Entries - Gender: Male - Starting with P

Pollard, Odell

Odell Pollard was an Arkansas lawyer credited with playing a major role in the development of the two-party political system in Arkansas during the last half of the twentieth century. Pollard was chairman of the Arkansas Republican (GOP) state executive committee during Governor Winthrop Rockefeller’s administration. Odell Pollard was born on April 29, 1927, on a farm in Union Hill (Independence County). Pollard was the third of four children of Joseph Franklin Pollard and Beulah Scantlin Pollard. He attended a one-room school at Union Hill through the eighth grade and then attended high school in Oil Trough (Independence County) until his graduation at age sixteen. He then entered the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), attending for two …

Pomeroy, Leslie Klett (Les)

Although Sierra Club founder John Muir championed forest conservation by setting aside large acreages, it was Leslie Klett Pomeroy who devised a conservation plan for growing and harvesting timber that both conserved it and turned it into a renewable resource. His science-based management plans regenerated timberlands across the South after cut-out-and-get-out practices had decimated its forests. Pomeroy’s groundbreaking work carried out in Arkansas ultimately affected forestry in the South and across America. Leslie Pomeroy was born on December 12, 1896, in Hub City, Wisconsin. He was the only child of William Justis Pomeroy and Anna Barbara Klett Pomeroy. His mother was a housewife, and his father began his employment with Madison Bus Company in 1922 as a motorman on streetcars, …

Pope-Noland Duel

The Pope-Noland Duel took place in Arkansas Territory in 1831 between William Fontaine Pope and Charles Fenton Mercer (Fent) Noland. Little is known about Pope other than that he was the nephew and secretary of territorial governor John Pope, who was a member of the Democratic Party during his tenure in Arkansas. Fent Noland originally hailed from Virginia and was the son of politician and plantation owner William Noland, who drafted Virginia’s anti-dueling law. As a young lawyer, Fent Noland was mentored by James Woodson Bates, who was the first Arkansas territorial representative to the U.S. Congress, and went on to become a well-known writer who regularly published in the New York–based Spirit of the Times. The political scene in …

Pope, John

John Pope served variously from 1798 to 1842 as a U.S. senator and congressional representative from Kentucky, secretary of state for Kentucky, and the third territorial governor of Arkansas. Initially affiliated with the Democratic-Republican Party, he joined the Whig Party in the 1830s. During his tenure as territorial governor, he worked to establish a legislative program to promote migration and economic development and to rid the region of its reputation as a violent and politically unstable frontier. John Pope was born in February 1770 (exact date not known) in Prince William County, Virginia, the eldest son of Colonel William and Penelope Edwards Pope. The Pope family moved near Louisville, Kentucky, in 1779 at the height of the American Revolution. After …

Porter, Art, Jr.

aka: Arthur Lee Porter Jr.
Arthur Lee (Art) Porter Jr. was an extremely talented musician proficient on saxophone, drums, and piano. He was an energetic, engaging entertainer and a creative composer whose work ranged across jazz, rhythm and blues, funk, and ballads. The son of legendary jazz musician Art Porter Sr., he released four albums through Polygram/Verve Records before his accidental death in 1996. Art Porter Jr. was born on August 3, 1961, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Thelma Pauline Porter and Arthur Porter Sr.; he had four siblings. Porter played alto saxophone in the Benkenarteg, Inc., sound group, which was composed of the five siblings. Porter was awarded the title of most talented young jazz artist in America by the Music Educators of …

Porter, Art, Sr.

aka: Arthur Lee Porter Sr.
Arthur Lee (Art) Porter Sr., referred to as an “Arkansas treasure,”was a pianist, composer, conductor, and music teacher. Though best known as a jazz musician, he also performed classical compositions and spirituals. Some of his more memorable performances include two gubernatorial inaugurations for Governor Bill Clinton. Joined by Art Porter Jr. on saxophone, he performed at President Clinton’s Inaugural Interfaith Prayer Service in January 1993 at one of the inaugural receptions in Washington DC. Porter was also responsible for entertaining many heads of state who visited Arkansas during the tenure of governors Dale Bumpers, David Pryor, and Jim Guy Tucker. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1994. Art Porter was born on February 8, 1934, in Little …

Porter, Jim Skillern, Jr.

