Gender: Male - Starting with B

Brown, Lyle

Lyle Brown was a lawyer and historian who capped a career in politics by serving for twenty-one years as a circuit judge and justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. Brown earned some renown as the only justice on the court at the time to insist on the right of the state’s public schools to teach evolutionary theory. When a legal challenge to the state’s 1928 initiated act that forbade the teaching of evolution reached the Arkansas Supreme Court late in 1966, there was intense pressure for the court to be united in upholding the law, which was widely believed to protect the biblical account of the creation of the universe from perceived scientific attacks. To satisfy two justices who originally …

Brown, Robert Laidlaw (Bob)

An attorney with a successful career in politics working for Dale Bumpers and Jim Guy Tucker, Robert L. Brown served as associate justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court from 1991 until his retirement in 2012. Brown authored several opinions that changed the landscape of Arkansas history, including the Lake View School District No. 25 v. Huckabee public school lawsuit and U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton, which was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Robert Laidlaw (Bob) Brown was born in Houston, Texas, on June 30, 1941, to Robert and Katherine Brown; he had two sisters. His father Robert Raymond Brown was an Episcopal priest who began his ministry in Harlingen, Texas. Brown began his education in public school at …

Brown, Robert Raymond

The Right Reverend Robert Raymond Brown was the ninth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas. He became nationally known in 1957 for his role in the desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Brown drafted a pastoral letter that stated the Episcopal Church’s unequivocal position in favor of desegregation and support for racial equality. His efforts with a number of clergy, Christian and Jewish, resulted in a city-wide Day of Prayer on October 12, 1957. Brown was also the author of five books, including Bigger Than Little Rock, which recounted his role in the desegregation conflict. Robert Raymond Brown was born on June 16, 1910, in Garden City, Kansas. He was one of two sons of …

Brown, Walter Lee

A Texan who helped shape the discipline of Arkansas history, Walter Lee Brown oversaw the daily operations of the Arkansas Historical Association (AHA) for thirty-five years and edited its journal, the Arkansas Historical Quarterly, for almost as long. Walter L. Brown was born in Gatesville, Texas, in 1924, to Frank J. Brown and Alice Berry Brown. Brown served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He earned a BA in history at Texas A&M University (1949) and an MA (1950) and PhD (1955) from the University of Texas. His dissertation was only the first installment in a lifetime of work on the Arkansas politician and polymath Albert Pike. In 1954, Brown joined the history department at the University …

Brown, William M. “Buck”

William M. “Buck” Brown was the leader of a band of irregular Confederate cavalrymen who bedeviled Union troops in northwestern Arkansas for much of the Civil War. William M. “Buck” Brown was born on May 26, 1822, in Bedford County, Tennessee. He married Elizabeth Ann Burgess, and they moved to Arkansas; the couple had eight children, one who died as a small child. By 1850, they were living in Washington County’s Marrs Hill Township, where he reported owning $700 in real estate. Ten years later, the growing family was living in Elm Springs (Washington and Benton counties) and reporting $4,000 in real property and $2,000 in personal property, which included an enslaved woman. Brown was listed as a farmer in …

Brownderville, Greg Alan

Arkansas poet Greg Alan Brownderville has published three award-winning books of poetry and folklore and created a “go-show” called Fire Bones. He is a full professor in the Department of English at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas, and is editor-in-chief of the Southwest Review. Greg Brownderville was born on October 10, 1976, in a Jonesboro (Craighead County) hospital. He grew up with his brother and sister in the small close-knit Woodruff County community of Pumpkin Bend, where generations of his family lived and farmed. His father, Alton Brownderville, was a farmer and later owned a funeral home. His mother, Janie Woodall Brownderville, worked at the county library and later was secretary to the elementary principal at McCrory (Woodruff …

Brownlee, Robert

Robert Brownlee was a Scottish stonemason who lived in Little Rock (Pulaski County) from 1837 to 1849. He helped build the first statehouse in Arkansas and several other historic landmarks in Pulaski County. Robert Brownlee was born on April 24, 1813, in Bonkle, Cambusnethan Parish, a tiny community in the Scottish lowlands. He was ninth in a family of seven sons and four daughters born to Margaret and Alexander Brownlee. After a basic education at Murdestoun Estate School near Bonkle, he apprenticed to his older brother, William, a stonecutter. Brownlee was twenty-three when he read about the December 1835 fire that almost destroyed New York City and the need for mechanics to help rebuild the city. That same day, he …

Brownsville to Arkansas Post, Expedition from

The December 7–13, 1864, Union scouting expedition from Brownsville (Lonoke County) to Arkansas Post (Arkansas County) was undertaken to hunt down guerrillas who had been firing on Union shipping on the Arkansas River and to seize beef cattle for the Federal army. On December 6, 1864, Brigadier General Eugene A. Carr ordered a detachment of 200 men from the garrison at Brownsville to ride toward Arkansas Post “for the purpose of driving out the bushwhackers in that region and bringing in beef cattle.” Carr noted that one party of twenty-five guerrillas had fired on boats near the post “and there is said to be some squads of bushwhackers between the Bayou Metoe [sic] and the Arkansas.” Major Gilbert J. Hudson …

