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

Factory System

aka: Indian Trading Posts
aka: Indian Factory System
The Indian factory system was a system of trading posts created by an act of Congress in 1795 with the express intention of developing and maintaining Native American friendship and allegiance through government control of trade on the frontiers of the new nation. Within the present borders of the state of Arkansas, three factories were established for this purpose: Arkansas Post (1805–1810), Spadra Bayou (1817–1822), and Sulphur Fork (1818–1822). The United States took formal possession of Arkansas Post (Arkansas County) from Spanish authorities on March 23, 1804. An Indian factory (or trading post) was established in October 1805 with James B. Treat as factor (or chief trader). Most of the trade was directed to the local Quapaw. However, prior to the establishment …

Family, The [Political Dynasty]

“The Family”—or “The Dynasty”—was the name given to a powerful group of Democrats who dominated Arkansas politics in the years between statehood and the Civil War. The roots of the Family stretched back into the territorial period, when it coalesced around territorial delegate Henry Conway, the scion of a wealthy Tennessee family. In 1827, Conway was mortally wounded in a duel with Territorial Secretary Robert Crittenden, his former patron and the most powerful political figure in Arkansas in the territorial era. The killing of Conway exacerbated the schism in Arkansas politics between Crittenden and his supporters, who became the basis for the Whig Party in Arkansas, and the followers of the slain Conway, staunch Democrats and supporters of Andrew Jackson, …

Far West Seminary

In the mid-1840s, the Far West Seminary, a planned collegiate-level educational institution in northwest Arkansas, failed due to political and religious factionalism, economic hard times, and a major fire. However, the effort proved to be a seedbed for other northwest Arkansas educational endeavors prior to the Civil War that helped Fayetteville (Washington County) earn the nickname “the Athens of Arkansas.” After the state failed to use its federal seminary grant to create a state university, northwest Arkansas educators and promoters in 1840 began discussing the need for a facility for higher education. On August 12, 1843, a group of interested citizens gathered at the Mount Comfort Meeting House, located three miles northwest of Fayetteville. This meeting resulted in the creation …

Faulkner, Sandford C. “Sandy”

Sandford C. (Sandy) Faulkner is an iconic individual from Arkansas’s early statehood. Although he never held elective office, his political and economic activity made a significant contribution to the development of the young state. Moreover, Faulkner is largely responsible for the story of the “Arkansas Traveler,” which has shaped the image of Arkansas since the 1840s. Sandy Faulkner was born on March 3, most likely in 1803, in Scott County, Kentucky, to Nicholas Faulkner and Sally Fletcher Faulkner. Much confusion surrounds Faulkner’s early history; many sources spell his first name “Sanford,” and one researcher even suggests that at birth he was given the name “Sanderson.” The 1850 census appears to record his age as forty-four, suggesting that he was born …

Fayetteville Female Seminary

One of the most influential institutions in early Arkansas was the Fayetteville Female Seminary in Fayetteville (Washington County), which provided a quality education for girls throughout the region in a time when most women received little, if any, schooling. It also accepted both Cherokee and white students in an era when the “mixing of the races” was discouraged. Though it was only in existence from 1839 through 1862, the Fayetteville Female Seminary is often cited as one of the factors leading to the location of the state’s land-grant university, the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville. The Fayetteville Female Seminary was created by Sophia Sawyer of Rindge, New Hampshire. She went to Georgia 1823 as a missionary to the Cherokee through …

Fayetteville Polka

“The Fayetteville Polka” was written by Austrian immigrant Ferdinand Zellner in honor of his adopted hometown of Fayetteville (Washington County). It was accepted for publication in 1856, becoming what is said to be the first published piece of sheet music by an Arkansan. Ferdinand Zellner came to the United States in 1850, when the showman P. T. Barnum brought Swedish soprano Jenny Lind from Europe to the United States on a concert tour that ran through 1852. Called the “Swedish Nightingale,” she was one of the greatest coloratura sopranos of the nineteenth century, possessing a voice of outstanding range and quality. Zellner, a young Austrian violinist, accompanied her on her prestigious U.S. tour. At the end of Lind’s U.S. tour …

Featherstonhaugh, George William

George William Featherstonhaugh (pronounced “Fanshaw”) was the first U.S. government geologist. In 1834, the War Department appointed him to make a geological survey of Arkansas. He later conducted geological surveys of Wisconsin, Illinois, Georgia, and the Carolinas. His importance to Arkansas goes beyond his work as a geologist, for he was one of the first to leave behind an accurate record of life in the early Arkansas Territory. Born in London, England, on April 9, 1780, to George and Dorothy Simpson Featherstonhaugh, George William Featherstonhaugh grew up at Scarborough, an ancient city on the North Sea 221 miles from London and forty-three from York. Featherstonhaugh spent much of his childhood climbing over the cliffs, gathering sea bird eggs to sell …

Feild, William Hume “Rush” Sr.

