August 22, 1933
James Buel Lile, known as “The Arkansas Knifesmith,” was born in Russellville (Pope County). As one of the most accomplished and famous custom knife makers in American history, Lile is credited with putting American knife-making on the map. He carved his first fixed-blade knife from wood at age eight. After having attended college without finishing a degree, he worked successfully in several positions, including teaching and coaching at Pottsville High School and owning and operating construction and sporting goods businesses, before deciding in 1970 on knife-making as his full-time occupation. Lile made knives used by Sylvester Stallone in the Rambo movies and bowie knives presented to Governor Bill Clinton and Presidents Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford.