Gender: Male - Starting with R

Rottaken, Herbert H.

Herbert H. Rottaken was a larger-than-life presence in post–Civil War Little Rock (Pulaski County). A Union army officer during the Civil War, he moved to Little Rock in 1868 and, six years later, was a colonel in Governor Elisha Baxter’s militia during the Brooks-Baxter War. Afterward, he served as Pulaski County sheriff, chief of the city’s volunteer fire department, county assessor, and two-term city alderman. An ardent sportsman and renowned marksman, he was, the Arkansas Gazette declared, “as great a Nimrod as ever was.” In his eclectic business career, Rottaken was a successful planter, developer, inventor, and investor, often dealing in highly speculative ventures as well as conventional ones. Herbert Rottaken was born in Elberfeld, in what is now Germany, …

Rowe, “Schoolboy”

aka: Lynwood Thomas Rowe
Lynwood Thomas “Schoolboy” Rowe was a sports star from El Dorado (Union County) who became one of the most famous major league baseball pitchers of the 1930s and 1940s. With three other pitchers—Walter Johnson, Lefty Grove, and Smokey Joe Wood—Rowe still (as of 2011) holds the American League record for most consecutive victories, winning sixteen straight games in 1934. Lynwood “Schoolboy” Rowe was born on January 11, 1910, in Waco, Texas, the son of Thomas M. Rowe and Ruby Hardin Rowe. The Rowes soon moved to El Dorado, where Rowe and his brother, Mark, attended El Dorado schools. He established himself as a superior athlete in elementary school and was later a star in football, track, basketball, tennis, and baseball. …

Rowland and Dickerson (Lynching of)

On October 6, 1880, two white men were lynched just outside of Jacksonport (Jackson County) for having allegedly murdered a man named John Nieman a few days prior. The names of the lynching victims vary depending upon the newspaper. The Arkansas Gazette report refers to them only as Rowland and Dickerson, while the Batesville Guard gives their full names as Gill Roland and John Dickinson, and their ages as about nineteen and eighteen, respectively. According to the Guard, the men were believed to have come from Dent County, Missouri. The Guard, describing the pair as “heartless wretches” and “two demons,” insists that the pair committed their murder “without the slightest provocation or warning.” On the night of October 2, the …

Rowland, Hardy Alton “Spider”

Hardy Alton “Spider” Rowland was a flamboyant newspaperman whose political columns in the Arkansas Gazette in the 1940s attracted a huge following and were widely quoted around the country. Rowland was a hard-drinking, wisecracking, brawling man-about-town whose cigar and black fedora cocked on the back of his head made him familiar on the sidewalks and in bars. Southern Politics, the 1949 classic political science anthology about politics in Southern states, invoked Rowland’s metaphors to illustrate the peculiar nature of Arkansas elections. Spider Rowland was born on July 14, 1907, in a log cabin near Hardy (Sharp County), the son of Fountain Edgar Rowland and Mary Rowland. He was the second-oldest of five children. When he was a boy, the family …

Roy, Frederick Hampton, Sr.

Frederick Hampton Roy Sr. was an ophthalmologist who lived and practiced in Little Rock (Pulaski County). He wrote many books on ophthalmology, some of which have been translated into other languages. Roy also authored books on topics such as history, architecture, and religion. In addition to being a prominent member of the Arkansas medical community, he was a prolific writer, a philanthropist, an advocate for historic preservation, and a politician. F. Hampton Roy was born in Nashville, Tennessee, on June 27, 1937. He graduated from Oak Ridge High School in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, in June 1955. After graduation, he entered the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and received a BS in 1958. In 1961, he received his MD from the …

Royston, Grandison Delaney

Grandison Delaney Royston was an early Arkansas statesman, politician, and attorney who served at the constitutional convention of both 1836 and 1874, as well as serving one term in the Confederate Congress. Grandison Delaney Royston was born on December 9, 1809, in Carter County, Tennessee. He studied as a child in a local subscription school and, later, at Presbyterian Academy in nearby Washington County, Tennessee. In 1829, he began law studies with a local judge and was admitted to the Tennessee bar in December 1831. He moved to Arkansas on April 1, 1832, first settling in Fayetteville (Washington County), where he would practice law and teach school for a short period. Later that year, he relocated to Washington (Hempstead County), …

