Entries - Race and Ethnicity: White - Starting with F

Fagan, James Fleming

James Fleming Fagan was a politician and United States marshal from Little Rock (Pulaski County) who is best remembered for his service as a Confederate general. Fagan’s service to the Confederacy includes leading Arkansas troops at the Battle of Shiloh, the Battle of Helena, and the Action at Marks’ Mills. Born in Clark County, Kentucky, on March 1, 1828, James Fagan was the older of two sons of Steven and Catherine Fagan. The family moved to Little Rock in 1838, where Fagan’s father worked as a plasterer during the construction of the Old State House before his death in 1840. Two years later, his mother married Samuel Adams, who was a former state representative, current state senator, and future state …

Fairchild, Barbara

  Throughout her career, Barbara Fairchild has been an influential singer and songwriter in both country and gospel music. Barbara Fairchild was born in Lafe (Greene County) on November 12, 1950, to Opal and Ulys Fairchild. She was raised in Knobel (Clay County) until she and her family moved to St. Louis, Missouri, when she was thirteen. Fairchild’s passion for performing began early; she first performed in front of an audience at age five in a school talent show. Two years after moving to St. Louis, Fairchild released her first single, “Brand New Bed of Roses,” for the Norman label, and it appeared on local television channels. After graduating from high school, Fairchild moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to pursue a career in …

Falco, Tav

aka: Gustavo Antonio Falco
Tav Falco is an innovative rock musician who combines rockabilly, blues, and fractured noise. He has created films and documentaries about musicians and the cultural scene in Memphis, Tennessee, in addition to touring across the globe. The New York Times describes Falco as a “singer, guitarist and researcher of musical arcane who hasn’t let his increasingly technical expertise and idiomatic mastery compromise the clarity of his vision.” Tav Falco was born Gustavo Antonio Falco on May 25, 1945, to Rita Rose Falco on the East Coast. After his mother married Horace Homer Nelson, a sailor from Arkansas, they settled in the rural land between Gurdon (Clark County) and Whelen Springs (Clark County), where Falco was raised. Falco moved to Memphis in …

Faubus, Orval Eugene

Orval Eugene Faubus served six consecutive terms as governor of Arkansas, holding the office longer than any other person. His record was in many ways progressive, but he is most widely remembered for his attempt to block the desegregation of Little Rock’s Central High School in 1957. His stand against what he called “forced integration” resulted in President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s sending federal troops to Little Rock (Pulaski County) to enforce the 1954 desegregation ruling of the Supreme Court. Orval Faubus was born on January 7, 1910, in a rented log cabin on Greasy Creek in southern Madison County in the Ozark Mountains. His parents were John Samuel and Addie Joslin Faubus. Sam Faubus, a self-educated farmer, became a fervent …

Faucett, Adam

Adam Faucett is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist from Benton (Saline County). With his trademark long beard and powerful voice, one critic called him an artist who “roams the backroads and gas station parking lots of some strange, haunted country, hinting at a terrifying truth behind mundane imagery.” By 2019, he had released five albums as a solo artist, the last two on the Little Rock (Pulaski County) label Last Chance Records. Faucett lives in Little Rock, but he tours regularly with his band, the Tall Grass, across the country and in Europe. With its often dark lyrics and subject matter, he has described his music as “Arkansas Gothic” and “swampy soul.” Adam Faucett was born on February 24, 1982, …

Faucette, James Peter

James Peter Faucette was a politician, businessman, and the third mayor of Argenta, now North Little Rock (Pulaski County). He was a leader in the separation of Argenta from Little Rock (Pulaski County) after a forced annexation. Jim Faucette was born on September 28, 1867, in Pope Station, Mississippi, the fifth child and second son of James Beard Faucette and Eliza Jane Hubbard. The Faucette family settled in Texas in 1878 and then in Arkansas in 1880, moving to Searcy (White County), Dover (Pope County), and Russellville (Pope County) within a year. Faucette moved to Argenta, a small settlement on the north shore on the Arkansas River, opposite Little Rock in 1885, following his older brother Will Faucette, who settled …

