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

Randolph, Meriwether Lewis

Meriwether Lewis Randolph, a grandson of Thomas Jefferson and friend of Andrew Jackson, served as the last secretary of the Arkansas Territory. Despite his strong connections with many influential families in Virginia, as well as intimate friendships with numerous U.S. presidents, he chose to settle on the Arkansas frontier. He obtained thousands of acres of land in Clark County with the intent of establishing a plantation and making his residence there. His education, family, and social ties offered great promise to the new state, but his contributions were cut short by an early death. Some sources have Randolph’s birth date as January 10, 1810. His father, Thomas Mann Randolph, was a member of a prominent Virginia family and served as …

Rector, Elias

Elias Rector was appointed U.S. marshal for the Territory of Arkansas later served as superintendent of Indian Affairs. During the Civil War, he sought to make treaties with Native American tribes on behalf of the Confederacy. Rector was the subject of the poem “The Fine Arkansas Gentleman, Close to the Choctaw Line,” written by his friend Albert Pike. Elias Rector was born on September 28, 1802, in Fauquier County, Virginia. He was the youngest of nine sons born to Wharton Rector and Mary Vance Rector, who was a native of North Carolina. Soon after his birth, the family moved to Illinois, where Elias Rector spent the early part of his youth. The family relocated again, this time to St. Louis, …

Rice-Upshaw House

The Rice-Upshaw House stands on its original site in the Eleven Point River valley near the rural community of Dalton in northwestern Randolph County. Known locally as “Reuben Rice’s,” it was constructed in 1828 by merchant and artisan Reuben Rice to serve as a store and loom house for his 1820s rural trading center. Standing near the Rice-Upshaw House is a 1820s granary. These three structures are among the oldest structures of these kind in the state and represent the state’s only surviving example of a rural trading center. Reuben Rice arrived in the valley in 1812 by wagon train as part of an inter-connected group of Anglo-American farmers with their few slaves. Settling approximately one mile from Rice and …

Ridge, Sarah Bird Northrup

Sarah Northrup Ridge, who married Cherokee leader John Ridge, was part of the forced removal of the Cherokee, culminating in the notorious Trail of Tears. Settling in Fayetteville (Washington County) after the murder of her husband, she was instrumental in establishing the town’s reputation as an educational center. Sarah Bird Northrup was born on December 7, 1804, in Cornwall, Connecticut, to Lydia Camp Northrup and John Prout Northrup, steward of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions School in Cornwall, which accepted Cherokee students. The Cherokee, primarily from Georgia, were assimilating in many cases into the white population. By the early 1800s, the Cherokee adopted Christianity, were residing in the same kinds of homes as the whites, raised the …

Ringo, Daniel

Daniel Ringo was the first chief justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court and helped to develop the foundation for the state’s legal system. Daniel Ringo was born on October 27, 1803, in Cross Plains, Kentucky, but little else is known about his life prior to his arrival in Arkansas. Ringo came to Arkansas in 1820, settling first in Batesville (Independence County) and then moving on to Clark County, where he served as a deputy clerk of the district court. He was elected clerk in 1825 and served most of three terms. He studied the law throughout this time and was admitted to the bar in 1830, at which time he moved to Hempstead County, where he established a partnership with …

Roane, John Selden

John Selden Roane was a lawyer, planter, soldier, and governor of Arkansas. He is best known for his service in the Mexican War and his efforts to deal with the state’s financial crisis following the failure of its banking system. John Roane, the son of storekeeper and slaveholder Hugh Roane and Hannah (Calhoun) Roane, was born in Lebanon, Tennessee, on January 8, 1817. He was part of a prominent political family, and his uncle Archibald Roane served as governor of Tennessee from 1801 to 1803. John Roane was educated in a Tennessee common school and later attended Cumberland College in Princeton, Kentucky. Roane moved to Arkansas in 1837 and settled in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), where he studied law under his …

Rob Roy [Steamboat]

