Entries - Gender: Male - Starting with M

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 …

Mikel, Elmer Wayne

Elmer Wayne Mikel was a bootlegger during Prohibition and later became a self-published author who wrote books and essays about his criminal life and his experiences at the notorious Tucker State Prison Farm (now the Tucker Unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction) in Jefferson County in the 1930s. Mikel was also a songwriter who wrote about Arkansas subjects, including the deadly Greenwood (Sebastian County) tornado of 1968. Elmer Mikel was born on October 8, 1905, in Jenny Lind (Sebastian County), one of ten children of George Elmer Mikel and Amanda Featherston Mikel. George Mikel, a Missouri native, was active in the United Mine Workers of America and ran as a socialist candidate for governor of Arkansas in 1912. Elmer Mikel attended high school but …

Milam, Carl Max

Carl Max Milam was a printing plant superintendent, a university professor and department chairman, the director of a major Arkansas state government agency under two governors, the financial manager for Winthrop Rockefeller, a university president, and a business executive. A branch library of the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) and a scholarship at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UA Little Rock) were named in his honor. Max Milam was born on July 13, 1930, in Cecil (Franklin County) to Carl J. Milam and Letha Staton Milam. He graduated from high school in Fort Smith (Sebastian County). After high school and in between college enrollments, he worked as a printer and plant superintendent. He received a bachelor’s degree in …

Military Board (Civil War)

The Military Board was a three-man committee formed by the Secession Convention to raise troops in Arkansas after President Abraham Lincoln called for volunteers to fight for the United States following the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in South Carolina. It served with varying measures of success throughout the Civil War. The Secession Convention passed an ordinance creating the Military Board on May 15, 1861, giving it the authority to call out volunteer troops and militia companies to defend Arkansas and to control forts and armaments in the state, though acting as an auxiliary to the Confederate government. The board would consist of Governor Henry Rector and two advisory members. The first advisory member, appointed on May 16, was Benjamin …

Millar, Alexander Copeland

Alexander Copeland Millar was a prominent Methodist minister, educator (elected one of the nation’s youngest college presidents), and publisher. Alexander Millar was born May 17, 1861, in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, to William John Millar and Ellen Caven. His father engaged in the drug business in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, until the great fire of April 10, 1845, destroyed at least one third of the city, including his drug business and his family’s home. Later, William Millar tried his hand at being an inventor. In 1867, he moved his family to Missouri, where he bought a farm near Brookfield in Linn County. In 1885, Alexander Millar graduated from the Methodist-affiliated Central College in Fayette, Missouri. Four years later, he earned an MA from Central …

Miller, Abraham Hugo

The Reverend Abraham Hugo Miller was an African-American businessman, a legislator during Reconstruction, and a church and educational leader in Helena (Phillips County). During Reconstruction, he served in the Arkansas General Assembly as a representative from Phillips County. At the peak of his business operations, he was considered the wealthiest black man in Arkansas. Abraham Miller was born a slave in Colt (St. Francis County) on March 12, 1849. He was the son of Boyer Miller, who was born in Virginia in 1827; the name of his mother is unknown, though his stepmother was Henrietta Miller. During the Civil War, Miller moved with his mother to Helena. Like his father, he became a drayman, which involved hauling cotton, flour, meat, …

Miller, Asbury Mansfield

Asbury Mansfield (A. M.) Miller was an African American who served for many years as an educator in Batesville (Independence County). A. M. Miller, the son of Randal and Pollie Miller, was born on February 4, 1893, in Perla (Hot Spring County). His father, a native of Mississippi, worked in a sawmill there. Miller graduated from Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock (Pulaski County), and he later did graduate work at what is now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). During World War I, he worked as a waiter at Fort Logan H. Roots in North Little Rock (Pulaski County). On May 25, 1921, he married Ethel O. Walter in Clark County. At around this time, he worked …

Miller, David

David Freeland Miller, who maintains a broadcasting studio in his Little Rock (Pulaski County) home, is producer and host of Swingin’ Down the Lane, a one-hour program that is broadcast weekly on more than forty National Public Radio (NPR) affiliates and independent commercial stations. The program is also heard on stations in Perth, Australia, and Hamburg, Germany. David Miller was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, on April 6, 1928, the third of four children of Alan and Margaret Miller. He received his secondary education at the Pingry School in Elizabeth. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Princeton University and master’s and PhD degrees, also in psychology, from the University of Michigan. While still pursuing his doctorate, Miller was …