Faucette, Will

aka: William Chesley Faucette
William Chesley Faucette was a politician, businessman, and the first mayor of Argenta, now North Little Rock (Pulaski County). He was a leader in the decade-long fight to separate Argenta from Little Rock (Pulaski County) after a forced annexation. Will Faucette was born on August 13, 1865, in Pope Station, Mississippi, and was the fourth child of James Beard Faucette and Eliza Jane Hubbard. The Faucette family moved to Texas in 1878, then to Arkansas in 1880, living in Searcy (White County), Dover (Pope County), and Russellville (Pope County) within the space of a year. Around 1883, Faucette moved to the small settlement of Argenta on the north side of the Arkansas River opposite Little Rock. The rest of the …

Faulkner, Sandford C. “Sandy”

Sandford C. (Sandy) Faulkner is an iconic individual from Arkansas’s early statehood. Although he never held elective office, his political and economic activity made a significant contribution to the development of the young state. Moreover, Faulkner is largely responsible for the story of the “Arkansas Traveler,” which has shaped the image of Arkansas since the 1840s. Sandy Faulkner was born on March 3, most likely in 1803, in Scott County, Kentucky, to Nicholas Faulkner and Sally Fletcher Faulkner. Much confusion surrounds Faulkner’s early history; many sources spell his first name “Sanford,” and one researcher even suggests that at birth he was given the name “Sanderson.” The 1850 census appears to record his age as forty-four, suggesting that he was born …

Featherstone, Lewis Porter

Lewis Porter (L. P.) Featherstone was an Agricultural Wheel leader and a politician who served in the state legislature in 1887 and in the U.S. Congress from 1890 to 1891. His electoral defeat in 1888 resulted in federal hearings that highlighted the extent of election fraud in Arkansas and saw him seated in Congress in 1890. L. P. Featherstone, the eldest son of Lewis H. Featherstone and Elizabeth (Porter) Featherstone, was born on July 28, 1851, in Oxford, Mississippi. By 1860, his father, a landowning farmer, had resettled near Memphis, Tennessee, and his family eventually included five more sons. Educated in the local schools, Featherstone attended Cumberland University law school in Lebanon, Tennessee, before failing eyesight forced him to abandon …

Featherstonhaugh, George William

George William Featherstonhaugh (pronounced “Fanshaw”) was the first U.S. government geologist. In 1834, the War Department appointed him to make a geological survey of Arkansas. He later conducted geological surveys of Wisconsin, Illinois, Georgia, and the Carolinas. His importance to Arkansas goes beyond his work as a geologist, for he was one of the first to leave behind an accurate record of life in the early Arkansas Territory. Born in London, England, on April 9, 1780, to George and Dorothy Simpson Featherstonhaugh, George William Featherstonhaugh grew up at Scarborough, an ancient city on the North Sea 221 miles from London and forty-three from York. Featherstonhaugh spent much of his childhood climbing over the cliffs, gathering sea bird eggs to sell …

Felts, Narvel

Albert Narvel Felts is a singer and songwriter best known for a string of commercially successful country music recordings in the 1970s. Over the course of his career, Felts has been known for performing a wide range of music, including rockabilly, pop, R&B, soul, and gospel, but it is his traditional country and rockabilly recordings that gained him the most attention. Narvel Felts was born on November 11, 1938, near Keiser (Mississippi County) to Albert and Lena Felts. In 1953, when he was fourteen, the family, including Felts and his older sister Ogareeda, relocated eighty miles north to the community of Powe, Missouri. As a teenager, Felts taught himself to play a guitar that, he has said, “was held together with …

Fendler, Oscar

Oscar Fendler was a prominent Arkansas lawyer who, during his nearly seven decades practicing law in Blytheville (Mississippi County), served as a leader of the state bar and worked to improve the administration of justice in Arkansas. Oscar Fendler was born on March 22, 1909, in Blytheville. His parents, Alfred Fendler and Ray Fendler, were Jews who immigrated to America from Kraków, Poland, around the turn of the century. After moving many times in search of work, the Fendlers eventually settled in the community of Manila (Mississippi County), where they opened a general store. They had four children, of whom Fendler was the eldest. Fendler attended public school in Manila through the tenth grade, which was the highest grade in …

Ferguson, Jim, Sr.

