Entries - Gender: Male - Starting with M

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 …

Moose, James Sayle, Jr.

James Sayle Moose Jr. was an American Foreign Service officer and diplomat. A specialist in the Middle East, he represented the United States in a number of positions in that region, playing an important role in both World War II and early Cold War diplomacy. Over the course of a career spanning more than three decades, he served in posts across the Middle East, joining a select group of diplomatic figures who represented the United States to five or more foreign governments or international organizations. James S. Moose Jr. was born on October 3, 1903, in Morrilton (Conway County) to James S. Moose and Ellen Howard Moose. He received his early education in the local schools before attending Kentucky Military …

Moran, Bill, Jr.

aka: William F. Moran Jr.
William F. Moran Jr. was the father of both the American Bladesmith movement and the modern forging of Damascus steel. Moran rediscovered the ancient process of making Damascus steel (layered steel) and incorporated this steel into his knives. Named in his honor, the unique Bill Moran School of Bladesmithing was located on the grounds of Historic Washington State Park before relocating to Texarkana, Texas, in 2019. Moran’s legacy added to the historic fabric of Arkansas’s knife heritage and helped preserve the timeless art of knife making. Knives made by Moran are now some of the most valuable in modern handmade custom knives. Bill Moran was born on May 1, 1925, to Margaret Reid Moran and William Francis Moran Sr., who …

Morehart, Henry

Henry Morehart was a leader of the third-party agrarian political rebellion in Pulaski County during the late 1880s and early 1890s and served as an agrarian legislator in the Arkansas House of Representatives in 1889. His political career illustrates the fierce opposition that the agrarian insurgency engendered among Arkansas’s Democratic Party chieftains and conservative elites, who were willing to use fraudulent means when necessary to maintain their primacy. Henry Morehart was born near Greencastle, Ohio, to Henry Morehart and Mary Plotner on October 30, 1841. He was the second of twelve children. After spending his youth on his parents’ farm, he left home to fight for the Union during the Civil War. He enlisted in Company C, 114th Ohio Volunteers, …

Moreland, Whitt Lloyd

Whitt Lloyd Moreland, a native Texan, received a posthumous Medal of Honor for gallantry during the Korean War and is buried in his mother’s family cemetery near Mount Ida (Montgomery County). Whitt Lloyd Moreland was born on March 7, 1930, in Waco, Texas, the son of Lloyd W. Moreland and Patsy Whittington Moreland. The family moved around Texas when he was young, following construction jobs, but he went to high school in Austin and Junction City, Texas, where he excelled on the track team before graduating in 1948. After working briefly at an Austin bank and a construction company, Moreland enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in September 1948, serving a year at Camp Pendleton near San Diego, California, before …

Morgan, Speer

The author of novels and short-story collections, Speer Morgan is a professor and the editor of The Missouri Review. Many of Morgan’s novels are set in Arkansas, including The Freshour Cylinders (1998), which won Foreword Magazine’s Silver Award for the best book of the year and an American Book Award in 1999. Speer Morgan was born in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) on January 25, 1946, to Charles Donald and Betty (Speer) Morgan. Morgan attended the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, from 1964 to 1966, as well as the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), where he received a BA in 1968. He married that same year. He received a PhD in 1972 from Stanford University. Morgan was …

Morgan, Stokeley P.

Union County native Stokeley Morgan was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and by the time of his death in 1900, he had completed over twenty-three years of service in the U.S. Navy. He is best known for having commanded the battery onboard the battleship USS Olympia at Manila Bay, Philippines, that is credited with having fired the first shots by the United States in the 1898 Spanish-American War. Stokeley Morgan was born in August 1859 in Mount Holly (Union County) to Asa Morgan and Eliza Wright Morgan. He had two older brothers, a younger sister, and a half-brother. He completed his early education in Union County and in 1876 secured an appointment to the U.S. …