Miller, Harry Lewis

Harry Lewis Miller was a photographer active in Arkansas at the turn of the twentieth century. His White River landscapes and scenes of daily life throughout the north-central region of the state form an important aesthetic and social history legacy. While some of Miller’s images were familiar, they were generally unattributed until staff at the Museum of Discovery in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Old Independence Regional Museum in Batesville (Independence County) researched his work and mounted exhibits in 1998 and 2003, respectively. The oldest of nine children, Harry Miller was born on April 1, 1870, in Dodge County, Minnesota, to Anton and Mary (Lewis) Miller, who were farmers. By 1880, they had moved their growing family to North Dakota, …

Miller, James

James Miller, who served as a brigadier general during the War of 1812, was the first governor of the Arkansas Territory and served as superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Arkansas Territory. James Miller was born in Peterborough, New Hampshire, on April 25, 1776, to James Miller and Catharine Gregg Miller. Evidence suggests that Miller’s father was a farmer. Miller attended an academy at Amherst, Massachusetts, and Williams College. He married Martha Ferguson, with whom he had one son, James Ferguson Miller, a noted naval officer. After Martha’s death, he married Ruth Flint. Prior to entering the military, Miller practiced law in Greenfield, New Hampshire, from 1803 to 1808. Due to his experience with the state militia, he received a …

Miller, James Brown (Jim)

James Brown (Jim) Miller was an Arkansas native but spent much of his life in Texas and Oklahoma, where he earned the reputation of a professional assassin, manipulating the court system to avoid prison. From his early years in Van Buren (Crawford County) to his death in Ada, Oklahoma, Miller proved to be a man to be feared. Jim Miller, the eighth of nine children of Jacob and Cynthia Miller, was born near Van Buren on October 25, 1861. His father was a miller and, at times, a stone mason by trade. Miller received the typical education of the times, and nothing stands out in his life until the family relocated to Coryell County, Texas. The exact year of this …

Miller, John Eldon

John Miller of Izard County was a longtime Arkansas state legislator. Starting his tenure in the Arkansas House of Representatives in 1959, he became renowned for his budgetary expertise. Only when term limits prohibited him from running after his twentieth term did Miller step aside in 1998. John Eldon Miller was born on March 2, 1929, in Melbourne (Izard County). One of ten children of Green H. Miller and Annie Gray Miller, he lived in Izard County for all but one year of his life. Majoring in chemistry, Miller graduated from what is now Arkansas State University in Jonesboro (Craighead County) in 1949. On November 5, 1949, he married Roby Lenora Robertson; they had three children: a son and two …

Miller, John Elvis

John Elvis Miller, the son of a Confederate veteran, had a distinguished career in the law, sandwiched around a political career that took him to the U.S. Senate in one of the most startling Arkansas elections of the twentieth century. He was a prosecuting attorney, a congressman, and a senator, resigning the last position in 1941 when President Franklin Roosevelt appointed him U.S. judge for the Western District of Arkansas. John E. Miller was born on May 15, 1888, in Stoddard County, Missouri, the son of John A. and Mary Harper Miller. As a child, he helped his parents and seven siblings raise cotton and corn on their Missouri bootheel farm. When he finished the ninth grade, he took an …

Miller, Nick

The artistry of stone carver Nick Miller is found in cemeteries throughout northwest Arkansas. The tombstones he made—crisp and legible well over a century later—employ the mourning symbols of his time: clasping hands, weeping willows, lambs, doves. Yet Miller’s bas-relief motifs and deeply incised lettering exhibit a level of skill and detail not generally found among contemporary carvers. All that is known about Nick Miller’s origins is that he was born in Germany. He never married, had no relatives in America, and is listed on the 1880 census as an “old batch” at age thirty-six. In addition to his distinctive carvings, Miller’s tablet-style tombstones are recognizable by his “Nick Miller,” “N. Miller,” or “N. M.” signature at the base. He …