aka: James Garland Ferguson Sr.
The Marshall (Searcy County) library owes its existence to James Garland Ferguson Sr., a man with roots in the Ozark Plateau. This son of homesteaders who valued education above all else, having worked hard to secure an excellent education and great wealth for himself, had previously made generous contributions to several local schools and churches, Arkansas Baptist Hospital and St. Vincent Infirmary in Little Rock (Pulaski County), and several colleges, including scholarships to the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville (Washington County) and Hendrix College in Conway (Faulkner County). But to the people of his home county, he gave a library and, with it, an educational opportunity in a rural environment. Jim Ferguson was born on February 26, …

Ferguson, John Lewis

John Lewis Ferguson—historian, minister, author, archival administer, and historic preservationist—served as Arkansas state historian and the director of the Arkansas State Archives (previous called the Arkansas History Commission) from 1960 to 2005, only the third person to hold that position since 1905. His forty-five-year tenure was the longest in the agency’s history. John Ferguson was born on March 1, 1926, on a farm near Nashville (Howard County) to farmer and World War I veteran Clarence Walter Ferguson and his wife, Nannye N. McCrary Ferguson. As a child attending the rural York’s Chapel School, he read every history book he could find. Early on, he decided to pursue a career in history. He graduated from Nashville High School in 1944. In 1951, he was …

Fess, Don

Don Fess of Magnolia (Columbia County) built and patented a prototype engine that saved energy by using rotating pistons rather than the standard up-and-down pistons. Don Fess was born in Allendale, Illinois, on February 12, 1915. His parents, Ora and Eunice Fess, moved with their four sons to Haynesville, Louisiana, in about 1925. Fess finished high school there at age sixteen (at that time, Louisiana schools had only eleven grades) and began to look for a job. He married Martha Emma Wainwright on June 1, 1934, and built a house across the street from his parents using salvaged lumber. He delivered ice seven days a week for a wage of $1.50 per day. He and his wife had six children. …

Fifteenth (Johnson’s) Arkansas Infantry (CS)

The Fifteenth (Johnson’s) Arkansas Infantry Regiment was a Confederate unit that served in the Western and Trans-Mississippi Theaters during the American Civil War. Organized in January 1862 of six companies, it was composed primarily of men from Columbia, Ouachita, Union, and Lafayette counties. The original command staff consisted of Colonel James M. Gee, Lieutenant Colonel John C. Wright, and Major P. Lynch Lee. The unit was originally organized by Captain John L. Logan of the Eleventh Arkansas Infantry, and Gee was elected colonel in January 1862. The regiment was ordered to Memphis, Tennessee, and soon afterward to Fort Henry on the Tennessee River. In February 1862, the Union army began its assault on Fort Henry, and the Fifteenth Arkansas retreated …

Fifteenth (Josey’s) Arkansas Infantry (CS)

The Fifteenth Arkansas Infantry Regiment was a Confederate unit that served in the Western Theater during the American Civil War. Not to be confused with the Fifteenth (Northwest) or Fifteenth (Johnson’s), it fought with the Army of Tennessee in all its major engagements until surrender at Greensboro, North Carolina, on April 26, 1865. The regiment was organized on May 14, 1861, as the First Regiment Arkansas State Troops, consisting of companies from Phillips, Monroe, Jefferson, Desha, Mississippi, and Prairie counties. Its first commander was Colonel Patrick R. Cleburne, an Irish immigrant from Helena (Phillips County). On July 23, 1861, the regiment was enrolled in Confederate service as the First Arkansas Infantry at Pittman’s Ferry, Arkansas. Due to there being another …

Fifth Arkansas Infantry (CS)

The Fifth Arkansas Infantry was a regiment that served in the Confederate army during the Civil War. Spending most of its service in the Western Theater, the regiment served for the duration of the war. After Arkansas seceded from the Union on May 6, 1861, a number of military units began to form. Companies organized in communities around the state and moved to a number of centralized locations to create regiments. Ten companies from across Arkansas organized into the Fifth Arkansas Infantry at Gainesville (Greene County) on June 28, 1861. The companies were from Poinsett, Bradley, Greene, and Prairie counties. Two companies were organized in Wittsburg (Cross County), which became the seat of Cross County when it was formed in …