Rudd, Daniel

Daniel A. Rudd was a lay leader within the Catholic Church during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries who used his own experience and influence to usher in a sense of black consciousness among Catholics in the United States and to advocate for the equality of all African Americans. He published the American Catholic Tribune, organized the first Negro Catholic Conferences, and developed relationships with some of the most influential black and Catholic leaders in Arkansas. Daniel Arthur Rudd was born on August 7, 1854, in Bardstown, Kentucky. He was the eleventh of twelve children born to Robert Rudd and Elizabeth (Eliza) Rudd, who were enslaved to two different owners—Robert to Richard and Margaret Rudd and Eliza to Charles …

Ruffin, Isaac (Lynching of)

On November 30, 1874, an African American man named Isaac Ruffin was lynched near Marion (Crittenden County) for allegedly assaulting and murdering fourteen-year-old Melissa Adams and raping her thirteen-year-old sister Margaret (Maggie); both sisters were African American. Public records reveal nothing about Ruffin, but the 1870 census lists Melissa and Margaret living in Jasper Township with their parents, Jubilee and Cynthia. On December 3, 1874, the New Orleans Bulletin published one of the earliest accounts of the crime. On November 28, Ruffin allegedly met Melissa in the woods near Marion. He assaulted her and then tried to kill her with a knife. She fought back, and in the struggle, Ruffin lost the knife. Unable to find it in the dark, …

Rufus Buck Gang

The Rufus Buck Gang was a group of young men from the Indian Territory who went on a criminal rampage in the summer of 1895; all five were hanged on July 1, 1896, in Fort Smith (Sebastian County), the only people executed for rape from Judge Isaac C. Parker’s court. Rufus Buck was a Native American of the Yuchi tribe who was angry about the white people who were moving into the Indian Territory. He assembled a gang of petty criminals, all very young, to “make a record that would sweep all of the other gangs of the territory into insignificance.” The others were Lewis Davis, also Yuchi; Sam Sampson and Maomi July, both Creek (Muscogee); and Luckey Davis, who …

Runyan, Paul

Paul Runyan is a household name in Arkansas golf history. He won the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Championship twice, in 1934 and 1938. At the diminutive size of 5’7″ and 125 pounds, Runyan earned the nickname “Little Poison” both because of his stature and because of his style of play—producing only short drives but relying on tremendously accurate freeway wood play. Paul Scott Runyan was born in Hot Springs (Garland County) on July 12, 1908, to Walter and Mamie Runyan; he had an older brother, Dixon. His father was a farmer who also worked at the Majestic Hotel across the street from Hot Springs Country Club. Despite numerous chores, Runyan escaped to the golf course, where he made money caddying …

Rush, Bobby

aka: Emmett Ellis Jr.
Bobby Rush, known as the “King of the Chitlin’ Circuit,” is an award-winning blues artist whose music also parlays elements of southern soul, funk, and rap into a genre he calls “folkfunk.” Bobby Rush was born Emmett Ellis Jr. on November 10, 1935, near Homer, Louisiana, to Emmett and Mattie Ellis; however, the 1940 census lists him as three years old. The son of a minister, Rush was influenced by his father’s guitar and harmonica playing, and he first experimented with music by tapping on a sugar-cane syrup bucket and playing a broom-and-wire diddley bow. In 1947, his family moved to Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), where his music career began. He headed a band at a local juke joint behind a sawmill, …

Russ, Carnell (Killing of)

The killing of African American Carnell Russ by white Star City (Lincoln County) police officer Charles Lee Ratliff on May 31, 1971, highlights many matters surrounding race, civil rights, and law enforcement in Arkansas at the time. The case involved hostile and aggressive white policing, skewed all-white or mostly white juries, the lack of black police officers and black jurors in areas heavily populated by black residents, judges with questionable impartiality, unconcerned federal agencies, and the procedural intricacies and bureaucracy of the criminal justice system. Importantly, it led to a change in federal policy over how civil rights cases would be handled in the future. Carnell Russ was pulled over by state trooper Jerry Green at around 5:45 p.m. on …

Russ, Otis Stanley

Otis Stanley Russ was an Arkansas state senator from 1975 through 2000. He began serving before term limits were imposed and became the third-ranking senator in seniority. During his legislative career, he served as chairman of the Joint Budget Committee, vice chairman of the Insurance and Commerce Committee, vice chairman of the Education Commission of the States, member of the Efficiency Committee, member of the Joint Committee on Energy, member of the Joint Legislative Facilities, and member of the Education Committee. Stanley Russ was born on August 31, 1930, in Conway (Faulkner County) to O. S. Russ and Gene Browne Russ. He was the youngest of three children. Russ attended the Training School on the campus of Arkansas State Teachers …