Miller, Oscar Franklin

Oscar Franklin Miller was an Arkansas-born U.S. Army major who achieved national fame during World War I and received the Medal of Honor and the Bronze Star for his valor during a battle near Gesnes, France, in which he lost his life. Before he enlisted in the army, Miller worked throughout the United States as a clerk and an officer for the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Oscar Miller was born in Franklin County on October 25, 1882, the third of eight children of A. J. Miller and his wife. He spent his early childhood in Bryant (Saline County). After his father died when he was eight years old, Miller and four of his siblings—Ruth, Grace, Helen, and Bill—were raised …

Miller, Richard “Curly”

Richard “Curly” Miller was a renowned musician who lived in Kingston (Madison County). He and his wife, Carole Anne Rose, co-founded the band The Old 78’s. He was also a noted organic farmer, establishing Sweden Creek Farm with Rose in the deep woods of the Ozark Mountains. Richard Miller was born on August 10, 1954, to John C. Miller and Roberta Beck Miller in Baltimore, Maryland, although he was raised in Penfield, New York. He played classical violin as a child, rock-and-roll guitar as a teenager, and three-finger Leo Kottke–style guitar during his one semester at the State University of New York at Potsdam. Guitarists Doc Watson and Norman Blake inspired him to learn flat-picking guitar, while Frankie Gavin and …

Miller, William Read

William Read Miller, the twelfth governor and a longtime state auditor, was the first governor born in Arkansas. The second Redeemer governor after Democrats overthrew the Republicans, Miller acted to preserve civil rights for African Americans and to advance the cause of public education. William Miller was born on November 23, 1823, in Batesville (Independence County) to John and Clara Moore Miller. His father had built a log house north of Batesville that seems to have remained until the 1950s. The family settled on Miller’s Creek, and John Miller served as a Democratic elector in 1836 and 1840 and as registrar at the land office in Batesville from 1846 to 1848. During the election of 1836, the young William Miller …

Mills, Wilbur Daigh

Wilbur Daigh Mills served in the U.S. House of Representatives from January 1939 to January 1977, becoming one of the top three longest serving Arkansas officials. Mills is known for his role as architect for Medicare, interstate highways, Social Security, tax reform, and many other policies. He was also the longest continuously serving chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, becoming a member of the committee in 1942, becoming chairman in 1958, stepping down as chairman in 1975, and retiring from the committee and Congress in 1977. When anyone in Washington DC spoke of “Mr. Chairman,” everyone understood that the reference was to Mills. Wilbur Mills was born May 24, 1909, in Kensett (White County) to Ardra Pickens Mills, …

Millwee, Minor Wallace

Minor Wallace Millwee was a distinguished justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court who was the first political victim of the surge of racism that followed the showdown over school desegregation at Little Rock Central High School in 1957. After Governor Orval E. Faubus dispatched National Guardsmen to stop nine Black students from entering the high school, and President Dwight Eisenhower nationalized the guard and sent federal troops to protect the Black students in school, former state senator James D. Johnson, Arkansas’s most determined segregationist, ran against Justice Millwee in 1958, calling him “a pawn of integration,” although the judge had never expressed an opinion publicly about the issue. Johnson posited that his own election, rather than Millwee’s, would show the …

Minor, James Calvin (Jim)

James Calvin (Jim) Minor was an American country singer/songwriter, producer, publisher, disc jockey, and record label owner. He recorded country music for labels including Mercury and United Artists and managed the careers of other significant recording artists. Minor recorded under the name Jimmy Minor until 1960, when he recorded for United Artists as Jim Minor. Jim Minor was born on January 20, 1931, in DeValls Bluff (Prairie County). His mother, Margaret Meyer Minor, was a niece of noted photographer Mike Disfarmer. He learned to play the guitar and sing at an early age. When he was a teenager, he won a talent contest at what is now the Arkansas State Fair and Livestock Show; the prize was to go to …

Minton, Clifford E.