Morgan, Tom Perkins

Tom Perkins Morgan’s gravestone in the Rogers Cemetery says simply, “Writer, Humorist, Philosopher.” To many in Rogers (Benton County), he was best known as a successful local businessman who operated a newsstand and bookstore downtown. But Morgan was a nationally known writer whose work appeared in major publications such as Life and the Saturday Evening Post. Tom P. Morgan was born on December 1, 1864, in East Lyme, Connecticut, to Joseph P. Morgan and Mary A. Perkins Morgan. He moved with his parents and his only sibling, Harry, to Garnett, Kansas, when he was ten. He grew up there, spending much of his spare time in the local newspaper office. In his youth, Morgan was something of an adventurer. He …

Morgan, Winfield Scott

Winfield Scott Morgan (better known as W. Scott Morgan) lived in Arkansas for most of his life. As a writer, editor, lecturer, and political activist, he played an important role in farmers’ organizations and third-party politics at the state and national levels. Even after those organizations and parties disintegrated, Morgan maintained true to his reformist ideals, as evidenced by his published writings well into the twentieth century. Born on August 25, 1851, in Columbus, Ohio, W. Scott Morgan moved with his family to Chillicothe, Missouri, when he was fourteen. Four years later, he married Retta Gilliland, with whom he would have five children. Morgan initially supported his family by teaching school for an annual salary of $200. He also began …

Morris, Elias Camp

Elias Camp Morris was an African-American minister who, in 1895, became president of the National Baptist Convention (NBC), the largest denomination of black Christians in the United States. Recognized by white Arkansans and the nation as a leader of the black community, he often served as a liaison between black and white communities on both the state and national level. He was also an important leader in the Arkansas Republican Party. Morris was born a slave on May 7, 1855, in Murray County, Georgia, the son of James and Cora Cornelia Morris. In 1864–1865, he simultaneously attended grammar schools in Dalton, Georgia, and Chattanooga, Tennessee. From 1866, he attended school in Stevenson, Alabama, and in 1874–1875, he attended Nashville Normal …

Morris, Gilbert Leslie

A Christy award–winning Christian author, Gilbert Leslie Morris wrote more than 200 books for young adults spanning several genres, including historical novels, westerns, science fiction, and fantasy. His most well-known series of novels, the “House of Winslow” series, has collectively sold more than a million copies. Gilbert Morris was born on May 24, 1929, in Forrest City (St. Francis County) to Osceola M. and Jewell Irene (Gilbert) Morris. Morris attended Arkansas State College (now Arkansas State University) and received a BA in English in 1948 and an MSE in 1962. He received a PhD from the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) in 1968 and also attended the University of Washington–Seattle. Morris married Johnnie Yvonne Fegert on May …

Morris, John Baptist

John Baptist Morris was the third Roman Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Little Rock, which still corresponds to the political boundaries of Arkansas. Known as a gifted orator, Bishop Morris served for four decades as Arkansas’s Catholic leader while the diocese underwent tremendous institutional growth. This was accomplished as the U.S. went through two world wars and a massive economic depression. John Baptist Morris was born on June 29, 1866, on farm near Hendersonville, Tennessee, the eldest son of John Morris and Anne Morrissey, both immigrants from Ireland. Morris received his first formal education at St. Mary’s College in Lebanon, Kentucky. It is not clear what degree Morris earned, for in 1887, he returned to live with his family, …

Morris, John William

John William Morris was a long-time physician in Woodruff County who practiced medicine until the age of 101. Beginning in 1950, the Arkansas Medical Association (AMA) recognized Morris as the oldest practicing physician in Arkansas. In 1973, the AMA and “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” recognized him as the oldest full-time practicing physician in the United States. J. W. Morris was born on February 6, 1875 at Honey Hill (White County) to George Louis and Sarah Seawell Morris. He had ten siblings. Morris began his practice near McCrory (Woodruff County) on April 21, 1900. He married Amma Gray Burkett on December 19, 1901, and they had two children. Morris estimated that he delivered more than 7,000 babies during his career. …

Morrison Twin Brothers String Band

The Morrison Twin Brothers String Band consisted of twin brothers and fiddlers Abbie Sherman Morrison and Absie Sherdon (or Sheridan) Morrison of Campbell (Searcy County). The Morrisons became part of the folk revival in Mountain View (Stone County) and played music with Jimmy Driftwood in the 1950s and early 1960s. Abbie and Absie Morrison were born on November 12, 1876 (media sources say November 11, but the Morrison family Bible has November 12) in Campbell to Lewis Calvin “Trip” Morrison and the first of his three wives, Rebecca Jane Denton. Trip fought in both the Confederate and Union armies, but his heart was with the Union. He earned the name Trip, according to family lore, from his many “trips” home …