Brownsville to Cotton Plant, Expedition from

The scouting expedition from Brownsville (Lonoke County) to Cotton Plant (Woodruff County) began as an effort to gauge the level of Union support around Madison (St. Francis County). On October 25, 1864, Brigadier General Joseph R. West ordered Major George T. Snelling of the Tenth Illinois Cavalry Regiment to take 200 men from his regiment and go from Brownsville to the White River, where a boat would transport them across and they would ride on to Madison. “The scout was not deemed a military scout, but rather a political scout,” Snelling reported, adding that “there would be an election held in Madison to see if there were any Union men in that locality or not.” West ordered Snelling to return …

Brownsville, Scout from (January 17–19, 1864)

A party of Union soldiers from Brownsville (Lonoke County) headed north on January 17, 1864, to connect with the Third Missouri Cavalry Regiment (US) in Searcy (White County), apparently to deliver orders for the Missourians to report to Little Rock (Pulaski County). The Third Missouri Cavalry had been stationed at Jacksonport (Jackson County) but moved its station to Searcy on January 10, 1864. Four days later, it sent a contingent of soldiers from Company M under Lieutenant Francis Hyatt to the Little Red River to meet a steamboat that was supposed to deliver supplies. After determining that the boat had turned back, the troopers headed back toward the rest of the regiment. They encountered a band of twenty bushwhackers led …

Broyles, Frank

aka: John Franklin Broyles
After beginning his administrative career as an assistant coach at Baylor University in 1947, John Franklin (Frank) Broyles became one of the most familiar and powerful figures in all of college sports. In his years at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), he built a diverse and excellent athletics program, plus a system of world-class athletic facilities in addition to establishing a winning tradition that includes the most football victories as head coach in Razorbacks history: 144 wins, far ahead of the runner-up coach, Lou Holtz, whose teams won sixty. Frank Broyles was born on December 26, 1924, in Decatur, Georgia, to O. T. Broyles and Louise Solms Broyles. Broyles became a star quarterback at Georgia Tech, where he …

Bruce, William Harvey (Harve)

Harve Bruce was a moonshiner who resided on Oak Mountain in Van Buren County. Pursued by local and federal authorities, Bruce shot and killed two U.S. marshals, although his sentences for moonshining were longer than his sentence for killing the marshals.  William Harvey (Harve) Bruce was born on June 23, 1847, to William and Sarah Bruce of Georgia. The family moved to Winston County, Alabama, to earn money through tenant farming. However, the Civil War began soon after, and his father joined the Confederate army. Without any financial support, his mother moved the family closer to relatives in Cherokee County, North Carolina. Two years into the fighting, Harve Bruce joined the Confederate army after turning sixteen. Serving for the remainder of the war, he fought in the infantry division Company D, Thomas’s Legion, led by Colonel William Holland Thomas. This was one of the few regiments in which Cherokee and …

Bruhin, Joseph Aloysius

Ceramic artist Joseph Aloysius Bruhin III of Fox (Stone County) was awarded the Arkansas Arts Council Fellowship in 1992 and has been the recipient and winner of numerous “best of show” awards. Nationally, Bruhin figures among two dozen potters who are recognized as specializing in wood-fired pottery. He is the first contemporary potter to work continuously with a wood-fired kiln in Arkansas. Joe Bruhin was born on April 7, 1953, in St. Louis, Missouri, to Virginia Bruhin and Joseph Aloysius Bruhin Jr., an electrician; he was one of four boys. At age fifteen, Bruhin was hitchhiking and backpacking to the western states of Colorado, California, and Washington. He graduated from high school in 1971 and spent some time exploring Florida …

Brumley, Albert Edward

Albert Edward Brumley Sr. was one of the most successful American gospel song composers of the twentieth century, penning such standards as “I’ll Fly Away,” “I’ll Meet You in the Morning,” “If We Never Meet Again,” “Turn Your Radio On,” and many others. Between 1926 and 1931, he studied, lived, and worked at the Hartford Music Company in Hartford (Sebastian County) under the tutelage of its founder, Eugene Monroe (E. M.) Bartlett. Although Bartlett died in 1941, Brumley forever credited him as the chief mentor and inspiration behind his music and eventually purchased the Hartford Music Company in 1948. Albert E. Brumley was born on October 29, 1905, in Indian Territory near present-day Spiro, Oklahoma. His parents, William Sherman Brumley …

Brundidge, Stephen, Jr.