Filhiol, Don Juan

aka: Jean de Filhiol
aka: Baptiste Filhiol
aka: Jean Baptiste Filhiol
Present-day Camden (Ouachita County) has its origins in a 1782 settlement established by Don Juan Filhiol, a Frenchman who served the Spanish colony of Louisiana. Ecore a Fabri, as Camden was originally known, was Filhiol’s first established settlement in the Ouachita District, which encompassed today’s southern Arkansas and northeastern Louisiana. Filhiol is credited with introducing the rule of law to the Ouachita River area in Arkansas and Louisiana. Don Juan Filhiol was born Jean Baptiste Filhiol on September 21, 1740, in Eymet, France, to François Filhiol and Anne Marie Teyssonniere, who were cloth merchants and Calvinists. In 1763, at the age of twenty-three, Filhiol left France to seek his fortune in Santo Domingo, a French colony (present-day Haiti). He decided …

Finger, Charles Joseph

Charles Joseph Finger was a prolific writer who settled in Fayetteville (Washington County) after an early life of travel and adventure; one of his many adventure books won the Newbery Prize for children’s literature. In addition to writing and publishing a magazine from his Fayetteville farm, Finger was employed from 1936 through 1938 as an editor of the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) guidebook, Arkansas: A Guide to the State. Charles Joseph Frederick Finger was born on December 25, 1867, in Willesden, England. His father, also named Charles, was a German tailor recently come to England from Germany. His mother was Julia Connoly Finger, a young Irish woman. He attended several small private pre-collegiate institutions, ending with Mr. Harvey’s Grammar School. …

First (Crawford’s) Arkansas Cavalry (CS)

aka: Tenth Trans-Mississippi Cavalry
The First (Crawford’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 Tenth Trans-Mississippi Cavalry, it is one of three regiments to be designated First Arkansas Cavalry. Participating in military engagements in Arkansas at Mount Elba, Longview Prairie (Easling’s Farm), Poison Spring, and Marks’ Mills, as well as Price’s Missouri Raid, it was stationed in Texas when Confederate forces in the Trans-Mississippi Theater surrendered on May 26, 1865. The regiment was organized at Camden (Ouachita County) on December 30, 1863, by Colonel William A. Crawford of Saline County. It consisted of ten companies from Clark, Columbia, Ouachita, Lafayette, Saline, and Union counties, with two companies added …

Fishback, William Meade

William Meade Fishback was a prominent Unionist during the Civil War who became the seventeenth governor of Arkansas. He was elected (but not seated) as U.S. senator by the Unionist government in 1864. During Reconstruction, he became a Democrat and, in the mid-1870s and early 1880s, championed repudiation of state debts. The Fishback Amendment earned him the name the “Great Repudiator.” His relatively lackluster one term as governor was most notable for his public relations effort to improve Arkansas’s image. William Fishback was born on November 5, 1831, in the Jeffersonton community of Culpeper County, Virginia, the oldest of the nine children born to Frederick Fishback and Sophia Ann (Yates) Fishback. As the son of a prosperous farmer, he received …

Fisher, George Edward

George Edward Fisher was a political cartoonist whose work influenced and helped define Arkansas politics for a generation. He created a series of visual metaphors and themes that were widely associated with the politicians he caricatured and became a part of Arkansas political folklore. Fisher focused primarily on political, social, and environmental issues. George Fisher was born on April 8, 1923, near Searcy (White County) to Charles W. Fisher, a tree nursery owner, and Gladys Fisher. His mother died when he was five, and his father alone raised Fisher’s two brothers, sister, and him. Fisher grew up in Beebe (White County), where he attended school and started the Beebe Grammar School News. Fisher’s father was an avid reader and encouraged …

Fisher, Jimmie Lou

Jimmie Lou Fisher, a pioneering female politician, was the state treasurer or state auditor of Arkansas for twenty-four years. She is the longest-serving state treasurer in Arkansas history. Fisher got her start in politics by being elected treasurer of Greene County in 1970, but her friendship and alliance with young Bill Clinton when he campaigned for Congress in 1974 launched her state political career. Her final race came in 2002, when Democratic Party leaders persuaded her to run for governor against the popular Republican governor Mike Huckabee, who was running for his second full term. Though heavily outspent and suffering from a painful back ailment, Fisher nevertheless received forty-seven percent of the votes. Jimmie Lou Cooper was born on December …

Fisher, Rosemary Beryl Snook “Snooky”

