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

New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811-1812

The New Madrid Earthquakes took place between December 1811 and April 1812 along an active fault line that extends roughly from Marked Tree (Poinsett County) in a northeasterly direction, crossing several states for about 150 miles. The earthquakes and aftershocks caused extensive damage throughout northeast Arkansas and southeast Missouri, altering the landscape, affecting settlement of the area, and leaving noticeable reminders that another huge earthquake could happen at any time. The town of New Madrid, Missouri, on the Mississippi River, was founded by Revolutionary War hero George Morgan in 1789. The town was named by Morgan in an attempt to ingratiate himself and receive a land grant from the King of Spain. Its later pronunciation placed the emphasis on the …

Newton House Museum

The Newton House Museum in El Dorado (Union County) was the home of John and Penelope Newton, early settlers of Union County. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on November 6, 1974. For many years, the home was referred to as the Rainey-Newton House, due to a misconception that El Dorado city founder Matthew Rainey had built the home. However, extensive research by one of John Newton’s descendants proved that Rainey sold city property to the Newtons, but the Newtons were the actual builders of the house. The Newton House was built circa 1849 in the Greek Revival style popular in the antebellum era. The house features many characteristics of Greek Revival vernacular architecture, including simplified …

Newton, Thomas Willoughby

Thomas Willoughby Newton was a Whig member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the First District of Arkansas in the Twenty-Ninth Congress, serving briefly in 1847. Newton County is named after him. Thomas W. Newton was born in Alexandria, Virginia, on January 18, 1804, to William Newton and Jane Stewart Newton. He received his early education in the local schools before moving to Arkansas in 1820. He settled in Little Rock (Pulaski County), where he became involved in the government, serving as the Secretary of the Council in the Territorial Legislature in 1823, 1825, 1827, and 1828. He also served as the local postmaster in 1824 as well as the clerk of courts of Pulaski County from 1825 …

Noland, Fent

aka: Charles Fenton Mercer (Fent) Noland
One of Arkansas’s most famous citizens during the antebellum period was Charles Fenton Mercer (Fent) Noland, a Batesville (Independence County) lawyer. He became a national figure as one of the leading “Southwestern humorists” with the regular publication of his letters in the New York Spirit of the Times, the leading national sports and humor newspaper. Noland was Arkansas’s representative in the literary movement named for the “old Southwest” (Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas), which delighted the nation with an array of bucolic frontier/agrarian writings. Fent Noland was named for Charles Fenton Mercer, the family friend who founded Aldie, Virginia, where he was born on August 23, 1810, the fourth of the five children of William and Catherine (Callender) Noland. His father …

Norristown Cemetery

The Norristown Cemetery is the last remnant of Norristown, an early settlement in Pope County. The earliest dated marker in the cemetery is from 1853 and the most recent from 1934. The cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 14, 1995. Norristown was designated the county seat in the early 1830s and served as such until the 1840 creation of Yell County from part of Pope County necessitated the movement of the seat to Dover (Pope County), a more central location. The town experienced two military engagements during the Civil War, the first on May 19, 1864, and the second on September 6, 1864. The town suffered a decline in population after construction of the …

Notrebe, Frederick

Frederick Notrebe was a prominent merchant, planter, and land speculator at Arkansas Post (Arkansas County). One of the wealthiest men in territorial and antebellum Arkansas, he operated a trading house, dealing mostly in furs and peltries. As one of the first cotton factors at Arkansas Post, he was instrumental in establishing cotton as a staple crop in territorial Arkansas. He is credited with founding the town of Napoleon (Desha County) at the mouth of the Arkansas River in the 1820s. He was also an early supporter of the State Bank branch at Arkansas Post, providing the lot on which it was built. Frederick Notrebe was born in 1780 (exact date not known) in France. Nothing is known about his parents …

Nuttall, Thomas

Thomas Nuttall, a preeminent and far-ranging field naturalist, participated in the early scientific exploration of Arkansas and is remembered both for identifying a number of the state’s plants and for his description of early Arkansas life. His notes on people living in the territory—both Native Americans and American settlers—have provided valuable information for historians and researchers ever since they were first published in 1821. Thomas Nuttall was born to James Nuttall and Margaret Hardacre Nuttall on January 5, 1786, in Long Preston, Yorkshire, England. He was the oldest of three siblings; he had two sisters, Susan (Susannah) and Elizabeth. He never married and had no children. After attending the village school, Nuttall worked as a journeyman printer for his uncle …