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

Palarm Bayou Pioneer Cemetery

The Palarm Bayou Pioneer Cemetery, located northeast of Arkansas Highway 365 and west of Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church near Morgan (Pulaski County), is the historic burial ground of the pioneering Wilson, Danley, and Boyle families, with its earliest interment dating to 1837. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 20, 2005. The Palarm Bayou Pioneer Cemetery contains ten marked burials and one depression that may contain an unmarked grave. Nine of the burials are bordered on the west side with a partially collapsed stone wall and contain the remains of the three pioneer families. The tenth burial is surrounded with an elaborate wrought-iron fence and holds the 1886 grave of neighbor John Ferguson. The cemetery …

Parker-Hickman Farm Historic District

The Parker-Hickman Farm Historic District is located four miles south of Jasper (Newton County) and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 11, 1987. It encompasses 195 acres and over a dozen buildings related to farming. Eight structures built from the 1850s to 1955 arranged roughly in a rectangle make up the intact farmstead. This exemplary cluster of barns, sheds, smokehouse, privy, and house represents a cross-section and range of rural vernacular architecture in the original location. The farmstead, which has remained in good condition, has been continuously occupied and maintained since the 1850s. Each of the eight farmstead structures was crafted of timber harvested locally using Appalachian-style design elements. These architectural elements include rough-sawn timber …

Pearson, John

John Pearson was a renowned gunsmith noted for his early work with Samuel Colt in developing the first working revolver. He later worked as a gunsmith in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Fort Smith (Sebastian County). John Pearson was born in England around 1811 and, by the 1830s, had immigrated to the United States, where he established himself as a tradesman and gunsmith in Baltimore, Maryland. He was operating there when Samuel Colt began developing his design for a revolving pistol that could fire multiple rounds before being reloaded. Colt worked with several contractors, but Pearson was his favored gunsmith and consultant, and Colt would bring him designs to build with hand tools and early machinery. As one biographer noted, …

Pennsylvania [Steamboat]

The Pennsylvania was a steamboat that burst a boiler and burned on the Mississippi River near Ship Island north of Helena (Phillips County) on June 13, 1858, resulting in the deaths of 160 passengers and crew members, including the younger brother of famed author Mark Twain. The Pennsylvania was a 486-ton sidewheel paddleboat. Its hull was constructed at Shousetown, Pennsylvania, and it was finished out at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1854. The Pennsylvania was 247 feet long and thirty-two feet wide with a 6.3-foot draft. It originally ran between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, Ohio, but in 1858 switched to runs between St. Louis, Missouri, and New Orleans, Louisiana. John Klinefelter was the steamboat’s captain. Samuel Clemens, who wrote under the pen name …

Persian [Steamboat]

The steamboat Persian suffered a deadly boiler explosion on the Mississippi River near Napoleon (Desha County) in 1840, costing the lives of thirty passengers and crew members. On the night of November 7, 1840, the steamboat Persian stopped near Napoleon to take on wood to fire its boilers. The vessel was about three miles below Napoleon when a boiler flue collapsed, releasing scalding steam and water that killed six people instantly and left dozens of others with dreadful injuries. The ship’s captain, described as “one of the best men of his vocation on the western water,” was asleep at the time of the accident. Several of the Persian’s firemen claimed that the pilot was drunk. A passenger on another vessel …

Phi Kappa Sigma Male College

Phi Kappa Sigma Male College opened on February 7, 1859, in Monticello (Drew County). The college was named after the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity and is possibly the only college in the country named after a fraternity. The Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity was founded in 1850, and James Willey Barrow graduated from Centenary College of Louisiana as one of its members in 1856. Barrow moved to Monticello and, in 1858, served as the president for the Monticello Male Academy. Barrow taught Latin, Greek, and mathematics with assistance from David Shelton, C. S. Tatum, and A. M. Scott at the Monticello Male Academy. In a letter to his brother, John C. Barrow, dated May 15, 1858, James Barrow stated that “my …

