Entries - Gender: Male - Starting with M

McCown, John Porter

Tennessee native John Porter McCown pursued a long military career concluding with service as a major general in the Confederate army in the Civil War. After the war, he moved to Magnolia (Columbia County), where he became a respected citizen and farmer. John P. McCown was born in Sevierville, Tennessee, on August 19, 1815, one of seven children of George Wesley McCown and Mary Caroline Porter McCown. After receiving a basic education in his home state, he accepted an appointment to the military academy at West Point, where he graduated tenth in his class in 1840. After graduation, he embarked upon a long military career, initially as an officer in the artillery, participating in campaigns against western Indian tribes and …

McCracken, Isaac

Isaac McCracken played a prominent role in the farmers’ and labor movements in Arkansas (and, to a lesser degree, nationally) during the late nineteenth century. McCracken was also active in Arkansas politics as an independent and third-party leader during that era. He served in the Arkansas General Assembly in the 1880s and ran for Congress at a time when elections in Arkansas were notoriously violent and fraudulent. Isaac McCracken was born in 1846 in Huntingdon, Quebec, Canada, but he spent most of his childhood in Lowell, Massachusetts, where his family settled when he was eight years old. In 1867, he married Delia Maral Allen in Wisconsin, and the couple moved to Arkansas three years later. They had nine children between 1872 …

McCracklin, Jimmy

aka: James David Walker
Jimmy McCracklin was a renowned blues musician, singer, music industry entrepreneur, and songwriter. His hundreds of songwriting credits include his own recording of “The Walk,” which was a Top 10 hit for him in 1958, and “Tramp,” which was a Top 5 rhythm and blues (R&B) hit twice in 1967, first for Lowell Fulson and then as a duet by Otis Redding and Carla Thomas. McCracklin steadfastly claimed to have composed, uncredited, his friend B. B. King’s blues standard “The Thrill Is Gone,” although that claim remains contested. McCracklin is characterized as having played West Coast blues, a style associated mainly with African-American musicians who, like McCracklin, migrated to the San Francisco Bay Area of California during the 1940s. However, …

McCright, Ewell Ross

Ewell Ross McCright was an Army Air Corps lieutenant in World War II. While a prisoner of war, he secretly recorded detailed information about fellow prisoners of war while captive in Stalag Luft III in Sagan, Germany. McCright was awarded the Legion of Merit posthumously in 2004 after his ledgers were published. Ewell McCright was born on December 4, 1917, in Benton (Saline County) to Lewis Ross and Minnie Lee (Donham) McCright. He never married or had children. On December 4, 1940, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He applied for aviation cadet training on June 21, 1941, and was assigned to training as a bombardier on the B-17 on August 6. McCright was a B-17 bombardier with the 360th …

McCulloch, Benjamin

Benjamin McCulloch served in the War for Texas Independence and the Mexican War, and as a United States marshal, before becoming a brigadier general in the Confederate army. McCulloch led Arkansas troops at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek in Missouri but was killed at the Battle of Pea Ridge in Arkansas. While not a native Arkansan, McCulloch played an important role in the state’s military history. He led Arkansas troops at both the first major battle fought west of the Mississippi River in the Civil War, as well as at the first major battle in the state. Born to Alexander McCulloch and Frances LeNoir McCulloch in Rutherford County, Tennessee, on November 11, 1811, Benjamin McCulloch was the fourth of thirteen …

McCulloch, Philip Doddridge, Jr.

Philip Doddridge McCulloch Jr. was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the First District of Arkansas from 1893 to 1903, beginning in the Fifty-Third Congress and extending through the Fifty-Seventh Congress. Philip McCulloch Jr. was born on June 23, 1851, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to Philip D. McCulloch, who was a doctor, and Lucy Burrus McCulloch. When he was three years old, McCulloch’s family moved to Trenton, Tennessee. He received most of his early education in the area’s private schools before attending Andrew College in Trenton. He studied law and after being admitted to the Tennessee bar in 1872, he opened a practice in Trenton. In early 1874, McCulloch moved to Marianna (Lee County) and began …

McDaniel, Irven Granger

Irven Granger McDaniel was a World War II bomber pilot and prisoner of war (POW) who, after returning home, joined his father’s architecture firm and later formed his own, designing a number of noteworthy buildings in Hot Springs (Garland County). Irven Granger McDaniel was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 24, 1923, one of four children of architect Irven Donald McDaniel and Camille Lewis McDaniel. McDaniel’s father had established a practice in Hot Springs by 1930, and McDaniel was a student at Hot Springs High School and taking flying lessons by the time he was seventeen years old. As Europe became embroiled in World War II, McDaniel went to Canada and enlisted in the Royal Air Force on July 4, …

McDermott, Charles M.