Rosemary Beryl Snook Fisher was an artist and pottery instructor for the Arkansas Arts Center for several years. She had an active interest in the preservation of the art forms of the Ozarks but was influenced by many diverse cultures. As a devoted teacher into her last years, she influenced many future artists. She had added local notoriety as the wife of George Fisher, the chief editorial cartoonist for the Arkansas Gazette. Her husband regularly wove her nickname, Snooky, into his cartoons; for many years, a favorite game among readers was to find the hidden nickname. Rosemary Snook was born in early 1927 in Burnham-on-Sea, England, to Harold George Snook and Rose Annie Elliott; she had three younger siblings. On …

Fitzgerald, Edward Mary

Edward Mary Fitzgerald was the second Roman Catholic bishop of Little Rock (Pulaski County), overseeing a diocese that encompasses the boundaries of the state of Arkansas. As the most historically significant Arkansas Catholic prelate, he was one of the only bishops in the world, and the only English-speaking one, to vote against papal infallibility. As an Arkansas bishop, he strove to attract Catholic immigrants to the state and sought also to evangelize African Americans; these efforts, however, bore little fruit. St. Edward Catholic Church was named in his honor. Although it is known that Edward Fitzgerald was born in the city of Limerick on the west coast of Ireland, his birth certificate fails to reveal his exact date of birth. …

Flanagin, Harris

Harris Flanagin, the seventh governor of Arkansas, had his four-year term cut short when he surrendered Arkansas’s Confederate government following the surrender of the Trans-Mississippi Department at the end of the Civil War. After the fall of Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1863, he reconvened the Confederate state government in Washington (Hempstead County), thus becoming Arkansas’s only governor to head a government in exile. Harris Flanagin was born on November 3, 1817, in Roadstown, New Jersey, to James Flanagin, a cabinetmaker and merchant who had emigrated from Ireland in 1765, and Mary Harris. No records indicate his middle name, and little is known about his early life. Flanagin was educated in a Society of Friends (Quaker) school and became a …

Fleck, Jack

Jack Donald Fleck had one of most improbable victories in golf history with his 1955 U.S. Open playoff victory over perennial golfing great Ben Hogan, an established star on the Professional Golf Association (PGA) Tour who had previously won four U.S. Opens. Fleck was an unknown who had been playing regularly on the PGA Tour for less than a year when he recorded his historic victory. Fleck moved to Arkansas in 1988, opening the Lil’ Bit a Heaven Golf Club in 1992. Jack Fleck was born on November 7, 1921, on the outskirts of Bettendorf, Iowa, one of five children of Louis and Elsie Fleck. He grew up in a poor family, working odd jobs around farms, with his salary …

Fletcher, Albert Lewis

Albert Lewis Fletcher was the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Little Rock, the only Catholic diocese for the state of Arkansas. He was the first native Arkansan ever to be raised to the rank within the American Catholic episcopacy, and he oversaw Arkansas Catholicism during an era of unprecedented growth and upheaval. Albert Fletcher was born on October 28, 1896, the oldest of four children, to Thomas Fletcher, a physician, and Helen Wehr in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Around the time of their marriage, both parents converted to Catholicism, his father being a former Episcopalian and his mother a former Lutheran. Within a few months of his birth, the family moved first to Paris (Logan County) and then to …

Fletcher, John Gould

John Gould Fletcher, poet and essayist, is widely acknowledged as one of the state’s most notable literary figures. He enjoyed an international reputation for much of his long career, earned the Pulitzer Prize in poetry, and participated in movements that shaped twentieth century-literature. John Gould Fletcher was born on January 3, 1886, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Adolphine Krause and John G. Fletcher. After the Civil War, Fletcher’s father formed a successful cotton brokerage firm with fellow veteran Peter Hotze, bringing him wealth and prominence. Fletcher’s mother had abandoned the prospect of a musical career to tend to her ailing mother and likely centered her artistic ambitions on her only son. Fletcher was reared and educated by tutors in …

Flippen, Jay C.

