Entries - Race and Ethnicity: White - Starting with T

Tabor, Ronald Dale

Since he was a child, Ronald Dale Tabor has been capturing the rustic scenery and the wildlife of the Ozarks on canvas. For most of his adult years, he painted without the use of his limbs. Tabor is a quadriplegic mouth-artist who taught himself to paint using his mouth after sustaining an injury in a near fatal car accident. He is one of the few Arkansans to gain membership in the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists of the United States (MFPA) and the International Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (IMFPA) based in Liechtenstein, Switzerland. Tabor is known for his realistic paintings of barns, wildlife, and the scenic outdoors of rural Arkansas. Dale Tabor was born in Harrison (Boone County) on …

Tackett, Boyd Anderson

Boyd Anderson Tackett was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Fourth District of Arkansas in the Eight-First and Eighty-Second Congresses, serving from 1949 to 1953. Boyd A. Tackett was born near Black Springs (Montgomery County) on May 9, 1911, to John Stark Tackett and Myrtle Sandlin Tackett. As a young boy, he moved with his family to Glenwood (Pike County). He attended Arkansas Polytechnic College (now Arkansas Tech University) in Russellville (Pope County) from 1930 to 1932, as well as Ouachita College (now Ouachita Baptist University) in Arkadelphia (Clark County) during the 1932–33 school year. He graduated from the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville (Washington County) in 1935. Later that same …

Talbot, John Michael

John Michael Talbot—the founder and leader of the Brothers and Sisters of Charity at the Little Portion Hermitage near Eureka Springs (Carroll County)—is one of the preeminent Catholic musicians in the world, with more than fifty albums to his name. He is also the founder of the Catholic Association of Musicians and the author of more than a dozen books on Christian meditations and music. John Michael Talbot was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on May 8, 1954, to Jamie Margaret (Cochran) Talbot and Richard Talbot. The family moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County) when Talbot was seven years old and then to Indianapolis, Indiana, two years later. Struggling to make friends in Indianapolis, the family started playing music as …

Talbot, William

William Talbot was a sailor aboard the USS Louisville who received a Medal of Honor for his handling of the vessel’s nine-inch cannon during the 1863 Battle of Arkansas Post. William Talbot (his Medal of Honor papers identify him as Talbott) was born in Liverpool, England, in 1814. At age sixteen, he immigrated to the United States, arriving at Bath, Maine, in August 1830. He got married on September 4, 1834, and he and his wife, Priscilla, would have five sons and a daughter. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States on July 7, 1848. In 1860, he was forty-six years old and worked as a rigger in West Bath, Sagadahoc County, Maine. Talbot apparently enlisted in the …

Tappan, James Camp

James Camp Tappan was a Confederate general, lawyer, and politician from Helena (Phillips County). He is best remembered for commanding a brigade of Brigadier General Thomas J. Churchill’s Arkansas Division. James Tappan was born on September 9, 1825, in Franklin, Tennessee, the son of Benjamin S. Tappan and Margaret Bell Camp Tappan. He was the oldest of thirteen children. He received his education at Exeter Academy in New Hampshire and Yale University in Connecticut, graduating in 1845. He then studied law in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and joined the bar of that state in 1846. In 1848, Tappan moved to Helena and began practicing law there and married his wife, Mary, in 1854. Tappan served a term in the Arkansas legislature as a …

Taylor, Charles Edward

Charles Edward Taylor, Progressive reform mayor of Little Rock (Pulaski County) from 1911 to 1919, brought a new sense of responsibility to city government and directed a wide range of reforms that transformed Little Rock from a nineteenth-century river town into a twentieth-century modern municipality. Charles Taylor was born on September 15, 1868, in Austin, Mississippi, the son of William Arbuckle and Mary Perkins Taylor. During the mid-1870s, the Taylors moved to eastern Arkansas, where W. A. Taylor died. The family then moved to Little Rock when Charles was around twelve. After attending Scott Street High School and taking a bookkeeping course at a local business school, Taylor went to work to help support his mother and sister. He clerked …