In the early 1960s, Jim Skillern Porter Jr. was a leader in integrating the music venues in Little Rock (Pulaski County), and he produced Arkansas’s first integrated-seating concert. Later that decade, he operated Arkansas’s first integrated country club, the Riverdale Club, offering golf, tennis, swimming, dining, and dancing. (The name is not to be confused with Riverdale Country Club, whose members had previously moved west and formed Pleasant Valley Country Club.) During the two years the club was open (1968–1970), integrated groups played jazz nightly to full houses. Porter continued his work as a booking agent, trying to interest other venues in hiring integrated groups. Jim Porter Jr. was born on September 1, 1932, in Little Rock to James Skillern Porter …

Porter, Ray Edison

Ray E. Porter was a career U.S. Army officer who served in World War I as well as World War II, in which he rose to the rank of major general and led the Seventy-Fifth Infantry Division during the latter part of the war. Ray Edison Porter was born on July 29, 1891, in Fordyce (Dallas County), the eldest of three sons and a daughter of Hattie E. Porter and blacksmith and farmer William L. Porter. He attended the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), and, on May 15, 1917, enlisted in the U.S. Army at Fort Logan H. Roots; his draft card showed that he shared responsibility for his family with his mother and three siblings, his …

Portis, Charles McColl

One of the finest of Arkansas’s fiction writers, Charles McColl Portis was best known for the western novel True Grit. Portis’s other novels—Norwood, The Dog of the South, Masters of Atlantis, and Gringos—are set in the twentieth century and are more purely comical. Whereas True Grit has sold copies into the millions and was made into films in 1969 and 2010 (with an Oscar-winning performance by John Wayne in the first adaptation), Portis’s other novels, though of high quality, have gone in and out of print over the years and have sold much more modestly. Portis’s protagonists are staid and ill at ease in modern society. The possibility of “true grit”—unyielding courage in the face of danger—is absent from the worlds of …

Potts, John Kirkbride

John Kirkbride Potts laid the groundwork for the founding of the town of Pottsville (Pope County). He patented 160 acres of land between Crow Mountain and the Arkansas River and later enlarged his holdings to 650 acres. His house, which served as a post office and railroad rest stop, was entered in the National Register of Historic Places on June 22, 1970, and is now a museum. John Potts was born in Pennsylvania on March 24, 1803, to Joshua Potts and Mary (Bunting) Potts. He had five siblings. The family moved from Pennsylvania to New Jersey in 1812. At age seventeen, Potts went west, traveling by wagon with two slave families to Wayne County, Missouri, where he met William Logan …

Pounds, Winston (Lynching of)

Winston Pounds, accused of breaking into a white man’s house and assaulting his wife, was hanged by a mob near Wilmot (Ashley County) on August 25, 1927. Census records indicate that Winston Pounds Jr., born around 1906, was the son of farmer Winston Pounds and his wife, Florence Pounds. As sometimes happens, published accounts of the lynching vary significantly, especially between white-owned and African-American-owned newspapers. According to the Arkansas Gazette, Pounds, described as a “Negro farmhand,” entered the J. W. McGarry home while he and his wife were sleeping and assaulted Mrs. McGarry. She screamed, and he fled. Some accounts say that J. W. McGarry was actually in Little Rock (Pulaski County), and that Mrs. McGarry’s sister was staying with …

Powell, Charles (Lynching of)

On August 11, 1926, an African-American man named Charles Powell was lynched near Lewisville (Lafayette County) for allegedly murdering sheriff’s deputy James Dooley. According to the Shreveport Times, a warrant was issued for railroad worker Charles Powell on charges of beating his wife. On Wednesday morning, August 11, Deputy Dooley was sent to serve a warrant on Powell at the railway car on a side track of the Cotton Belt Railroad where he was living. Dooley was described by the Arkansas Gazette as “one of the most popular officers of the county,” while Powell was referred to as “a powerful negro…known as a bad actor” who had previously resisted arrest. When Dooley approached, Powell drew a pistol and shot Dooley …

Powell, Dick

aka: Richard Ewing Powell
Richard Ewing Powell was a musician, actor, and director. An ambitious man always pursuing new avenues for his creativity, Powell experimented with different media (radio, film, and television) at a time when not many did. The films of which he was a part ranged from 1930s comical musicals to 1940s films noir. Dick Powell was born in Mountain View (Stone County) on November 14, 1904, the second of three sons of Sallie Thompson and Ewing Powell. His father was a machinery salesman sometimes credited with introducing the gasoline engine to north Arkansas. Powell’s mother encouraged her three sons’ interest in music. His most important early musical influence was George R. “Dick” Case, a Mountain View merchant for whom he was …

