Time Period: Post-Reconstruction through the Gilded Age (1875 - 1900) - Starting with C

C. E. Forrester House

The C. E. Forrester House is located on Danville Street near the Commercial Historic District in Waldron (Scott County). The house was built in 1896 by prominent businessman and philanthropist Charlie Edward (C. E.) Forrester. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 3, 1998. Charlie Forrester was born in Parks (Scott County) in 1871. He began his career in Waldron by working in his father’s general store. He eventually bought out his father and began the Forrester-Goolsby Corporation. His commercial ventures expanded to three Main Street businesses selling groceries, dry goods, and hardware. Forrester also began dealing in cotton and timber, and establishing several sawmills throughout the area, including the county’s largest planing mill, in …

Cairo and Fulton Railroad

Today’s Union Pacific Railroad line from the Missouri state line through Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Texarkana (Miller County) was constructed by the Cairo and Fulton Railroad. Over a period of more than 100 years, the Cairo and Fulton merged first into the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern (StLIM&S), then into the Missouri Pacific, and finally into today’s Union Pacific. As the first railroad to connect Arkansas to Missouri and the eastern United States, the Cairo and Fulton opened up the state for development. The Cairo and Fulton Railroad was chartered by the State of Arkansas on February 9, 1853, to build a railroad line from the Arkansas-Missouri state line across Arkansas to Texas. The State of Missouri, on …

Caldwell, Will, and John Thomas (Lynching of)

aka: John Thomas and Will Caldwell (Lynching of)
On September 10, 1895, an African-American man named Will Caldwell and an “old negro man” identified by some newspapers as John Thomas were lynched near Blytheville (Mississippi County) for allegedly murdering and robbing a woman named Mattie Rhea. An extensive search of records for Arkansas and neighboring states revealed no information about either Mattie Rhea or Will Caldwell. There was, however, a John Thomas living in Mississippi County in 1880. He was twenty-six years old and living in Pecan Point Township, in the very southeastern part of the county. He would have been forty-one at the time of the lynching, which may not qualify him for the sobriquet “old negro.” Living in the same township and working on a farm …

Canfield Race War of 1896

On Saturday, December 12, 1896, African-American workers at the Canfield Lumber Company in the small lumber town of Canfield (Lafayette County) were fired on by a mob of whites and forced to leave the area. This was part of a widespread pattern of intimidation of black laborers in southern Arkansas in the 1890s, a practice that seems to have reached a peak in 1896. There were incidents involving railroad workers in Polk County in August and on the Cotton Belt Railway line in Ouachita County in early December. Later in December, there was a similar incident at a sawmill in McNeil (Columbia County). These incidents were part of a larger pattern evident in southern Arkansas throughout the 1890s in which …

Capus, Henry (Lynching of)

Henry Capus, an African-American man, was lynched in late June 1894 in Columbia County. The reports regarding his killing are brief and lacking details, but his murder follows the pattern of many other lynchings of the era. The exact identity of Henry Capus is unknown, as there are no exact census matches for that name (especially given that the enumeration sheets for the 1890 census were lost to fire), and national reports offered variations on his last name, rendering it Cabus or Cahns. There is a Henry Cabos or Cabus listed on the 1880 census residing in Shreveport, Louisiana, but he would have been sixty-four at the time of the lynching. That same census finds a Henry Capus in Alabama; …

Carroll County Lynching of 1878

In October 1878, a posse pursued a pair of southwestern Missouri horse thieves into western Carroll County and hanged them. Franzisca Haneke Massman, the thrice-widowed owner of a major sawmill operation in western Carroll County, observed two horsemen riding through her property on October 26, 1878. They were soon followed by six other riders who appeared to be pursuing them. Massman, incorrectly identified as “Mrs. Masmer” in newspaper accounts, left on horseback about half an hour later to check on some of her lumbermen on the far side of a mountain near her mills. As she topped the mountain, she “espied in the shadow of a giant pine eight men whom she recognized as the two former and the six …

Carter, Allen (Lynching of)

Sometime during the first week of August 1892, an African-American man named Allen Carter was lynched at Wynne (Cross County) for allegedly assaulting his fourteen-year-old daughter. While the method of the murder is not specified, brief reports from across the United States indicate that the mob that lynched him was composed entirely of African Americans. There exists insufficient documentary evidence to determine the identity of Carter, and reports differ as to when exactly Carter was lynched. According to the August 6 issue of the Daily Public Ledger, Carter was arrested on Tuesday, August 2. The mob later removed him from jail and lynched him. Other similar published accounts vary on the date of the lynching, placing it anywhere from August …