Taylor, Chester William

Chester William Taylor was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Sixth District of Arkansas in the Sixty-Seventh Congress, serving from 1921 to 1923. Chester W. Taylor was born in Verona, Mississippi, on July 16, 1883, to Samuel Mitchell Taylor and Mary Bell Taylor. The family moved to Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) in 1887, and Taylor received his early education in the public schools. Upon graduation from high school, he studied law at Georgetown University in Washington DC. Returning to Arkansas after completing his legal studies, he worked in the wholesale lumber business for a number of years. From there, he embarked on a career in state government, serving as deputy state auditor from 1908 …

Taylor, Samuel Mitchell

Samuel Mitchell Taylor was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Sixth District of Arkansas in the Sixty-Third through the Sixty-Sixth Congresses, serving from 1913 to 1921. The oldest of ten children, Samuel Mitchell Taylor was born on May 25, 1852, near Fulton, Mississippi. His parents were Louisa Keyes Taylor and Clark W. Taylor, owners of a large successful plantation near Fulton. With the Civil War affecting the family’s finances, Taylor received what education he could in the local public schools before pursuing the study of law. He was admitted to the state bar in Tupelo, Mississippi, where he started a practice in 1876. Initially, he was associated with Judge W. D. Jones in the …

Taylor, Zachary (Leadership of Fort Smith)

Prior to becoming the twelfth president of the United States, Colonel Zachary Taylor commanded the military at Fort Smith (Sebastian County) from 1841 until 1844. Taylor frequently clashed with local Arkansans who sought to preserve their access to the soldiers stationed at the fort who bought their whiskey and other goods. Most notably, locals resisted Taylor’s desires to cease the construction of the fort at Fort Smith as well as abandon nearby Fort Wayne in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). On May 1, 1841, Taylor was promoted from his military position in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to lead the Second Military Department at Fort Gibson (in present-day Oklahoma near the Arkansas border) and Fort Smith. Taylor’s promotion was opposed by locals who were …

Tebbetts, Jonas March

Jonas March Tebbetts of Fayetteville (Washington County) was a prominent lawyer, judge, and politician known for his abhorrence of slavery and support for the Union during the Civil War. His aid to Union forces led to his later arrest by Confederates, who condemned him to death. But fortuitous circumstances led to his freedom, and he lived a long life. Jonas M. Tebbetts was born on January 5, 1820, in Rochester, New Hampshire, one of five sons of Enoch Tebbetts and Anne Roberts Tebbetts. Tebbetts attended Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire. At sixteen, he was working as a marketing agent selling copies of The Family Expositor by English religious nonconformist Philip Doddridge. As a salesman, he traveled throughout New England, Pennsylvania, …

Templeton, Fay

Born into a theatrical family, Fay Templeton excelled on the legitimate and vaudeville stages for more than half a century. As an actress, singer, and comedian, she was a favorite headliner and heroine of popular theater. Fay Templeton was born on December 25, 1865, in Little Rock (Pulaski County), where her parents were starring with the Templeton Opera Company. John Templeton, Fay’s father, was a well-known Southern manager, comedian, and author. Helen Alice Vane, Fay’s mother, starred with her husband. At age three, Templeton, dressed as Cupid, sang fairy tale songs between the acts of her father’s plays. Gradually, she was incorporated into the productions as a bit player and then, at five, had actual lines to recite. At eight, …

Terral, Thomas Jefferson

Lawyer and politician Thomas Jefferson Terral served the state of Arkansas as a two-term secretary of state and a governor from 1925 to 1927. Terral used his governorship to push for economic reforms and stability. Thomas Jefferson Terral was born in Union Parish, Louisiana, on December 21, 1882, to George W. and Celia Terral. His father was a planter and merchant. Terral had numerous siblings. At the time of his death in 1946, two sisters and three brothers were living in Arkansas. Beginning his education at the University of Kentucky, Terral transferred to the law school at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). Graduating in 1910, Terral quickly entered the Arkansas bar, establishing a law practice in …

