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

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 …

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 …

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 …

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. As of 2012, more than 300,000 women have been initiated into Chi Omega. The national headquarters are in Memphis, Tennessee. In 2011, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), UA, and Arkansas State University (ASU) had Chi Omega chapters, and there were sixteen 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 …

Choctaw Freight Terminal

The Choctaw Freight Terminal served the Choctaw and Memphis Railroad Company (originally the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad) as a hub for the transportation of goods to and from Little Rock (Pulaski County). Located in the eastern part of the city, it was covered over by a superstructure in the 1960s and then razed in 2001 to make way for the construction of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park. At the time of its demolition, it was the last surviving example of a traditional two-story brick freight station in Arkansas. When the Choctaw and Memphis Railroad Company began freight and passenger service from Little Rock to Memphis, Tennessee, in 1899, a depot for passengers stood on the Little …

Churchill, Thomas James

Thomas James Churchill, the thirteenth governor of Arkansas, led advances in health and education while in office. During his administration, legislation set standards for practicing medicine and established the Medical Department of Arkansas Industrial University (now the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences) in Little Rock (Pulaski County). In addition to creating a facility for the mentally ill and a state board of health, his administration appropriated funds for purchasing a building for the branch normal school in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), which served African-American students. Born on March 10, 1824, on his father’s farm near Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas Churchill was one of sixteen children born to Samuel and Abby (Oldham) Churchill. The children grew up on the farm and attended …

Civil War Pensions

The granting of pensions for military service presented unique problems to the ex-Confederate states and the federal government after the Civil War. Before the war, small annual pensions and land grants had been given to qualifying veterans of the U.S. military who had served in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Mexican War. What originally began as limited payments to former soldiers (and their widows and orphans) eventually became a huge federal bureaucracy of old-age pensions for almost one-third of the elderly population of the United States. Burdened by fraud, the two Civil War pension systems were not alike. Union veterans applied for their monthly payments under a federal pension system. Ex-Confederate soldiers had to look to …

Civil War Veterans’ Reunions

After the Civil War, Arkansas veterans returned home and attempted to revert to civilian life, a task very difficult in a destitute, disrupted, and divided state. During the immediate postwar decades, veterans and their families began to establish veterans’ cemeteries, hold memorial services for the dead, build monuments, conduct unit reunions, and organize veterans’ groups. Reunions, perhaps the most important outlet for the ex-soldiers, allowed veterans to communicate with others who had shared the experience of Civil War combat and the difficulties of returning to civilian life. A decade after the end of the war, veterans began to realize that including their old adversaries in reunions could help mend the wounds of the war. Toward the beginning of the twentieth …

Clarendon Lynching of 1898

On August 9, 1898, Manse (or Manze) Castle, Will Sanders (Saunders), Sanders’s mother Lorilla (Rilla) Weaver, Dennis Ricord (Record, Rikard), and Susie Jacobs—all African American—were lynched in Clarendon (Monroe County) because of their complicity in the murder of prosperous merchant John T. Orr. Rilla Weaver was the cook in the Orr household, and Susie Jacobs worked there as a maid. Rachael Morris, a “prominent young Jewess” who had also been implicated in the plot, escaped and was spared. Orr’s wife, Mabel, who had instigated the murder, lay fatally ill in the nearby jail, having taken poison; she was eventually to die in the jail. With her was the Orrs’ only child, three-year-old Neva. As horrifying as this story is, the …

Clark, Moses Aaron

Moses Aaron Clark rose from slavery to become one of the most successful black Arkansans of his time. Elected as a Helena (Phillips County) alderman during Reconstruction, Clark became a lawyer and was one of Arkansas’s first black justices of the peace. After Reconstruction, Clark became arguably the most important black Masonic leader in Arkansas. For more than a quarter of a century, he led the Arkansas Prince Hall Free and Accepted Masons, one of the oldest and most prestigious African American fraternal orders. He was also a major Masonic figure on the national stage. As a prosperous Lee County real estate owner, planter, and businessman during the post-Reconstruction era, for forty years, Clark reached statewide audiences through annual travels and speeches in …

