Gender: Male - Starting with S

Stephens, Kenneth Gene (Ken)

Kenneth Gene Stephens of Conway (Faulkner County) was one of Arkansas’s most successful high school and college football coaches, leading North Little Rock High School to three state championships and the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) to four Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference (AIC) titles. He also led several other schools to winning seasons during his nearly forty-year career as a head coach. Ken Stephens was born in Conway on April 2, 1931, to Earl and Edna Stephens. Earl Stephens was a dairyman, and Edna Stephens was a housewife who had a dress shop business next to the family home. The couple had four children. Stephens began participating in track and field as a sophomore at Conway High School. He competed in …

Stephens, Steve

aka: Stephen Owen Stephens
Stephen Owen Stephens was a well-known television and communications pioneer, most famous for Steve’s Show, a popular television program in the 1960s. He remained a communications specialist well into his retirement. Steve Stephens was born on April 22, 1930, as Rufus James Stephens to Owen and Allie Mae Stephens, owners of a restaurant service station in Newport (Jackson County). Later his parents opened a furniture store in the same town, which they successfully operated for more than twenty years. Stephens attended Castle Heights Military Academy and later graduated from Newport High School in 1948. Following graduation, he attended the University of Arkansas until the fall of 1950 when, “looking for adventure,” he joined the U.S. Marine Corps. Attaining the rank …

Stephens, Witt

aka: Wilton Robert Stephens
Wilton Robert Stephens founded Stephens Inc., which once was the largest brokerage firm off Wall Street. He was a prime mover in the development of the natural gas industry after World War II and exerted great influence on the political and economic fortunes of Arkansas during the second half of the twentieth century. Witt Stephens was born on September 14, 1907, in Prattsville (Grant County), the second of six children of A. J. “Jack” Stephens and Ethel Pumphrey Stephens. His father was a farmer and politician who served two terms in the state House of Representatives from Grant County, as would Witt thirty years later. The elder Stephens directly influenced his son’s early career moves. As a boy, Witt picked …

Stern, Howard Seymour

Howard Seymour Stern was a physician, a noted photographer, and an award-winning painter. Although he had no professional training in art, his paintings and photographs continue to be displayed in various collections in Arkansas and around the world. Howard Stern was born on June 14, 1910, in Charlotte, North Carolina, the eldest of four children born to Eugene John Stern and Frances Burger Stern. His father was an architect, half the partnership of Mann and Stern, which designed Little Rock Central High School, the Albert Pike Hotel, the Arkansas Consistory, the Arlington Hotel, and the Fordyce Bath House. The family moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1913 so Stern’s father could work with George R. Mann on designing the …

Stevenson, William

William Stevenson was a nineteenth-century preacher generally credited with bringing Methodism to Arkansas. A prototypical frontier preacher and circuit rider, he moved from frontier region to frontier region—from the South Carolina frontier to Tennessee, from there to Missouri, and from there to Arkansas—until he finally settled in Louisiana. Swept into the enthusiastic Methodism of the Second Great Awakening, he felt a desire to spread the faith that led him into sparsely settled areas. In doing so, he laid the foundations of the Methodist faith in Arkansas. William Stevenson was born on October 4, 1768, in a frontier area of South Carolina, not far from the line marking Cherokee land. His parents, James Stevenson and Elizabeth Stevenson, were Presbyterian, and he was …

Stewart, Trenton Lee

Trenton Lee Stewart is a contemporary novelist and short-story writer. He is well known as the author of The Mysterious Benedict Society series of best-selling young adult novels. Described by Kirkus Reviews as “entertainingly quirky” and “hung about with cantrips to catch clever readers,” Stewart’s writing incorporates a cerebral playfulness, utilizing wordplay and mental puzzles that the reader is invited to solve along with the characters. The series has garnered nationwide popularity among students and teachers alike. Additionally, his stories have been published in a number of literary magazines, including the Georgia Review, Shenandoah, the Virginia Quarterly Review, and the New England Review. The 2004 Best American Short Stories volume, published by Houghton Mifflin and guest edited by Lorrie Moore, …