Terry, Adolphine Fletcher

Adolphine Fletcher Terry was a civic-minded woman from a prominent Little Rock (Pulaski County) family who used her position to improve schools and libraries, start a juvenile court system, provide affordable housing, promote the education of women and women’s rights, and challenge the racism of the Old South. Terry pushed for social change in the early years of the civil rights movement and may best be known as the leader of the Women’s Emergency Committee to Open Our Schools (WEC). Adolphine Fletcher was born on November 3, 1882, in Little Rock to John Gould Fletcher and Adolphine Krause Fletcher. Her father worked in the cotton business and in banking and served terms as sheriff of Pulaski County and city mayor. …

Terry, David Dickson

David Dickson Terry was a U.S. congressman for nine years. His most important contributions in that body were directed toward his home city of Little Rock (Pulaski County), where his family had a history of active involvement in political and community affairs. His work in the U.S. House of Representatives helped establish a series of Arkansas River dams. He is also remembered for his long association with local institutions such as the Little Rock Boys Club. Born in Little Rock on January 31, 1881, David D. Terry was the son of William Leake Terry, a lawyer and U.S. congressman, and Mollie C. Dickson Terry. He had two brothers, as well as a half sister born to his father’s second wife …

Terry, Seymour W.

Seymour W. Terry was an officer in the U.S. Army during World War II and a recipient of the Medal of Honor. An Arkansas native, Seymour W. Terry served as a first lieutenant in the 382nd Infantry Regiment, part of the Ninety-sixth Infantry Division. Seymour Terry was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on December 11, 1918. Terry attended the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) and was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Seymour Terry’s division, the Ninety-sixth, trained in Hawaii in 1944 before being deployed to the Philippines in October 1944. Following the campaign in the Philippines, Lieutenant Terry and his regiment participated in the Battle of Okinawa, during which he led an attack …

Terry, William Leake

William Leake Terry was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Fourth District of Arkansas from 1891 to 1901, beginning in the Fifty-Second Congress and extending through the Fifty-Sixth Congress. William L. Terry was born on September 27, 1850, near Wadesboro, North Carolina, to William Leake Terry and Mary Parsons Terry. Terry and his family moved to Tippah County, Mississippi, in 1857. After his mother’s death in 1861, he and his father moved to Pulaski County, Arkansas. Terry was orphaned by 1865 and became the ward of his uncle, Colonel Francis A. Terry, who provided for his education, first at Bingham’s Military Academy in North Carolina and then at Trinity College in North Carolina. He …

Thach, John Smith

John Smith Thach was one of the most influential naval aviators of the mid-twentieth century and is credited with the creation of the Thach Weave, one of the most significant tactical advances in the history of aerial combat. He was awarded the Navy Cross and Distinguished Service Medal for developing this tactical maneuver, which remains a standard of military aviation. Jimmie Thach was born on April 19, 1905, in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) to schoolteachers James H. Thach and Jo Bocage Thach. Thach followed in the footsteps of his brother James, Jr. (who also rose to the rank of admiral) and attended the United States Naval Academy. After his graduation in 1927, he took the traditional career path of the …

Thaden, Louise McPhetridge

Louise McPhetridge Thaden was an aviation pioneer and holder of numerous flight records during the late 1920s and 1930s. At one point, she was the most famous female American aviator only after Amelia Earhart. Louise McPhetridge was born in Bentonville (Benton County) on November 12, 1905, to Roy McPhetridge, a travelling Mentholatum salesman who taught Louise to hunt, fish, and fix a car, and Edna McPhetridge, a housewife. She had one sister. Raised on the family farm, McPhetridge discovered an early interest in aviation long before learning to fly. A ride in a plane with a barnstormer fuelled her desire to fly. After attending local public schools, McPhetridge attended the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) from 1922 …

Thanet, Octave

aka: Alice French
Alice French was a leading writer of local color stories and journalistic essays under the pseudonym Octave Thanet. Some of her best work is based on the years she spent at her winter home in Clover Bend (Lawrence County) in the Black River swamp country. French also published stories and essays in such national periodicals as the Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, Scribner’s Magazine, and Century Magazine. She prided herself on the accurate depiction not only of the physical setting of her stories but also of the customs and dialect of the characters in them. Alice French was born on March 19, 1850, in Andover, Massachusetts, to George Henry French and Frances Morton. The French family also included sons George, Morton, Nathaniel, and …

