Entry Type: Person - Starting with S

Schmidt, Charles “Boss”

Arkansas native Charles “Boss” Schmidt was a baseball player whose minor and major league career spanned most of the first two decades of the twentieth century. His nickname was a tribute to the toughness he exhibited, especially in fights during his baseball career (with other ballplayers, including his Detroit Tigers teammate Ty Cobb) and during a brief stint as a boxer. Charles Schmidt was born on September 12, 1880, in London (Pope County)—some sources say Coal Hill (Johnson County)—to German immigrants John and Mary Schmidt. It is unclear how many siblings he had, but a younger brother, Walter, played professional baseball with the Pittsburgh Pirates. As a youth, Schmidt worked in the coal mines central to the region’s economy. While …

Schnable, John Adams

Lieutenant Colonel John Adams Schnable was a noted Arkansas architect and engineer who designed and built Spring Mill and two rock bridges over Salado Creek in Independence County, as well as the Jacksonport (Jackson County) courthouse in Jackson County. He was a Civil War veteran and one of the few German immigrants who fought on the side of the Confederacy. John Schnable (name spelling varies) was born on June 11, 1817, in the German Confederation shortly after its creation in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna. Researchers are unsure about the names of his parents. He was directly involved in the Revolution of 1848 and, as a result, migrated to the United States and arrived in Virginia in 1851, where …

Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe

Henry Rowe Schoolcraft published the first written description of the Arkansas Ozarks’ geography, vegetation, wildlife, and inhabitants. His Journal of a Tour into the Interior of Missouri and Arkansaw, published in London, England, in 1821, is an account of a three-month exploration by Schoolcraft and one companion, Levi Pettibone. From November 1818 to February 1819, Schoolcraft explored land from Potosi, Missouri, southwest to the White River, northwest to near Springfield, Missouri, then south by canoe on the White River to present-day Batesville (Independence County), and finally northeast again to Missouri. Schoolcraft’s great-grandfather was a British soldier in New York in the early 1700s who settled with a German wife in Schoharie County, New York. His son John served in the …

Schoonover, Wear Kibler

Wear Kibler Schoonover won many academic and athletic awards while attending the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). While he was part of the All-American football team, he went to Hollywood to play a part in the film Maybe It’s Love. Schoonover later served in the U.S. Navy and worked for the government in the Legal Services Department of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Wear Schoonover was born on March 18, 1910, in Pocahontas (Randolph County) to attorney Eugene Gardiner Schoonover and Estelle Waddle Schoonover; he had two siblings who died in infancy and one brother. Schoonover graduated from Pocahontas High School and attended UA, accomplishing much in both academics and sports. Schoonover was the first UA athlete …

Schoppach, Annie

aka: Annie Adelia Anette Ryerse
Annie Schoppach was the first female graduate of the Medical Department of the University of Arkansas (now the College of Medicine of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences). She practiced medicine in Little Rock (Pulaski County), entering a profession that was almost entirely male dominated. Annie Adelia Anette Ryerse was born in Port Ryerse, Ontario, Canada, on May 3, 1859, the daughter of James and Sarah Ryerse. The Ryerse family was the most prominent family in the area, her great-grandfather having been the lieutenant governor of the Western District of Upper Canada. She experienced a great deal of loss early in her life. Her mother died when she was a small child. Later, her twin sister died. Her paternal …

Scott, Andrew Horatio

Andrew Horatio Scott was one of the first Superior Court judges of Arkansas Territory by virtue of appointment by President James Monroe. He was the first governmental official to report for duty at the village of Arkansas Post (Arkansas County) on July 4, 1819, and assisted in putting into operation the laws of the territory. He served as Circuit Court Judge for the first District and was the first County Judge of Pope County. The county of Scott, created in 1833, was named in his honor. Andrew Scott was born on August 6, 1789, to Andrew Scott, a Scottish emigrant weaver and Elizabeth Ferguson in Hanover, County, Virginia. In 1808, he arrived with his parents, two brothers, and three sisters …