Clifford E. Minton was a prominent Arkansas-born African American who spent a lifetime dedicated to social services. He is best known in Arkansas for his work with the Urban League of Greater Little Rock (ULGLR), especially with gaining employment for African Americans during the buildup of defense facilities for World War II. Clifford E. Minton was born on July 24, 1911, in Des Arc (Prairie County), the elder of two sons of Frank Minton and Jessie Carter Minton. His father was a skilled machine operator and millwright at the Bowman Hoop Plant. He credits his realization of racial inequality with such early experiences as seeing the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) march by the African Methodist Episcopal Church while he and …

Miser, Hugh Dinsmore

Hugh Dinsmore Miser was a geologist who spent much of his career with the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Over the course of his career, he produced geologic maps of large parts of many states and oversaw investigations of mineral deposits critical to the national World War II efforts. Hugh Miser was born in Pea Ridge (Benton County) on December 18, 1884. He was the third child of Jordan Stanford Miser, a farmer, and Eliza Caroline Webb. Miser’s ancestors were immigrants of German and English descent who moved from Tennessee to northern Arkansas in the early part of the nineteenth century. Miser attended the Pea Ridge Normal School, an academy organized by Benjamin Harvey Caldwell. He entered the University of …

Mississippi River Squadron (US)

aka: Western Gunboat Flotilla
aka: Mississippi Flotilla
aka: Mississippi Squadron
The Mississippi River Squadron was a Union military unit established in 1861 that operated vessels along the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Operating under both Federal army and navy command during the Civil War, boats of the unit saw action in and near Arkansas for much of the war. Control of the Mississippi River was a major Union objective from the start of the war. The Anaconda Plan adopted by President Abraham Lincoln called for a naval blockade of the Confederate states and capture of the river to divide the Confederacy. Some ships could enter the mouth of the Mississippi and move up the river, but military commanders quickly recognized the need for a fleet to move down the river …

Mitchel, Charles Burton

Charles Burton Mitchel briefly served as a U.S. senator from the state of Arkansas before resigning his office due to the secession of Arkansas and the beginning of the Civil War. He then served in the same capacity in the Confederate government until his death in 1864. Charles Mitchel—whose name is frequently misspelled as Mitchell—was born in Gallatin, Tennessee, on September 19, 1815, to John Mitchel and his wife. Records do not show the first name of his mother or identify any siblings, although he was one of four children in the household in 1820. After attending common schools, Mitchel graduated from the University of Nashville in 1833. He then earned a medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, …

Mitchell, Bobby

Robert Cornelius (Bobby) Mitchell played professional football for the Cleveland Browns and the Washington Redskins before becoming a scout for the Redskins. He is the only athlete born in Hot Springs (Garland County) to have been selected to the National Football League (NFL) Hall of Fame. Bobby Mitchell was born in Hot Springs on June 6, 1935, to the Reverend Albert Mitchell and Avis Mitchell. He became a four-sport standout at Langston High School in Hot Springs. The local media referred to Mitchell as “Mr. Touchdown” due to the talents he exhibited on the high school gridiron. In 1953, the senior-packed Langston team, coached by Fred Mason, took the Negro State Football Championship, going undefeated in conference play. Mitchell was …

Mitchell, Charles (Lynching of)

On November 2, 1884, Charles Mitchell was murdered near Richmond (Little River County) for the alleged murder of a prominent farmer’s wife, Kate Waddell. The incident made news not only in Arkansas, but also in Texas, the Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma), and Michigan. At the time of the 1880 census, forty-year-old Charley Mitchell—an African-American or biracial man—was living in Johnson Township of Little River County with his wife, Isabella, and their two sons, William (thirteen) and Mitchel (eleven). The census lists no occupation for Mitchell, but his two sons were working as servants. According to an October 31 article in the Arkansas Gazette, Mrs. Waddell, “an estimable woman,” was murdered on October 29 “by a notorious negro by the name …

Mitchell, Elton (Lynching of)

On June 13, 1918, an African-American farm worker named Elton Mitchell (referred to in some reports as Allen Mitchell) was hanged by a mob in Earle (Crittenden County). Newspaper reports give different dates for Mitchell’s murder, including June 22, June 13, and June 14, but the Pine Bluff Daily Graphic reported on June 14 that the murder took place on Thursday, June 13, so that is the most probable date. Mitchell’s personal history is a bit confusing, with public records placing him in several adjacent counties in northeastern Arkansas and northwestern Mississippi. At the time of the 1900 census there was an Etten Mitchell, age ten, living in Tyronza (Poinsett County) with his parents, Andrew and Parthenia Mitchell, and five …