Charles M. McDermott was a medical doctor, minister, plantation owner, Greek scholar, charter member of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, and inventor. His patented inventions include an iron wedge, iron hoe, a cotton-picking machine, and a “flying machine.” He was a regular contributor to the Scientific American, and he was among the first to advocate the germ theory of disease. Charles McDermott was born on September 22, 1808, in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. His parents, Emily (Ozan) and Patrick McDermott, owned sugarcane plantations. He had four brothers and two sisters. It was at the plantation home, Waverly, where McDermott became interested in flying. McDermott entered Yale University in 1825 and obtained a bachelor’s degree with honors in 1828. On December …

McDonald (Lynching of)

A pair of Marion County men were shot as suspected horse thieves on Christmas Day of 1870 by a trio of vigilantes from Springfield, Missouri. A man named McDonald was killed in the incident. According to a short article in the January 25, 1871, Arkansas Gazette, three men from Springfield “named Patterson, and Dodson, and a third, name unknown,” rode into Marion County in pursuit of a stolen horse. Once in the county, they apprehended a man named Otterbury, and while one vigilante guarded him, the other two detained a man named McDonald “whom they also accused as being one of their thieves.” After “some altercation,” the Missourians shot the two men after Otterbury “attempted to resist.” McDonald died of …

McDonald, Alexander

As one of Arkansas’s Republican senators during Reconstruction, Alexander McDonald played a role in the return of the state to its place in the Union. Possibly, though, McDonald’s roles as banker and railroad executive were more important to the state than his brief political career. Alexander McDonald was born on April 10, 1832, near Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, one of several children of John and Lucy McDonald. He attended Dickinson Seminary in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and also Lewisburg University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, although it appears that he did not graduate from any institution. In 1857, he traveled west to the Kansas Territory and became a businessman. Along with his brother, Benjamin P. McDonald, he ran a sawmill—variously known as “Bowen and McDonald” …

McDonald, Andrew Joseph

Andrew Joseph McDonald served as the fifth Roman Catholic bishop of Little Rock (Pulaski County)—a diocese that encompasses the boundaries of the state of Arkansas—from 1972 to 2000. During his tenure, the Catholic Church in Arkansas witnessed significant growth. In 1970, Catholics numbered 55,283 (or 2.8 percent) out of a total state population of 1,923,000. However, in the 1990s, the number of Catholics in Arkansas ballooned, and by 2000, they constituted 93,480 (or 3.4 percent) out of a total state population of 2,643,400. This growth was fed mainly by Catholics from other states retiring to Arkansas, coinciding with a Hispanic influx, primarily from Mexico. Andrew McDonald was born on October 24, 1923, in Savannah, Georgia, the eleventh of twelve children …

McDonald, Harry Pelot

Harry Pelot McDonald was a doctor, medical missionary, civil rights activist, and humanitarian in the second half of the twentieth century. A leader of the Fort Smith (Sebastian County) branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), McDonald advocated for the African-American community by fighting for desegregation and increased employment opportunities. Harry Pelot McDonald was born on September 1, 1923, in Sumter, South Carolina. He was the youngest son of Adelaide Palmer McDonald and Samuel James McDonald. Samuel McDonald worked for the railway postal service and taught at Claflin University, in addition to serving as president of the Sumter NAACP. Adelaide McDonald was a homemaker and music teacher. Harry grew up in Sumter and was educated …

McDonald, Maurice Neal “Nick”