Powell, Dwane

Dwane Powell was an award-winning political cartoonist who spent most of his career in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he crafted an artistic chronicle of state politics. Powell brought to life in his portrayals the influential conservative Senator Jesse Helms and the colorful four-term Democratic governor Jim Hunt, among others. Drexel Dwane Powell Jr. was born on November 7, 1944, in Lake Village (Chicot County) to Drexel Dwane Powell and Minnie Louise Ruth Powell. Not long after Powell was born, the family, which eventually included four children, moved to a farm outside McGehee (Desha County). The family grew cotton, rice, and soybeans while also raising whiteface Herefords, Brahma bulls, and Angus cows. After graduation from McGhee High School following an undistinguished …

Powell, Morgan Allen

Morgan Allen Powell was a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy who retired in 1957 to his native Independence County, where he researched local history. Morgan Powell was born on March 2, 1901, in the McHue community south of Batesville (Independence County). His parents were John Thomas and Mary Morgan Powell; he had two sisters. While he was still a student at Batesville High School, he joined the Army and served in World War I. He returned to Batesville in and graduated from Batesville High School in 1921. From there he went to the U.S. Naval Academy, where he received a BS degree and was commissioned an ensign with the U.S. Navy in 1925. Powell served two years in the …

Powell, Nathan Lee (Nate)

Nathan Lee (Nate) Powell, winner of a National Book Award and an Eisner Award, is a New York Times bestselling graphic novelist. He is best known for his graphic novels Swallow Me Whole and Any Empire, which he wrote and illustrated, as well as the March series of graphic novels, co-written by Congressman John Lewis, for which he provided the art. Nate Powell was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on July 31, 1978. He grew up as an ardent comics fan in North Little Rock (Pulaski County), reading such titles as The ’Nam, Transformers, X-Men, Daredevil, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Appleseed, and G.I. Joe. In the 1990s, Powell became involved in the DIY (do-it-yourself) punk subculture, self-publishing a zine …

Powell, Sam (Lynching of)

On July 6, 1910, an African-American man named Sam Powell was lynched near Huttig (Union County) for allegedly robbing A. E. Lucas and setting his house on fire. The Nashville Tennessean reported that Powell was only eighteen years old at the time. He may have been assisted in the crime by another African-American man named Claude Holmes. There is no record of a young African American named Sam Powell living in Arkansas in either 1900 or 1910. However, in 1900, an eight-year-old African American named Sam Powell was living in Lincoln Parish in northern Louisiana with his parents and eight siblings, and news stories about the lynching reported that Powell initially escaped to a lumber town named Rochelle in Grant …

Power, Albert

Albert Power is one of four people to receive a Medal of Honor for actions during the Battle of Pea Ridge, March 7–8, 1862. Power received the honor for his deeds at the Leetown sector of the battlefield on March 7. Private Power was one of five Medal of Honor recipients from his unit, the Third Iowa Cavalry, during the course of the Civil War. Albert Power was born in Liberty, Ohio, on June 18, 1842. Power enlisted in the Third Iowa Cavalry, Company A, at Keokuk, Iowa, on August 31, 1861. Power became a part of General Samuel Ryan Curtis’s Army of the Southwest at the rank of private. Appointed on Christmas Day 1861, Curtis was given one task—to …

Pratt, Parley P. (Murder of)

Parley Parker Pratt, an original member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was murdered in Arkansas in 1857 and buried in the state, despite his wishes to be buried in Utah.The Van Buren (Crawford County) newspaper Arkansas Intelligencer, on May 15, 1857, deemed Pratt “a man of note among the Mormons.” While another notable event involving Mormons in Arkansas—the massacre of Arkansas emigrants four months later at Mountain Meadows, Utah—was formerly linked to Pratt’s murder in Arkansas, more recent inquiry suggests other circumstances may have ignited the violence at Mountain Meadows on September 11, 1857. Pratt was one of the key figures in the early Church leadership. Pratt’s writings, which include pamphlets, …

Prentiss, Benjamin Mayberry

Benjamin Mayberry Prentiss served as a major general in the Union army during the Civil War. He most notably served as the Federal commander at the Battle of Helena and was captured leading his division at the Battle of Shiloh. Benjamin Prentiss was born in Belleville, Virginia, on November 23, 1819, to Henry Leonidas Prentiss and Rebecca Mayberry Prentiss. At the age of seventeen, he moved with his family to Marion County, Missouri, where he worked as a rope maker. In 1841, he moved to Quincy, Illinois, where he joined the militia and was active in the conflict between local citizens and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Prentiss was married twice. He and his first …

Presley, Luther G.

