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

Eagle-Booe Feud

On April 25, 1898, three men were shot to death in Lonoke (Lonoke County). These killings—and the conflicts that took place before and after—have come to be called the Eagle-Booe Feud. The prominent Eagle family of Lonoke County, including the brother of a former Arkansas governor, was roped into the feud and ended up being defended in court by a distant relation who would became governor himself, and later a U.S. senator. Approximately a week before the killings, on or about April 19, 1898, an unknown assailant shot Charles (Charley) Booe (wrongly spelled sometimes as Booie) outside of his law office in England (Lonoke County). Charley Booe, for reasons unknown, accused Robert (Bob) Eagle of shooting him. Booe’s father, William …

Eagle, James Philip

James Philip Eagle served as governor during one of the most turbulent times in Arkansas’s history. Elected under a cloud of election fraud and faced with a divided Democratic Party, he presided over a General Assembly bent on enacting a series of “Jim Crow” laws to segregate Arkansas society along racial lines. By the time Eagle left office, the dominance of the Democratic Party had been restored, but Arkansans were more racially divided than at any time since the days of slavery. James Eagle was born on August 10, 1837, in Maury County, Tennessee, the son of James and Charity Swaim Eagle. The family, of German descent, immigrated to the United States from Switzerland. In November 1839, Eagle’s father, a …

Earle, Fontaine Richard

Fontaine Richard Earle was a major in the Thirty-fourth Arkansas Infantry (CSA) from Cane Hill (Washington County). He fought in a number of Civil War battles in the Trans-Mississippi Theater and later served northwest Arkansas as a legislator (1866–1867), minister, teacher, administrator, and author. Fontaine R. Earle was born on January 9, 1831, in Pond River, Kentucky. His parents, Samuel Baylis Earle and Jane Woodson Earle, were farmers in Pond River; he had eight siblings. Earle received bachelor’s degrees in arts and divinity from Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee, in 1858. He moved to Boonsboro (now Cane Hill) in 1859 to become president of Cane Hill College and a Cumberland Presbyterian minister. During the Civil War, he became engaged to …

Election Law of 1891

The passage of the Election Law of 1891 was essential to the solidification of power in the state for Democrats during the post-Reconstruction era and was the first step in making Arkansas a one-party state. In conjunction with the subsequent Poll Tax Amendment, controversially passed during the 1892 general election, the Election Law of 1891 effectively disfranchised African Americans in Arkansas and legally suppressed Republican and third-party political opposition. By 1888, Democratic Party officials in Arkansas were expressing concern about perceived election fraud in the state and the threat of federal oversight of state elections. Evidence of widespread election fraud and the highly publicized murder of Republican candidate John M. Clayton brought about mounting calls for election reform legislation. After much …

England, Albert (Lynching of)

Albert England, a white man, was lynched on the night of November 2–3, 1895, near Vilonia (Faulkner County). After being arrested and charged with burglary, he was taken from custody and murdered. Some at the time believed that the mob was composed of fellow criminals intent upon silencing England and protecting themselves from exposure. The exact identity of Albert England is difficult to determine. There was an Albert England reported on the 1880 census as twenty-six years old and from Lonoke County; however, there is a brief line in the November 28, 1895, Arkansas Gazette noting that an Albert England who was resident at the state asylum (now the Arkansas State Hospital) had died, and his body was being shipped …

Eureka Springs Baby

aka: Eureka Baby
aka: Petrified Indian Baby
The 1880 discovery of a fossilized human child in Eureka Springs (Carroll County) was not revealed as a hoax until 1948. The find was exhibited locally and then around the state. Within a year, the carving—known variously as the “Eureka Baby,” the “Petrified Indian Baby,” or as a Hindu idol—had been exhibited in St. Louis, Missouri; Galveston, Texas; and New Orleans, Louisiana. It was also reportedly en route to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC at the time of its disappearance. This hoax was the brainchild of Henry Johnson, a Scottsville (Pope County) merchant who closely modeled his deception on the nationally famous Cardiff Giant. This massive stone man was “discovered” in 1869 in Cardiff, New York, and publicly acknowledged …