Entries - Gender: Male - Starting with C

Corbin, Donald Louis

Donald Louis Corbin had a career as a state legislator and appellate judge spanning forty-four years. As a state representative, Corbin developed a reputation as a plainspoken maverick, and, as a judge, a reputation for pushing his colleagues to take unpopular stands, particularly on social issues. As his twenty-four-year career as a justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court was coming to an end in 2014, he had a bitter disagreement with other justices whom he thought had connived to avoid rendering a decision in the controversy over legalizing marriages of same-sex couples. Donald L. Corbin was born on March 29, 1938, in Hot Springs (Garland County), where his father, Louis Emerson Corbin, was a meat-market manager for a Kroger grocery …

Corbin, Joseph Carter

Joseph Carter Corbin, journalist, served as Arkansas state superintendent of public instruction during Reconstruction and was the founder and president of the first African-American institution of higher education in Arkansas. Joseph C. Corbin was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, on March 26, 1833, the eldest son of free black parents, William and Susan Corbin. He had eleven siblings. He attended school during the winter months, a common practice at the time. In 1848, Corbin traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, to assist Reverend Henry A. Adams as a teacher. He taught school for some years and then attended Ohio University at Athens. He graduated with a BA in art in 1853 and an MA in art in 1856. An honorary doctoral degree was …

Cordell, Carl Richey “Cotton”

Few figures were more recognized in the multi-billion dollar sportfishing industry than Arkansas native Carl Richey “Cotton” Cordell Jr., who built a fishing tackle empire based in Hot Springs (Garland County) that grew to be the largest in America. Carl Cordell Jr. was born in Benton (Saline County) on December 9, 1928, the only child of Carl R. and Alice J. (Barnes) Cordell. His father worked for Alcoa but moved the family in November 1945 to Lake Catherine near Hot Springs, where he had purchased a marina and resort. Cordell, nicknamed “Cotton” because of his light hair, spent most of his youth traversing the Arkansas outdoors for fish and game, becoming able to help his father at the marina in …

Cotton States League

The Cotton States League was founded at Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1902 and comprised teams from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas; there were occasional entries from Texas, Alabama, and Florida. In Arkansas, teams were established in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), El Dorado (Union County), Helena (Phillips County), and Hot Springs (Garland County). The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (NAPBL), the administrative agency of minor league baseball from 1901 to the present, sanctioned the league. The league operated as a Class D league, typically the lowest level of professional competition, from 1902 to 1932, though it played no games in 1909 and suspended operations from the fall of 1913 to 1922. From 1936 to 1955 (with the exception of 1942–1946 when it …

Cotton, John (Lynching of)

On July 15, 1893, a seventeen-year-old African American named John Cotton was hanged near Cornerville (Lincoln County) for an alleged attack on the wife of John Tucker, a prominent area farmer. According to the Forrest City Times, on Thursday, July 13, Cotton tried to assault Tucker while he thought her husband was away. John Tucker, however, was in a field nearby, where he heard her screams, and ran to the house. Cotton escaped, and as news spread of the attempted attack, a mob gathered. Cotton managed to elude them, “running like a hunted beast through the fields and woods.” He could find no food and no hiding place, and by Saturday afternoon he was exhausted and collapsed. His pursuers caught …

Couch, Harvey Crowley

Influenced by a teacher’s counsel, Harvey Crowley Couch helped bring Arkansas from an agricultural economy in the early twentieth century to more of a balance between agriculture and industry. His persuasiveness with investors from New York and his ingenuity, initiative, and energy had a positive effect on Arkansas’s national reputation among businessmen. He ultimately owned several railroad lines and a telephone company and was responsible for what became the state’s largest utility, Arkansas Power and Light (AP&L). Harvey Couch was born on August 21, 1877, in Calhoun (Columbia County) to Tom Couch, a farmer turned minister, and Mamie Heard Couch. He had five siblings. Couch attended school in Calhoun two months out of each year, as did many farmers’ children …

Coulter, Wallace Henry

Wallace Henry Coulter was an engineer, inventor, and entrepreneur who was co-founder and chairman of Coulter Corporation, a worldwide medical diagnostics company headquartered in Miami, Florida. The two great passions of his life were applying engineering principles to scientific research and embracing the diversity of world cultures. Wallace Coulter was born on February 17, 1913, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Joseph R. Coulter and Minnie May Johnson Coulter. His father was a train dispatcher, and his mother was an elementary school teacher; he had one brother. Coulter spent his youth in McGehee (Desha County), graduating from McGehee High School. He attended his first year of college at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri; his interest in electronics, however, led him …