Still, William Grant

William Grant Still grew up in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and achieved national and international acclaim as a composer of symphonic and popular music. As an African American, he broke race barriers and opened opportunities for other minorities. He was strong advocate for the performance of works by American composers. William Grant Still was born on May 11, 1895, in Woodville, Mississippi, the only son of William Grant Still Sr. and Carrie Lena Fambro Still. Still’s mother moved to Little Rock with her infant son shortly after the death of her husband in 1895. Still and his mother lived with his grandmother, and his mother worked as a teacher. In 1904, Still’s mother married a railway postal clerk, Charles Benjamin …

Stilley, Edward Lawrence (Ed)

Edward Lawrence (Ed) Stilley was a farmer and instrument maker from Hogscald Hollow (Carroll County). In 1979, according to Stilley, he received a directive from God to make and give away musical instruments to children. Without any prior knowledge of instrument making, he created and gave away over 200 instruments, only stopping in 2004 when his hands could no longer do the work required to build them. Ed Stilley was born on July 27, 1930, in Carroll County, the third child of six. His parents were William Stilley, who worked at a sawmill, and Sarah Parker Stilley. Stilley was partially raised by a longtime resident of Hogscald, Anna Frances “Fannie” Prickett. Prickett was an elderly woman who lived alone and …

Stobaugh, Robert Blair

Robert Blair Stobaugh was an authority on energy, international business, and corporate governance who served as a professor in the Harvard Business School. His 1979 book Energy Future: The Report of the Energy Project led to significant initiatives in energy policy by the Carter administration and became a New York Times bestseller. His article “The Bent Measuring Stick of the Multinational Enterprise” was voted one of the twenty best articles ever published on international business. A federal judge once referred to him as “one of the nation’s foremost experts on corporate governance,” and was quoted on the front page of the Wall Street Journal several times. Robert Stobaugh was born on October 15, 1927, in McGehee (Desha County) to Robert …

Stockley, Griffin Jasper

Griffin Jasper Stockley Jr. was an author, historian, and attorney known for his lifelong commitment to the cause of civil rights. Although Stockley was honored over the years for his legal achievements, his books garnered him the widest recognition. His five Gideon Page novels became popular in the 1990s. Noteworthy in their own right, his legal mysteries are also an outward expression of Stockley’s own personal and political beliefs. In 2001, he published a finely researched historical account of the Elaine Massacre, titled Blood in Their Eyes: The Elaine Race Massacres of 1919, and he followed that up with a biography of Daisy Bates, a history of the Negro Boys Industrial School Fire of 1959, and other works of history. …

Stone County Lynching of 1898

A possible lynching occurred in rural Stone County in March 1898. While state and national reports differ as to the likely fate of the victim, both confirm that the unnamed “negro boy” in question was repeatedly tortured by a mob. On March 18, 1898, the Kansas City Journal reported, under the headline “Arkansas Negro Boy Lynched,” the following: “A negro boy whose name cannot be learned was lynched at Marcella, in Stone County, Tuesday night March 15. He was accused of stealing $20 from the cash drawer of a store. The mob strung him up three times in an effort to make him confess and finally left him on the ground in a dying condition.” The Arkansas Gazette contains a …

Stone, Edward Durell

Edward Durell Stone, one of the foremost American architects of the mid-twentieth century, established an international reputation and designed buildings throughout the world. Though he lived in New York City for much of his adult life, Stone made a lasting contribution to the architecture of his native Arkansas. Edward Stone was born on March 9, 1902, in Fayetteville (Washington County) to Benjamin Hicks Stone, a merchant and businessman, and Ruth Johnson Stone, a former English teacher at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville. The youngest of three children, Stone attended Fayetteville’s public schools but was not a serious student. His mother encouraged his talents for drawing and building things and allowed him to have a home carpentry shop. At …