Jay C. Flippen was a versatile entertainer whose career spanned more than six decades and multiple show business genres, from minstrelsy to motion pictures. Flippen became an iconic Hollywood character actor during the 1950s and 1960s. Long before that, he had established himself as a popular stage and radio performer whom Milton Berle eulogized as “one of the greatest standup comedians I ever saw.” J. C. Flippen was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on March 6, 1899. He may have been named for his father, whose name was either Jay Charles or John Constantine. However, Flippen reminisced that his parents could not decide on a name and took to calling him by the initials “J. C.” His mother was Emma …

Flowers, Gennifer

Gennifer Flowers is a singer and former model best known for her affair with Governor Bill Clinton. The relationship, which she claimed lasted for twelve years, was revealed by the tabloid Star in the early winter of 1992 and threatened to derail Clinton’s 1992 campaign for president. Eura Gean Flowers, who was known growing up as Geannie Flowers, was born on January 24, 1950, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the only child of Gene and Mary Flowers. After her birth, the family left Oklahoma for Anchorage, Alaska, and then moved to Washington state and Modesto, California. They eventually settled in rural Brinkley (Monroe County), and her father developed a crop-dusting business. Flowers says that she wanted to be an entertainer from …

Floyd, John Buchanan

John Buchanan Floyd was the governor of Virginia, secretary of war, a brigadier general in the Confederate army, and a lawyer and planter who lived in Arkansas for a period. John Buchanan Floyd was born on the Smithfield Plantation, outside Blacksburg, Virginia, on June 1, 1806. His father, John Floyd, served in the House of Representatives and as the governor of Virginia. His mother, Letitia Preston Floyd, came from a prominent Virginia family. Floyd was the oldest of twelve children. Floyd attended South Carolina College and opened a law practice in Abington, Virginia, in 1829. The next year, he married Sarah Buchanan Preston. The two adopted a daughter. In 1834, Floyd and a brother moved to Arkansas, purchasing a cotton …

Floyd, John Charles

John Charles Floyd was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Third District of Arkansas in the Fifty-Ninth through the Sixty-Third Congresses, serving from 1905 to 1915. John Charles Floyd was born on April 14, 1858, in Sparta, Tennessee, to John Wesley Floyd and Eliza Jane Snodgrass Floyd. Floyd spent his early years in Tennessee while his father served in the Confederate army. After the Civil War, the family moved to Arkansas, settling near Bentonville (Benton County) in 1869. There, Floyd received his early education, attending the local common school and the high school. He continued his education at Arkansas Industrial University in Fayetteville (Washington County), which later became the University of Arkansas, from which …

Foley, Blaze

aka: Michael David Fuller
Singer-songwriter Michael David Fuller worked under the names Depty (or Deputy) Dawg and then Blaze Foley, being best known by the latter. His songs have been recorded by singers such as Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, and John Prine. Blaze Foley was born on December 18, 1949, to Edwin Fuller and Louise Fuller in Malvern (Hot Spring County). His family traveled as gospel performers and were known as the Singing Fuller Family. Foley began singing with the group at the age of eleven with his mother, brother, and sisters. When Foley was a baby, the family left Arkansas for Texas, settling in San Antonio and later the Dallas/Fort Worth area. While an infant, he contracted polio, which was cured …

Forbush, Nellie

Nellie Forbush is a fictional character created by bestselling author James A. Michener (1907–1997). A native of Arkansas, the character of Nellie first appears in Michener’s book Tales of the South Pacific, which was published in 1947. Tales of the South Pacific, a series of nineteen interrelated stories based on Michener’s experiences in the U.S. Navy while stationed on the New Hebrides Islands in the Pacific during World War II, won the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Michener explained that he had wanted to write observations of what he called the “valiant people” he met there: “the French planters, the Australian coast watchers, the Navy nurses, the Tonkinese laborers, the ordinary sailors and soldiers who were doing the work, and …

Ford, Archibald Washington (Arch)

Archibald Washington Ford was commissioner of the Arkansas Department of Education from 1953 until his retirement in 1978. He served under five governors: Francis Cherry, Orval Faubus, Winthrop Rockefeller, Dale Bumpers, and David Pryor. Under his leadership, the state undertook significant work to provide a quality education to all students regardless of their race, age, abilities, or location in the state. Arch Ford was born in Wooster (Faulkner County) on January 25, 1906, to Thomas Noah Ford (1872–1959) and Minnie Lee Clements Ford (1880–1954). He was the fourth of six children. His father was a farmer and a Baptist minister who served on the local school board as well as the Faulkner County Board of Education. His father helped lead …