Mitchell, Harry Leland

Harry Leland Mitchell was a lifelong union activist and co-founder of the Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union (STFU) in eastern Arkansas, one of the first integrated labor unions in the United States. The STFU was unique among unions in “encouraging members to leave,” helping them find a life outside tenant farming. H. L. Mitchell was born on June 14, 1906, to Maude Ella Stanfield and James Young Mitchell, a tenant farmer and sometime preacher in Halls, Tennessee. Mitchell attended school sporadically while working various jobs to help support his family. He sharecropped, worked in a clothing store, and ran a one-pump gas station. He finally graduated from Halls High School in 1925. He married Lyndell “Dell” Carmack on December 26, 1926, …

Mitchell, James

James Mitchell was president and editor-in-chief of the Arkansas Democrat from the time he purchased the paper with W. D. Blocher in 1878 until shortly before his death in 1902. As editor, Mitchell made the paper a powerful statewide force backing Democratic policies and candidates. At the same time, he argued forcefully, both in the paper and through frequent public speeches, for economic diversification in the state, for educational improvement, for equal pay and improved opportunities for women, and for other progressive measures. James Mitchell was born on May 8, 1832, at Cane Hill (Washington County) to James Mitchell, a farmer, and Mary Ann Webber. He was the third of ten children whose parents had moved their family from Indiana …

Mitchell, Jerry

Jerry Mitchell was a longtime legal, courtroom, and investigative reporter. His dogged reporting led to the reopening of a number of important civil rights cases and, in doing so, helped bring to justice a number of individuals many years after they had committed their crimes. Jerry Mitchell was born on February 23, 1959, in Springfield, Missouri, to Jerry and Jane Mitchell. During his early years, his father served as a U.S. Navy pilot, causing the family to move several times. The family lived in California, first in San Diego and then San Francisco, before settling in Texarkana, Texas. Mitchell’s interest in journalism had begun in high school, where he served as editor of the school newspaper, and he was a …

Mitchell, Richard Bland

The Right Reverend Richard Bland Mitchell was the eighth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas. During his episcopate from 1938 through 1956, his leadership and administrative talent greatly improved the health of the weakened diocese he inherited. He was instrumental in creating a training and conference center on Petit Jean Mountain, named Camp Mitchell in his honor. His stance in agreement with the U.S. Supreme Court’s desegregation decision in Brown v. Board of Education set the stage for further Episcopal civil rights work in Arkansas. Richard Bland Mitchell (known as Bland) was born in Rolla, Missouri, on July 26, 1887, to Ewing Young Mitchell and Corinne Medley Mitchell. Mitchell attended the Rolla public schools and then the Sewanee Grammar …

Mitchell, William Starr (Will)

William Starr Mitchell was a distinguished Arkansas lawyer who emerged as a leader in 1959 during the crisis involving the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School and the subsequent closing of the city’s schools, serving as campaign manager for Stop This Outrageous Purge (STOP). Mitchell was long remembered for his television appearance in the midst of a recall election aimed at ousting segregationists from the school board when he told Governor Orval Faubus: “Governor, leave us alone! Let us return our community to a rule of reason.” Will Mitchell was born on June 5, 1907, in Little Rock (Pulaski County), the son of William Starr Mitchell and Frances Emily Roots Mitchell. His father was affiliated with the Democrat Printing …

Moncrief, Sidney

Sidney Alvin Moncrief is one of the greatest basketball players ever to come out of Arkansas. While playing guard for the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) basketball team from 1975 to 1979, Moncrief was named Southwest Conference Most Valuable Player and went on to help lead the Razorbacks to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament and ultimately to the NCAA Final Four in 1978. After college, Moncrief was picked in the first round of the National Basketball Association (NBA) draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, where he went on to be a five-time NBA All-Star and earn the praise and respect of such NBA luminaries as Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan. He was inducted into …

Monday, Rick

Rick Monday was an All-Star major league baseball player who played for nineteen seasons. He had his longest stint with the Los Angeles Dodgers, winning a World Series with the team and going on to serve as a Dodgers broadcaster on television and radio. Monday is perhaps best known for a 1976 incident in which he prevented a flag from being burned on the field at Dodger Stadium. Robert James Monday Jr. was born on November 20, 1945, in Batesville (Independence County), the only child of Robert James Monday Sr. and Nelda Marie Monday. The family left Arkansas when Monday was young, and he grew up in Southern California. When Monday was twelve, his father left the family, leaving his …