Counts, Will

aka: Ira Wilmer Counts
Ira Wilmer (Will) Counts Jr. was a photographer best known in Arkansas for his photographs during the 1957 desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County). His photographs have been widely recognized as among the most memorable of the twentieth century. Will Counts was born on August 24, 1931, in Little Rock to Ira Counts Sr. and Jeanne Frances Adams Counts; he had one brother. The Counts family sharecropped near Rose Bud (White County) and then outside Cabot (Lonoke County) before moving in 1936 to the Resettlement Administration’s Plum Bayou Homestead in Jefferson County. When the family moved back to Little Rock, where Counts attended Little Rock High School (later Central High), he developed his initial interest in …

Coy, Edward (Lynching of)

On February 20, 1892, Edward Coy, a thirty-two-year-old African-American man, was burned at the stake in Texarkana (Miller County) before a crowd of approximately 1,000 people. Ida B. Wells, a journalist and prominent anti-lynching crusader, described Coy’s murder as one of the most shocking and repulsive in the history of lynching. Coy, described in press accounts as “mulatto,” was charged with a crime “from which the laws provide adequate punishment. Ed Coy was charged with assaulting Mrs. Henry [Julia] Jewell, a white woman. A mob pronounced him guilty, strapped him to a tree, chipped the flesh from his body, poured coal oil over him, and the woman in the case set fire to him.” According to the New York Times, …

Craft, Clarence Byrle

Clarence Byrle Craft, a native of California, received the Medal of Honor for his actions on Hen Hill during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. He moved to Arkansas after World War II and died in Fayetteville (Washington County). Clarence B. Craft was born on September 23, 1921, in San Bernardino, California, the son Louis E. Craft and Pearl Collins Craft. His father, a railroad engineer, died in an accident in 1929 or 1930. His mother worked as a cook in the Harvey House restaurant chain, which led her and her children to move frequently. When World War II began, Craft joined the U.S. Army at Santa Ana, California, and shipped out as a private first class in Company G, …

Cramer, Floyd

Pianist Floyd Cramer was one of the creators of what became known as the “Nashville sound,” a style often seen as a forerunner of the slick, upscale pop/rock that emerged in Nashville, Tennessee, in the 1990s. Cramer released fifty solo albums, had a classic hit in the song “Last Date” in 1960, and accompanied Elvis Presley on such rock and roll hits as “Heartbreak Hotel.” He was a longtime friend of producer and guitar virtuoso Chet Atkins and performed with other music luminaries, including Patsy Cline, Eddy Arnold, the Everly Brothers, Perry Como, and Roy Orbison. In the 1980s, he recorded a hit version of the theme from the Dallas TV series. Born on October 27, 1933, in Campti, Louisiana, …

Crank, Marion Harland

Marion Harland Crank was a member of the Arkansas General Assembly for eighteen years; he lost narrowly to Governor Winthrop Rockefeller in 1968 in his only race for statewide office. Crank’s defeat ended conservative dominance of the Democratic Party in Arkansas. A government agriculture specialist, farmer, teacher, and businessman, Crank became influential in the dominant rural faction of legislators when he entered the state House of Representatives in 1951. He was the speaker of the House in 1963–64 and often managed legislative programs for Governor Orval E. Faubus during Faubus’s twelve years in office. He was the choice of the old political organization of conservative businessmen and planters to oppose the Republican Rockefeller for a second term, defeating five Democrats …

Cravens, Jordan Edgar

Jordan Edgar Cravens was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Third District of Arkansas in the Forty-Fifth, Forty-Sixth, and Forty-Seventh Congresses from 1877 until 1883. Jordan E. Cravens was born on November 7, 1830, in Fredericktown, Missouri, to Nehemiah Cravens and Sophia Thompson Cravens. He was one of three sons. Seeking new opportunity, the Cravens family moved to Arkansas the year after his birth. Cravens received his early education in the local common schools, but he graduated from the Presbyterian-supported Cane Hill College in Washington County in 1850. Following graduation, he studied the law and was admitted to the state bar in 1854, opening a practice in Clarksville (Johnson County). Cravens then entered the …