Morrison, Lee (Lynching of)

On September 27, 1868, an African-American man named Lee Morrison (sometimes referred to as Morsen or Morson) was lynched near Helena (Phillips County) in retaliation for a number of murders he was presumed to have committed, including that of deputy sheriff Joseph W. Maxey, and the wounding of Sheriff Bart Y. Turner the previous March. There is no information on Lee Morrison or anyone of a similar name available in public records. Sheriff Turner, born around 1840 in Tennessee, had been in Phillips County since at least 1860, when he was living in Big Creek Township. Joseph W. Maxey had been in the county since at least 1850, when he was working as a druggist and living in the household …

Morton, Herwald “Hal”

Herwald “Hal” Morton was a member of the U.S. Foreign Service, spending most of his career working in the U.S. Information Agency (USIA). In a career spanning over thirty years—and which culminated in his earning the rank of Career Minister—he lived in five different countries while visiting more than 100 as a representative of the United States. He is a member of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. Hal Morton was born on July 19, 1931, in Little Rock (Pulaski County), the youngest of Rachel and James Morton’s five children. He grew up in Little Rock and was the valedictorian of Dunbar High School’s Class of 1948. (He later recalled getting his first job as a ten-year-old, lying about his …

Mosely, Julius (Lynching of)

On July 13, 1892, Julius Mosely, an African-American man accused of raping his stepdaughter, was lynched near Halley (Desha County) by a mob of fellow black residents. While the majority of lynchings in the South were perpetrated by white mobs against blacks, in a very small number of cases, lynchings were carried out either by mixed-race mobs or by mobs of African Americans. William Fitzhugh Brundage speculates that perhaps African Americans doubted that the all-white legal system would deal properly with crimes occurring within the black community. In addition, such lynchings often took place in cases of family-oriented crimes like incest. Interestingly, Brundage finds that such black-on-black violence was most prevalent in the Mississippi Delta regions in Mississippi, Arkansas, and …

Moses, Colter Hamilton (Ham)

Colter Hamilton (Ham) Moses served as secretary to governors George W. Donaghey, George W. Hays, and Charles Hillman Brough prior to becoming general counsel, president, and chairman of the board of Arkansas Power and Light (AP&L). Well known as an eloquent speaker, Moses represented the Governor’s Office in an entourage that traveled around the country promoting Arkansas; however, his greatest contribution to Arkansas resulted in the state moving from an agricultural economy to an industrial one during the post–World War II years. Although the state’s economy grew monumentally because of Moses’s efforts, he credited the people of Arkansas for the success of his “Arkansas Plan.” C. Hamilton (Ham) Moses, the eldest of Angelus Gaston “A. G.” Moses and Mary Eulodia …

Mosley, Lawrence Leo “Snub”

Lawrence Leo “Snub” Mosley was a jazz trombonist, composer, and band leader originally from Little Rock (Pulaski County). Nicknamed “Snub,” Mosley had a career that spanned more than fifty years, which included stints in the 1930s with Claude Hopkins, Fats Waller, and Louis Armstrong. Mosley is probably best remembered today as creator of his own unique instrument—the slide saxophone—which combined an upright saxophone and mouthpiece with a trombone mouthpiece and slide. Snub Mosley was born on December 29, 1905, in Little Rock. Encouraged by his grandfather, he took an interest in the trombone and played in the band at M. W. Gibbs High School in Little Rock. His tendency to improvise on sheet music and (as Mosley put it) “swing” drew …