Luther G. Presley was a music teacher, song director, and prolific writer of gospel songs who has been credited with writing more than 1,100 hymns. His best-known song is most likely “When the Saints Go Marching In,” for which he wrote the lyrics in 1937 (the melody was written by Virgil O. Stamps). Luther Presley was born in Faulkner County on March 6, 1887, to James Thomas Presley and Nancy Ann Brooks Presley. He was educated in Faulkner County’s public schools. Presley attended his first singing school at the age of fourteen, under the direction of M. W. Beckett, and taught at his first singing school at the age of eighteen. Presley continued his musical education, and according to a 2005 …

Price, Sterling

Sterling Price was a farmer, politician, and soldier who served as a general from Missouri in Arkansas during the Civil War. Most notably, he commanded the Confederate Department of Arkansas during the fall of Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Federal forces and during the Camden Expedition. Born in Prince Edward County, Virginia, on September 20, 1809, into a wealthy planting family, Price attended Hampton-Sydney College for one year and then studied law. Sterling’s parents, Pugh Price and Elizabeth (Williamson) Price, had three other sons and a daughter. Around 1831, Price accompanied his parents west to Missouri. There, he married Martha Head on May 14, 1833, and was active in a number of enterprises, most notably tobacco farming. Residing near Keytesville …

Prock, Clifford John

Clifford John Prock served as head football coach for the Harding University Bisons from 1964 to 1987. At the time of his retirement, he was one of the all-time most successful football coaches in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), with 114 victories. Prock is credited with helping reestablish intercollegiate football at Harding, which resumed play in 1959 after a hiatus of nearly thirty years. John Prock was born on March 13, 1929, in Hollis, Oklahoma, the only child of Alonzo (Lonnie) Prock and Lillie Mae Hooks Prock. His father was a short-run freight hauler; the 1930 Harmon County census described his vocation as a “drayman” (truck driver). His mother was a homemaker. The Procks struggled to survive during …

Pruden, James Wesley, Jr.

Wesley Pruden was an American journalist best known for serving as a reporter, editor, and columnist with the Washington Times for more than three decades. He was a leader of the paper’s effort to establish itself as a conservative alternative to the U.S. capital city’s iconic Washington Post. James Wesley Pruden Jr. was born on December 18, 1935, in Jackson, Mississippi, to James Wesley Pruden Sr. and Anne Wilder Pruden. His father was a prominent and controversial minister who abandoned his itinerant preaching shortly after his son’s birth. Returning to Little Rock (Pulaski County), he pioneered radio preaching before becoming chaplain for—and later president of—the Capital Citizens’ Council, which was the Little Rock chapter of the White Citizens’ Council, a …

Pruden, James Wesley, Sr.

James Wesley Pruden Sr., a Southern Baptist minister, was first chaplain and then president of the Little Rock (Pulaski County) chapter of the White Citizens’ Council during the volatile school desegregation period of 1957–58. Pruden led a campaign in the newspapers and in the streets to stop the desegregation of Central High School. Journalist Roy Reed’s analysis of Pruden is that, had it not been for the school crisis, he would have been “destined for the obscurity of a second-tier Baptist Church,” and that he was “a man whose ambition out-paced his abilities.” Wesley Pruden was the great-grandson of John Pruden, a North Carolina slaveholder. He was born near Alexander (Pulaski and Saline counties) in 1908. He moved early in …

Pruitt, John Henry

John Henry Pruitt of Newton County is one of only nineteen soldiers in U.S. military history to be twice awarded the Medal of Honor. Both presentations were for a single action as a combat Marine during World War I. John Pruitt was born on October 4, 1896, at Pruitt Hollow Boston Township near the small settlement of Fallsville (Newton County) to George B. and Melissa Belle Pruitt. Most sources incorrectly list his birthplace as Fayetteville (Washington County). At a very early age, Pruitt, along with his family, moved to Jerome, Arizona, where his older brother was a blacksmith in the local mines. Little is known of Pruitt’s early years. It is believed that he attended school in Jerome before the …

Pryor, David Hampton

David Hampton Pryor, arguably the most popular Arkansas politician of the modern era, held four different political offices during his career: state House of Representatives member, U.S. congressman, governor, and U.S. senator. A Democrat, Pryor played a crucial role in limiting the rise of Republicanism in Arkansas in the latter decades of the twentieth century. David Pryor was born on August 29, 1934, in Camden (Ouachita County) to William Edgar Pryor and Susan Pryor. His father and grandfather were both sheriffs. His mother was the first Arkansas woman to run for elective office (she ran unsuccessfully for county circuit clerk in 1926); she later won a school board race. Pryor had three siblings. The role of Pryor’s family in public …