Cravens, William Ben

William Ben Cravens was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He had two separate and distinct periods of service in Congress, first representing the Fourth District of Arkansas in the Sixtieth, Sixty-First, and Sixty-Second Congresses, serving from 1907 to 1913, and then after two decades away, he returned to Congress, again representing the Fourth District, in the Seventy-Third through the Seventy-Sixth Congresses, serving from March 1933 until his death in early 1939. Ben Cravens was born on January 17, 1872, in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) to William Murphy Cravens and Mary Eloise Rutherford Cravens. He attended the local schools before continuing his studies at Louisville Military Academy in Kentucky and then at Staunton Military Academy in Virginia. …

Cravens, William Fadjo

William Fadjo Cravens was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Fourth District of Arkansas in the Seventy-Sixth through the Eightieth Congresses, serving from 1939 to 1949. Fadjo Cravens was born in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) on February 15, 1899, to William Ben Cravens and Caroline Dyal Cravens. Cravens got his early education in the local public schools before attending the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) and the University of Pittsburgh. His education was interrupted while he served as a seaman in the U.S. Navy during World War I. Upon his return from the service, he earned his law degree from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, in 1920. Cravens was …

Crawford, William Ayers

William Ayers Crawford’s importance to Arkansas history stems from his service to the Confederacy and his participation in Arkansas’s postwar political crises, the most visible of which was the Brooks-Baxter War. William Crawford was born on June 24, 1825, in Washington County, Tennessee, the youngest of eleven children of William Ayers Crawford and Martha Blakely Crawford. His father was a farmer and breeder of fine horses; he died in 1834. Following his mother’s death in 1840, the orphaned Crawford left Tennessee with older siblings. After passing through Little Rock (Pulaski County) en route to Texas, they changed their original plan and made Saline County their permanent home, farming for a living. In June 1846, Crawford enlisted for service in the …

Crenchaw, Milton Pitts

Milton Pitts Crenchaw, of the original Tuskegee Airmen, was one of the first African Americans in the country and the first from Arkansas to be trained by the federal government as a civilian licensed pilot. He trained hundreds of cadet pilots while at Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute in the 1940s and was the catalyst in starting the first successful flight program at Philander Smith College in Little Rock (Pulaski County) from 1947 to 1953. His combined service record extends for over forty years of federal service from 1941 to 1983 with the U.S. Army (in the Army Air Corps) and eventually the U.S. Air Force. Milton Crenchaw was born on January 13, 1919, in Little Rock to the Reverend Joseph C. …

Crenshaw, George (Lynching of)

On September 2 or 3, 1885, an African-American man named George Crenshaw was taken from jail and hanged by a mob near Lewisville (Lafayette County) for allegedly murdering a young salesman named Harry W. Paup. According to the September 1 edition of the Arkansas Gazette, at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, August 28 (another report says August 29), a young salesman and “highly respected young gentleman” named Harry W. Paup was walking through a cotton field near the home of an elderly black man named George Crenshaw. Crenshaw’s dogs began to bark and alerted Crenshaw, described as a “blood-thirsty old demon.” Crenshaw grabbed his gun, and though another man, Mike Ross, tried to stop him, ran to the field, spotted Paup, …

Crittenden, Robert

Robert Crittenden was the first secretary and acting governor of the Arkansas Territory; subsequently, he was the first person to serve in the role now known as the lieutenant governor of Arkansas. He was a prominent member of the Arkansas bar, candidate for territorial delegate to Congress in 1833, and political powerbroker in territorial Arkansas. Robert Crittenden was born on January 1, 1797, in Woodford County, Kentucky, near Versailles. He was the son of John Crittenden, a major in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, and Judith Harris. His brother, John Jordan Crittenden, served as a United States senator from Kentucky and was attorney general under presidents William Henry Harrison …

Crockett, Davy

aka: David Crockett
The legendary frontiersman and congressman David (Davy) Crockett passed through Arkansas on his way from Tennessee to Texas in 1835. While at a Little Rock (Pulaski County) banquet given in his honor, he reportedly stated, “If I could rest anywhere it would be in Arkansas, where the men are of the real half-horse, half-alligator breed such as grow nowhere else on the face of the universal earth but just around the backbone of North America.” Davy Crockett was born in Greene County, Tennessee, on August 17, 1786. His parents were John and Rebecca Hawkins Crockett. He ran away from home at about age thirteen and did not return home for some thirty months. In 1806, Crockett married Mary “Polly” Finley, …

Crockett, Robert Paul (Bobby)