Scott, Bob

Bob Scott is a lawyer, politician, and longtime Republican operative. He is best known for his work during Governor Winthrop Rockefeller’s administration as a legal advisor on the state’s prisons and as a finance manager. Despite being a Republican his entire adult life, Scott became an outspoken critic of what he came to see as his party’s extremism and abandonment of its core principles and historical legacy. Bob Scott was born on October 6, 1933, in Gravette (Benton County) but grew up in Rogers (Benton County). He was the youngest of three sons born to Rogers native Kenneth Holmes Scott and Missouri native Jeffa June Beck Scott. In September 1940, Scott’s father died in a truck accident while working as …

Scott, Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus Scott was appointed to the Arkansas Supreme Court after the resignation of Williamson Simpson Oldham Sr. in 1848. He was elected to the position in 1850 and reelected in 1858. He served on the Arkansas Supreme Court until his death in 1859, the longest tenure of any justice in the antebellum period. Christopher C. Scott was born in Scottsburg, Virginia, on April 22, 1807. He was the son of General John Baytop Scott, who was a prominent lawyer and Revolutionary War soldier, and Martha “Patsy” Thompson, an accomplished daughter of a wealthy planter. John Baytop Scott was friends with many of the nation’s founding fathers, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. He was a graduate of …

Scott, Clyde Luther “Smackover”

Clyde Luther “Smackover” Scott, who received his nickname and his notoriety as a football player from the town he grew up in, became legendary at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). An Olympian and a two-sport star for the Razorbacks, he was named the state’s athlete of the century by readers of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in 2000. Scott was a three-time Southwest Conference player and an All-American in football in 1948. He also lettered in track and proclaimed himself to be self taught in this sport. Clyde Scott was born in Dixie, Louisiana, on August 29, 1924, to Luther and Callie Scott. His father was a gang manager for Liberty Oil Company. Clyde was the third of …

Scott, Cynthia

Cynthia Scott is a Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist known for her work as one of Ray Charles’s “Raelettes” and for her subsequent solo career. She was named Jazz Ambassador for the U.S. Department of State in 2004 and was Wynton Marsalis’s choice for the first person to give a concert in the Lincoln Center’s Rose Room. She was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2016. Cynthia Scott was born on July 20, 1951 (some sources say 1952), to the Reverend Sam Scott and Artelia Scott in El Dorado (Union County), the tenth of twelve children—six boys and six girls. She began singing at age four in her father’s church but exposed her ear to secular music by sneaking …

Scott, Dortha Delena Shaw

Dortha Delena Shaw Scott of Mount Ida (Montgomery County) created the design for the Arkansas quarter. Her design was chosen from among more than 9,300 entries in a statewide contest by a panel of ten judges and Governor Mike Huckabee. The final design was unveiled to the public on October 7, 2002, at the Old State House in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The quarter officially entered circulation October 28, 2003, at Murfreesboro (Pike County). Dortha Shaw was born on January 11, 1936, near Mount Ida. Her parents were Henry and Carrie (Manley) Shaw. Henry Shaw, who died on September 7, 1936, was a carpenter most of his life, and Carrie Shaw was a homemaker. Dortha had five siblings: Gene, Helen, …

Scott, George Washington

George Washington Scott was Arkansas Territory’s first U.S. marshal, serving from 1820 to 1831, as well as the state’s first auditor and the first clerk of the Territorial General Assembly. However, his volatile personality negated many of his early accomplishments, and he died a violent death in almost total obscurity. George Washington Scott was born in June 1798 in Virginia. He was one of six children of Andrew and Elizabeth Scott; his older brother, Andrew Horatio Scott, was later appointed as one of the first judges of the Arkansas Territory Superior Court. The family was living near St. Louis in the new Louisiana Territory as early as 1805. In 1808, they moved to Ste. Genevieve, Missouri. By 1815, they were …

Scott, James Powell

James Powell Scott was a prominent mid-twentieth-century American artist and art educator. He began studying, producing, and teaching art in Arkansas. Now best remembered for his lithographs, watercolors, and oil paintings on canvas, Scott has works in the collections of major regional and national art museums, including the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. James Powell Scott, the second of three sons, was born to Wellington Friend Scott and Sarah Powell Scott on April 22, 1909, in Lexington, Kentucky. He attended public schools in Kentucky and in Arkansas after his family moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County). In 1928, Scott graduated from Little Rock High School. Scott studied art fundamentals with Adrian Brewer, a popular Little Rock artist and …

Scott, Melissa Elaine

A scholar who followed her father, a prominent lawyer, from Little Rock Central High School to the academic citadels of the east, Melissa Scott turned to writing fiction in the 1980s and became one of the most honored and prolific authors of English-language science fiction. Over nearly forty years, she has published eighteen original novels, several short stories, and numerous tie-in novels for the science-fiction network-television series Star Trek and Stargate: Atlantis. Her fiction has been noted for the frequency of lesbian and gay characters, who were often the protagonists. In the 1980s, even among book lovers, there was little knowledge or acceptance of the biological and social diversity of human life in the area of gender and sexuality. The …

Scott, Ralph Downing, Sr.

