Entries - Race and Ethnicity: White - Starting with G

Gant, Glenn Rowlett

Glenn Gant was an important figure in the art history of Eureka Springs (Carroll County). He is best remembered for his paintings and pen-and-ink drawings that captured the unique essence of the architecture and culture of Eureka Springs during the last half of the twentieth century. Glenn Rowlett Gant was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on September 25, 1911, the son of Joseph Rowlett Gant and Phillippa Gant. His parents divorced shortly after his birth. Phillippa, a musician, relocated alone to Chicago, Illinois, while Joseph, a bank president, remained in Kansas City and married Mildred Stites. They had two more children: Elizabeth Lee and John (Jack) E. Gant. After his father’s death in 1925, Glenn lived with his aunt, Emma …

Gantt, Edward W.

Edward W. Gantt became one of southwestern Arkansas’s leading politicians in the Civil War era. He pushed for secession in 1860, led Confederate troops in 1861–1862, and then abruptly supported the Union from 1863 to 1865. He promoted radical social, economic, and political change during Reconstruction as he led the Freedmen’s Bureau and Radical Republicans in Arkansas. Edward W. Gantt was born in 1829, the son of George Gantt, a teacher and Baptist preacher, and Mary Elizabeth Williams. He decided to become a lawyer and attended the 1850 Nashville Convention, which considered secession during the crisis over California statehood. Hoping to find opportunities in the booming Southwest, he moved to Washington (Hempstead County) in 1854. The Sixth Judicial District elected …

Gardner, Virginia

Virginia Gardner was a journalist and left-wing activist. At one time a member of the Communist Party, she was also the author of a well-received biography of Louise Bryant, the wife of Russian Revolution chronicler John Reed. Although born in Oklahoma, Gardner spent most of her youth in Arkansas. Virginia Gardner was born on June 27, 1904, in Sallisaw, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). She was the youngest of three daughters born to Gertrude Boltswood Gardner and John Gardner, who was a banker. The family moved to Fort Smith (Sebastian County) when she was two. That same year, her father contracted tuberculosis. He was taken to Colorado for treatment, and he sometimes returned there in the summers. Gardner’s mother died when …

Garland, Augustus Hill

Augustus Hill Garland was the eleventh governor of Arkansas, a member of the Confederate Congress, a U.S. senator, and attorney general of the United States. As governor of Arkansas, Garland worked to get the state out of a tremendous debt and improve the state’s image. As the subject of the U.S. Supreme Court case Ex parte Garland, Garland is also a part of legal history, and Garland County is named for him. Augustus Garland was born on June 11, 1832, in Covington, Tennessee, to Rufus Garland and Barbara Hill Garland. He had an older brother, Rufus, and an older sister, Elizabeth. Garland’s father moved the family to Lost Prairie (Miller County), where he owned a store. He died when Garland …

Garner, Claud Wilton

Claud Wilton Garner was a man of many interests and talents. He began as a musician, became a merchant and an advocate for farmers, and, when he was fifty years old, began writing fiction. In addition to his interest in writing, he also composed a number of pieces of music. The sheet music for these compositions, along with the recordings, are located in the Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives in Washington (Hempstead County). Garner is remembered both as an Arkansas author and as a worker for farmers in Southwest Arkansas and in the Rio Grande Valley. Claud Garner was born in Hope (Hempstead County) on August 29, 1891, to Thomas Jefferson Garner and Ida Hope Haynes Garner. He had three sisters …

Garvan, Verna Cook

Verna Mary Cook Garvan was one of the first women in Arkansas to own a construction/manufacturing business and was the benefactor of what is now Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs (Garland County). Verna Cook was born on January 22, 1911, in Groveton, Texas, to Arthur Bacillius Cook and Essie Louise Bordis Cook. Verna Cook and her sister, Dorothy, were raised to be “proper ladies,” but Verna often accompanied her father to work and absorbed his business acumen. In 1916, her father moved the family to Malvern (Hot Spring County) to manage the Wisconsin and Arkansas Lumber Company, an enterprise producing oak and pine flooring. Malvern Brick and Tile was also purchased by Verna’s father, who later served as a …

