Entries - Time Period: Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood (1803 - 1860) - Starting with D

Danley, Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus Danley was a soldier, political activist, and newspaperman in the early days of Arkansas statehood. His adroit use of his newspaper, as well as his own political efforts, made him an often formidable opponent of the political dynasty known as “The Family,” a powerful group of Democrats who dominated Arkansas politics in the years between statehood and the Civil War. He also served as state auditor from 1849 to 1855. C. C. Danley was born on June 5, 1818, in the Missouri Territory. His father, James Danley, was an early pioneer in the Missouri and Arkansas territories. While Danley had at least two brothers and a sister, there appears to be no documentation concerning his mother. Danley set …

Dehahuit

Dehahuit, hereditary chief of the Kadohadacho Caddo community of Native Americans at the time of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, is remembered as an effective, respected leader of the Caddo during turbulent times. The Kadohadacho (kado-ha-dach’-o) were the most prominent of several Caddo groups that lived in villages along the Great Bend of the Red River in southwest Arkansas. These Caddo are believed to have lived on the Great Bend for more than 500 years before the Europeans arrived. They remained in this homeland until just before 1800, when disease and Osage raids forced them downstream into northwest Louisiana. Other Caddo viewed the Kadohadacho as descendants of the tribe’s most ancient and prominent ancestral community. Dehahuit was recognized as the …

Der Squire: Ein Bild aus den Hinterwalden Nordamerikas

Der Squire: Ein Bild aus den Hinterwalden Nordamerikas (The Squire: A Picture from the Backwoods of North America) by Albert von Halfern was published in 1857 by Hoffman and Campe of Hamburg, Germany. The novel presents the story of Squire Russel, a squatter (or pioneer) in western Arkansas near the Indian Territory. Von Halfern’s novel was never translated into English and therefore did not achieve the popularity in the United States that fellow German author Friedrich Gerstäcker’s novels did. Nevertheless, his description of western Arkansas in the early 1840s, like Gerstäcker’s work, offers insight into the daily experiences and the social life of Arkansas’s early settlers. Von Halfern, born about 1816, came to America in 1838, landing in New York …

Dickinson, Townsend

Townsend Dickinson was elected to the territorial legislature and served as prosecuting attorney for his territorial district. He was appointed U.S. Land Office Registrar of Batesville (Independence County) in 1833. He served as a delegate to the state constitutional convention in 1836. Following the convention, he was elected to the first Arkansas General Assembly, which soon made him one of three original members of the Arkansas Supreme Court. Little is known about Dickinson’s childhood, but it appears he was born in Yonkers, New York, in 1795. He was said to be a very polished and well-spoken scholar. In 1821, he moved from New York to Lawrence County, Arkansas. He then moved to Batesville, practicing law and dabbling in real estate. …

Doke, “Preacher”

aka: Nathaniel Mattox Doke
Nathaniel Mattox “Preacher” Doke was a Benton County pioneer, evangelist, entrepreneur, and benefactor. The Methodist exhorter “talked from his heels” in a sincere, convincing manner and was also a master carpenter, blacksmith, farmer, hunter, and fiddler. By the turn of the century, he had married for the third time and fathered a total of twenty-three children. Doke taught his children the same self-sufficient skills he had learned and encouraged them to improve their minds by reading as he had done. “Preacher” Doke was born on December 9, 1833, near Terre Haute in Washington County, Indiana, to Samuel Doke and Mary Mattox. To support the family, Nathaniel and his older brother William worked in a Terre Haute packing house and a …

Dover to Clarksville Road

The Dover to Clarksville Road is an early nineteenth-century road through what is now Pope and Johnson counties. A surviving segment of the road is significant for its connections with routes taken during the Indian Removals of the 1830s. That segment—located on Hickeytown Road east of U.S. Highway 64 near present-day Lamar (Johnson County)—was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 26, 2005. In March 1834, Lieutenant Joseph Whipple Harris left the eastern United States with a party of 125 Cherokee and set out for the Indian Territory, picking up hundreds of other emigrant Cherokee before crossing the Mississippi River and entering Arkansas. His detachment numbered more than 500, many of them ill with measles and other …

Drennen-Scott Historic Site

The Drennen-Scott Historic Site is the former home of pioneer John Drennen (1801–1855) and his descendants, who continuously occupied the Van Buren (Crawford County) house until its purchase by the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith (UAFS) in 2004. The site is significant in both state and national history. Drennen was co-founder of Van Buren, served as the Indian agent responsible for settlement payments to relocated Cherokee in Indian Territory (Drennen Roll), was a delegate from Crawford County during development of the 1836 constitution for Arkansas, and was a staunch supporter of the Whig Party. The site has undergone extensive reconstruction and development to serve the community as a museum and also as a classroom and lab for the Historical …

Drennen, John

John Drennen was a prominent businessman who is called the father of Van Buren (Crawford County). The home he built in Van Buren, now known as the Drennen-Scott House, serves as a museum interpreting local history and Drennen’s legacy. John Drennen was born to Thomas Drennen and Isabelle Moore Drennen on February 5, 1801, in Elizabeth, Pennsylvania. At a young age, he and his family moved to Potosi, Missouri. On March 21, 1826, in Potosi, he married Emily Rosanna Deaderick Stuart, widow of James Stuart; John and Emily Drennen had three daughters, one of whom died in childhood. Later in 1826, he moved to Tennessee and went into business with his brother-in-law David Thompson (the husband of Emily Drennen’s sister, …

Drew, Thomas Stevenson

Thomas Stevenson Drew was a peddler, schoolteacher, farmer, railroad speculator, and governor of Arkansas. He was the first person to be elected governor by a plurality instead of a majority and the only governor to resign his office because of personal financial difficulties. Thomas Drew was born in Wilson County, Tennessee, on August 25, 1802. He was the second of ten children born to Newton Drew and Sarah Maxwell Drew. He was raised on a farm and educated in a Tennessee common school. Drew moved to Arkansas in 1817, where he worked as an itinerant peddler and occasionally taught school. In October 1823, he was appointed clerk of the Clark County Court and, three months later, became justice of the peace of …

Duwali

aka: Bowl
aka: Bowles
Duwali, also known as The Bowl or Bowles due to the Quapaw meaning of his name, was leader of a group of Cherokee who lived briefly in Arkansas early in the territorial period, from about 1812 to 1818. His life story illustrates the fate of thousands of Native Americans from tribes and nations east of the Mississippi River who moved west to get away from economic and political turmoil long before the official Indian Removal events of the 1830s. These early groups had a significant impact on early territorial residents and on the Caddo, the Osage, and the Quapaw who lived, hunted, and claimed territorial rights in Arkansas when Euro-American settlers first arrived. Duwali was born about 1756 in the …

Dwight Mission

Dwight Mission near Russellville (Pope County) was the first formal Protestant effort directed at the education and conversion of Native Americans in Arkansas and was one of the first Protestant missions established west of the Mississippi. The mission was established in 1820 and operated in Arkansas until 1829. The mission had been requested by Western Cherokee Principal Chief Tahlonteskee in 1818, when he visited Brainerd Mission in Georgia, sponsored by the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions (ABCFM), a Presbyterian organization. The Western Cherokee was a diverse group whose previous generation had migrated into Arkansas while fleeing troubles in the Cherokee homeland at the southern end of the Appalachians, and some of the members thought it useful for their …