Maurice Neal “Nick” McDonald was a patrolman for the Dallas Police Department who achieved international renown for arresting Lee Harvey Oswald shortly after the murder of John F. Kennedy. Nick McDonald was born on March 21, 1928, in Camden (Ouachita County), the second of three sons born to Beulah Lee Womack McDonald and Thomas “Bid” McDonald, a laborer in the southern Arkansas and northern Louisiana oil industry. After McDonald’s younger brother died, his parents divorced, and his mother moved to Maine; McDonald remained in Arkansas with his grandparents, Charles Womack, a local businessman, and his wife, Laura. While attending Camden High School, McDonald was given the moniker “Nick,” and, with his grandmother’s reluctant permission, he joined the U.S. Navy at …

McDonald, Thomas Newton (Tom)

Photographer Thomas Newton McDonald, a resident of Jonesboro (Craighead County), accumulated many honors in his lifetime, including the United Nations award for service to humanity, Gerard Bakker Award for teaching, and National Award for Service from both the Arkansas Professional Photographers and Southwestern Professional Photographers. His primary work focused on portrait photography, but he also took scenic and artistic photographs. In 1996, McDonald wrote The Business of Portrait Photography: A Professional’s Guide to Marketing and Managing a Successful Studio, with Profiles of 30 Top Portrait Photographers. The book, published by Amphoto Books of New York, was later published in a second edition and translated into Mandarin for publication in China. Born in Lake City (Craighead County) on July 2, 1933, …

McDonnell, James Smith, Jr.

James Smith McDonnell Jr. was one of the most significant aerospace industrialists of the twentieth century, building McDonnell-Douglas into the second largest military and commercial aviation corporation in the United States. James McDonnell was born on April 9, 1899, in Denver, Colorado, to James Smith McDonnell Sr. and Susie Belle McDonnell. The youngest of four McDonnell children, he was raised in central Arkansas, graduating from Little Rock High School in 1917. He spent his childhood in Altheimer (Jefferson County), where his parents had one of their two mercantile stores. Although McDonnell initially leaned toward a career in politics, his father encouraged him to pursue a career more suited to his personality. Completing his BS in physics with honors at Princeton …

McDonnell, John

John McDonnell served as track and field coach at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) from 1972 to 2008. In total, his teams won forty NCAA championships and eighty-four conference championships. His teams also produced 116 NCAA individual champions and 652 All-American certificates, while McDonnell himself was awarded thirty National Coach of the Year awards. John McDonnell was born on a dairy farm near Crossmolina, County Mayo, Ireland, on July 2, 1938, just a few miles from Ireland’s west coast. He was the seventh child of eight born to Bridget and Michael McDonnell. He was raised as a Roman Catholic and spent much of his childhood working on the family farm. McDonnell finished high school in 1958 in Dublin …

McDougal, Jim

aka: James Bert McDougal
James Bert (Jim) McDougal was at various times a political aide, politician, instructor of political science, real estate developer, and banker who attained national attention due to his involvement in what came to be called the Whitewater scandal. His second wife, Susan Henley McDougal, was also implicated in the investigation. Jim McDougal was born on August 25, 1940, in Bradford (White County), the only child of Leo and Lorene McDougal. He attended public schools. In 1960, he helped with the presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy in Arkansas and was later offered a position as an aide in the office of Senator John McClellan. McDougal left the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) after his freshman year to …

McFerrin, Robert, Sr.

Robert McFerrin Sr. was an African-American baritone opera and concert singer who became the first black male to appear in an opera at the Metropolitan Opera house in New York City, his debut following by less than three weeks the well-publicized breaking of the color barrier by contralto Marian Anderson. However, McFerrin’s career at the Met was brief, being limited to ten performances in three seasons over three years. Although he sang in European opera houses and performed concerts extensively, he failed to attain major prominence. He is best remembered as the father of singer and conductor Bobby McFerrin, with whom he sometimes performed. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1995. Robert McFerrin was born on March …

McGehee Lynching of 1894

On September 22, 1894, Luke Washington, Richard Washington, and Henry C. Robinson were lynched in McGehee (Desha County) for allegedly murdering local merchant H. C. Patton and robbing his store. One of the interesting aspects of this case is that the African-American population of McGehee (then known as McGehee Junction) reportedly took an active part in the three men’s lynching. On September 20, 1894, Patton locked his store, which was located on the edge of a cotton field some distance from the depot in McGehee, and proceeded along the walkway to his bedroom. There, Robinson and the two Washingtons allegedly killed him with a club. Although Patton was armed with a pistol, he was unable to use it in time. His attackers then …