Clark, William Allen

William Allen Clark was one of Arkansas’s “preacher-editors.” For nearly fifteen years, he occupied the editorial chair of one of Arkansas’s largest denominational newspapers, the old Arkansas Baptist, and was a pivotal figure in the Landmark Baptist movement within the state. W. A. Clark was born on May 24, 1844, near Rossville, Indiana, the son of wealthy farmer David C. Clark and his wife, Mary. In 1861, he entered Simonds Select School for Boys in Indianapolis, Indiana. During the Civil War, he served as a corporal in Company K, Seventy-Second Indiana Volunteer Mounted Infantry. In 1865, he moved to Kansas, where he married Jennie C. Jordan. They had three children. In May 1867, Clark was baptized into the Methodist Episcopal …

Clarke, James Paul

James Paul Clarke, eighteenth governor of Arkansas and a United States senator, became an advocate of the silver monetization crusade associated with the William Jennings Bryan wing of the Democratic Party. He was also a defender of white supremacy as the key doctrine of his party. James Clarke was born in Yazoo County, Mississippi, on August 18, 1854, to Walter Clarke, an architect, and Ellen White, daughter of a prominent planter. After editing a paper in Yazoo City, Clarke received a law degree from the University of Virginia in 1878. In 1879, Clarke moved to Arkansas, settling first at Ozark (Franklin County). Within a year he moved to Helena (Phillips County), where he began a successful law practice. Clarke married …

Clarke’s Academy

Clarke’s Academy was a private school that operated between 1867 and 1905 in Berryville (Carroll County). The school earned a reputation for the quality of its work, the accomplishments of many of its alumni, and the integrity and dedication of its founder, Isaac A. Clarke. Isaac Asbury Clarke was born on March 22, 1837, in Overton County, Tennessee. In 1844, after the death of his father in 1841, his mother moved to Carroll County, Arkansas. Clarke attended Berryville Academy and then Cane Hill College in Washington County. After teaching school for a time, he entered the University of Missouri. Following a visit home in 1861, he was advised that it was dangerous for him to go north again. He enlisted …

Clayton House

aka: W. H. H. Clayton Home
The authentically restored Clayton House, circa 1882, stands in the center of the Belle Grove Historic District in Fort Smith (Sebastian County). This twenty-two-block area features more than twenty different Victorian-era architectural styles. The massive Italianate-style home had its beginnings as the Sutton Mansion, built in 1852. Thirty years later, after serving as a Union army hospital during the Civil War and falling out of the hands of its Confederate-sympathizing owner, the home was purchased by William Henry Harrison Clayton. Clayton, who was the federal prosecutor of the famed court of Judge Isaac C. Parker, had it doubled in size, with extensive remodeling into the Victorian style. Appointed in 1874 by President Ulysses S. Grant as U.S. attorney of the …

Clayton, Alonzo “Lonnie”

Alonzo “Lonnie” Clayton reached stardom at age fifteen as the youngest jockey to win the Kentucky Derby. An African American, Clayton went on to become one of the highest-salaried riders on the East Coast circuit during the 1890s. He lived in North Little Rock (Pulaski County), where his earnings enabled him to build a Queen Anne–style home that the Arkansas Gazette described as the “finest house on the North Side” in early 1895. Surviving as the historic Engelberger House at 2105 Maple Street, the property (named for Swiss immigrant Joseph Engelberger, who bought it in 1912) was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. Born in 1876 in Kansas City, Kansas, to Robert and Evaline Clayton, Lonnie …

Clayton, William Henry Harrison

William H. H. Clayton moved to Arkansas in 1864 and like his brothers, Powell Clayton and John Middleton Clayton, he was an important figure in the history of the state during Reconstruction. Most notably, he held the position of district attorney for the Western District of Arkansas. His home in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) was made into a museum. William Henry Harrison Clayton and his twin brother, John Middleton Clayton, were born on October 13, 1840, in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Their parents, John and Ann Clayton, named the boys after the Whig presidential candidates William Henry Harrison and John Tyler. The twins, along with their older brothers, Thomas and Powell, lived on the family farm and received their education at …

Clear Springs Tabernacle

The Clear Springs Tabernacle is an unenclosed brace-framed structure constructed in Clark County in 1887 to house religious services. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 13, 1992. The first settlers to the area arrived in 1840 when the Meeks family established a farm in the area known as Clear Spring (also called Clear Springs). It is located about four miles east of Antoine (Pike County). The settlement grew slowly, and a post office operated in the area from 1856 until 1911. A school also served the area from the late nineteenth century until it consolidated in 1930 with Okolona (Clark County). Never very large, the community also supported a store and several churches. The …