Phillips County Lynching of 1849

In early November 1849, two unidentified slaves were burned to death in Phillips County for allegedly murdering their owner, Henry Yerby. The exact date of the lynching is in doubt; some sources list the date of Yerby’s death as November 9, but the November 8 edition of the Arkansas State Democrat, quoting the Helena Shield, reported that Yerby was murdered “a few days since.” In the 1830s, Henry Yerby, a native of Virginia, received several land grants near Old Town Lake in Phillips County. On August 14, 1837, he married Emily Marion Dickson there, and he is listed in the 1840 census. He must have owned a number of slaves when he died; the slave schedule compiled in 1850 lists …

Pike-Roane Duel

aka: Roane-Pike Duel
The Pike-Roane Duel was fought in 1847 between Albert Pike and John Selden Roane. Albert Pike was originally a Bostonian who left the Northeast to explore the West and eventually ended up in Arkansas on an expedition. He decided to stay, practicing law and becoming a prominent Arkansan. John Selden Roane, born in Tennessee, moved to Arkansas to study law and eventually was elected governor. Both Pike and Roane fought in the Mexican War in the 1840s. Pike was so disappointed with the Arkansas regiment’s performance in the Battle of Buena Vista (including events leading to the battlefield death of former Arkansas governor and congressman Archibald Yell) that he wrote a letter on March 8, 1847, to the editor of …

Plum Bayou Log House

The Plum Bayou Log House is a unique structure placed in the heart of downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County). Originally located in Plum Bayou, a farming community in Scott (Pulaski and Lonoke counties) about ten miles southeast of Little Rock, this 1850s farmstead was moved to the grounds of what is now Historic Arkansas Museum in 1976. The cabin serves as an example of nineteenth-century farm life in rural Arkansas. The one-story cabin is composed of two units separated by a covered central hall or “dog trot,” a common architectural style. The structure is made from hewn cypress logs, and a two-room detached kitchen is connected to the house in an ell fashion. William Stith Pemberton was born on December …

Pocahontas [Steamboat]

The Pocahontas was a steamboat that ran between New Orleans, Louisiana, and cities along the Arkansas River. In 1852, the vessel suffered two fatal accidents, the second of which resulted in its destruction. The Pocahontas was a 397-ton sidewheel paddleboat that was constructed in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1849. By early 1852, the vessel was one of only three steamboats “running in the Arkansas river and New Orleans trade,” with Captain H. J. (or H. S.) Moore offering service to Little Rock (Pulaski County), Van Buren (Crawford County), Fort Smith (Sebastian County), and Fort Gibson, Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). The Pocahontas’s first accident occurred on March 14, 1852, as the steamboat left the woodyard at Hog Thief Bend on the Arkansas …

Point Remove (Conway County)

The designation of “Point Remove,” popularly employed to describe the confluence of Point Remove Creek in Conway County with the Arkansas River, is almost certainly derived from the French word remous, meaning “eddy” or “whirlpool.” Most instances of the term in early nineteenth-century documents follow this usage. However, the name “Point Remove” was later mistakenly connected to Indian Removal in Arkansas, supposedly marking the principal geographic point in the description of the boundary of Cherokee land in Arkansas, prior to the Cherokee population’s later relocation to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). William Lovely used the term “point remove byo,” the abbreviation “byo” meaning “bayou” and thus designating the creek, in a public document in 1813. In his book Journal of Travels …

Polk, Leonidas

Leonidas Polk was the first bishop in the Episcopal ministry to serve Arkansas, and he also served as a Confederate general during the Civil War. In addition, he was the second cousin of President James K. Polk and helped found the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. Leonidas Polk was born on April 10, 1806, in Raleigh, North Carolina, to William Polk, who served as an officer in the American Revolution and was a well-to-do planter in North Carolina, and Sarah Hawkins Polk; he had three brothers. Polk first attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1821 to 1823 but did not take a degree. In 1823, he received an appointment to the United States Military …