Ford, Edsel

Although Edsel Ford did not arrive in the Arkansas Ozarks until the age of eleven, he lived most of his adult life in the region, consistently incorporated its culture into his writing, and became one of its most distinguished poets. At the time of his death, at the age of forty-one, he was a well-established regional poet who was beginning to earn national literary attention. Edsel Ford was born to James Tilden Ford and Nora Louisa Ford in Eva, Alabama, on December 30, 1928. His family farmed cotton, and he was one of four children. When Ford was two years old, he moved with his family to Roswell, New Mexico. In 1939, the family moved to Avoca (Benton County) to …

Ford, Richard Carrel

Richard Carrel Ford is a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist whose formative years in Little Rock (Pulaski County) helped shape his career as a writer. He has written seven novels and five collections of short works and was the first person to be awarded both the Pulitzer and the PEN/Faulkner Award for the same book. Ford was born on February 16, 1944, in Jackson, Mississippi, to Parker Carrel and Edna Ford. His mother was a native of Arkansas, and his grandfather, Ben Shelley, managed the Marion Hotel in downtown Little Rock. As a child, Ford often spent his summers at the hotel and, during his teen years, worked as a lifeguard at the Little Rock Country Club. Ford recalls that his residence in …

Fordyce, John Rison

The son of Hot Springs (Garland County) entrepreneur and Cotton Belt Railroad president Samuel Wesley Fordyce, John Rison Fordyce forged his own way into Arkansas history. He was educated as a mining engineer but was also an inventor, manufacturer, leader in commerce, public servant, and amateur archaeologist. John R. Fordyce was born in Huntsville, Alabama, on November 7, 1869. He moved to the health resort of Hot Springs at age five with his father and mother, Susan Chadick, after his father, suffering from malaria contracted during the Civil War, found renewed health in the local thermal springs. The third of five children, Fordyce—along with his three surviving siblings—was educated in Hot Springs schools. His father was instrumental in Hot Springs’ …

Fordyce, Samuel Wesley

Samuel Wesley Fordyce was a businessman who spearheaded efforts to build thousands of miles of railway in the South and Southwest during the late nineteenth century, including the Cotton Belt route that crossed Arkansas. He also was a major force behind the transformation of Hot Springs (Garland County) from a small village to major health resort. The town of Fordyce (Dallas County) is named for him, as is the Fordyce Bath House in Hot Springs. Samuel Fordyce was born on February 7, 1840, in Senecaville, Ohio, the son of John Fordyce and Mary Ann Houseman Fordyce. As a boy, he never liked school, but he attended Madison College in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, and North Illinois University in Henry, Illinois, before becoming …

Foster, Vincent Walker (Vince), Jr.

Vincent Walker Foster Jr. was a prominent Little Rock (Pulaski County) lawyer and close friend and associate of Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Although he had a distinguished legal career in Arkansas, he became a historically important figure for the last six months of his life, when he was deputy counsel for the White House in the administration of President Clinton. Despondent over the political turmoil in which he became involved, Foster committed suicide in a suburban Virginia park, triggering a series of investigations that became part of what was popularly called the “Whitewater scandal.” Vince Foster was born on January 15, 1945, to Vincent W. and Alice Mae Foster in Hope (Hempstead County), where his father …

Foster, William Franklin (Bill)

William Franklin (Bill) Foster was a longtime and influential member of the Arkansas House of Representatives. Serving in the state legislature for over three decades beginning in the early 1960s, he was particularly well known for his work on behalf of senior citizens. Bill Foster was born on August 2, 1916, in Lonoke County. He was the oldest of three children born to Joseph R. Foster and Josephine Margaret Crutchfield Foster. Foster grew up in Lonoke County, graduating from Lonoke High School in 1934. In the midst of the Great Depression, he worked for the Arkansas Department of Transportation as a statistician for eight years. In 1943, with World War II raging, he joined the U.S. Army Air Force. Discharged in …

Foucault, Nicolas

Nicolas Foucault was the first Christian missionary to serve among the Quapaw Indians of Arkansas. Nicolas Foucault was born around 1664 in Paris, France. As a young adult, he joined the Seminary of Foreign Missions in Paris but soon left to pursue his ministry in Quebec via La Rochelle, France, on board the Soleil d’Afrique. On June 3, 1688, Foucault arrived in Québec and immediately began to serve as a secretary to Bishop Jean-Baptiste de Saint-Vallier while also continuing his seminary studies. He was ordained to the priesthood on December 3, 1689, and was immediately appointed to serve as curate first, in Contrecoeur, then in the hamlet of Batiscan on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. Here, Foucault presided …