Cockrill, Sterling Robertson

The chief justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court from 1884 to 1893, Sterling Robertson Cockrill was only thirty-seven years old when he ascended the bench as the youngest chief justice in the state’s history (a record he still holds). A product of a law school education rather than the old apprenticeship system, Cockrill strongly embraced the codification of legal procedures that the Republican Party had enacted during Reconstruction and thus moved Arkansas more into the nation’s judicial mainstream. Although his tenure on the court was short, his influence was long-lasting. Sterling Robertson Cockrill was born in Nashville, Tennessee, on September 26, 1847, to Henrietta McDonald Cockrill and her husband, Sterling Robertson Cockrill. Young Cockrill was sometimes identified in Arkansas as …

Coffin, Frank Barbour

Frank Barbour Coffin was an African-American pharmacist who owned and operated one of the earliest drug stores serving the black community of Little Rock (Pulaski County). He was also one of the country’s unnoted African-American poets of the nineteenth and twentieth century, barely remembered today for his two volumes of poetry and other works printed in various publications. F. B. Coffin was born on January 12, 1870, in Holly Springs, Mississippi, the son of Samuel and Josephine Barton Coffin. Holly Springs was a small town in northern Mississippi, about forty miles from Memphis, Tennessee. His mother died before he was twelve years old, leaving Coffin and at least four other siblings to be raised by their father, a farmer. Little …

Cohn, Morris M.

Morris M. Cohn was a nationally recognized lawyer, an author who published articles on a wide variety of subjects, and a Little Rock (Pulaski County) civic leader. Morris M. Cohn was born on March 14, 1852, in New Albany, Indiana, to Mathias Cohn—a businessman, newspaperman, educator, and lawyer—and Theresa Cohn; sources differ on the number of siblings he had, from seven to ten. Cohn received his early education in the grammar schools of Cincinnati, Ohio. He later received private instruction in German, Hebrew, and law. At some point, the family settled in Arkansas. In 1873, he moved from Woodruff County to Little Rock, where he met Addie Mary Ottenheimer, whom he married on September 16, 1886; they had three children. …

Colored Industrial Institute

The Colored Industrial Institute in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) was one of the first Catholic-supported schools for African-American children in Arkansas. The school was established by Father John Michael Lucey, a white Confederate veteran, who was considered progressive for speaking out against lynching and protesting efforts to pass separate coach legislation. Planning for the school began in May 1889. Lucey approached leading citizens of Jefferson County to fill the school’s board of directors. This integrated board included wealthy black Pine Bluff citizens, including Ferdinand (Ferd) Havis and Wiley Jones. Jones was also one of three members of the school’s executive committee and served as secretary. The other two executive committee members were Pine Bluff mayor J. W. Bocage and Reverend …

Conger, John William

John William Conger served as president of five colleges, including three in Arkansas: Searcy College, Central College (now Central Baptist College), and Ouachita College (now Ouachita Baptist University). John Conger was born on February 20, 1857, in Jackson, Tennessee, the seventh of ten children born to Philander Drew Whitehill Conger and Eliza Jane Chambers Conger. His father was an architect and a general contractor and served several terms as mayor of Jackson. His great-grandfather, James B. Conger, invented the turbine water wheel and contributed to Scientific American magazine. Conger earned an AB in 1878 and an AM degree in mental sciences in 1885 from Southwest Baptist University (now Union University in Tennessee). He became president at the Odd Fellows College …

Convict Lease System

The convict lease system was a way of operating state prisons adopted by Arkansas in the mid-nineteenth century. The Arkansas system mirrored that of other Southern states during this period and reflected the desire to reduce the cost and administrative problems of the state’s prisons. While the system achieved its economic goals, it was typified by corruption and the abuse of prisoners, problems that ultimately brought about its abolition. In Arkansas, the convict lease system originated during the Reconstruction era when, in 1867, the state contracted with the firm of Hodges, Peay, and Ayliff to provide work for prisoners in the penitentiary at Little Rock (Pulaski County). The state agreed to pay the company thirty-five cents a day for the …

Cook, Virgil Young (V. Y.)