Thayer, John Milton

John Milton Thayer was a lawyer and politician. During the Civil War, he was a major general in the Union army who served extensively in Arkansas. A native of Massachusetts, Thayer is most associated with Nebraska, where he served as both a senator and governor and commanded troops from that state during the war. Thayer was born in Bellingham, Massachusetts, on January 24, 1820; he was the youngest of nine children. Thayer’s parents, Captain Elias Thayer and Ruthe Staples Thayer, owned a farm. Thayer worked as a school teacher before entering Brown University, from which he graduated in 1841. He married Mary Torrey Allen in 1842; they had six children. Joining the bar in Massachusetts the same year he graduated …

Thebom, Blanche

Blanche Thebom was a world-renowned operatic soprano, opera director, and educator. With her trademark six-foot-long hair, she was among the first American opera singers to have a highly successful international career, spending more than twenty years with the Metropolitan Opera in New York. She also appeared in Hollywood feature films. Thebom conducted a groundbreaking tour of the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. After retirement from the Met, she brought her talents to Arkansas when she taught and directed opera productions at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UA Little Rock) for almost a decade. The daughter of Swedish immigrants, Blanche Thebom was born in Monessen, Pennsylvania, on September 19, 1915. She was raised in Canton, …

Thibault, David

David Thibault was an agricultural agent and writer whose short stories appeared in popular national magazines. His early death cut short his career before he could accumulate a large body of significant work. Some of his best fiction draws characters, settings, and themes from plantation life in Arkansas in the early twentieth century. David Thibault was born on May 23, 1892, at Walnut Grove plantation east of Little Rock (Pulaski County). His parents were James Keatts Thibault, a farmer, and Corinne Laurie Gibson Thibault. He was the youngest of nine chlidren and was educated in the public schools of Little Rock. In 1915, Thibault married Irene Graeme Stockton, a high school English teacher. In 1917, they had a son, David …

Third Arkansas Light Artillery (CS)

aka: Jackson Light Artillery
The Third Arkansas Light Artillery was a Confederate unit that served in the Western Theater in a variety of roles throughout the Civil War. The battery that would come to be known as the Third Arkansas was organized at Jacksonport (Jackson County) on June 15, 1861, under the command of Captain George McCown. The unit was known as McCown’s Battery during its early existence. The battery joined two other Arkansas artillery units in a battalion under the command of Major Francis Shoup, and this unit transferred to Confederate service on July 25, 1861. McCown resigned his commission on July 17, and Second Lieutenant George Hubbard was elected to lead the battery.   The battalion moved to the east bank of …

Thirteenth Arkansas Infantry (CS)

The Thirteenth Arkansas Infantry was a regiment that served in the Confederate army during the American Civil War. Spending most of its service in the Western Theater, the regiment served for the duration of the war. The regiment organized on July 29, 1861, in Greene County with companies from Phillips, St. Francis, Poinsett, Lawrence, Greene, Crittenden, and Craighead counties. One company in the regiment was from Missouri. James Tappan was selected as the first colonel of the regiment. The regiment moved to Belmont, Missouri, and camped on the banks of the Mississippi River across from Columbus, Kentucky. The unit saw its first action at the Battle of Belmont on November 7, 1861, when Brigadier General Ulysses Grant attacked the camp. …

Thirty-Seventh (Bell’s) Arkansas Infantry (CS)

The Thirty-seventh Arkansas Infantry Regiment was a Confederate unit that served in the Trans-Mississippi Theater during the American Civil War. It was a volunteer regiment, as it was organized in March 1862, prior to the enactment of the 1862 Confederate Conscript Law. It was composed primarily of men from Ashley, White, Woodruff, Union, Dallas, Clark, and Benton counties. The original command staff consisted of Colonel Joseph C. Pleasants, Lieutenant Colonel John A. Geoghegan, and Major Samuel S. Bell. Initially referred to as the First Trans-Mississippi Infantry Regiment and designated as the Twenty-ninth Arkansas Infantry by the Confederate War Department, it was most commonly referred to as Pleasant’s [sic] Arkansas Infantry. After the Battle of Prairie Grove and reorganization of the …

