March 10, 1820
Arkansas’s first recorded duel took place. The smallest insult (real or imagined) might bring on a challenge to a duel. In this case, William Allen became fascinated with a sword-cane belonging to Robert Oden. He refused to return it to its owner, playfully forcing Oden to chase him to get it back. A challenge followed, and Allen was killed in Arkansas’s inaugural duel. Dueling was a popular means of settling disputes among the well-bred, higher-class population on the Arkansas frontier, and though it was considered part of the code of honor for a Southern gentleman, its popularity added to Arkansas’s reputation for violence that remained until well after the Civil War.