Virgil Young (V. Y.) Cook was a veteran of two wars—the Civil War and the Spanish-American War—who founded the town of Olyphant (Jackson County) and eventually accumulated thousands of acres of land, running a vast plantation enterprise in northeastern Arkansas. His home in Batesville (Independence County), today known as the Cook-Morrow House, is on the National Register of Historic Places. V. Y. Cook was born on November 14, 1848, in Boydsville, Kentucky, to William Detterline (Bill) Cook and Pernecia Dodds Cook. Cook attended subscription schools in Boydsville, obtaining the equivalent of an elementary education. Kentucky was a divided state in the Civil War, and even though it stayed with the Union, there were many Confederate sympathizers living there. One was …

Coolidge House

The Coolidge House, built in Helena-West Helena (Phillips County) in 1880, is an example of a Queen Anne–style cottage. Decorative details typical of the period were applied to the irregular floorplan and elevations, resulting in a decorative yet restrained dwelling of modest proportions. At the time of the house’s construction, two railroads ran through the town, and packet boats served the adjacent Mississippi River. The house was built for S. C. Moore as a gift for his daughter, Anna Leslie Moore, on the occasion of her marriage to Charles Coolidge Jr. Located at 820 Perry Street, at the corner of Perry and Poplar streets, it was built in the section of Helena referred to on the city plat map as …

Corbin, Joseph Carter

Joseph Carter Corbin, journalist, served as Arkansas state superintendent of public instruction during Reconstruction and was the founder and president of the first African-American institution of higher education in Arkansas. Joseph C. Corbin was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, on March 26, 1833, the eldest son of free black parents, William and Susan Corbin. He had eleven siblings. He attended school during the winter months, a common practice at the time. In 1848, Corbin traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, to assist Reverend Henry A. Adams as a teacher. He taught school for some years and then attended Ohio University at Athens. He graduated with a BA in art in 1853 and an MA in art in 1856. An honorary doctoral degree was …

Cotton Pickers Strike of 1891

The Cotton Pickers Strike of 1891 was an ill-conceived attempt by a group of African-American sharecroppers in Lee County, perhaps loosely affiliated with the Colored Farmers’ National Alliance and Union (commonly called the Colored Famers’ Alliance), to increase the wages they received from local planters for picking cotton. By the time a white mob put down the strike, more than a dozen African Americans and one white man had been killed. The Colored Farmers’ Alliance was founded in Texas in 1886 as the black counterpart to the Farmers’ Alliance, an all-white organization that was part of the late nineteenth-century populist, agrarian reform movement. The Colored Farmers’ Alliance spread quickly throughout the South, claiming a membership of more than one million …

Coy, Edward (Lynching of)

On February 20, 1892, Edward Coy, a thirty-two-year-old African-American man, was burned at the stake in Texarkana (Miller County) before a crowd of approximately 1,000 people. Ida B. Wells, a journalist and prominent anti-lynching crusader from Memphis, Tennessee, described Coy’s murder as one of the most shocking and repulsive in the history of lynching. Coy, described in press accounts as “mulatto,” was charged with a crime “from which the laws provide adequate punishment. Ed Coy was charged with assaulting Mrs. Henry [Julia] Jewell, a white woman. A mob pronounced him guilty, strapped him to a tree, chipped the flesh from his body, poured coal oil over him, and the woman in the case set fire to him.” According to the …

Cravens, Jordan Edgar

Jordan Edgar Cravens was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Third District of Arkansas in the Forty-Fifth, Forty-Sixth, and Forty-Seventh Congresses from 1877 until 1883. Jordan E. Cravens was born on November 7, 1830, in Fredericktown, Missouri, to Nehemiah Cravens and Sophia Thompson Cravens. He was one of three sons. Seeking new opportunity, the Cravens family moved to Arkansas the year after his birth. Cravens received his early education in the local common schools, but he graduated from the Presbyterian-supported Cane Hill College in Washington County in 1850. Following graduation, he studied the law and was admitted to the state bar in 1854, opening a practice in Clarksville (Johnson County). Cravens then entered the …

Crittenden County Expulsion of 1888

In July 1888, a group of influential white citizens in Crittenden County expelled a number of prominent African-American citizens and county officials. Apparently weary of the fusion governments that had prevailed there for years, as well as fearful of the outcome of the upcoming September and November elections, they hoped their actions would intimidate black voters and ensure a victory for white Democrats. Following the Civil War, land agents began to recruit black laborers from around the South to work in the cotton fields. By 1870, the black population in Crittenden County had reached sixty-seven percent, the majority for the first time. The emergence of a black middle class tied to the Republican Party threatened the hegemony of the white …

Cunningham, Charles E.

During the 1870s and 1880s, Little Rock (Pulaski County) resident Charles E. Cunningham played a leading role in farmers’ organizations and in third-party politics both in Arkansas and at the national level. His political career included third-party nominations for a seat in U.S. House of Representatives, the governor’s office, and the vice presidency. Although he failed to win election to any of these offices, he nevertheless played an important role in building the Union Labor Party in Arkansas, which may well have wrested control of the state government away from the Democratic Party during the late 1880s and early 1890s had Democrats not resorted to election fraud and violence to maintain their power. Charles E. Cunningham was born on July …

Curtiss, Edwin

Edwin Curtiss, a nonprofessional field man who excavated archaeological sites and collected antiquities, is credited by Arkansas archaeologists with making the first scientific archaeological excavation in their state. In 1879 and 1880, Curtiss and his associates spent eighty-six days excavating at ancient Native American village sites along the St. Francis River in northeast Arkansas, where he collected nearly 1,000 pottery vessels and hundreds of other specimens for Harvard University’s Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnography. Edwin Curtiss was born on January 27, 1830, in North Lansing, New York. Originally a tailor by trade, Curtiss served in the Union army during the Civil War, subsequently moving with his family to Tennessee. After the war, Curtiss worked as an independent contractor …

Daniel, Lucy Jane

In the late 1800s, it was so unusual for women to be stone carvers that The Monumental News, a trade journal, was able to locate only three to write about—one of whom was Lucy J. Daniel, formerly of Arkansas. The others were from Kansas and Canada, and all had learned the trade from their fathers. The journal article noted that Daniel had been fully in charge of the family’s marble shop since 1885, doing all the lettering, and some cutting and polishing, of the tombstones. Her only known sculpture is the Goddess of Liberty statue at Pea Ridge National Military Park. Lucy Jane Daniel was born in May 1865 in Carter County, Kentucky. Her mother was Rebecca Jane (Remy) Daniel, …

De Ann Cemetery Historic Section

The De Ann Cemetery Historic Section is part of the Prescott City Cemetery located in Prescott (Nevada County). The original cemetery, the De Ann section, was created in the 1870s and officially opened in 1880. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 1, 2005. The cemetery is located on U.S. Highway 371/Greenlawn Street to the west of downtown Prescott. The original section is located south of the highway, and an addition is located to the north. Only the original section was added to the National Register. It is named for Prairie D’Ane (or De Ann), on which it rests. The earliest dated grave in the cemetery is for an infant who died on December 18, …

Devoe and Huntley (Lynching of)

aka: Huntley and Devoe (Lynching of)
In early January 1898, two African Americans named Devoe and Huntley (no first names were given in the reports) were allegedly lynched near Bearden (Ouachita County) for an attempted assault on an elderly woman there a year earlier. They were apparently lynched in two different incidents, and as the authorities maintained they had escaped, few details are available. According to the Arkansas Gazette, Devoe and Huntley had attempted to assault an elderly woman named Mrs. Paine near Bearden approximately a year before the alleged lynchings. They fled the scene, but in early January 1898, Devoe returned to the Bearden area and was arrested by J. D. Best and Frank Butler. They asked him where Huntley was, and when he refused …

DeWitt Lynching of 1891

On December 21, 1891, a mob of masked men entered the jail in DeWitt (Arkansas County) and shot three men: Floyd McGregory (sometimes written as Gregory) and his father-in-law, J. A. Smith (who were both white), as well as Mose Henderson (who was African American). The three men had been put in jail for plotting to kill Smith’s wife, who had divorced him and received one-third of his property in the settlement. According to the Arkansas Gazette, Smith’s wife, Mary, divorced him because “he was unkind to her, and abandoned her companionship for that of negroes.” The case was bitterly fought, but in the end, she received damages as part of the settlement, and her former husband objected. Smith enlisted …

Dinsmore, Hugh Anderson

Hugh Anderson Dinsmore was the first Arkansan from Benton County appointed as a U.S. foreign minister. Dinsmore also served three years as a circuit clerk, six years as a prosecuting attorney, twelve years in Congress, and several years on the board of trustees for the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). Born on the family homestead in Cave Springs (Benton County) on December 24, 1850, Hugh Anderson Dinsmore was the eldest of five children born to Alexander Winchester Dinsmore and Catherine Anderson. In 1860, before the outbreak of the Civil War, his father owned six slaves and one of the five general stores operating in Bentonville (Benton County). Dinsmore was educated in Benton County schools and the Ozark Institute …

Donnelly, Robert (Lynching of)

Robert Donnelly, an African-American man, was lynched in Lee County on June 29, 1892, by a mob of more than 200 other African Americans. His alleged crime was the repeated assault of a twelve-year-old black girl. While black-on-black lynchings were rare, historian Karlos Hill asserts that many of those that occurred shared a number of similarities. Most of the victims were young, married males who worked as farm laborers. Many of the victims were also connected with plantation societies, communities where everyone knew each other and which were inclined to punish their own criminals. Many of the thinly populated areas in the Arkansas Delta were similar to frontier areas, where violence was rampant and white officials were unresponsive, especially to …

Doolin, Bill

aka: William Doolin
William Doolin was an Arkansas-born outlaw who rode with the infamous Dalton outlaws in the Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory. He formed his own outlaw bunch, which operated from October 1892 until Doolin died on August 25, 1896. Though his exact date of birth is unknown, Bill Doolin’s tombstone states that he was born in 1858. He was born on a homestead near Big Piney River approximately thirty-five miles northeast of Clarksville (Johnson County). He was the son of sharecroppers Artemina and Michael Doolin and worked on his family’s farm until his twenty-third birthday. In 1881, Doolin left Arkansas for the area that is now the state of Oklahoma and found employment as a cowboy on the ranch of Oscar …

Dr. Boaz House

The Dr. Boaz House is a dogtrot house located in western Clark County near the Clear Springs community. Constructed around 1891, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 28, 1992. Clear Springs is located about two miles east of Antoine (Pike County) on the road linking Arkadelphia (Clark County) and Murfreesboro (Pike County), now Arkansas Highway 26. Never a large community, in 1890 Clear Springs included a church, store, school, post office, cotton gin, and grist mill. About fifty people lived in the community. There is a lack of information about Dr. Boaz, although oral tradition suggests that he was a medical doctor. The single reference to Boaz in public records is a marriage record …

Draughon School of Business (Little Rock)

aka: Draughon Business College (Little Rock)
Draughon’s Practical Business College opened in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on February 5, 1900. During its more than ninety years of operation, it offered a variety of courses ranging from typing and shorthand to courses in servicing television and radio equipment. The first Draughon School of Business was founded by John F. Draughon in eastern Tennessee in 1879. At the age of sixteen, Draughon would transport books and materials by cart from town to town, offering classes in basic business skills. His first non-mobile instruction was offered in Nashville, Tennessee, a few years later. By the time he died in 1921, thirty-eight such schools had been established in southern and western states from Georgia to Texas, including schools in Savannah, …

Draughon, James Harris

James Harris Draughon was a prominent businessman and civic booster in Arkansas and Texas following the Civil War. With numerous business interests in the Texarkana (Miller County) area, he was a central figure in the founding of the town that now bears his name, Draughon (Cleveland County). James Harris Draughon was born on June 12, 1843, in Waverly, Tennessee, to William W. Draughon and Cassandra Murphy Draughon. His father died when he was less than a year old, leaving his mother to care for him and his six siblings. He grew up in Waverly and received his early education in the town’s public schools. He got his first job in 1857, working as a clerk in Dresden, Tennessee. Although he …

Dunn, Poindexter

Poindexter Dunn was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the First District of Arkansas in the Forty-Sixth through the Fiftieth Congresses, serving from 1879 to 1889. Poindexter Dunn was born on November 3, 1834, near Raleigh, North Carolina, to Grey Dunn and Lydia Baucum Dunn. He and his family moved to Limestone County, Alabama, in 1837. After receiving his early education in local common schools, he graduated from Jackson College in Columbia, Tennessee, in 1854. He studied law for a time before moving to St. Francis County in Arkansas in 1856 and then won election to the Arkansas House of Representatives in 1858. He also grew cotton until 1861, when the Civil War broke out. …