Garver, Neal Bryant

Neal Bryant Garver arrived in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1918 to help provide engineering services for the construction of a munitions plant during World War I. As the Arkansas State Highway Department’s first bridge engineer, Garver also led the design of more than 2,000 bridges from 1921 to 1950, helping to modernize the state’s roadways by adding river crossings. In 1919, Garver started what became the state’s largest engineering firm, which began by providing structural engineering services for Little Rock High School (later called Little Rock Central High), North Little Rock High School, the Pulaski County Jail, and many other structures. Neal Garver was born on February 17, 1877, in Lee County, Iowa, near the Mississippi River, to the …

Gaston, James Albert (Jim)

Jim Gaston was a renowned Arkansas businessman, sportsman, and philanthropist whose legacy includes operating Gaston’s White River Resort, being an advocate for tourism and conservation in the state, and acting as a champion of education. His generosity contributed to significant growth at Arkansas State University–Mountain Home (ASUMH). James (Jim) Albert Gaston was born on December 18, 1941, to Albert (Al) Gaston and Iola Cosey Gaston in Herrin, Illinois. After moving to Arkansas, Al Gaston created Gaston’s White River Resort at Lakeview (Baxter County) in 1958. In 1961, at age twenty, Jim Gaston inherited the property, which at the time consisted of twenty acres, six small cottages, and six boats. Gaston expanded the operation significantly, until it covered 400 acres of land with …

Gates, Noah Putnam

Noah Putnam Gates was an important educator in Arkansas in the last few decades of the nineteenth century. He played a particularly influential role in the development of what became the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). Noah Putnam Gates was born on November 18, 1932, near Princeton, Kentucky, the son of Nathan Gates and Carolina Davidson Gates. His early education took place in a wide range of schools (predominantly church affiliated) located in Kentucky and Missouri. He attended Chapel Hill College in Chapel Hill, Missouri, and Princeton College in Princeton, Kentucky, before studying at Illinois Normal University and the University of Michigan. He did not receive a degree from any of these schools, but the board of …

Gatewood, Willard Badgett, Jr.

Willard Badgett Gatewood Jr. was a nationally recognized scholar and longtime professor of history at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). He also served briefly as chancellor of the university. Gatewood was the author of numerous books, most dealing with African-American and southern history. Willard B. Gatewood was born on February 23, 1931, on a farm on the Park Springs Road in Caswell County, North Carolina. His parents were Willard B. Gatewood, who was a tobacco farmer, and Bessie Pryor Gatewood; he had two brothers and four sisters. He received his BA, MA, and PhD in history at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. He began his college teaching career at East Tennessee State University in 1957, …

Gathings, Ezekiel Candler “Took”

Ezekiel Candler “Took” Gathings represented Arkansas’s First Congressional District for thirty years (1939–1969). Throughout this period, he championed the interests of the neo-plantation elite who dominated politics and society in that region and was one of a powerful bloc of conservative Southern Democrats who frequently fought against social reform legislation introduced by more liberal members of their party. “Took” Gathings was born the youngest of eight children of Melville W. Gathings and Virgie Garner Gathings on November 10, 1903, in Prairie, Mississippi. As an infant, his parents referred to him as “Sugar,” which his two-year-old brother pronounced “Tooker”; hence, the nickname that eventually supplanted his given name. His family later moved to Earle (Crittenden County), where he graduated from high …

Gause, Lucien Coatsworth

Lucien Coatsworth Gause was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the First District of Arkansas in the Forty-Fourth and Forty-Fifth Congresses, serving from 1875 to 1879. Lucien C. Gause was born near Wilmington, North Carolina, on December 25, 1836, to Samuel Sidney Gause and Elizabeth Ann Gause. The family, which included another son, moved to Lauderdale County, Tennessee, where Gause received his earliest education, studying with a private tutor. After graduating from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, he studied law at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee. After graduating from Cumberland, he was admitted to the bar and began to practice law in Arkansas at Jacksonport (Jackson County) in 1859. Gause was reputedly an excellent …

Gerard, Gil

Actor/producer Gil Gerard is best known for his role of Buck Rogers in the 1979 movie Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and the spin-off television series that followed. He was raised in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and attended Arkansas State Teachers College (now the University of Central Arkansas in Conway in Faulkner County), where he pursued a career in chemistry. Gil Gerard was born on January 23, 1943, in Little Rock, the youngest of three sons. He gave up a promising business career as an industrial chemist to pursue his dream of acting, leaving at the age of twenty-six for New York, where he attended the American Music and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) for two semesters. To make ends meet …

Gerig, William Lee

William Lee Gerig was a civil engineer working on railroads and dams in both the United States and abroad, including his service as chief engineer for the construction of the Panama Canal. By the end of his career, he had consulted on every dam built in the United States from 1923 to 1938. William Gerig was born on March 25, 1866, in Boone County, Missouri, the son of Swiss immigrants Francis Joseph and Carolyn Degan Gerig. William Gerig’s grandfather Degen came to America in the early eighteenth century to practice civil engineering. His father, Francis Joseph, assisted in the construction of the Suez Canal before settling in Missouri. As a young boy, the instruments that surveyors used fascinated Gerig, and …

Gerstäcker, Friedrich Wilhelm Christian

aka: Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Gerstaecker
aka: Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Gerstacker
Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Gerstäcker was a nineteenth-century author who wrote about social conditions in backwoods Arkansas before the Civil War. He visited the state from 1838 to 1842 for periods of up to eighteen months at a time. His writings—in the form of essays, short stories, and novels—provide insights into folkways, social conditions, popular religion, gender roles, and a host of other topics relating to backwoods life in Arkansas. Gerstäcker was born in Hamburg, Germany, on May 10, 1816. He and his younger sister moved frequently as children because their parents, Karl Friedrich Gerstäcker and Luise Frederike Gerstäcker, were opera singers who moved as their roles demanded. His father died in 1825 of tuberculosis. Overwhelmed with the twin burdens of …

Ghostley, Alice Margaret

Alice Ghostley was a film, stage, and television actress who was often described as looking “sweetly befuddled.” She most often played comedic roles, though she won Broadway’s Tony Award as best featured actress for her serious portrayal in the 1964 drama The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window. Ghostley’s distinctive face and quavering voice became known to millions for her comedic performance as a good witch/housekeeper in the television sitcom Bewitched in the 1960s and 1970s. From 1986 to 1993, she won new fans for her performance as eccentric family friend Bernice Clifton in the television series Designing Women, created by Arkansan Harry Thomason and his wife, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason. Alice Margaret Ghostley was born in Eve, Missouri, on August 14, 1923, …

Gibb, Frank Wooster

Frank W. Gibb was a prolific architect whose many designs include those of iconic Arkansas county courthouses and a pair of National Historic Landmarks. Frank Wooster Gibb was born on February 24, 1861, in Rutland, Vermont, to Edward Gibb and Isabella Emerson Gibb. The family moved to Chicago, Illinois, where the elder Gibb established a carriage-furnishings business, then to Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1871 when the business was destroyed in the great Chicago fire. Frank Gibb graduated from the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy (which eventually became the Missouri University of Science and Technology) at Rolla in 1881 and then returned to the Arkansas capital to establish a business as a mining consultant and assayer, becoming a member …

Gibson, Henry C.

Henry C. Gibson is credited with developing a box-style turkey call that eventually was called the Gibson Turkey Box. This unique call had the distinction of being the first box-style turkey call patented in the United States. The box and attached lids made realistic calls, and the device was easy to carry. Henry Gibson was born near Dardanelle (Yell County) on September 18, 1848. Little is known about his family and childhood. Gibson worked in a small drug store in Dardanelle when he was around twenty years old. On December 18, 1870, Gibson married Alice Hawkins. Together they raised three daughters and one son. Following his wife’s death, Gibson married Lettie Dodge on October 14, 1891, and they had one …

Gibson, Herbert Richard (H. R.)