Bobby Crockett was a star wide receiver on the 1964 and 1965 University of Arkansas (UA) football teams, which rank among the school’s all-time great squads. As the team’s leading receiver, he earned All-American honors in 1965 before he embarked on a short-lived professional career with the Buffalo Bills. Robert Paul (Bobby) Crockett was born on April 3, 1943, in Briggsville (Yell County) to Robert Roy Crockett and Frances Annette Crockett. He attended Dermott High School, graduating in 1962. The 6’3″, 200-pound wide receiver then went on to UA in Fayetteville (Washington County), where he played a critical role in the best two-season run in the university’s history. At UA, Crockett was a three-year letter winner on the 1963, 1964, …

Crockett, Woodrow Wilson

Miller County native Woodrow W. Crockett served as a combat pilot in both World War II and the Korean War. Entering the service as an artilleryman, Crockett transferred to Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute as an aviation cadet and became one of the pilots of the famous Tuskegee Airmen. Crockett remained in the service of his country for twenty-eight years. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1995. Woodrow Wilson Crockett was born on August 31, 1918, in Homan (Miller County). Nicknamed “Woody” as a child, he was the fifth of six children born to school teachers William Crockett and Lucindan Crockett. He grew up in Texarkana (Miller County) and then lived with his sister in Little Rock …

Cross Hollow (Camp)

Cross Hollow (or Cross Hollows), located along the Telegraph Road eighteen miles south of the Missouri-Arkansas border near modern-day Rogers (Benton County), was the site of Confederate winter quarters during the winter of 1861–62. A Civil War skirmish was fought near Cross Hollow in 1864. Following the August 10, 1861, Confederate victory at Wilson’s Creek in Missouri, General Benjamin McCulloch’s army fell back into Arkansas. Feeling that the troops would be close enough to Missouri to march there readily if circumstances demanded, commanders chose Cross Hollow, a long, narrow valley at the intersection of an east-west road and the Telegraph Road, which was the major north-south road into Missouri. Abundant springs and forage and the presence of two mills nearby, …

Cross, John Storrs

John Storrs Cross became a national and international expert in all types of electronic communication as a member of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Navy during World War II, and the U.S. Department of State, as well as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In Arkansas, he was the engineer for Hot Springs National Park in Hot Springs (Garland County) in the 1930s and ran a motel with his wife near Eureka Springs (Carroll County) in the later part of his life. John S. Cross was born in Birmingham, Alabama, on September 18, 1904, to Thomas C. Cross and Elise T. Cross. He had one younger sister, Elise. In his high school years, he attended the private McCallie …

Crossett Lynching of 1904

An unknown African-American man was lynched near Crossett (Ashley County) on September 4, 1904, for having allegedly “attempted to assault two white girls.” The names of none of the parties are mentioned in newspaper reports. The reported assault occurred on the night of Saturday, September 3, at a place called the Bonham plantation, some thirty-five miles from Crossett. The following day, according to the Arkansas Gazette, “a posse of farmers” captured the suspect, apparently within Crossett, and took him to “a place about three miles from Crossett and strung him to a tree, after which the mob vented its rage by riddling the body with bullets.” Fifteen minutes after the murder, the mob dispersed. In reference to the mob, the …

Crossett, Edward Savage

Edward Savage Crossett was a pioneer Arkansas lumberman during the late nineteenth century. As the great Southern forest was being developed to meet a growing nation’s need for lumber and wood fiber, Crossett and two associates—all from Davenport, Iowa—came to south Arkansas, acquired land, and began a sawmilling operation that was one of the largest of its kind. The city of Crossett (Ashley County) was named for him and came to be known as “The Forestry Capital of the South.” Edward Crossett was born on February 4, 1828, in West Plattsburgh, New York, one of three children of Mary Gregory and John Savage Crossett, a veteran of the War of 1812. Crossett received his early education in the public schools …

Crowley, Benjamin

Benjamin Crowley and his family were among the early settlers of northeast Arkansas. In 1821, they settled near the present community of Walcott (Greene County) on a ridge that would bear his name. Crowley, one of eleven children of Benjamin and Sarah Strong Crowley, was born in 1758 in Halifax County, Virginia. He married Catherine Annie Wiley of Augusta County, Virginia, on December 15, 1795. They had eight children. Crowley was a surveyor by trade and also raised cattle and dabbled in horse breeding. By 1785, the Crowleys had relocated to Oglethorpe County, Georgia. They moved to Christian County, Kentucky, by 1810 and moved again to Henderson County, Kentucky, by 1821. Crowley had served in the military during the War …