Pope-Noland Duel

The Pope-Noland Duel took place in Arkansas Territory in 1831 between William Fontaine Pope and Charles Fenton Mercer (Fent) Noland. Little is known about Pope other than that he was the nephew and secretary of territorial governor John Pope, who was a member of the Democratic Party during his tenure in Arkansas. Fent Noland originally hailed from Virginia and was the son of politician and plantation owner William Noland, who drafted Virginia’s anti-dueling law. As a young lawyer, Fent Noland was mentored by James Woodson Bates, who was the first Arkansas territorial representative to the U.S. Congress, and went on to become a well-known writer who regularly published in the New York–based Spirit of the Times. The political scene in …

Pope, John

John Pope served variously from 1798 to 1842 as a U.S. senator and congressional representative from Kentucky, secretary of state for Kentucky, and the third territorial governor of Arkansas. Initially affiliated with the Democratic-Republican Party, he joined the Whig Party in the 1830s. During his tenure as territorial governor, he worked to establish a legislative program to promote migration and economic development and to rid the region of its reputation as a violent and politically unstable frontier. John Pope was born in February 1770 (exact date not known) in Prince William County, Virginia, the eldest son of Colonel William and Penelope Edwards Pope. The Pope family moved near Louisville, Kentucky, in 1779 at the height of the American Revolution. After …

Potts, John Kirkbride

John Kirkbride Potts laid the groundwork for the founding of the town of Pottsville (Pope County). He patented 160 acres of land between Crow Mountain and the Arkansas River and later enlarged his holdings to 650 acres. His house, which served as a post office and railroad rest stop, was entered in the National Register of Historic Places on June 22, 1970, and is now a museum. John Potts was born in Pennsylvania on March 24, 1803, to Joshua Potts and Mary (Bunting) Potts. He had five siblings. The family moved from Pennsylvania to New Jersey in 1812. At age seventeen, Potts went west, traveling by wagon with two slave families to Wayne County, Missouri, where he met William Logan …

Pratt, Parley P. (Murder of)

Parley Parker Pratt, an original member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was murdered in Arkansas in 1857 and buried in the state, despite his wishes to be buried in Utah.The Van Buren (Crawford County) newspaper Arkansas Intelligencer, on May 15, 1857, deemed Pratt “a man of note among the Mormons.” While another notable event involving Mormons in Arkansas—the massacre of Arkansas emigrants four months later at Mountain Meadows, Utah—was formerly linked to Pratt’s murder in Arkansas, more recent inquiry suggests other circumstances may have ignited the violence at Mountain Meadows on September 11, 1857. Pratt was one of the key figures in the early Church leadership. Pratt’s writings, which include pamphlets, …

Public Land Surveys

The survey and division of the public lands that would make up the state of Arkansas was vitally important to the orderly settlement and development of the future territory and state. The modern survey system devised by the United States in the late 1700s provided the basis for subdividing the vast new lands acquired by the expanding nation into more identifiable, transferable tracts. Soon after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the U.S. government began the process of dividing the vast addition into smaller tracts, including the eventual survey and charting of nearly all of the newly acquired public land in the territory that would become Arkansas. That process in Arkansas would last nearly half a century. Prior to 1815, the …

Pyeatte-Mason Cemetery

The Pyeatte-Mason Cemetery is a small burial ground located in Maumelle (Pulaski County). It contains the graves of some of the early settlers of Crystal Hill, the first town in Pulaski County. The cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 7, 1996. The first settlers to the Crystal Hill area arrived in 1812. The Pyeatte and Carnahan families were originally from Alabama and arrived in Arkansas in 1811. After some time at Arkansas Post, the families continued up the Arkansas River and selected a site near Crystal Hill to build their homes. More settlers arrived over the next decade, and with the establishment of the Arkansas Territory in 1819, community members lobbied to have the …