Pryor, Mark Lunsford

Mark Lunsford Pryor is an Arkansas lawyer and politician. Following in the footsteps of his father, David Pryor, he served two terms in the U.S. Senate as a Democrat before he was defeated for reelection in 2014. Mark Pryor was born in Fayetteville (Washington County) on January 10, 1963, to David Pryor and Barbara Jean Lunsford Pryor. With his father serving first as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives—followed by service as governor and U.S. senator—Mark Pryor grew up in a politically oriented household in both Arkansas and Washington DC. He received a BA in history from the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville in 1985. He continued his studies at the University of Arkansas School of Law, …

Pulaski County Reported Lynching of 1889

In rural Pulaski County in 1889, three or four men were reportedly lynched for having beaten a prosperous farmer to death while robbing or attempting to rob him. However, the reports surrounding this event are very vague and sometimes contradictory. Although this event is included in many tabulations of lynching victims for the state, there may be reason for doubting whether a lynching actually occurred. National reports provide the most details about this event. For example, the December 18, 1889, report in the Indianapolis Journal, is one of many similar articles that circulated nationally. On Saturday, December 14, 1889, Henry Wright, described as a “well-to-do farmer,” was on his way to Fletcher’s store in the community of Big Maumelle when …

Pulaski Light Artillery Battery (CS)

aka: Totten Artillery Company
While Arkansas militia laws in the antebellum period authorized the formation of four militia companies of artillery, cavalry, infantry, and light infantry in each county, few such organizations existed. Pulaski County was an exception to this, and in the years before Arkansas’s secession, there were four volunteer militia units there, including the Totten Artillery, later renamed the Pulaski Light Artillery. While their service was brief compared to other Arkansas units during the Civil War, the men of the Pulaski Light Artillery played a pivotal role in the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, Missouri, on August 10, 1861. On February 14, 1861, Captain William C. Woodruff composed a letter to Colonel Craven Payton of the Thirteenth Regiment, Arkansas State Militia, informing him …

Purcell, Joe Edward

Joe Edward Purcell was a lawyer and politician who shocked the political establishment in 1966 by defeating the state’s colorful attorney general, Bruce Bennett, in the Democratic primary. Although Purcell never realized his dream of becoming governor, he was elected attorney general twice and lieutenant governor three times during his political career. Joe Purcell was born on July 29, 1923, in Warren (Bradley County). He was the oldest of three children of Edward L. and Lynelle Cunningham Purcell. His father, known as “Buddy,” remarried and moved to Texas. His mother worked in her father’s grocery store in Warren and, many years later, at the Arkansas Department of Education at Little Rock (Pulaski County). His grandfather, Fred Purcell, was the town’s …

Purdue, Albert Homer

Albert Homer Purdue was the ex officio state geologist from 1907 to 1912. He published many works on the geology of both Arkansas and Tennessee. Purdue was a renowned geologist and taught at Arkansas Industrial University, which is now the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville. Albert Purdue was born on March 29, 1861, on a farm near Yankeetown, Indiana, to Samuel Leroy and Phoebe (Priest) Purdue. Albert was the second oldest of eight children and spent his youth working on the family farm, receiving only minimal formal education. At the age of twenty, however, he entered the Indiana State Normal School (later Indiana State University) in Terre Haute. He received his diploma on June 8, 1888. Until 1896, Purdue …

Purtle, John Ingram

John Ingram Purtle was a populist lawyer and politician who spent eleven tempestuous years as a justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court late in the twentieth century. Purtle—who was called “the Great Dissenter” in a law review article after his death—resigned from the court in 1989 because of enduring conflicts with his fellow justices, most of whom he said had judicial philosophies that were “not in harmony” with his own. Four years before his resignation, Purtle had been charged in an arson-for-profit scheme with his legal secretary and another person, but he was acquitted in a jury trial. John Purtle was born on September 7, 1923, the middle child of nine children of John Wesley Purtle and Edna Gertrude Ingram …

Purvis, Hoyt

Hoyt Hughes Purvis was a longtime professor of journalism at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). Prior to going into teaching, he served as press secretary and aide to Senator J. William Fulbright as well as an advisor to Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia. In addition, he was a political reporter for the Houston Chronicle. Hoyt Purvis was born on November 7, 1939, in Jonesboro (Craighead County) to Hoyt Somervell Purvis and Jane Hughes Purvis. After growing up in Arkansas, he received his undergraduate degree in 1961 from the University of Texas (UT) in Austin, where the budding journalist served as editor and sports editor for the Daily Texan; he also earned a master’s degree in …