Russell, Jerry Lewis

Jerry Lewis Russell Jr. was an author, editor of several newsletters, political and public relations advisor and consultant, political activist, and founder of the Civil War Roundtable of Arkansas. He was also nationally recognized as a leader in the preservation of state and national Civil War battlefields. Jerry Russell Jr. was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on July 21, 1933, to Jerry Lewis Russell Sr. and Frances Marion Lieb Russell. In 1958, Russell graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) and then co-edited the two-volume Who’s Who in Arkansas (1959). From 1958 to 1961, he edited The Heights Land Weekly Visitor (Little Rock). However, Russell was soon deeply involved in local …

Russell, William Leon

William Leon Russell, who served in World War II and the Korean War, ranks as the Arkansas National Guard soldier who has received the most Purple Hearts. William Leon Russell was born on July 26, 1914, near Cecil (Franklin County) to the farming family of James W. Russell and Belah Eubanks Russell; he had five siblings. He was recruited by Coach “Peanut” Ralston to play high school football at Charleston (Franklin County), where he excelled as a lineman. Following graduation from Charleston High School, he attended Arkansas State Teachers College—now the University of Central Arkansas (UCA)—in Conway (Faulkner County) with a football scholarship. He became captain of the team for the 1940 season and was named to the 1940 All-State …

Rust, Albert

Albert Rust—Confederate general, congressman, legislator, and lawyer—helped shape the course of Arkansas in the early years of its statehood. Rust served as an important figure in helping to build the communities of Union County. Rust was born in 1818 in Fauquier County, Virginia, near the Maryland border. His exact birth date is uncertain. In 1837, he made the trek from Virginia to Arkansas, settling on the banks of the Ouachita River in Union County. Soon after his arrival, he bought a few acres of land and a store house near the river. In 1838, he became a county surveyor, helping organize the untamed land into defined sections for sale. In 1839, the county seat was moved to Scarborough’s Landing (called …

Rust, John Daniel

John Daniel Rust invented the first practical spindle cotton picker in the late 1930s. The Rust cotton picker threatened to wipe out the old plantation system and throw millions of people out of work, creating a social revolution. Eli Whitney’s cotton gin had created the Cotton South, but the Rust picker threatened to destroy it. In 1949, Rust moved to Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), where the Ben Pearson Company produced cotton pickers using the Rust patents. John D. Rust was born on September 6, 1892, near Necessity, Texas, to Benjamin Daniel Rust, a farmer and schoolteacher, and Susan Minerva Burnett, a homemaker. As a youngster, Rust did farm work and displayed an aptitude for mechanical tinkering. His parents died when …

Rutherford, James

James Rutherford fought at the Battle of Shiloh during the Civil War. He later became a political leader in Independence County, serving in the Arkansas General Assembly. James Rutherford was born on July 7, 1825, in Rutherfordton, Rutherford County, North Carolina, to Walter Blythe Rutherford Sr. and Sarah McTyre Rutherford; he was the fourth of nine children. His father had migrated from Jedburgh, Scotland, in the winter of 1815 to Rutherford County, which was named after other members of the family who lived there before the American Revolution. In February 1849, Rutherford traveled to Independence County in Arkansas for his father to collect a $3,000 debt from a man named Dillingham; this was money owed to his uncle Jimmie Rutherford. …

Rutherford, James Luin “Skip” III

James Luin “Skip” Rutherford III, a native of Batesville (Independence County), is a long-standing figure in Arkansas politics, working as a key advisor on Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign and later serving as president of the Clinton Foundation and as dean of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. Rutherford also led the effort to plan the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park, which would garner him several awards. Skip Rutherford was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on January 28, 1950, the only child of James Luin Rutherford Jr. and Kathleen Roberson Rutherford. Rutherford grew up in Batesville and graduated from Batesville High School in 1968. He went on to attend the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington …

Ryan, Abraham Hall

Abraham Hall Ryan was a Union army officer serving on the staff of Major General Frederick Steele when he was authorized to raise the Third Arkansas Cavalry (US) in 1864, leading the regiment for the rest of the Civil War. Abraham Ryan was born in New York City to Charles Ryan and Amy Bosworth Ryan, on February 16, 1837, and moved to Illinois as a child. When the Civil War began in 1861, he helped organize Company A of the Seventeenth Illinois Infantry Regiment, mustering in as first lieutenant in May; he was soon made the regiment’s adjutant. In the chaotic fighting at Shiloh in April 1862, Ryan commanded a brigade for several hours after its colonel was killed in …