The Rob Roy was a steamboat plying the route between Louisville, Kentucky, and New Orleans, Louisiana, when it suffered a fatal boiler explosion near Columbia (Chicot County) in 1836. This was not the first deadly accident involving the Rob Roy’s boilers. On July 19, 1835, the steamboat was approaching the shore to drop off a passenger about fifteen miles above New Madrid, Missouri, when it hit an underwater snag. The collision raised the Rob Roy’s bow several feet above the surface of the Mississippi River, causing a connecting pipe to break in two places and the boilers’ contents to spill out, scalding several deck passengers. At least four people died from the scalding, and three who jumped overboard to escape …

Rockport Cemetery

Established in 1851 and expanded for the first time around 1900, the Rockport Cemetery is the oldest burial ground in the Hot Spring County town of Rockport. The oldest sections of the cemetery were added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 28, 2002. The first settlers in the Rockport area arrived by the 1820s. A post office serving the community opened in 1837, and the settlement became the county seat in 1846. Never a large town, the community did have several churches, stores, and law offices by 1850. Some sources report that land for the establishment of a cemetery was given by John A. Miller in 1851. This is unlikely, as Miller was only fifteen years old …

Rosedale Plantation Barn

The Rosedale Plantation Barn is a hand-hewn log barn located near Arkadelphia (Clark County). Constructed around 1860, it is the largest known log barn in Clark County and possibly the state. It was moved from its original location southeast of Arkadelphia in 2002 and reassembled in its current location north of the city. The barn was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 2004. Rosedale Plantation was built by Joseph Allen Whitaker, who arrived in Clark County around 1855. Purchasing land in Manchester Township, which belonged to both Dallas and Clark counties during its history, Whitaker hired a number of carpenters to follow the plans by architect Madison Griffin. Along with a plantation house, a brick …

Ross, Quatie

Elizabeth “Quatie” Ross was the first wife of Cherokee chief John Ross. In local folklore, she is best known for giving her blanket to a sick child while traveling through Arkansas on the Trail of Tears, after which she died of pneumonia. Despite almost no evidence to support it, the legend of Quatie Ross has endured since the 1890s. Today, frequent visitors leave rocks, coins, and other gifts on her gravestone at Mount Holly Cemetery in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Elizabeth Brown was born in the Old Cherokee Nation in modern-day Georgia in 1791 to Thomas Brown and Elizabeth Martin. Not much is known about her childhood. She married and had a child with a man named Robert Henley; after …

Rowland-Lenz House

The Rowland-Lenz House, located northeast of Benton (Saline County) on Highway 5, was listed on the National Register of Historic Properties on February 11, 2004. Originally built as a two-story dog-trot log house, its late nineteenth-century modifications make it an interesting example of Swiss/German-influenced construction applied over an existing log home. The house, built in 1838 by Thomas Rowland with slave labor, was occupied by the Rowland family until 1848. At that time, the house was rented by John Nelson and purchased by him in 1850. The Nelson family occupied the home from 1848 to 1873, when it was purchased by former Confederate colonel and circuit judge Jabez M. Smith upon Nelson’s death. Smith rented the home to his brother, …

Royston, Grandison Delaney

Grandison Delaney Royston was an early Arkansas statesman, politician, and attorney who served at the constitutional convention of both 1836 and 1874, as well as serving one term in the Confederate Congress. Grandison Delaney Royston was born on December 9, 1809, in Carter County, Tennessee. He studied as a child in a local subscription school and, later, at Presbyterian Academy in nearby Washington County, Tennessee. In 1829, he began law studies with a local judge and was admitted to the Tennessee bar in December 1831. He moved to Arkansas on April 1, 1832, first settling in Fayetteville (Washington County), where he would practice law and teach school for a short period. Later that year, he relocated to Washington (Hempstead County), …

Rust, Albert

Albert Rust—Confederate general, congressman, legislator, and lawyer—helped shape the course of Arkansas in the early years of its statehood. Rust served as an important figure in helping to build the communities of Union County. Rust was born in 1818 in Fauquier County, Virginia, near the Maryland border. His exact birth date is uncertain. In 1837, he made the trek from Virginia to Arkansas, settling on the banks of the Ouachita River in Union County. Soon after his arrival, he bought a few acres of land and a store house near the river. In 1838, he became a county surveyor, helping organize the untamed land into defined sections for sale. In 1839, the county seat was moved to Scarborough’s Landing (called …