Mountain Federals

aka: Mountain Feds
Mountain Feds were Arkansans, primarily from the Ozark and Ouachita mountain regions, who remained loyal to—and fought for—the Union in both conventional and irregular military units during the Civil War. As the threat of war grew following the election of Abraham Lincoln as president in 1860, Arkansas was divided amid calls for secession. Residents of the lowland areas, where there were large plantations and the majority of the state’s enslaved population lived, tended to be in favor of leaving the Union, while the people of the upland regions, few of whom owned slaves, were opposed to secession. In fact, when delegates were selected for the state’s secession convention in early 1861, the majority were Unionist in their tendencies, and the …

Mullens, Nat (Lynching of)

On June 23, 1900, an African American named Nat Mullens was shot and killed by a posse in Crittenden County after he allegedly killed Deputy Sheriff P. A. Mahon. Statewide newspapers reported that on June 13, Mahon went to arrest Mullens near Earle (Crittenden County) for attempting to murder his own mother. Mullens shot at him, and before dying, Mahon returned fire. Mullens escaped, but a posse was assembled and trailed him through the river bottoms. By June 22, the posse had discovered Mullens hiding in a plantation house not far from Earle. He again attempted to escape but was shot and killed by members of the posse. For additional information: “All Over the State: An Officer Wounded.” Arkansas Democrat, …

Mullins, David Wiley

David Wiley Mullins was a prominent and influential educator in Arkansas in the middle of the twentieth century. As president of the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) for almost fifteen years, he played an important role in the development of the state university system during a period of extensive expansion and growth. David W. Mullins was born on August 11, 1906, in Ash Flat (Sharp County). The son of Roscoe Mullins and Emma Matilda Roberts Mullins, he grew up in Ash Flat before entering UA in 1927. Majoring in math and history, he graduated cum laude in 1931. He became a high school teacher in the Williford Consolidated Schools in 1931 and served as superintendent of the …

Mullins, David Wiley, Jr.

David Wiley Mullins Jr. was a prominent economist whose professional experience includes stints working in both the Department of the Treasury and as a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, as well as in the private sector. David W. Mullins Jr. was born on April 28, 1946, in Memphis, Tennessee. He was one of three children of David Wiley Mullins, who was a longtime educator, and Eula Elizabeth Harrell Mullins. Mullins’s family lived in Alabama, where his father worked for Auburn University. In 1960, his father became president of the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), and David Mullins Jr. attended high school in Fayetteville, graduating from Fayetteville High School in 1964. Mullins earned a BS …

Munn, John Calvin

Lieutenant General John Calvin “Toby” Munn was a commander in the Pacific Theater of World War II and a pioneer among U.S. Marine aviators who perfected the use of aircraft carriers for combat operations. After the war, he was responsible for securing the major Japanese Yokosuka Naval Base, which became the largest U.S. naval base in the Far East. During his career, he continued to guide the improvement of U.S. Marine air capabilities, and he rose to the top echelon of marine leadership as the assistant commandant of the United States Marine Corps. John Calvin Munn was born in Prescott (Nevada County) on October 17, 1906, to a recently widowed schoolteacher named Cora Hitt Munn. At the age of five, …

Murphy, Benjamin Edward (Ben)

Ben Murphy is an actor and tennis star who is perhaps best known for his leading role in the popular 1970s television series Alias Smith and Jones, although he is also known for starring roles in a number of other TV series, including The Name of the Game, Griff, Gemini Man, and Berrenger’s. He played a major character in the landmark TV mini-series The Winds of War and appeared in feature films including The Graduate (1967), Yours, Mine & Ours (1968), The Thousand Plane Raid (1969), To Protect and Serve (2001), and The Uniform Motion of Folly (2006). He is also a highly regarded tennis player on the United States Tennis Association (USTA) singles and doubles circuit. Benjamin Edward (Ben) …

Murphy, Charles H., Jr.