Thomas, David Yancey

David Yancey Thomas was one of the most influential academic historians in the field of Arkansas history. He was a driving force in the re-establishment of the Arkansas Historical Association in 1941, was the first editor of theArkansas Historical Quarterly, was the chair of the Department of History at the University of Arkansas (UA)in Fayetteville (Washington County) for twenty-eight years, and was known nationally for his scholarly books and articles. David Thomas was born on January 19, 1872, to James Fuller and Eliza Ann (Ratliff) Thomas. He grew up on a farm in southwest Kentucky, near Hickman in Fulton County. He was the youngest of nine children. Thomas was a student at Marvin Training School in Clinton, Kentucky, from 1888 to 1890. …

Thomas, Henry Andrew “Heck”

Henry Andrew “Heck” Thomas became one of the best-known officers of the law in Arkansas and Indian Territory (later Oklahoma). His reputation as a fearless crime fighter stemmed from a determination to bring felons to justice and from the notorious characters he encountered. Tall and lean, with dark eyes and a mustache, Thomas was the image of the frontier lawman, usually attired in knee-high boots, corduroy trousers, and a flannel shirt. Thomas, and others like him, helped combat frontier criminals in order to make the region safe for settlers. Heck Thomas was born on January 6, 1850, in Oxford, Georgia, the last child of twelve of Martha Ann Fullwood Bedell Thomas and Lovick Pierce Thomas. He acquired the nickname “Heck” …

Thomas, John Orval

John Orval Thomas was a teacher, mentor, and role model for many television and film industry professionals in Arkansas. He worked as a sound engineer on major motion pictures, produced political campaign commercials, and had a variety of jobs in the television industry. Orval Thomas Jr. was born in Slocomb (Saline County) on November 25, 1919, to John Quincy Thomas Sr., who was a traveling preacher, and Eliza Eldridge Thomas. When Thomas was four, his parents started taking him on various “speaking engagements” of the revival circuit, where they would play one-reel silent movies in between his father’s sermons. When he was fourteen, Thomas took a job at a photography studio, the Deluxe Studio in Hot Springs (Garland County). There, …

Thomas, Ruth Harris

Ruth Harris Thomas was a highly regarded amateur ornithologist whose column on birding in Arkansas was published by the Arkansas Gazette for about forty years. Her column not only documented area birds, but it also contributed to a growing appreciation for birds, birding, and habitat conservation. Ruth Harris was born in Kentucky on August 25, 1900, to Charles O. Harris and Columbia B. Cox Harris. She had two brothers. Majoring in English and journalism, Harris graduated from Louisiana State University in 1923, where she also edited the student newspaper. She moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County) in the autumn of 1923 to work as a reporter for the Arkansas Gazette newspaper. In 1927, she married Maine native Stanley Powers Rowland …

Thomas, William

William H. Thomas, a native of Wynne (Cross County), was an American soldier in World War II who was awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry in battle against the Japanese in the Philippines. William H. Thomas was born in Wynne on January 13, 1923, to lumber mill worker John Thomas and Jessie Thomas. The Thomas family, which included two daughters and four other sons, apparently moved around the Arkansas Delta, as the family lived in Trumann (Poinsett County) in 1930 and in Brinkley (Monroe County) by the mid-1940s. William Thomas, who had worked as a farmer and timber worker, attempted to enlist in the U.S. Army in 1943 but was turned away because of a heart condition. He succeeded …

Thomason, Harry Z.

Harry Z. Thomason is a film and television producer best known for the television series Designing Women and for his friendship with Bill Clinton. Thomason made the casting of people of Southern heritage more popular, replacing the ignorant hillbilly type with a more wry, witty, sophisticated Southerner. Thomason was born in 1940 in Hampton (Calhoun County). After moving to Little Rock (Pulaski County), he became a high-school speech teacher and football coach. Beginning with Encounter with the Unknown (1973), he wrote, produced, and/or directed the movies The Great Lester Boggs (1974), So Sad about Gloria (1975), The Day It Came to Earth (1979), and Revenge of Bigfoot (1979). He then moved to television, where he produced the television movies A Shining Season …

Thompson, Charles Louis

Charles Louis Thompson was a highly prolific architect who created one of the most successful architectural practices in Arkansas during the late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries. His firm designed more than two thousand buildings, of which hundreds still exist today. Charles Thompson was born in November 1868 in Danville, Illinois, to James C. and Henrietta Lightner Thompson. He and his six siblings were orphaned when he was fourteen, and they moved to Indiana to live with relatives. He quit school at the age of fourteen and went to work in a mill to help support his brothers and sisters. During his extra hours, he worked for an architect named Hunt, who taught him drafting and exposed …

Thompson, David Aiken

David Aiken Thompson came to Arkansas as the Arkansas Territory was beginning to show rapid growth, attracting settlers from eastern states and offering opportunities for business and land speculation. Thompson became one of the largest land speculators in Arkansas. At the height of his operations, he reportedly either owned outright or had an interest in 150,000 acres of land in sixteen Arkansas counties. David Thompson was born on April 4, 1796, at New Castle, Delaware, to Dr. David Thompson and his second wife, Frances Aiken Thompson. His father died two months before he was born. His mother soon moved to Jonesboro, Tennessee. There, she met John McAlister, and they married on December 25, 1800. Thompson grew up in Jonesboro and …

Thompson, M. Jeff

Meriwether “Jeff” Thompson was a brigadier general in the Missouri State Guard who served and led troops in Arkansas during the Civil War, ultimately surrendering the troops in the northeastern part of the state in 1865 after earning a reputation as a wily commander. Meriwether Thompson was born on January 22, 1826, in Harpers Ferry, Virginia, the son of U.S. Army paymaster Captain Meriwether Thompson and Nancy Slaughter Broadus Thompson. As a youth, Thompson would skip school to accompany a black deliveryman named Jeff on his rounds, which led his family to begin calling him by that name. His friends soon followed suit, and after moving to Missouri in 1847 he had his name legally changed to M. Jeff Thompson. …

Thornton, Billy Bob

Billy Bob Thornton is an actor, director, screenwriter, and musician who began his film career in the late 1980s and has since starred in a number of popular and critically acclaimed films. He received an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Sling Blade (1996). Billy Bob Thornton was born on August 4, 1955, in Hot Springs (Garland County), the oldest son of high school basketball coach Billy Ray Thornton and Virginia Faulkner, a psychic. At seven months of age, he set the Clark County record for heaviest infant, at thirty pounds. He has two younger brothers, Jimmy Don and John David. Residing with over a dozen relatives in a shack with no electricity or plumbing, the Thorntons subsisted on …

Thornton, Raymond (Ray) Hoyt, Jr.

Law professor Raymond (Ray) Hoyt Thornton Jr. was an Arkansas entrepreneur, lawyer, attorney general, U.S. representative, university president, and Arkansas Supreme Court justice. Thornton also played a key role in fashioning the articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon concerning the Watergate cover-up. Ray Thornton was born on July 16, 1928, in Conway (Faulkner County), one of two children of Raymond Thornton Sr. of Sheridan (Grant County) and Wilma Elizabeth Stephens of Prattsville (Grant County). His parents attended Arkansas State Teachers College (now the University of Central Arkansas) and eventually returned to Sheridan to live; Thornton’s father served as superintendent of schools for Grant County, and his mother taught at Sheridan. Thornton graduated from high school in 1945 at age …

Three Guardsmen

The Three Guardsmen were three U.S. marshals based in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) who became famous for their effort to track down the Doolin Gang, also known as the Wild Bunch, in Oklahoma in the early 1890s. When the three accomplished lawmen teamed up in 1891, they spent the next five years pursuing the group, finally capturing gang leader Bill Doolin in January 1896, only to have him escape from the Guthrie Federal Prison less than six months later. They tracked him down again, but refusing to surrender, Doolin was killed in a shootout on August 25, 1896. The leader of the Three Guardsmen was Henry Andrew “Heck” Thomas, who was born in 1850 in Athens, Georgia. Thomas was joined …