Ralph Downing Scott Sr. had a long career in law enforcement and served as director of the Arkansas State Police during most of Governor Winthrop Rockefeller’s administration. In this capacity, Scott enacted many reforms to the Arkansas State Police that improved the professionalism of the department. Ralph Scott was born in McCaskill (Hempstead County) on February 2, 1914, to Burton L. Scott and Grace Bonner Scott. He was the oldest of the couple’s three sons and graduated in 1931 from high school in Prescott (Nevada County). He received a BA in chemistry from Hendrix College in 1935. In 1939, he received a Bachelor of Commercial Science in accounting from Southeastern University in Washington DC. Scott married Ruth Hirst in 1940, …

Seals, Frank “Son”

Frank “Son” Seals was a singer who became a driving force behind a brief but stormy rejuvenation of the blues throughout the mid- to late 1970s. For three decades, he dominated the Chicago blues as no one has since. Son Seals was born on August 13, 1942, in Osceola (Mississippi County). His father was musician Jim “Son” Seals. He acquired the nickname “Son” while a child in Osceola. Seals came to the blues early. He grew up in a juke joint operated by his father, who had been a member of the Rabbit Foot Minstrels. Juke joint the Dipsey Doodle featured some of the greatest of all blues performers, including Albert King, Robert Nighthawk, and Sonny Boy Williamson. The Dipsey Doodle …

Seamster, Lee A.

Lee A. Seamster was a lawyer and politician from Benton County whose political strivings took him from leadership of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) in the 1920s to a succession of municipal, county, legislative, and judicial offices and finally to chief justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. Seamster’s political and ideological pilgrimage was typical of many young men who reached maturity during and after World War I. When Chief Justice Griffin Smith died in 1955, Governor Orval E. Faubus, whose own wide political wanderings were notable, appointed Seamster to serve the final twenty months of Smith’s term. Lee Seamster was born on September 14, 1888, in the Benton County community of Beaty, west of Bentonville (Benton County). He was one …

Searcy, Richard

Richard Searcy is an often-overlooked figure of Arkansas’s territorial period who helped in the founding and organization of the first county seats in Lawrence and Independence counties. He worked in various positions and professions to serve the people and the Territory of Arkansas, such as secretary for the Arkansas territorial legislature in 1820, county clerk to Lawrence and Independence counties, judge in the First Judicial District (which included Lawrence, Independence, Phillips, and Arkansas counties), postmaster at Davidsonville (Lawrence County), and lawyer based in Batesville (Independence County). Richard Searcy was born on September 1, 1794, in Sumner County, Tennessee, to Reuben Searcy and his second wife, Elizabeth Jett. He was his father’s sixteenth of seventeen living children and his mother’s seventh of eight children. Little …

Sebastian, William King

William Sebastian represented Arkansas in the U.S. Senate from 1848 until 1861. Also a farmer, lawyer, and judge, Sebastian served his state until the Civil War ended his career. Sebastian County, formed on January 6, 1851, was named for him. William King Sebastian was born in Centerville, Tennessee, in 1812 to Samuel Sebastian and his wife. Records do not include the name of his mother or any siblings (he appears to be one of at least three children in the household in 1830.) or the exact date of his birth. Sebastian moved to Arkansas in 1835, living briefly in Monroe County before making his home in Helena (Phillips County). While in Tennessee, Sebastian attended Columbia College, graduating in 1834. He …

Segraves, Warren Dennis

Warren Dennis Segraves was an architect who practiced in Fayetteville (Washington County). He was among the first designers in northwestern Arkansas to promote and utilize the International-style mode of modernism in his work. Warren Segraves was born on November 7, 1924, in Oskaloosa, Kansas, to Samuel Patrick Segraves and Velma Dennis Segraves. The family moved to Fayetteville when he was a small child. At age eighteen, Segraves enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Serving as a bombardier in the European Theater during World War II, he earned the rank of captain. In 1946, Segraves married Rhea Ash, his childhood friend and Fayetteville High School classmate. After his marriage, and while working for his father-in-law’s trucking company, he enrolled at the University …