Monroe County Lynching of 1893

In January 1893, five men were lynched in Monroe County near Cotton Plant (Woodruff County) for allegedly murdering Reuben Atkinson, his housekeeper, and her child, and then torching Atkinson’s house to cover up the crimes. Census and other public records yield no information on either Atkinson or his alleged murderers. According to the Arkansas Gazette, on January 7 a “prosperous farmer” named Rube Atkinson went to sell his cotton. He returned to his farm on January 8, and the following morning neighbors awoke to find that Atkinson’s house had burned down. When they went to inspect, they found three bodies in the ruins, which were later identified as those of Atkinson, his housekeeper, and her child. Authorities arrested several African …

Monroe County Lynching of 1915

aka: H. M. Gandy (Lynching of)
aka: Jeff Mansell (Lynching of)
On February 27, 1915, two pearl fishermen—H. M. Gandy (sometimes referred to as Candy) and Jeff Mansell—were lynched near Indian Bay, located on the eastern bank of the White River in Monroe County. Both men were white. Most lynching victims in Arkansas’s history were black, but this incident is reminiscent of pre–Civil War days in Arkansas when vigilante justice was often meted out to white criminals. Records reveal nothing about either Gandy or Mansell. According to the Arkansas Gazette, they were fishermen and pearl hunters and lived in cabin boats on the river near Indian Bay. Although the killings occurred in Monroe County, the men’s boats were moored across the river near St. Charles (Arkansas County). They and their families …

Monroe’s First/Sixth Arkansas Cavalry (CS)

The First (Monroe’s) Arkansas Cavalry Regiment was a Confederate cavalry unit that served in the Trans-Mississippi Theater during the American Civil War. Also designated as the Sixth Arkansas Cavalry and First Trans-Mississippi Cavalry, it is one of three regiments to be named First Arkansas Cavalry. Participating in military engagements in Arkansas at Cane Hill, Fayetteville, Devil’s Backbone, Pine Bluff, Elkin’s Ferry, Poison Spring, and Marks’ Mills, along with Price’s Missouri Raid, it was stationed in Texas when Confederate forces in the Trans-Mississippi Theater surrendered on May 26, 1865. The regiment originated in August 1862 with the consolidation of Captain James M. O’Neill’s Thirteenth Arkansas Cavalry Battalion and Captain Patrick H. Wheat’s cavalry squadron. Additional independent and partisan companies were assigned …

Moon, Wallace Wade (Wally)

Wallace Wade (Wally) Moon, named for one of the most prominent football coaches of the era, played twelve seasons of major league baseball. A member of the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers, he won the Rookie of the Year Award in 1954 and made major contributions to the Dodgers’ World Series championship teams in 1959, 1963, and 1965. Wally Moon was born on April 3, 1930, in Bay (Craighead County) to Henry Albert Moon and Margie Leona Vernon Moon, the middle child in a family of two boys and a girl. Moon was unusual for his time because when he signed his first professional contract, his father made sure to include a provision that allowed Moon to …

Moore, Clarence Bloomfield

Clarence Bloomfield Moore was an amateur archaeologist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who investigated hundreds of Native American mounds and archaeological sites in several Southern states, including Arkansas. He published lavishly illustrated volumes, based on his excavations, which have been reprinted recently. Clarence Moore was born on January 14, 1852, in Philadelphia. He was the son of Bloomfield Haines Moore and Clara Sophia Jessup. His father was the head of the prosperous Jessup & Moore Paper Company of Wilmington, Delaware. His mother was a prolific writer, mostly of books on etiquette and advice to young women. Clarence had two sisters, Ella and Lillian, both of whom married Swedish aristocrats. As a child, he was educated in Philadelphia, France, and Switzerland. He entered …

Moore, Edward, Jr.

