Goss is an author, educator, historian, lecturer, and emergency management official. Goss served as senior assistant for intergovernmental relations for two Arkansas governors (1982–1994) and was appointed associate director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), serving from 1994 to 2001. She also wrote the first full-scale biography of powerful U.S. congressman from Arkansas Wilbur D. Mills, published in 2012. Kay Gentry Collett, a native of Fayetteville (Washington County), was born on August 7, 1941. She majored in political science, public administration, and government, with a minor in history, at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville, graduating in 1963. She earned a master’s degree from UA in 1966 before embarking on doctoral studies in public administration at West …