Herbert Richard (H. R.) Gibson Sr. was the founder of Gibson Products Company, parent company of the once prominent discount retail store chain Gibson’s Discount Centers. At its peak in the mid-1970s, Gibson Products Company—founded in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in the 1930s—and its franchisees operated almost 700 stores located throughout much of the United States. H. R. Gibson was a modern discount retailing pioneer, entering the field in 1958, four years ahead of Kmart, Target, and Walmart Inc. As an early business rival of Sam Walton, Gibson influenced discounting and management practices that Walton later used to surpass Gibson and make Walmart Inc. the world’s largest retailer. H. R. Gibson was born near Berryville (Carroll County) on September 16, …

Gibson, Lorenzo

Early Arkansas, especially Little Rock (Pulaski County), benefited from contributions made by Lorenzo Gibson in the areas of medicine, law, business, and public service. He established a mercantile business in Little Rock in 1833, practiced medicine, and served as the state representative for Pulaski and Hot Spring counties. Lorenzo Gibson was born on May 27, 1804, to William R. Gibson and Fanny Gibson in Clarksville, Tennessee; he had one younger brother, William R. Gibson. Gibson moved from Tennessee to Little Rock in 1833 and established a mercantile business with his brother. Their store was located in a building that had just been built by Chester Ashley, a prominent Little Rock land speculator and, later, United States senator. In the May …

Gilbert, Cass

Cass Gilbert was one of the most famous and influential architects in American history. He designed numerous government buildings and public institutions that dot the American landscape, with the Arkansas State Capitol being among his earliest efforts. Cass Gilbert was born in Zanesville, Ohio, on November 24, 1859, to Samuel Gilbert and Elizabeth Wheeler Gilbert. He was named for his uncle, Lewis Cass, who served in the U.S. Senate, the Cabinet, and was the Democratic Party’s nominee for president in 1848. Gilbert’s family left Ohio for Minnesota when he was nine years old. His father died shortly after the move, leaving his mother to care for Cass and his siblings. However, she was committed to seeing that her children continue …

Gilbert, Ollie Eva Woody

Both a local and national celebrity, Ollie Eva Woody Gilbert, known popularly as Aunt Ollie, performed with Jimmy Driftwood, Woody Guthrie, and many other folk musicians who have come to define the voice of the Great Depression. Venues ranged from friends’ and family members’ front porches and living rooms in the Ozark Mountains to Cow Palace in San Francisco, California; the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee; and Madison Square Garden in New York City. The eighth of thirteen children of James (Jim) Franklin Woody and Mary Minerva Balentine Woody, Ollie Eva Woody was born on October 17, 1892, in the Hickory Grove area of Stone County. Shelearned to play the banjo at the age of five. Her instrument was made …

Gilchrist, Ellen

Winner of the 1984 National Book Award for Fiction for her collection of short stories, Victory Over Japan, Ellen Gilchrist has been declared “a national treasure” by the Washington Post for her various works, which at present constitute a collection of twenty-three books. She has received numerous other awards for her work, as well as a National Endowment for the Arts Grant in Fiction. A Mississippi native, she currently lives in Fayetteville (Washington County) and is a faculty member at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville. Gilchrist was born on February 20, 1935, near Vicksburg, Mississippi, the second child and only daughter of Aurora (Alford) and William Garth Gilchrist. Much of her young life was spent moving across the …

Giles, Janice Holt

Janice Holt Giles was a popular and prolific autobiographer and author of historical fiction, much of which addresses themes relating to the rural Appalachian foothills of south-central Kentucky, her adopted home state. Although never quite achieving the stature of literary contemporaries such as Marjorie Rawlings, Jesse Stuart, or Eudora Welty, she was, nevertheless, an accomplished and critically acclaimed writer whose books were frequent bestsellers. Janice Meredith Holt was born in Altus (Franklin County) on March 28, 1905. She was the second child of John Albert Holt and Lucy Elizabeth McGraw Holt, both of whom were educators. The Holts’ first child died at birth. Two other children, a daughter and son, were born in 1907 and 1910. Janice Meredith was to …

Gillem, Alvan Cullem

Alvan Gillem served as a general in the Union army during the Civil War and in the Fourth Military District, which included Arkansas, during Reconstruction. He was involved in the process of establishing and approving a new state constitution for Arkansas in 1868 so the state could be readmitted to the union. Alvan Cullem Gillem was born in Gainesboro, Tennessee, to a farming family on July 29, 1830. The son of Samuel and Ruth Gillem, Alvan had two brothers and a sister. At the age of seventeen, he received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Graduating in 1851 as the eleventh ranked student in the class, he received a commission as a second lieutenant in …