Crumpler, Denver Dale

When singer Denver Dale Crumpler became a member of Hovie Lister and the Statesmen Quartet of Atlanta, Georgia, in 1953, his Irish tenor voice completed what many experts in the Southern gospel music field have termed “The Perfect Quartet.” By then, the Statesmen had formed a team with the famed Blackwood Brothers Quartet of Memphis, Tennessee, and were performing 250–300 concerts per year across the United States. Shortly after Crumpler’s arrival, the Statesmen signed a recording contract with RCA-Victor, as well as a contract with Nabisco as the sponsor of a syndicated television show eventually to be seen on about 150 television stations around the nation. Denver Dale Crumpler was born on August 17, 1912, in Village (Columbia County), near …

Cummins Prison Break of 1940

The Cummins prison break on the morning of September 2, 1940, which was Labor Day, involved the escape of thirty-six white men from Cummins Unit (often referred to as Cummins prison farm), the largest of the three prison units in the state. The escape is the largest in Arkansas history. All the men were ultimately captured or killed by authorities. Four of the escapees were executed in Louisiana in 1941 for the murder of a deputy the day after they broke out of Cummins; these men claimed they escaped because of the horrible conditions at the prison farm. Despite an investigation into conditions at the prison, no serious attempt at reform was initiated. The 1940 escape was the first major …

Cummins Prison Strike of 1974

The Cummins prison strike of 1974 was a non-violent incident involving 200 inmates who stopped work for twenty minutes on Monday, October 14, to protest conditions at the Cummins prison farm. At 1,350 inmates at that time, Cummins—located five miles southeast of Grady (Lincoln County)—was the largest of the Arkansas prison farms. The strike was swiftly stopped by Cummins superintendent Art Lockhart, who used riot guards to ensure that prisoners returned quickly to work without any violence. By Tuesday, Cummins had returned to normal. The strike revealed that inmates could peacefully protest at that time without fear of severe physical punishment. It also showed that unrest still existed, and the prisons had more work to do before they achieved compliance …

Cunningham, Charles E.

During the 1870s and 1880s, Little Rock (Pulaski County) resident Charles E. Cunningham played a leading role in farmers’ organizations and in third-party politics both in Arkansas and at the national level. His political career included third-party nominations for a seat in U.S. House of Representatives, the governor’s office, and the vice presidency. Although he failed to win election to any of these offices, he nevertheless played an important role in building the Union Labor Party in Arkansas, which may well have wrested control of the state government away from the Democratic Party during the late 1880s and early 1890s had Democrats not resorted to election fraud and violence to maintain their power. Charles E. Cunningham was born on July …

Cunningham, Charles Franklin

Charles Franklin Cunningham Sr. was instrumental in the creation and leadership of the Central Arkansas Development Council (CADC) and served as its executive director for thirty-seven years. In 1981, he became the first African-American mayor of Benton (Saline County). He served as mayor from 1981 to 1983. From 2003 to his death in 2017, he served as alderman for Benton’s Ward 2, which encompasses much of Benton’s Southside, including the communities of Christy Acres and the historic Ralph Bunche Community. Charles F. Cunningham was born on January 17, 1933, in South Pittsburg in Marion County, Tennessee, to Floyd S. Cunningham and Georgia Anna Cunningham. In 1952, he married Josie M. Slaughter. Following service in the U.S. Army, Cunningham earned a …

Curtis, Samuel Ryan

Samuel Ryan Curtis was the Union general responsible for the victory at the Battle of Pea Ridge, the capture of Helena (Phillips County), and the repulse of Price’s 1864 invasion of Missouri and Kansas. Samuel Curtis was born on a farm in Clinton County, New York, on February 3, 1805, to Zarah and Phalley Yale Curtis prior to the family’s move to Licking County, Ohio. He married Belinda Buckingham in 1831. The couple had six children. A West Point graduate (1831), Curtis resigned his commission in June 1832. During his civilian life, Curtis served as an engineer for the Muskingum River and the Des Moines River improvement projects, the National Road, and the city of St. Louis, Missouri. Admitted to …

Curtiss, Edwin

Edwin Curtiss, a nonprofessional field man who excavated archaeological sites and collected antiquities, is credited by Arkansas archaeologists with making the first scientific archaeological excavation in their state. In 1879 and 1880, Curtiss and his associates spent eighty-six days excavating at ancient Native American village sites along the St. Francis River in northeast Arkansas, where he collected nearly 1,000 pottery vessels and hundreds of other specimens for Harvard University’s Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnography. Edwin Curtiss was born on January 27, 1830, in North Lansing, New York. Originally a tailor by trade, Curtiss served in the Union army during the Civil War, subsequently moving with his family to Tennessee. After the war, Curtiss worked as an independent contractor …