Tillman, John Arthur

John Arthur Tillman was the last person executed by hanging in the state of Arkansas. Accused of murdering a girlfriend, Tillman insisted upon his innocence to the day of his death. John Arthur Tillman was born in January 1891, the third oldest of nine children of John Franklin Tillman, a farmer and cattle breeder, and Lennie Belle Townsell Tillman of Delaware (Logan County). His arrest in 1913 was connected to the March 10 disappearance of Amanda Stephens, age nineteen, who lived north of Delaware. Friends and neighbors said that the two were “seeing each other,” and Stephens left behind a note pinned to her pillow suggesting that she was running away. According to later newspaper reports, she had told friends …

Tillman, John Newton

John Newton Tillman was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Third District of Arkansas in the Sixty-Fourth through the Seventieth Congresses, serving from 1915 to 1929. John N. Tillman was born near Springfield, Missouri, on December 13, 1859, to Newton J. Tillman and Mary Mullins Tillman. The family moved to Arkansas when he was a child, and he attended the local common schools before graduating from the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) in 1880. Following graduation, Tillman taught school while also studying law. He read law in the office of Judge J. M. Pittman until Pittman was elected circuit court judge, at which point Tillman studied with local lawyers Holsinger and …

Tinker, Frank Glasgow

Frank Glasgow Tinker was a distinguished American mercenary pilot for forces of the Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939). A graduate of DeWitt High School and the Naval Academy, Tinker was the top American ace for the Republican Air Force during the Spanish Civil War. Frank Tinker was born on July 14, 1909, in Kaplan, Louisiana, the son of Frank Glasgow and Effie Tinker. He had two sisters. The family moved to DeWitt (Arkansas County) on July 3, 1924. Tinker graduated from high school in DeWitt in 1926 and, at the age of seventeen, joined the U.S. Navy. Tinker spent three years in the navy before receiving a prestigious appointment to the Naval Academy at Annapolis. After graduating …

Tomkievicz, Shirley Jean Abbott

aka: Shirley Abbott
Shirley Jean Abbott Tomkievicz, a magazine editor and writer, achieved her greatest fame for her three volumes of memoirs, which detail the story of her family history and her own coming of age in Hot Springs (Garland County): Womenfolks: Growing Up Down South (1983), The Bookmaker’s Daughter: A Memory Unbound (1991), and Love’s Apprentice: The Education of a Modern Woman (1998), all written under the name Shirley Abbott. Critics  lauded her books as well-written examinations, not only of her own life, but of the South in an age of transition. Even after becoming a resident of New York, Abbott continues to write about Arkansas for a wide audience in magazines and newspapers. She once commented, “I learned to respect and …

Tomlinson, James Albert “Ike”

James Albert “Ike” Tomlinson was responsible for the revival of the athletics program at Arkansas State University (ASU) after World War II. An athlete who coached five sports, he served as ASU’s head baseball coach for thirty-two years, also serving as athletic director for three decades. He was named Associated Press National Coach of the Year and was selected for induction into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. In 1993, ASU’s baseball complex, Tomlinson Stadium, was named in his honor. J. A. Tomlinson was born on November 17, 1910, to farmers Frank and Nora Tomlinson in Macon, Illinois. The youngest in his family of three brothers and one sister, he was nicknamed “Ike” as a child, and the childhood nickname …

Tomson, Dan Fraser

A native of Tennessee, Dan Fraser Tomson helped organize—and was a charter member of—the first local assembly (or lodge) of the Knights of Labor in Arkansas. He also served as a state organizer and lecturer and, eventually, as the Knights’ highest-ranking state officer. In addition, he edited a weekly newspaper, the Industrial Liberator, which served as the official organ of the Arkansas Knights of Labor, and he became a significant figure in the national Knights of Labor organization. He served in a variety of military- and government-related jobs throughout his life, including as a clerk in Washington DC, copying the Civil War records of Missouri soldiers; a staff member in the Missouri Senate; and a clerk in the Missouri adjutant …

Totten, James

James Totten was an officer in the U.S. Army and was the commander of the Little Rock Arsenal during the Arsenal Crisis of 1861. He later served in the Civil War, commanding units in both the Trans-Mississippi and Western theaters. James Totten was born on September 11, 1818, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His father, William E. Totten, was a doctor who later served at the Little Rock Arsenal and had a private practice; there is no information on Totten’s mother or siblings. He attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1841. Commissioned a second lieutenant, he was promoted to first lieutenant in 1847. In 1849–50, Totten served in Florida to help suppress the Seminole Indians. Totten was promoted …

Towbin, Eugene Jonas

Eugene Jonas Towbin moved to Arkansas in 1955 to work at the Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital. He was a pioneer in the field of geriatric medicine, and his influence brought the first Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) in the country to Arkansas. He was instrumental in obtaining funding for the John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and was one of the founders of the geriatrics program at what is now the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). He also supported cultural events and organizations in the Little Rock area. Eugene Towbin was born in New York City on September 18, 1918, to Russian Jewish immigrants Morris and Elena Towbin. He attended public …

Townsend, Wallace

Wallace Townsend was both a prominent lawyer and a prominent leader in the Arkansas Republican Party. Townsend was a leading member of the “lily-white” faction that helped alienate African Americans from the Grand Old Party (GOP). Wallace Townsend was born on August 20, 1882, in DeWitt, Iowa, the son of John R. Townsend and Italia James; he had a brother named A. E. “Jack” Townsend, who was the assistant postmaster in Little Rock (Pulaski County) for several decades. Townsend moved to Little Rock with his family in November 1894 and received his BA from Hendrix College in 1902, after which he entered the field of public education. His most noteworthy service as an educator was his tenure as principal of …

Townsend, William Cameron “Uncle Cam”

In June 1934, William Cameron Townsend, along with Leonard Livingston Legters, founded a linguistic training program for the purpose of promoting Bible translation among minority language groups. Named Camp Wycliffe, in honor of the first scholar to translate the entire Bible into English, John Wycliffe, the program was based in an old abandoned farmhouse near Sulphur Springs (Benton County). Camp Wycliffe would later become Wycliffe Bible Translators, the founding of which, as historian Dr. Mark Noll affirmed, “may stand symbolically for one of the great Christian events of the age.” Cameron Townsend was born on July 9, 1896, in a one-room farmhouse in Eastvale, California, the first son and fifth child of William Hammond, a poor tenant farmer, and Molly …

Trammell, Bobby Lee

Bobby Lee Trammell was known as a boisterous performer of boogie-woogie-flavored rockabilly music with such songs as “Arkansas Twist” and “You Mostest Girl.” He was later elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives and the Craighead County Quorum Court. Trammell’s high-energy music has been compared to that of fellow Arkansan Sonny Burgess, while his onstage antics drew comparisons to Jerry Lee Lewis. Bobby Lee Trammell was born on January 31, 1934, in Hergett, a small unincorporated community in Craighead County near Jonesboro. He was one of four children born to Wiley and Mae Trammell, who were cotton farmers. His parents were also musicians, with his father playing fiddle and his mother playing the church organ. Trammell was exposed to gospel …

Trapp, George Francis

George Francis Trapp was one of several architects active in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in the mid-twentieth century, a period of relative prosperity and growth that included much public and private building. Two qualities consistent throughout his career were sensitivity to siting (judging how a building’s design and material related to the site) and boldness in setting shapes against each other. George Trapp was born on March 20, 1900, in Chicago, Illinois, to Charles C. and Fanny Trapp. The family moved to Little Rock in 1914, and Trapp’s father worked for the Otis Elevator Company and the Big Rock Stone Company. Trapp’s interest in architecture might have been inspired by some of the new tall buildings in Little Rock, such …

Travis, Kathryne Bess Hail

Kathryne Bess Hail Travis was an artist and teacher who was especially known for her still-life paintings of flowers. For a three-year period in the late 1920s, she and her then-husband, artist Olin Travis, ran the Travis Ozark Summer Art School near Cass (Franklin County). Kathryne Bess Hail was born in Ozark (Franklin County) on February 6, 1894. She was the only child of Albert Eugene Hail, who owned a general store, and Maude (Brown) Hail. Her education was financed and closely supervised by a wealthy uncle, Oliver Brown. She studied art in high school and graduated with honors from Galloway College in Searcy (White County) in 1911. She briefly attended a girls’ school in Chicago, Illinois, before enrolling in …