Stone, James Lamar

James Lamar Stone, born in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), was a career U.S. Army officer who received a Medal of Honor for his actions in opposing an overwhelming attack by Chinese troops during the Korean War. James Lamar Stone was born on December 27, 1922, in Pine Bluff, the son of firefighter Lamar L. Stone and Idell Stone. He grew up in Hot Springs (Garland County) and graduated from the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) in 1947, after which he went to work at a General Electric plant in Houston, Texas. Stone was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1948. He was serving as a first lieutenant in Company E, Eighth Cavalry Regiment, First Cavalry Division, when …

Stouffer, Marty

Martin Luther Stouffer Jr. is a documentary filmmaker best known for his Wild America PBS television series involving endangered wildlife. Whereas many previous wildlife documentarians focused on filming in exotic locales in other countries, Stouffer primarily filmed in American locations in order to raise awareness of the plight of these animals. Marty Stouffer was born on September 5, 1948, near Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and grew up there with his parents, Martin Sr. and Agnes, two brothers, and a sister. Stouffer Sr. owned Arkansas Rebuilders Supply, which supplied auto parts for rebuilders. According to Stouffer, his parents encouraged him to explore the natural world; the woods and wild areas near his home awoke a love of nature in him, and …

Stout, William C.

The clergyman William Cummins Stout was the master of two large antebellum plantations at the foot of Petit Jean Mountain in Conway County and the “first Arkansas man ordained to the priesthood of the Episcopal Church in Arkansas,” according to church records. William Stout was born in Greene County, Tennessee, on February 18, 1824. His parents, John G. Stout and Mary Kirby Stout, moved with their children to Fayetteville (Washington County) in 1830, where they continued their farming occupation. While a young man working in a store near the Indian Territory line, Stout attended meetings conducted by Bishop Leonidas Polk and discerned a religious calling. With Polk’s encouragement, Stout received his education at Kemper College in Missouri, then Nashotah House …

Stovall, Bill H. III

Bill H. Stovall III was a leader of the Arkansas House of Representatives in the early part of the twenty-first century. After term limits restricted his time in office, he served on the staff of the House Speaker for almost a decade. Bill H. Stovall III was born on February 21, 1960, in Blytheville (Mississippi County) to Bill H. Stovall Jr. and Vivian Lee Stovall. He earned an Associate of Arts degree from Pulaski Technical College, a BA in political science from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and a Master of Liberal Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Stovall later settled in Quitman (Cleburne and Faulkner counties). In 1992, he won the first of …

Street, James Howell

James Howell Street was a newspaperman and novelist who worked at the Arkansas Gazette in the 1920s and later wrote essays celebrating the state and the newspaper. James Street was born on October 15, 1903, in Lumberton, Mississippi, to John Camillus Street and William Thompson Scott Street (her actual name). Although his family was Catholic, he converted and became a Baptist minister after marrying Lucy Nash O’Briant, the daughter of a Baptist preacher, in 1923. After three children were born, he gave up preaching and became a newspaper reporter, first at the Pensacola Journal in Florida and then in 1926 at the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock (Pulaski County). He was twenty-three when he went to work for the Gazette …

Stroger, John Herman, Jr.

John Herman Stroger Jr. was an Arkansas native who became a powerful figure in Illinois government and politics, especially in Chicago. He became the first African-American president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners. John H. Stroger Jr. was born on May 19, 1926, in Helena (Phillips County) to Ella Stroger and John H. Stroger Sr. He attended the local all-black elementary school as well as Eliza Miller High School, from which he graduated in 1949. He attended the Catholic and historically black Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana, receiving a BS in business administration in 1953. After graduation, Stroger briefly taught school, coached, and worked with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). However, at the urging …

Strong, Erastus Burton

Arkansas native Erastus Burton Strong was a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point who served in the U.S. Army until his death at the Battle of Molino del Rey during the Mexican War. Erastus Burton Strong was born on December 2, 1823, to William Strong and Mourning Cooper Strong, most likely in the part of Phillips County that would become St. Francis County four years later. His father was a prominent pioneer and politician in the area who helped build the Memphis to Little Rock Road and operated an inn and a ferry at the St. Francis River. William Strong was the first sheriff of St. Francis County, a delegate to the 1836 constitutional convention, and …

Stroud, John Fred, Jr.