Charles Haywood Murphy Jr. became the leader of his family businesses in 1941 at the age of twenty-one after his father suffered a stroke. Under his leadership, the family ownership of timber land, oil interests, and banking in southern Arkansas eventually became the Murphy Oil Corporation, a company with international operations. Charles H. Murphy Jr. was born in El Dorado (Union County) on March 6, 1920, to Charles Haywood Murphy Sr. and Bertie Wilson Murphy. He had three sisters. In 1904, his father moved to El Dorado (Union County) to operate a bank and, by 1907, owned thirteen banks in Arkansas and the Indian Territory. Subsequently, he built a sawmill at Cargile (Union County), south of El Dorado, and then …

Murphy, Isaac

Isaac Murphy was a teacher, attorney, and eighth governor of Arkansas. After years of relative obscurity, he became nationally famous when, at the Arkansas Secession Convention on May 6, 1861, he not only voted against secession but also resolutely refused to change his vote despite enormous crowd pressure. In 1864, he became the first elected governor of Union-controlled Arkansas. Isaac Murphy was born outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on October 16, 1799, to Hugh Murphy and Jane Williams Murphy. His Murphy ancestors came to the United States from the Dublin, Ireland, area between about 1737 and 1740. His father was a paper manufacturer who died during Isaac’s childhood. The executor saw to Murphy’s education but squandered the estate before committing suicide. …

Murray, James (Murder of)

On December 6, 1897, the dead body of Constable James Murray was found by the roadside near Bonanza (Sebastian County). His hands were tied, and he had an injury to his head and bruises around his neck. Lying nearby was the unconscious body of Grant McBroom, whom he had earlier arrested. Both Murray and McBroom were white. The case attracted national attention, with newspapers such as the New York Times and the Los Angeles Herald speculating wildly and describing the murder as a “lynching” to showcase the apparent lawlessness of western Arkansas during this post-Reconstruction era. Bonanza and nearby Jenny Lind (Sebastian County) are located south of Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and were centers for coal mining in the region. Bonanza enjoyed …

Murray, John Edward

John Edward Murray was a West Point cadet and Confederate officer who is popularly known as the youngest general in the Confederate army, though he was never thus promoted. John Murray was born in March 1843 to John C. Murray and Sarah Ann (Carter) Murray in Fauquier County, Virginia. His parents also had three other sons and one daughter. At the age of six, Murray moved with his family to Arkansas, settling near Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), where his father became a judge. In 1860, Murray received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point and attended that institution until the next year. With the secession of Arkansas, Murray returned home, where his military skills were put …

Murrell, John Andrews

Among legendary characters associated with nineteenth-century Arkansas, John Andrews Murrell occupies a prominent place. Counterfeiting and thieving along the Mississippi River, Murrell was only a petty outlaw in a time and place with little law enforcement. However, he became a greater figure in legend following his death. John A. Murrell was born in Lunenburg County, Virginia, in 1806. His father, Jeffrey Gilliam Murrell, was a respected farmer who, with his wife, Zilpha Murrell, raised eight children. Shortly after John was born, the Murrells and other relations moved to Williamson County, Tennessee. However, Murrell’s father fell on hard times, and his sons, who were wild and errant, began to have trouble with the law. At the age of sixteen, Murrell, along …

Murry, Isaac Taylor (Ike)

Isaac Taylor (Ike) Murry was a lawyer and politician whose surging career before, during, and after World War II climaxed in a historic confrontation with Governor Sid McMath. Murry was the state’s attorney general who in 1952 led an effort to prosecute McMath or his aides for corruption and mismanagement in the state highway program. McMath tried twice to resurrect his career, losing both times, and the brutal investigation and election ended Murry’s political career as well as McMath’s. Ike Murry was born on May 8, 1913, in Fordyce (Dallas County), the youngest of six children of Isaac Taylor Murry and Addie Pearl Harris Murry. Robust and handsome, Murry was the center and defensive tackle of the Fordyce High School …

Murton, Thomas Orhelius

Tom Murton is best known for his attempts to reform the Arkansas prison system during the governorship of Winthrop Rockefeller. Intelligent and conscientious with a dry sense of humor, Murton could also prove abrasive and uncompromising with others, especially his superiors. His uncovering of three skeletons at Cummins prison farm in early 1968 gained national attention, and his handling of the matter drew the ire of the Rockefeller administration. Murton wrote a bestselling book about his time in Arkansas, Accomplices to the Crime (1969), on which the 1980 movie starring Robert Redford was loosely based. Thomas Orhelius Murton was born in Los Angeles, California, on March 15, 1928, the son of Oregon native Edmund T. Murton and Oklahoma native Bessie Glass Stevens …