Gilliland, Charles Leon

Charles Leon Gilliland of Yellville (Marion County) died in combat at the age of seventeen and was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions in battle in the Korean War. Charles Gilliland was born on May 24, 1933, in the Colfax community (Baxter County) to Leon Carl Gilliland, a farmer and construction worker, and Evangeline Margarite Martin Gilliland, a nurse’s aide. Gilliland was the second of nine children and the oldest son. The family moved to neighboring Marion County when Gilliland was a teenager. A country boy who loved to hunt and fish, Gilliland was fascinated by the military and police work. He collected military-related photographs and articles from newspapers and magazines and wore surplus military fatigues …

Ginocchio, Frank Joseph

Frank Joseph Ginocchio was a Little Rock (Pulaski County) architect whose skills in supervision and in wartime construction shaped the development and expansion of Camp Pike (later renamed Camp Joseph T. Robinson) in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) during World War I and World War II. When his architectural firm merged with architect Charles Thompson’s practice in 1928, Ginocchio became part of the longest-lasting succession of architectural firms in Arkansas, now known as Cromwell Architects Engineers. During Ginocchio’s long career, many of the buildings he worked on were located in the Little Rock area, including the Hall Building, Forest Heights junior high school, M. M. Cohn department store, the Arkansas Arts Center, and the Governor’s Mansion. He also worked on …

Glascock, Darrell

Darrell Glascock was a well-known political consultant who was an active force in Arkansas politics in the 1980s and 1990s. He also ran for U.S. Congress and sought the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor of Arkansas. Darrell Glascock was born in Tullos, Louisiana, in 1946 to Ray and Louise Glascock. He was interested in politics at an early age, and friends recalled him campaigning on behalf of state Senator Speedy Long when he was fourteen. He graduated from Georgetown High School in nearby Georgetown; he attended Northeast Louisiana University, Northwestern State University, and Louisiana State University, but he did not earn a degree. Glascock married Kitty Lou Rambo in the 1960s, and the couple had two children, a son and …

Glaze, Thomas Arthur (Tom)

Thomas Arthur (Tom) Glaze was a lawyer whose crusade against election fraud in the 1960s and 1970s propelled him into politics and a thirty-year career as a trial and appellate judge. Fresh out of law school in 1964, Glaze went to work for an organization that investigated election fraud and irregularities—an organization secretly funded by Republican Winthrop Rockefeller. The experience consumed him and inspired the rest of his legal career. As a deputy attorney general in 1969, Glaze rewrote Arkansas election laws, although the Arkansas General Assembly drastically weakened his draft before enacting the reforms. He was a justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court for twenty-two years, retiring in 2008. He recounted his battles with what he called “vote thieves” …

Glosson, Lonnie Elonzo (Marvin)

Lonnie Elonzo Glosson popularized the harmonica nationwide and had a hand in several hit songs during a time when radio stations employed harmonica orchestras. From a young age, Glosson’s ability and versatility on the harmonica stood out. Lonnie Marvin Glosson was born the seventh of eleven children on February 14, 1908, in Judsonia (White County) to Cora Busby Glosson and George H. Glosson. He later changed his middle name to Elonzo because he did not like the uncle after whom he was named. Glosson’s mother taught him the harmonica after he earned money to buy the instrument by picking cotton: “She showed me how to play ‘Home Sweet Home,’ and I took it from there.” His father owned a boat …

Glover, D. D.

aka: David Delano Glover
David Delano “D. D.” Glover served in the Arkansas legislature (1909–1911), as prosecuting attorney of Arkansas’s Seventh Judicial Circuit (1913–1917), and as a Democratic representative to the U.S. Congress from Arkansas’s Sixth Congressional District (1929–1935). During Glover’s tenure in the Arkansas legislature, he chaired the Capitol Commission that oversaw the troubled completion of the Arkansas State Capitol building. D. D. Glover, the second of William H. Glover and Margaret Crowson Glover’s seven children, was born on January 18, 1868, in Prattsville (Grant County), where his parents owned a family farm. He attended schools in Prattsville and Sheridan (Grant County) and graduated from Sheridan High School in 1886. On December 24, 1891, Glover married Roberta Theodosia Quinn, whose father, Thomas W. …