Fourth Arkansas Cavalry (US)

The Fourth Arkansas Cavalry was a regiment formed by white Arkansans who supported the Federal government during the Civil War. The Fourth Arkansas Cavalry began organizing in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in November 1863. William Fishback led the effort to recruit part of the regiment. Organized in two battalions of six companies each, the first company was mustered into service in December. LaFayette Gregg was commissioned as the colonel of the regiment and commanded it for its entire existence. The first battalion was originally enlisted as a one-year regiment, but this designation was rejected by the War Department. The battalion was disbanded, and recruitment continued as a three-year unit. The first eight companies of the regiment were organized by May …

Fourth Arkansas Infantry (CS)

The Fourth Arkansas Infantry Regiment was a unit of the Confederate army that served in the Western Theater during the Civil War. The unit was organized in Lawrence County, Missouri, on August 17, 1861, from companies that marched from Arkansas to join the army organizing in southwestern Missouri. Known as the Southwestern Arkansas Regiment, the unit consisted of companies from Calhoun, Hempstead, Montgomery, Lafayette, Pike, and Polk counties. Evander McNair of Washington (Hempstead County) was selected to lead the new regiment. The regiment organized with only eight companies, but two more joined the unit in November 1861 to bring the unit to full strength. Measles and other illnesses soon struck the unit, and a number of men died or were …

Fowler, Absalom

Absalom Fowler was a prominent attorney and government official in early Arkansas. He was a leading figure in the transition of the area from territory to state, while also playing a major role in the development of Little Rock (Pulaski County). Absalom Fowler’s early life is enshrouded in legend. The most reliable reports indicate that he was born in 1806 in Madison County, Kentucky, to Thomas and Alethia Fowler. Almost nothing is known about his early life, but it appears that he arrived in the Arkansas Territory by the mid-1820s with little more than the clothes on his back. Parts of his legend say that the penniless Fowler actually walked from Memphis, Tennessee, to Little Rock with all his possessions …

Frauenthal, Max

Max Frauenthal, a German immigrant noted for bravery in the Civil War, established an important mercantile business in Conway (Faulkner County). He was later known as the “Father of Heber Springs and Cleburne County.” Max Frauenthal was born on November 11, 1836, in Marienthal, Bavaria, Germany. No definite records of his parents’ or any siblings’ names are available. According to family history, his grandfather was called simply Meyer until the early nineteenth century, when the enactment of the Napoleonic Code required European Jews to take surnames; Meyer took Frauenthal, the name of a town south of Vienna, Austria. Max Frauenthal was fifteen when he came to the United States, eventually settling in Brookhaven, Mississippi. At Summit, Mississippi, he enlisted in …

Frauenthal, Samuel

Samuel Frauenthal was a prominent lawyer and judge in Arkansas in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. With his appointment in 1909, he became the first person of the Jewish faith to serve on the Arkansas Supreme Court. Samuel Frauenthal was born on August 8, 1862, in Louisville, Kentucky. He was one of seven children of Jacob and Yetta Frauenthal, both of whom had been born in Bavaria, Germany. The family moved to Russellville, Kentucky, and Frauenthal received his early education in the Russellville schools. He then attended the local Bethel College, from which he received a BA in 1880. Following his graduation from Bethel, he pursued the study of law, although there are conflicting reports about whether he …

Freeman, George Washington

George Washington Freeman was an Episcopal clergyman who served from 1844 to 1858 as the second missionary bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas. He was the first bishop to reside in the state. His jurisdiction also included Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) and the Episcopal missions in the Republic of Texas. George Freeman was born on June 13, 1789, in Sandwich, Massachusetts, to a strict Congregationalist pastor, the Reverend Nathaniel Freeman, and his first wife, Tryphosa Colton. He was the youngest of their twelve children. His father claimed that Freeman completed reading the entire Bible between the ages of six and seven. Freeman married Ann Yates Gholson of Virginia in 1818, and they had three sons. He was acquainted early …