Seiz, Bill

aka: William Augustav Seiz
William Augustav (Bill) Seiz was one of the most active and visible leaders in Hot Springs (Garland County) from the 1920s through the 1980s. Seiz was at the forefront of the industrial development, city planning, and other civic endeavors. Bill Seiz was born on June 19, 1902, in St. Louis, Missouri. His father, William Gustov, was a sign painter in St. Louis. Seiz was the oldest son of the seven children in his family. The Seiz family moved to Hot Springs in 1908, where the elder Seiz established Seiz Sign Company. Seiz excelled in the Hot Springs public schools through the eighth grade, when his father took him out of school to begin work. The family was extremely poor, and …

Selden, Joseph

Joseph Selden was one of the earliest judges of the Superior Court of the Arkansas Territory, the territory’s highest court. Selden was appointed by President James Monroe in 1820 to replace Robert Letcher, who left the territory abruptly after less than one year in office. Judge Selden served on the court until May 26, 1824, when he was killed in a duel with fellow jurist Judge Andrew H. Scott. Joseph Selden was born in Henrico County, Virginia, on May 7, 1787, to Colonel Miles Cary Selden and Elizabeth Armistead Selden. He was born on the family estate, Tree Hill, on the James River; he had eleven siblings. One of his younger brothers was William Selden, born in 1791, who became …

Sellers, Barney

Professional photographer Barney Sellers, a native of Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County), accumulated many honors in his lifetime, including a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize in 1973. His photographs of Arkansas barns, old houses, and rural scenes attracted many fans of his work and aspiring followers to northeastern Arkansas and the Ozarks. Born on March 28, 1926, to John and Edith Sellers, Barney Bryan Sellers was the younger of two sons. He grew up in Walnut Ridge, where he graduated from high school in 1944. Following high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he served two years aboard the USS De Haven. In the navy, he served in an administrative capacity and advanced to the rank of yeoman third …

Semmes, Samuel Spencer

Samuel Semmes was a Civil War veteran, lawyer, and businessman in Mississippi County in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He served one term as the county judge. Samuel Spencer Semmes, the son of Raphael Semmes and Ann Elizabeth Spencer Semmes, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on March 4, 1838. His father, who was later the famed raider of the Confederate CSS Alabama, had moved to Ohio in 1834, marrying Ann in 1837. Semmes was the oldest of their six children. In about 1848, after serving in the Mexican War, Semmes’s father moved his family to near Mobile, Alabama, where Semmes spent his youth. By the early 1850s, he was attending the Jesuit school Spring Hill College in Mobile, …

Sequoyah

aka: George Guess
aka: George Gist
Sequoyah, also known as George Guess and George Gist, is best known for his development of the Cherokee syllabary, a notational system that transcribed the sounds of spoken Cherokee into a written form. But during his long life, Sequoyah played many roles in Cherokee society. Sequoyah was born circa 1770 to a Cherokee mother and an Anglo-European father. There is no record of his having a formal education. He made a living at various periods as a blacksmith and a silversmith, trades that developed as a result of Cherokee contact with European culture, although he was a traditionalist in supporting Cherokee cultural and territorial integrity. When the first large group of Cherokee prepared to move from the Cherokee heartland of …

Sevier, Ambrose Hundley

Ambrose Hundley Sevier was a territorial delegate and one of the first U.S. senators from the state of Arkansas. Sevier was also one of the founders of a political dynasty which ruled antebellum Arkansas politics from the 1820s until the Civil War. His cousin Henry Wharton Conway founded the Arkansas Democratic Party, and his other cousin, James Sevier Conway, served as Arkansas’s first state governor, while yet another cousin, Elias Nelson Conway, was the state’s fifth chief executive. He also married into the powerful Johnson family, and his brother-in-law Robert W. Johnson rose to prominence in antebellum Arkansas politics. Born on November 10, 1801, in Greene County, Tennessee, to John Sevier and Susannah Conway, he was the grandnephew of John …