Gober, Hershel Wayne

Hershel Wayne Gober is an Arkansas native who followed a career in the military with business and government positions. Gober held high-level posts in the Department of Veterans Affairs at both the state and national levels under President Bill Clinton. Hershel W. Gober was born on December 21, 1936, in Monticello (Drew County). One of eight children of Jimmie Price Gober and Wade Harvey Gober, he grew up in Monticello and attended the local public schools. He received his undergraduate degree from Alaska Methodist University (now Alaska Pacific University) in Anchorage. Gober married Olivia DeArmond on April 5, 1956, and they went on to have six children before the marriage ended in divorce. Following graduation from college, Gober joined the …

Goff, “Tuffy”

aka: Findley Norris Goff
Findley Norris Goff and his partner, Chet Lauck, created Lum and Abner, a radio program based on the people of Pine Ridge (Montgomery County). It was one of the longest running and most popular programs ever on radio, heard daily across the country from 1931 to 1955 and broadcast on Armed Forces Radio during World War II. The Pine Ridge partners also successfully transferred their Lum and Abner characters to movies. Norris Goff was born on May 30, 1906, to Rome and Dora Goff in Cove (Polk County). The family moved to Mena (Polk County) by 1911, where Rome Goff expanded his wholesale general merchandise warehouse business that served stores in several surrounding counties. Another prominent Mena family was the …

Good, Mary Lowe

Dr. Mary Lowe Good is a renowned chemist, industrial innovator, professor, and government leader. Good was the first woman in Arkansas to earn a PhD in the so-called hard sciences such as chemistry or physics (fellow Arkansan Margaret Pittman was awarded a PhD in bacteriology in 1929). Good was the first woman elected to the board of the American Chemical Society, and she held important U.S. government positions under the administrations of four presidents. Mary Lowe was born in Grapevine, Texas, on June 20, 1931. Her parents were Winnie Lowe, who was a teacher and librarian, and John Lowe, a school principal. In 1942, the family moved to Kirby, Arkansas, an unincorporated community in Pike County, later moving to Willisville …

Goodwin, Harvey Wilson

aka: Harvey Lee
Harvey Wilson Goodwin, who used the stage name Harvey Lee, was a gifted stage performer, singer, and internationally recognized female impersonator during the decades of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Harvey Wilson Goodwin was born on August 14, 1912, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Ernest Eugene Goodwin, who was a contractor, and Ella Lorena (Hicks) Goodwin, who was a homemaker; he had three siblings. His family apparently recognized and supported his early interest in the theater because his father reportedly arranged makeshift stages out of canvas and drapery material for Goodwin’s neighborhood theatrical performances. Goodwin attended elementary school in Little Rock, graduated from Little Rock High School in 1930, and briefly attended business school before he left for Washington …

Goodwin, William Shields

William Shields Goodwin was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Seventh District of Arkansas in the Sixty-Second through the Sixty-Sixth Congresses, serving from 1911 to 1921. William Shields Goodwin was born on May 2, 1866, in Warren (Bradley County) to Thomas Morrison Goodwin and Esther Shields Goodwin. He was educated in the local public schools before attending Farmers’ Academy in Duluth, Georgia; Cooledge’s Preparatory School; and Moore’s Business College in Atlanta. He also studied at both the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) and the University of Mississippi. He also studied the law and was admitted to the Arkansas bar in 1894, after which he opened a practice in Warren. He soon …

Gordon, Anderson

Anderson Gordon was a state legislator, Confederate officer, and participant in the Brooks-Baxter War. Anderson Gordon was born on February 13, 1820, in Maury County, Tennessee. The son of John Gordon and Nancy Tomlinson Gordon, he spent part of his childhood in Alabama and moved to Arkansas in 1839. The family settled about six miles north of Lewisburg (Conway County). When he was a child, his right hand was partially disabled due to a fever. Gordon engaged in a number of enterprises in Conway County, including store clerk, grocer, and farmer. He married Lydia Griffin on April 22, 1846, and the couple had ten children, three of whom survived to adulthood. In 1854, he obtained forty acres of land from …