John Fred Stroud Jr. spent most of his long career practicing law in Texarkana (Miller County) but also spent ten years on the appellate bench—nine on the Arkansas Court of Appeals and one as a justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. He led the effort in 2000 to reorganize and reform the state’s judicial system and also spearheaded efforts for two decades to conserve the state’s waters and stabilize its streams. He worked for, befriended, or advised a number of Arkansas’s most notable politicians and jurists of the era, including U.S. senators John L. McClellan and David H. Pryor, Governors Bill Clinton and Jim Guy Tucker, federal judges Richard S. Arnold and Morris S. “Buzz” Arnold of the U.S. Eighth …

Stubblefield, John

John Stubblefield was one of the most highly respected jazz saxophonists of his generation. He played with legendary musicians across the jazz spectrum and left a legacy of quality studio work over more than three decades as a bandleader, studio musician, and go-to saxophonist for live performances and tours. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame posthumously in 2007. John Stubblefield was born on February 4, 1945, in Little Rock (Pulaski County), one of two children of John and Mabel Stubblefield. His father served in the U.S. Navy during World War II but was injured and discharged; back in Little Rock, he worked as a laborer, machinist, and painter while passing his love of music along to …

Stuck, Elmer Axtell

Elmer Axtell Stuck was an architect based in Jonesboro (Craighead County) who founded the firm that became Stuck, Frier, Lane & Scott, Inc. Several of his designs were listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Elmer A. Stuck was born on February 2, 1900, in Jonesboro, the son of Bessie M. Axtell Stuck and Elmer Charles Stuck, owner and operator of the Jonesboro Brick Company and the Stuck Lumber Company. Though he had been groomed to take over the family business with his brother Howard, Stuck chose to pursue architecture, graduating from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1924. While Stuck was in school, he worked from 1921 to 1923 in the offices of William B. Ittner, who …

Sturgis, Walter Roy

Walter Roy Sturgis was a self-made multi-millionaire from southern Arkansas whose fortune continues to benefit the state and beyond through philanthropic organizations dedicated to managing the wealth amassed by Sturgis and his wife, Christine. Roy Sturgis was born in Cleveland County, Arkansas, between Kingsland and Hebron on March 6, 1901, to William A. Sturgis, who was a farmer, and Nancy Virginia Bingham Sturgis, a homemaker. Sturgis had nine siblings. Scarce biographical information exists about Sturgis, and some of what has been written appears not to be entirely accurate. For example, Sturgis reportedly dropped out of school after the tenth grade and served in the U.S. Navy during World War I. While Sturgis’s education at the Good Hope School (also known …

Stuttgart Lynching of 1916

An unidentified African-American man was taken from the jail in DeWitt (Arkansas County) and lynched in Stuttgart (Arkansas County) on August 9, 1916, for having allegedly attacked a sixteen-year-old white girl. This was the first of two lynchings to occur in Arkansas County that year—on October 8, 1916, Frank Dodd was also taken from the jail at DeWitt, though he was lynched in town. According to the Arkansas Gazette, on Monday, August 7, the unidentified man—described only as “about 25 years old and unknown here”—attacked the sixteen-year-old daughter of farmer Ernest Wittman in a field south of Stuttgart. The narrative is vague, indicating that the unknown man was arrested after having been attacked and wounded by a posse; he was subsequently …