Stephen Brundidge Jr. was a prosecuting attorney, a member of the Democratic State Central Committee, and a six-term U.S. Representative for the Sixth and Second Congressional districts. Born on January 1, 1857, in Searcy (White County), Brundidge was the fourth child of Stephen and Minerva Brundidge, who moved to Searcy from Mississippi in 1853. His father was a contractor who built the first brick buildings in Searcy, including the main section of the present White County Courthouse, built in 1869. Brundidge graduated with honors from the Searcy Male and Female Academy. He then read law in the offices of William R. Coody and Dandridge McRae and was admitted to the bar in 1879. He first practiced law in Jacksonport (Jackson …

Bryan, Leon L. “Doc”

Leon L. “Doc” Bryan was an influential figure in the Arkansas House of Representatives in the final third of the twentieth century. A Democrat, he served for almost thirty years, his tenure ending with his death in office. Leon L. Bryan was born on January 31, 1920, in Coal Hill (Johnson County) to Arthur Hershell Bryan and Gertrude Elnora Jennings Bryan. Bryan grew up in Coal Hill and attended the local schools, graduating from Coal Hill High School in 1939. An outstanding athlete, he was a member of Coal Hill High School’s state championship basketball team. After graduation, he attended what is now Arkansas Tech University in Russellville (Pope County), where he earned letters in both basketball and track before …

Bryant, “Bear”

aka: Paul William Bryant
Paul William “Bear” Bryant is one of America’s all-time most successful college football coaches. At the time of his death, he had won more games than any other coach, including the legendary Amos Alonzo Staggs and Pop Warner. Arkansas-born Bryant remains an icon not only for athletic accomplishments but for personal strength, determination, and the will to win. Paul William Bryant was born on September 11, 1913, near Kingsland (Cleveland County) in south central Arkansas, to William Monroe Bryant, a farmer, and Dora Ida Kilgore Bryant, a homemaker. Bryant was the eighth surviving child (three died at birth) of a total of nine. He had four brothers and four sisters and was the youngest boy, with one sister born four …

Bryant, John Winston

John Winston Bryant is an Arkansas politician and attorney who held an array of high-level offices in state government. Beginning as a legislative assistant on Capitol Hill in Washington DC and serving for two decades in statewide offices, Bryant was an influential figure in Arkansas politics over the last quarter of the twentieth century. Winston Bryant was born on October 3, 1938, in Malvern (Hot Spring County) to Johnie Bryant and Hestie Killian Bryant. He graduated from Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) in Arkadelphia (Clark County) in 1960. He then earned a law degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1963, and he earned a Masters of Law in administrative law from George Washington University in 1970. Bryant …

Bryant, Kelly

Kelly Bryant was a Democratic politician in the 1960s and 1970s. He has long been identified as the first of three Hope (Hempstead County) natives who won statewide office from the 1960s to the 1990s, heading a trio that also included Bill Clinton and Mike Huckabee. Kelly Bryant, who grew up in Hope, was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma, on August 8, 1908, to Charles C. Bryant and Anna May Nelson Bryant. The family moved to Hope soon after Bryant’s birth. After finishing high school, Bryant attended the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), graduating in 1934 with a degree in business administration. Bryant spent the bulk of his professional life working in journalism and publishing before entering public …

Bryson (Lynching of)

A man known only as Bryson—apparently a white man—was lynched in early June 1888, presumably in Yell County. The details surrounding the incident are decidedly few, drawn primarily from an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and reprinted in both the Arkansas Democrat and Arkansas Gazette. The original report, datelined June 11, 1888, from Dardanelle (Yell County), reads as follows: “Yesterday the body of one Bryson, riddled with bullets, was found a few miles below here in the Arkansas river. A few days ago Bryson attempted to criminally assault the wife of Dock Shinn, and was pursued by a posse. It is supposed he was overtaken, shot and his body flung into the river.” There is also a similar account …

Buchanan, Herbert Earle

Herbert Earle Buchanan was a nationally known astronomer, mathematician, teacher, and sports reformer. His research significantly advanced a mathematical understanding of the stability of the orbits of heavenly bodies, and he authored numerous college and university textbooks. Buchanan was very interested in athletics and was one of the founders of the National Collegiate Athletics Association. Buchanan was born in Cane Hill (Washington County) on October 4, 1881, to Susan Clark Williamson and James A. Buchanan, a Civil War veteran who became a farmer, surveyor, and circuit-riding Presbyterian minister. After attending the local “subscription school,” in which the family of each attending child paid a pro-rated fee, Buchanan entered the college preparatory program at Arkansas Industrial University (later the University of …

Buchanan, Roy

aka: Leroy Buchanan
Leroy (Roy) Buchanan was a guitar innovator whose skill inspired an aptly titled documentary, The Best Unknown Guitarist in the World. For more than thirty years, the guitarist melded blues, country, jazz, and rock music into a unique sound. Roy Buchanan was born September 23, 1939, in Ozark (Franklin County), the third of four children born to Bill Buchanan and Minnie Bell Reed Buchanan. When he was two, the family moved to Pixley, California, a tiny San Joaquin Valley farming town, where his father was a farm laborer. At age five, Buchanan learned a few guitar chords. When he was nine, his father bought him a red Rickenbacker lap steel guitar, and, by age twelve, he was playing lap steel …