McGehee, Peter Gregory

Gay Arkansas-born novelist Peter Gregory McGehee was praised by reviewers for his outrageous comedies of Southern manners, in particular the sly humor with which he explores what he saw as a hypocritical society that easily rationalizes its own moral lapses even as it enforces a narrow, judgmental morality upon others. Peter McGehee was born in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) on October 6, 1955, to Frank T. and Julia Ann May McGehee. The middle of three children, he was six years old when the family moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County), where he attended Forest Park Elementary School and, in 1973, graduated from Parkview High School. Shortly before he would have completed a BFA degree at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, …

McHaney, Edgar Lafayette

Edgar McHaney contributed to legal proceedings that changed constitutional law in the United States. With co-counsel Scipio Africanus Jones, he appealed the convictions of twelve men convicted of murder after the 1919 Elaine Massacre. The case of six of the men, Moore v. Dempsey, was eventually heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, and a precedent-setting decision allowed federal courts to override state appellate courts if constitutional rights were denied. McHaney also served for a short time in the Arkansas House of Representatives before a long tenure on the Arkansas Supreme Court. Born on November 6, 1876, in Gibson, Tennessee, Edgar Lafayette McHaney was one of nine children of William W. McHaney and Mary Ellen Hicks McHaney. He grew up on …

McHaney, James Monroe

James Monroe McHaney, a Little Rock (Pulaski County) native who graduated from law school in 1942, was recruited in 1946 to participate in the trials of German Nazi war criminals after World War II. In his obituary in the New York Times in 1995, he was lauded for his success as a prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials. James McHaney was born on April 23, 1918, one of the six children of Edgar L. McHaney, who was later an Arkansas Supreme Court justice, and Gail Myers McHaney. After receiving both a bachelor’s degree and a law degree from Columbia University, he joined a New York law firm. (This was during World War II, but he was determined physically unqualified for military …

McIntosh, James McQueen

James McQueen McIntosh served as a Confederate colonel in the Second Arkansas Mounted Rifles and as a brigadier general before losing his life at the Battle of Pea Ridge. James McIntosh was born at Fort Brooke, near present-day Tampa, Florida, in 1828. His father was Colonel James Simmons McIntosh of the U.S. Army. The elder McIntosh served in both the War of 1812 and the Mexican War, during which he was killed at the 1847 Battle of Molino del Rey. The younger McIntosh graduated last in his class the next year from the United States Military Academy at West Point. Serving on active duty with the U.S. Army on the western frontier, McIntosh was promoted to captain of the First Cavalry …

McIntosh, Robert “Say”

Robert “Say” McIntosh is a restaurant owner, political activist, and community organizer distinctly tied to the Little Rock (Pulaski County) area and Arkansas politics. A political gadfly during the 1980s and 1990s, McIntosh was responsible for many political protests that were statewide news during the time. Say McIntosh was born in 1943 in Osceola (Mississippi County), the fifth of eleven children. In 1949, he and his family moved to the Granite Mountain area of Little Rock. McIntosh attended Horace Mann High School but dropped out in the tenth grade. He spent much of his early life learning the restaurant business, which led him to establish his own eatery, serving home-style cooking and his famous sweet potato pie. “The Sweet Potato …

McIntyre, Samuel (Lynching of)

On April 23, 1919, an African-American man named Sam McIntyre was hanged near Forrest City (St. Francis County) for allegedly murdering another black man, John Johnson, the previous February. According to the February 10, 1919, edition of the Arkansas Gazette, on February 6, Johnson was shot through the window while playing checkers with a friend at his home on the Graham farm. McIntyre was arrested after the killing, along with U. L. “Hub” Lancaster (a white man) and Rube McGee (a black man). According to the report, “Johnson was a witness against Lancaster and McIntyre in several liquor cases, one case of assault to kill and another case charging burglary and grand larceny.” He was to testify when the case …