Case-Shiras-Dearmore House

The Case-Shiras-Dearmore House, located at 351 East 4th Street in Mountain Home (Baxter County), is a two-story wood-frame house in the Plain Traditional style, with a cut-stone outbuilding located to the rear (west side) of the house. The house is perhaps best known for its association with the noted Baxter County newspaper publisher Tom Shiras of the Baxter Bulletin. However, it was also the home of Dr. J. H. Case, the first dentist in Mountain Home. The Case-Shiras-Dearmore House was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 3, 1992. The ell-shaped, intersecting gable roof plan of the main house features a historic gable roof addition at its northern end. The front (east) façade consists of a gable …

Cate, William Henderson

William Henderson (W. H.) Cate was a lawyer, a judge, and a Democratic politician who served in the state legislature from 1871 to 1874 and in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1889 to 1890 and from 1891 to 1893. Charges of election fraud in the 1888 election resulted in federal hearings that saw him ousted from his congressional seat in 1890. W. H. Cate, born on November 11, 1839, near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, was one of two surviving children born to Noah Cate, who was a Baptist minister, and his wife Margaret M. (Henderson) Cate. Raised in Tennessee’s Hawkins and Sullivan counties, he attended the common schools and academies in Abingdon, Virginia, and Rogersville, Tennessee. In 1857, he graduated from the University of Tennessee …

Cathedral of St. Andrew

aka: St. Andrew's Catholic Cathedral
The Cathedral of St. Andrew is the oldest continuing place of worship in Little Rock (Pulaski County). It was dedicated in 1881 by Bishop Edward Fitzgerald, the second bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Little Rock. Built in Gothic Revival style, the Cathedral of St. Andrew is made of rusticated granite mined from the Fourche Mountains, the northern section of the Ouachita Mountains. The structure, which was designed by architect Thomas Harding, is located at 617 South Louisiana Street, between 6th and 7th streets. Seating a maximum of 450, it is a comparatively small Catholic cathedral. The bell tower contains a 3,400-pound bell, the heaviest in Pulaski County. The bell tower stands 231 feet tall and was completed in …

Chautauqua

The Chautauqua movement, in the form of traveling “Circuit Chautauquas,” provided self-enrichment and cultural programs for Americans across the country in the early twentieth century. In an era before widespread electronic sources of news and entertainment such as radio, Chautauqua allowed people who lived beyond large cities to experience lectures on a variety of subjects, as well as theatrical offerings and music ranging from Metropolitan Opera stars to bell ringers. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt called Chautauqua “the most American thing in America.” Governor Charles Brough of Arkansas, himself a popular circuit lecturer, said, “Chautauqua is America’s summer school.” Xenaphon Overton Pindall, who served as acting governor of Arkansas from 1907 to 1909, was also a popular circuit speaker. The name …

Cherry Street Historic District

The Cherry Street Historic District is an area in downtown Helena-West Helena (Phillips County) that was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 17, 1987. Helena—as it was known before its 2006 merger with West Helena (Phillips County)—was incorporated in 1833 and became a thriving river port along the Mississippi River. With a unique location along Crowley’s Ridge and the river, the city became an important transportation hub for nearby agricultural enterprises. Railroad access arrived in the late nineteenth century, making the city even more important for farmers wishing to connect to distant markets. As one of the most prosperous towns in eastern Arkansas, Helena attracted major investments. A flood in 1867 destroyed many of the businesses …

Cherry, Lewis Williamson

Lewis Williamson Cherry was an important businessman in Little Rock (Pulaski County) who founded several enterprises and served in a leadership role in various banks, as well as managing a robust real estate business. Lewis W. Cherry was born on November 22, 1858, in Memphis, Tennessee, to Calvin Washington Cherry and Sarah Blount Williamson Cherry. His father, a banker, was son of Daniel Cherry, a wealthy North Carolina–born land speculator in early nineteenth-century Tennessee who founded Cherryville in Haywood County. After an initial education in Memphis public schools, Lewis W. Cherry was educated at a number of private schools in Tennessee and Kentucky, completing his education at James Byars’s academy in Covington, Tennessee. Cherry began his career as bookkeeper for …

Chi Omega

Chi Omega, the largest women’s fraternal organization in the world, was founded at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) on April 5, 1895. By 2022, more than 400,000 women had been initiated into Chi Omega. The national headquarters are in Memphis, Tennessee. The University of Arkansas at Little Rock, UA, and Arkansas State University (ASU) have Chi Omega chapters, and there are many alumnae chapters in Arkansas. Contrary to popular usage, Chi Omega has always referred to itself as a fraternity rather than a sorority. The first members, referred to as the Five Founders, included Ina May Boles, Jobelle Holcombe, Alice Simonds, Jean Vincenheller, and Dr. Charles Richardson, a Fayetteville dentist and a member of Kappa Sigma. …