Edward Moore Jr. is a retired vice admiral who served in the U.S. Navy. At the time of his retirement, he was the highest-ranking African American in the navy. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1999. Edward Moore Jr. was born on February 18, 1945, in New York City. He is the eldest child of Edward Moore Sr. and Freddie Mardell Hayes Moore, with two brothers and a sister. The family eventually moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County), where Moore graduated from Horace Mann High School in 1963. On April 2, two months before his high school graduation, Moore enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserve. The day after his high school graduation, he departed Little …

Moore, Elias Bryan

Elias Bryan Moore was a Civil War veteran and a local and state Democratic Party leader. He was also a newspaperman for much of his life. In 1884, he was elected to the office of Arkansas’s secretary of state, his only statewide elected office. He served two terms in that position. Elias Moore was born on January 23, 1842, in Sparta, Tennessee, one of nine children of William Ward Moore and Isabella Bryan Moore. In 1858, the family relocated to Fayetteville (Washington County), where his father, a tailor, operated a store and a sawmill. As a youth, he attended the schools of Sparta and area private schools. While in Fayetteville in 1859, Moore apprenticed as a compositor (or typesetter) for …

Moore, Frank

Frank Moore was one of twelve African-American men accused of murder and sentenced to death following the Elaine Massacre of 1919; his name was attached to the U.S. Supreme Court case of Moore v. Dempsey. After brief trials, the so-called Elaine Twelve—six who became known as the Moore defendants and six who became known as the Ware defendants—were found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. Ultimately, the Ware defendants were freed by the Arkansas Supreme Court in 1923; after numerous legal efforts, the Moore defendants were released in 1925. Born in Gold Dust, Louisiana, in Avoyelles Parish, on May 1, 1888, Frank Moore was the son of sharecroppers James Moore and Mary Philips Moore. In 1917, Moore reported on …

Moore, James Norman (Jim)

James Norman (Jim) Moore bred a number of fruit species to be more easily grown in Arkansas. One of the world’s leading authorities on small fruits and a well-regarded professor at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), he co-wrote the field-changing Advances in Fruit Breeding (1975) and formed the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Fruit Breeding Program, which became the most productive in the world of horticultural science. Jim Moore was born on June 10, 1931, in Plumerville (Conway County) and grew up in Vilonia (Faulkner County). Moore earned a BSA in 1956 and an MS in 1957 from the University of Arkansas. He married Jan Moore before they moved to New Jersey in 1957 for …

Moore, Justin Cole

Justin Moore is a popular country music singer and performer from the small town of Poyen (Grant County). In 2009, his Arkansas-inspired song “Small Town U.S.A.” became his first breakthrough hit, landing at number one that year on the country charts. His self-titled 2009 album went gold, as did its follow-up Outlaws Like Me in 2011. In 2014, Moore was named Best New Artist by the Academy of Country Music. Justin Cole Moore was born on March 30, 1984, in Poyen to Tommy Ray Moore and Charlene Webb Moore. He has no siblings. Moore’s father worked for the local post office, and during his childhood, his parents owned a small restaurant. Moore worked most of his youth on his grandparents’ …

Moore, Rudy Ray

African-American comedian, singer, film actor, and film producer Rudy Ray Moore was known as “king of the party records” because of the popularity of his comedy albums. He released many comedy albums in the 1960s and 1970s and was best known for the character Dolemite, which he developed in his standup routine and portrayed in two films, Dolemite and The Human Tornado. Rudy Ray Moore was born on March 17, 1927, in Fort Smith (Sebastian County). The oldest of seven children, he often sang in church and developed a taste for performance. After his mother married, he lived briefly in nearby Paris (Logan County) before moving back to Fort Smith. He moved to Cleveland, Ohio, at the age of fifteen …

Moosberg, Carl Avriette

Cotton breeder Carl Avriette Moosberg demonstrated that advances in the early maturing of cotton were possible. His Rex variety, introduced in 1957, reduced expense for pesticide by shortening the time required to maturity, while offering disease resistance and strong fiber. The success of Rex encouraged all major cottonseed companies to develop earlier maturing cotton varieties. Moosberg’s research improved the economics of growing cotton in Arkansas in the mid 1900s. Carl Moosberg was born on August 24, 1905, in Tyler, Texas, the third of four sons born to Frank Olaf Moosberg and Anna Trofast, immigrants from Sweden. He graduated from high school in Wills Point, Texas, in 1923 and went to work for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in …