William Hume “Rush” Feild Sr. was elected in the state’s first popular-vote election for circuit court. He was also a member of the Democratic Party and active in state politics. Rush Feild was born on July 10, 1796, in Brunswick, Virginia. (The origin of the nickname “Rush” is unknown.) He was the only son of James Feild and Henrietta Maria Anderson Feild. He studied law at Hampden-Sydney College and the College of William and Mary. By 1821, he was living in Pulaski, Tennessee. He married Mary Amanda Flournoy four months after her sixteenth birthday. He practiced law there and, at the first sitting of the chancery county court in 1832, was the second-longest-serving lawyer. He served one term in the …

Ficklin-Imboden Log House

The Ficklin-Imboden Log House, located in Powhatan (Lawrence Country), is considered the earliest house representing residential construction and architecture still standing in the twenty-first century in Powhatan. John A. Lindsay divided land in Powhatan into lots when the town was platted in 1849. The year before, Andrew Imboden married Lusinda E. Ficklin, niece of John Ficklin, who is credited with founding Powhatan. The newlyweds bought the lot where the log home would soon stand. The house is believed to have been constructed sometime between 1850 and 1853. The Ficklin-Imboden Log House location influenced the development of Powhatan. As imports and shipping on the Black River increased, jobs associated with lumber, trade, gristmills, farming, pearling, and fishing also emerged and attracted …

Flanagin Law Office

The Flanagin Law Office is located at 320 Clay Street in Arkadelphia (Clark County), across the street from the Clark County Courthouse. The building was finished by 1858 and added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 22, 1977. The office is named for Harris Flanagin, governor of Arkansas from 1862 to 1864. A New Jersey native, Flanagin moved to Arkansas from Illinois. Settling in the Clark County seat of Greenville, Flanagin moved to Arkadelphia when it became the county seat in 1842. The same year, he was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives, and in 1848 he was elected to the Arkansas Senate. In 1851, he married Martha Nash of Washington (Hempstead County). Sometime in that …

Fort Smith Council

The gathering of Native Americans, Arkansas territorial officials, and U.S. government representatives held in 1822 at the confluence of the Poteau and Arkansas rivers—the event commonly referred to as the Fort Smith Council—was a laudable effort to establish amicable relations between Osage and Cherokee who were engaged in hostile actions that disrupted a large portion of the frontier region. The event actually had only limited success, but the face-to-face meeting of both Indian and territorial leaders, a rare event in territorial Arkansas, has become a popular fixture in stories about Arkansas’s early history. When several bands of Cherokee settled along the Arkansas River upstream of Point Remove Creek in the spring of 1812, they established their communities in a nearly …

Fort Smith National Cemetery

The Fort Smith National Cemetery is the oldest original cemetery of the state’s three national cemeteries. The other two are in Fayetteville (Washington County) and Little Rock (Pulaski County). At the end of fiscal year 2005, there were 13,127 interments. The first recorded burial was that of surgeon Thomas Russell. He was a War of 1812 veteran who was with the original company of riflemen who landed on December 25, 1817, at Fort Smith (Sebastian County). He died there on August 24, 1819. The cemetery originally served as the post cemetery for the first Fort Smith. While the first recorded burial took place in 1819, by 1823, roughly twenty-five percent of the men at Fort Smith had died. This was …

Fort Smith to Jackson Road

The Fort Smith to Jackson Road was one of several “military roads” the U.S. Congress funded during the 1830s to improve transportation in territorial Arkansas. A Baxter County segment of the road over which the John Benge detachment of Cherokee traveled in 1838 during the Trail of Tears was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 22, 2004. On November 1, 1833, the Arkansas Territorial Assembly petitioned Congress to finance a road across northern Arkansas on the grounds that in “an immense extent of country, situated in the upper waters of White River comprising the counties of Lawrence, Izard and Washington, there is no great public road leading through any portion thereof [and the petitioners] would therefore suggest …

Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne was originally built in 1838 near the Arkansas-Oklahoma border for the defense of northwestern Arkansas and the Indian Territory to the west. In 1840, the fort was moved north to a spot about three miles southwest of present-day Maysville (Benton County). Although it was not in Arkansas, Fort Wayne played an important role in Arkansas-Cherokee relations following Indian Removal. After the Cherokee had settled in Indian Territory, political disagreements led to a three-way splintering of the Cherokee people: the Old Settlers who had moved west before the 1835 Treaty of New Echota was signed; the followers of John Ridge, who signed the treaty; and the followers of Chief John Ross, who had opposed the treaty outright. Fort Wayne …

Fowler House

aka: Absalom Fowler House
The Absalom Fowler House, located at 502 East Seventh Street, is one of the few remaining antebellum houses in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in the twenty-first century. Constructed in 1840, it served as a private residence until 1923, when it was sold to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Little Rock. Due to its distinctive Greek Revival–style architecture and unique design, the house was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 4, 1973. Is also part of the MacArthur Park Historic District. In 1976, the Absalom Fowler House became the centerpiece of the Flower Square apartment complex. The exteriors of both the house and the detached kitchen remain relatively unaltered from their original state. Due to its state …

Fowler, Absalom

Absalom Fowler was a prominent attorney and government official in early Arkansas. He was a leading figure in the transition of the area from territory to state, while also playing a major role in the development of Little Rock (Pulaski County). Absalom Fowler’s early life is enshrouded in legend. The most reliable reports indicate that he was born in 1806 in Madison County, Kentucky, to Thomas and Alethia Fowler. Almost nothing is known about his early life, but it appears that he arrived in the Arkansas Territory by the mid-1820s with little more than the clothes on his back. Parts of his legend say that the penniless Fowler actually walked from Memphis, Tennessee, to Little Rock with all his possessions …

Free Blacks

aka: Free Negroes
The terms “Free blacks” or “Free Negroes” refer to people of African descent in the United States who were neither enslaved nor subject to the ownership of another person prior to the Civil War, after which slavery was abolished. Blacks were first documented as coming to Arkansas in the eighteenth century when the French brought slaves with them, and white American settlers in the following decade continued the practice of slavery. Other blacks passed through the region with Native Americans during the period of Indian Removal, both as free blacks and as slaves. Free blacks seem to have first appeared in Arkansas in 1803, when officials at Arkansas Post recorded 107 slaves and two free blacks in the state. By …

Freeman and Custis Red River Expedition

aka: Freeman Red River Expedition
aka: The Grand Excursion
Perhaps the most forgotten expedition to explore the southwest territory of the Louisiana Purchase was the ill-fated 1806 journey by Thomas Freeman and Peter Custis, initially labeled “The Great Excursion” by President Thomas Jefferson, who wanted the endeavor to chart and explore both the Red and Arkansas rivers. In the end, Freeman and Custis were tasked to ascend the Red River in search of its headwaters, along the way documenting coordinates, climate, and ecological findings. The expedition would pass through the southwest corner of what would become Arkansas and its borders with Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. In selecting a civilian leader, the president designated Thomas Freeman, a 1784 Irish immigrant and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, surveyor. Although he had no field experience, …

Freeman, George Washington

George Washington Freeman was an Episcopal clergyman who served from 1844 to 1858 as the second missionary bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas. He was the first bishop to reside in the state. His jurisdiction also included Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) and the Episcopal missions in the Republic of Texas. George Freeman was born on June 13, 1789, in Sandwich, Massachusetts, to a strict Congregationalist pastor, the Reverend Nathaniel Freeman, and his first wife, Tryphosa Colton. He was the youngest of their twelve children. His father claimed that Freeman completed reading the entire Bible between the ages of six and seven. Freeman married Ann Yates Gholson of Virginia in 1818, and they had three sons. He was acquainted early …

Fulton, William Savin

William Savin Fulton was appointed Arkansas’s last territorial governor by President Andrew Jackson in 1835 and served as Arkansas’s first junior senator after statehood in 1836 until his death on August 15, 1844. He is most often associated with the Democratic Party, and when serving as governor, he surrounded himself with controversy by opposing immediate statehood for Arkansas. William Fulton was born in Cecil County, Maryland, on June 2, 1795. His parents were Irish-born David and Maryland native Elizabeth Fulton. Owing to his mother’s wealth, Fulton was provided with a formal education under Reverend Samuel Knox in 1803, and he attended Baltimore College in 1813 before practicing law in 1817. Between his education and law career, Fulton served as a …