McKay, Eugene

Eugene McKay was a prominent educator in Arkansas in the second half of the twentieth century. He is most closely identified with Arkansas State University–Beebe (ASU–Beebe), where he spent just short of five decades, eventually rising to become the school’s chancellor, a post he held for a little over twenty years before retiring in 2016. Eugene McKay was born on May 5, 1941, in Amagon (Jackson County). His parents were farmers. Much of McKay’s early life was spent picking and chopping cotton. The McKay family moved frequently to do farm work, but they were usually in the Amagon area. McKay attended a number of rural schools in Amagon, Wiona (Independence County), and Charlotte (Independence County) before the family settled in …

McKennon, Arch

aka: Archibald Smith McKennon
Archibald Smith McKennon was a Confederate military officer, storekeeper, lawyer, temperance advocate, and political activist in Arkansas in the latter part of the nineteenth century. These activities led to an appointment to the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, commonly known as the Dawes Commission. This committee negotiated land allotments to individual Native Americans in order to lessen tribal claims. This subsequently opened the area to white settlement in—and facilitated statehood for—the Oklahoma Territory. Arch McKennon was born near Pulaski, Tennessee, on February 7, 1841. He was one of several children of Dr. Archibald McKennon and Sarah Smith McKennon, who had moved there from South Carolina. The family later immigrated to Arkansas and made their home in Carroll County in …

McKennon, Pierce Winningham “Mac”

Pierce Winningham “Mac” McKennon was a talented musician but is more widely remembered as a famous World War II flying ace. He destroyed twenty German aircraft and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross with four clusters, the Air Medal with sixteen clusters, the Purple Heart, the Distinguished Unit Citation, and the Croix de Guerre. Pierce McKennon was born in Clarksville (Johnson County) on November 30, 1919, to Dr. Parma D. McKennon, a dentist, and Inez Winningham McKennon. He had two older brothers. The family moved to Fort Smith (Sebastian County) in 1921. He graduated from St. Anne’s Academy in Fort Smith and entered the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) on a music scholarship in 1937, but he left …

McKissic, James Henry (Jimmy)

Jimmy McKissic was a world-renowned pianist from Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) who spent much of his life in France but performed throughout the world, including more than two dozen events at Carnegie Hall in New York. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1994. James Henry McKissic was born on March 16, 1940, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to the Reverend James E. McKissic and Rosa Daniels McKissic; he had five brothers and five sisters, including one sister who was adopted. Growing up in Pine Bluff, McKissic was playing the piano by the age of three. He played in his father’s church and for other local congregations as a youth; his mother taught him until he …

McKrell, Jim

Jim McKrell is a broadcast personality whose career spanned many decades and included work in radio, television, and film. From his work in commercials for both local and national television to hosting game shows and appearing in TV shows and films, he compiled a wide-ranging set of credits for work both behind and in front of the camera. Jim “Mac” McKrell was born James MacKrell Jr. on October 12, 1937, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to James “Mac” MacKrell Sr. and Bess Irene Townsend MacKrell. He later changed the spelling of his last name. His father was a prominent local radio personality before getting involved in politics. He graduated from Covington High School in Covington, Louisiana, in 1955 and returned …

McLarty, Mack

aka: Thomas Franklin McLarty III
Thomas Franklin “Mack” McLarty III was the first Arkansan to serve as White House chief of staff. A kindergarten classmate and lifelong friend of President Bill Clinton, McLarty served as Clinton’s chief of staff from 1993 to 1994 and, later, as his special envoy for the Americas. He is now president of McLarty Associates, originally Kissinger McLarty Associates, an international advisory firm created in partnership with former secretary of state Henry Kissinger. Mack McLarty was born on June 14, 1946, in Hope (Hempstead County) to Thomas F. McLarty Jr. and Helen Hesterly McLarty. He has one younger brother. His father owned and operated an automobile dealership started by McLarty’s grandfather. His mother, active in community and charitable endeavors, became the …

McLaughlin, Leo Patrick

Leo Patrick McLaughlin served as mayor of Hot Springs (Garland County) for almost twenty years, allowing the city to operate as an “open” town with illegal gambling permitted under official supervision. As mayor, he reigned as the undisputed boss of Garland County politics. During his time in office, many underworld characters frequented Hot Springs’ spas, and gambling became one of the town’s most popular forms of entertainment. Even today, many recall McLaughlin as one of Hot Springs’ most memorable personalities. Leo McLaughlin was born on June 5, 1888, in Hot Springs, the son of John Henry McLaughlin and Bridget Adela Russell McLaughlin. He graduated from Hot Springs High School in 1908, where he was a star athlete and president of …

McLaughlin, William Heber

William Heber McLaughlin was a Lonoke County farmer and politician who became one of the first American army officers to be wounded in action in France, participating in the first military engagement involving U.S. Army troops in World War I. William Heber McLaughlin, who was called Heber, was born on January 26, 1882, at Atoka, Tennessee, north of Memphis, to businessman William R. McLaughlin and Annie Gillespie McLaughlin. The family moved to Lonoke (Lonoke County) soon after his birth. Around 1907, his father purchased the Knapp Plantation, east of Scott (Lonoke and Pulaski counties) near Toltec, advocating that the mounds on the site be made into a public park to ensure their preservation. They eventually were acquired by the State …

McMath, Phillip Hal

Phillip Hal McMath is a Little Rock (Pulaski County) trial attorney, an award-winning writer, a Marine Corps Vietnam War veteran, and an ardent advocate for preserving and promoting Arkansas literature and history. McMath has published four novels and numerous short stories and articles, along with producing two plays. His book Lost Kingdoms was the winner of the Arkansiana Fiction Award in 2009, while The Broken Vase received the Booker Worthen Prize in 2011 . McMath established the Porter Prize in 1984, which has made a significant contribution to literature in Arkansas. Phillip McMath was born in Memphis, Tennessee, to Sidney Sanders McMath and Anne Phillips McMath on December 25, 1945; he has two brothers and two sisters. In 1948, McMath’s father was elected …

McMath, Sid

aka: Sidney Sanders McMath
Sidney Sanders McMath—who became a prosecuting attorney, decorated U.S. Marine officer, and governor—rose to national attention by prosecuting Hot Springs (Garland County) mayor Leo McLaughlin, and he used that exposure to launch a campaign for governor. He was a close political friend to President Harry Truman and a dedicated foe to the Dixiecrat movement that tried to control the Democratic Party in the South in the 1948 presidential campaign. Sid McMath was born on June 14, 1912, to Hal Pierce McMath and Nettie Belle Sanders McMath in Columbia County. McMath’s father inherited the family farm when his father, the county sheriff, died in a shootout with bootleggers. McMath’s father had a restless spirit and gave up the farm before McMath was …

McNair, Evander

Evander McNair was a prosperous antebellum merchant in Mississippi and Arkansas, a Mexican War veteran, and a Confederate general who ranks among Arkansas’s most successful and respected Civil War commanders. Evander McNair was born to Scottish-immigrant parents John McNair and Nancy Fletcher McNair on April 15, 1820, in Laurel Hill, North Carolina. He and his parents moved to Simpson County, Mississippi, in 1821. By 1842, McNair had established a mercantile business in Jackson, Mississippi. During the Mexican War, he served as ordnance sergeant in Company E of the First Mississippi Rifles, a regiment commanded by Colonel Jefferson Davis (future president of the Confederacy). McNair fought at the Battle of Buena Vista and received an honorable discharge. After the war, he …

McNeil, W. K.

aka: William Kinneth McNeil
William Kinneth (W. K.) McNeil was a prominent folklorist and historian of Arkansas and Ozark regional folk traditions, especially their folk music and songs, speech, tales, and legends. He published books and articles in both popular and scholarly outlets and produced widely disseminated recordings. Most of his research was conducted while he held the post of folklorist from 1976 to 2005 at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View (Stone County), from which he drew materials for his public programming as well as writing. W. K. (or Bill) McNeil was born near the town of Canton, North Carolina, on August 13, 1940, to William McKinley McNeil, a sales manager, and Margaret Winifred (Rigdon) McNeil, an office worker; he had one …