Gordon, Nathan Green

Nathan Green Gordon was a naval pilot in World War II, Medal of Honor recipient, and lawyer. He served as lieutenant governor from 1947 to 1967, the longest tenure of one person in that office in Arkansas history. Nathan Gordon was born on September 4, 1916, in Morrilton (Conway County), the second of four children of Edward (Ed) Gordon Sr., a lawyer and one-time state representative, and Ada Ruth Gordon. Noted as “a boy who couldn’t pass up a challenge or a dare,” he showed excellence at a young age. Growing up in Morrilton, he attended public school through the tenth grade before finishing high school at Columbia Military Academy in Tennessee, where he played baseball and football and was …

Goss, Kay

Kay Goss is an author, educator, historian, lecturer, and emergency management official. Goss served as senior assistant for intergovernmental relations for two Arkansas governors (1982–1994) and was appointed associate director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), serving from 1994 to 2001. She also wrote the first full-scale biography of powerful U.S. congressman from Arkansas Wilbur D. Mills, published in 2012. Kay Gentry Collett, a native of Fayetteville (Washington County), was born on August 7, 1941. She majored in political science, public administration, and government, with a minor in history, at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville, graduating in 1963. She earned a master’s degree from UA in 1966 before embarking on doctoral studies in public administration at West …

Govan, Daniel Chevilette

Daniel Chevilette Govan participated in many of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War in Tennessee and elsehwere but lived into the twentieth century, following many career paths through his long life. Daniel C. Govan was born on July 4, 1827, in Northampton County, North Carolina, to Mary Govan and Andrew Govan, who served as a U.S. representative from South Carolina. In 1832, the family relocated to Marshall County, Mississippi, where the young Govan was raised. He received his primary education from private tutoring and then attended South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina). He left before graduating, for unknown reasons. Like thousands of other prospectors seeking their fortunes, Govan participated in the 1849 California gold rush alongside …

Gracen, Elizabeth Ward

aka: Grace Elizabeth Ward
Grace Elizabeth Ward was the 1981 Miss Arkansas and 1982 Miss America. When she began her acting career in 1987, she changed her name to “Elizabeth Ward Gracen,” because another Elizabeth Ward was already in the Screen Actors Guild. In 1992, she became the first former Miss America to appear on the cover of Playboy magazine and in a nude pictorial feature. Grace Elizabeth Ward was born on April 3, 1961, in Ozark (Franklin County) to Jimmy and Patricia Ward. Ward’s father was a supervisor at various poultry factories. Her mother was a registered nurse. She has a younger brother, Van Thomas Ward, and younger sister, Mary Margaret Ward. Ward graduated from Russellville High School in Russellville (Pope County) in …

Graham, David Crockett (D. C.)

  David Crockett (D. C.) Graham was a Baptist missionary and pioneer anthropologist in southwestern China. Over the course of almost four decades in Sichuan Province, Graham, through his publications and museum work, introduced to the English-speaking world the cultures of several little known peoples, and introduced modern archaeology in the region. D. C. Graham was born in Green Forest (Carroll County) on March 21, 1884, to the farming family of William Edward Graham and Elizabeth (Atchley) Graham; he was one of nine children, five of whom died young. After his mother died, the family moved to the Walla Walla, Washington, area when Graham was about four. He attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, where he was active in the Young …

Graham, Fred

Journalist Fred Graham was the dean of television news Supreme Court reporting in the 1970s and into the 1980s. Building upon his tenure as the U.S. Supreme Court reporter for the New York Times, and as law correspondent for CBS News, Graham pioneered television coverage of the nation’s highest court. Later, he became involved in the launch of cable television’s Court TV, where he continued to report and offer analysis of the American legal system and legal issues in the United States. Fred Graham was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on October 6, 1931, to Otis and Lois Graham. His family included an older sister and two younger brothers. He received his early education in Texarkana (Miller County) before …