McRae, Dandridge

Dandridge McRae was a Searcy (White County) attorney who during the Civil War rose to the rank of brigadier general in the Confederate army and led troops in most of the major battles in Arkansas. Following the war, McRae held various state and federal government positions and was active in promoting the state. The town of McRae (White County) is named in his honor. Born on October 10, 1829, in Baldwin County, Alabama, Dandridge McRae was the eldest of eleven children born to D. R. W. McRae and Margaret Bracy McRae. His father was a plantation owner, a lawyer, and a member of the Alabama legislature. Young McRae was tutored on the family plantation. In 1845, he was admitted to …

McRae, Thomas Chipman

A lawyer, banker, and politician, Thomas Chipman McRae represented the Third Congressional District for eighteen years and served as governor from 1921 to 1925. During his governorship, he fiercely fought to revise the tax system to adequately fund Arkansas’s dilapidated highway and educational systems. McRae was the last Arkansas governor to have served in the Confederate forces. Thomas McRae, the eldest of five siblings, was born on December 21, 1851, in Mount Holly (Union County) to Duncan L. and Mary Ann (Chipman) McRae. Duncan McRae, a founder of Mount Holly, was a farmer. In 1863, McRae’s father died, leaving him to run the farm during the chaos of the Civil War. Before the conflict ended, McRae briefly served as a …

Meador, Eddie Doyle

Eddie Doyle Meador was a star defensive back for the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League (NFL) throughout the 1960s. A graduate of Arkansas Tech University in Russellville (Pope County), Meador was the recipient of numerous honors and recognitions over the course of a twelve-year career in the NFL. Eddie Doyle Meador was born on August 10, 1937, in Dallas, Texas, to Euell Meador, who was a mechanic, and Easter Meador. The family moved to Arkansas before his junior year, but a pre-season injury prevented him from playing for the school team that year. However, in 1954, as a senior, in his sole high school season, he led Russellville High School to the Region 3AA championship. A superb …

Meek, John Alexander

A doctor, minister, and landowner, John Alexander Meek was one of the leaders in establishing Baptist churches. He is credited by The Baptist Encyclopedia as being the founder of nearly all of the early Baptist churches in south Arkansas and north Louisiana. John Meek was likely born on April 16, 1791 (though some records show the years 1790 and 1792), in Laurens County, South Carolina, the sixth of seven children, three of whom became ministers and medical doctors. Details of his early education and medical training are not known. Meek married Sarah “Sally” Spraggins on December 12, 1809, in Abbeville District, South Carolina. Sally Meek died on December 13, 1825, in Laurens County; two of their five children also died …

Melody Boys Quartet

The Melody Boys Quartet was a Southern gospel music group based in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The Melody Boys Quartet officially disbanded on December 31, 2012, at the end of the group’s “Exit 63” tour, celebrating sixty-three years together. The group had its origins in the late 1930s when Herschel Foshee, aided by Joe Roper, created the Stamps-Baxter Quartet. The group was named after the music publishing company founded by V. O. Stamps and J. R. Baxter in 1926; the publisher was established in Texas but later opened an office in Pangburn (White County). The quartet’s original purpose was to sing and record the company’s publications exactly as printed and thus aid in selling Stamps-Baxter songbooks to interested musical groups …

Menifee, Nimrod P.

Nimrod P. Menifee (spelled “Menefee” in some records) helped to found and settle Conway County, donating the land that was used for the seat of government in Lewisburg in 1831. He also was involved in some of the bitter disputes and duels that were the outgrowth of the early political tensions in the Arkansas Territory. He developed significant land holdings and was instrumental in the formation of several early settlements in central Arkansas including Lewisburg (later Morrilton), Point Remove, Oppelo, and the town that bears his name, Menifee—all in Conway County. Nimrod Menifee was born in 1800. The Menifee family first came to this area from Kentucky, beginning in 1818, when the oldest son, Jonas, bought a one-quarter interest in …

Mercer, Christopher Columbus, Jr.