Graham, Josephine Hutson

Josephine Hutson Graham was a prolific artist, educator, author, and folklorist of Arkansas’s White River culture and cuisine. She won many local, regional, and national art awards and held more than twenty one-woman shows throughout the South and Southwest, as well as shows in New York, Washington DC, and Dallas, Texas. Josephine Hutson was born in Newport (Jackson County) on April 12, 1915, to Thomas Hutson (a cotton broker) and Mary Bailey Hutson; she had one younger brother. After high school graduation in Newport, Graham attended the University of Texas for three years before transferring to the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). She earned a bachelor’s degree in English. She married Thomas Nathan Graham, a farmer and …

Graham, William Karr (Bill)

William Karr (Bill) Graham is best known as the longtime editorial cartoonist for the Arkansas Gazette. He also published a book of cartoons and had his work exhibited in the United States and abroad. Bill Graham was born on December 14, 1920, in Coshocton, Ohio, the only child of Lorenzo Karr Graham and Zola Jean McGinnis Graham. He received a BS in social science from Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1942, studying history and economics. He had no formal artistic training but was influenced by reading the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Columbus Dispatch, the Philadelphia Record, and the Sunday edition of the New York Times. He liked the cartoons in the Record and the reprints of editorial cartoons from …

Grant, Daniel

Daniel R. Grant became a prominent educator in the second half of the twentieth century. Like his father, he served as president of what is now Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) in Arkadelphia (Clark County). Daniel Ross Grant was born on August 18, 1923, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to James R. Grant and Grace Sowers Grant. He received his early education in Arkadelphia, where his father, after a five-year stint as president of what is now Arkansas Tech University, began serving as president of Ouachita Baptist when Grant was nine years old. Grant graduated with honors from Arkadelphia High School in 1941; with a major in history, he graduated from Ouachita Baptist in 1945. He earned an MA from the …

Graves, Lawrence Preston

Lawrence Preston Graves served as the second auxiliary Roman Catholic bishop for the Diocese of Little Rock, which encompasses the state of Arkansas. Graves was also the second native Arkansan to be elevated to the Catholic hierarchy. Lawrence Graves was born on May 4, 1916, in Texarkana (Miller County); his parents, Louis Graves and Agnes Fant Graves, were local grocers. They had two sons and two daughters. Raised in St. Edward’s Church in his hometown, he attended all twelve grades in the local parish school and was a member of the first graduating high school class. At eighteen, Graves entered St. John’s Seminary in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and, two years later, Bishop John B. Morris sent him to the …

Green, Benjamin William

Benjamin William Green was a soldier, planter, mill operator, real estate agent, and advocate for Confederate veterans. Raised in South Carolina, he fought in a Georgia unit during the Civil War. He moved to Arkansas after the war and later served as commander of the Arkansas Division of the United Confederate Veterans (UCV). Benjamin Green was born on September 7, 1846, in Darlington County, South Carolina, to Judge James Green and Sarah Ann Green. He was a descendant of John James, an officer of the American Revolution. Green’s father was a planter, who, according to the 1860 census, owned twenty slaves ranging from age three to eighty years of age. His father was too old to fight in the Civil …

Green, David Gordon

Director, writer, and producer David Gordon Green is a native Arkansan whose films have received many awards. Film critic Roger Ebert described him as “a director of tones, emotions, and moments of truth,” while New York Times film critic A. O. Scott has compared Green’s work with the writings of William Faulkner. Green’s films are generally coming-of-age tales set in small, rural Southern towns. Although born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on April 9, 1975, David Gordon Green was raised in Richardson, Texas, just outside of Dallas. He grew up as the son of medical school dean Gordon Green and Lamaze instructor Jeanne Green. At an early age, Green developed an admiration for nontraditional films such as Walkabout, Never Cry …

Greenberg, Paul

Journalist Paul Greenberg of Little Rock (Pulaski County) is a nationally recognized syndicated columnist and author whose writing appears in newspapers across the country. He was the longtime editor of the Pine Bluff Commercial’s editorial page, and, most recently, served as editorial page editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Greenberg won the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing and was later a Pulitzer finalist and Pulitzer jurist. Paul Greenberg was born on January 21, 1937, in Shreveport, Louisiana. His parents were Sarah Ackerman Greenberg and Ben Greenberg, owners of a second-hand shoe store and a series of small businesses on Texas Avenue in Shreveport. He had an older sister, Lillian, and an older brother, Irving. Living with his family above the …