Christopher Columbus Mercer Jr. was an advisor to Daisy Bates during the 1957 desegregation of Little Rock Central High School. As field secretary for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), his legal background helped Bates understand and respond to the flood of litigation against the NAACP. Christopher Mercer was born Castor Mercer Jr. on March 27, 1924, in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), to Castor C. and Tarvell Linda Mercer; his mother soon changed his name. His father worked as a mechanic for the St. Louis Southwestern (Cotton Belt) Railroad. His mother owned a dry-cleaning business. He has one brother and one half-brother. Mercer received his AB in social services from Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical & Normal College …

Meriwether, John Thompson (Jack)

John Thompson (Jack) Meriwether was a city administrator whose later career in higher education channeled hundreds of millions of dollars to Arkansas colleges and universities. Meriwether was city manager—the city’s chief administrator—of Texarkana (Miller County) and then Little Rock (Pulaski County). He was an officer at a bank in his hometown of Paragould (Greene County) and was general manager of the Arkansas Gazette for several years. He also served as vice president for governmental relations for the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). Jack Meriwether was born on November 23, 1933, to Ray Meriwether and Marie Thompson Meriwether in Paragould. His father and his uncle, Bill Meriwether, ran a hardware store started by his grandfather in 1883. Meriwether and his …

Merrell, Henry

Henry Merrell of New York was both an industrialist and an evangelical who contributed to the development of Arkansas and Georgia. He has been credited with the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in Arkansas, and he also served the state as a Confederate major and as an effective Presbyterian elder. Henry Merrell was born in Utica, New York, on December 8, 1816, to Andrew Merrell, an influential printer, and Harriet Camp Merrell; he had two brothers and two sisters. Merrell began working at the Oneida textile factory in Whitesboro, New York, when he was fourteen. He participated in the religious movement of “The Second Great Awakening” and attended the abolitionist Oneida Institute in Whitesboro. Concerning his 1856 arrival in Arkansas, …

Merrill, Joseph

Joseph Merrill was a successful philanthropist who made a difference for the lives of young people in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), primarily through his support of African-American schools in Pine Bluff. He was also the founder of the Merrill Institute. Joseph Merrill, the youngest child of William and Mary Merrill, was born in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, around 1810. He had two brothers and one sister. He started his trade of shoemaking at the age of eleven years old and worked until he was twenty-one years old in Boston, Massachusetts. Then he moved to Sidney, Ohio, and worked there for a few years. His health turned bad, and in December 1835, he moved south to Little Rock (Pulaski County) to …

Merryman, James Harold

James Harold Merryman was a pilot and three-star general in the U.S. Army who aided in the restoration of aviation as an army branch of service for the first time since the Army Air Corps ceased to exist in 1948. General Merryman’s military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, two awards of the Legion of Merit, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, twenty-five Air Medals, and three Army Commendation Medals. James Merryman was born in Hot Springs (Garland County) on April 3, 1929, to Jim Merryman and Edith Agnes Dyer Merryman. His father was a mechanic and thirty-third-degree Mason, and his mother was a homemaker. He had one younger brother. As a youth, Merryman sold …

Meyer, Ronald Edward (Ron)

Ron Meyer was a graphic artist, journalist, satirist, newspaperman, and political cartoonist from Little Rock (Pulaski County). In the early 1960s, Meyer went to work for Sam Hodges at the Benton Courier, first in advertising and later as general manager. During his tenure, Meyer helped the paper achieve both state and nationwide recognition. He also worked as a freelance artist for several Little Rock firms before opening his own advertising agency. Ronald Edward Meyer was born on October 18, 1938, in Little Rock to Velma Irene Maghar Meyer and Raymond Edward Meyer, who was originally from Hazen (Prairie County). He had one brother, Gerald, and two sisters: Patricia and Betty. Meyer’s parents divorced when he was ten years old, leaving …

Mike Meyer Disfarmer Gravesite

Mike Disfarmer was a Heber Springs (Cleburne County) mid-twentieth-century portrait photographer whose work gained fame and popularity some years after his death. His Cleburne County gravesite was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 2009. Disfarmer is believed to have been born in Indiana in the early 1880s and to have moved to Stuttgart (Arkansas County) at an early age. After his father’s death, he and his mother then moved to Heber Springs. By 1926, he had built his own photography studio, where he lived and worked, earning a simple living for over forty years by photographing rural people for a few cents a sitting. Many believe that he changed his fame from Mike Meyer to …