Entries - Time Period: Early Twentieth Century (1901 - 1940) - Starting with D

D. L. McRae House

The D. L. McRae House is located in Prescott (Nevada County). Designed by architect Charles Thompson and commissioned by Duncan McRae Sr., the house was constructed in 1912 and added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 22, 1982. The son of Arkansas governor and member of the U.S. House of Representatives Thomas Chipman McRae, Duncan McCrae was born on October 27, 1885. He grew up in Prescott and graduated from Prescott High School before attending several colleges, including Arkansas College (now Lyon College) and Vanderbilt University. After being admitted to the bar in 1907, McCrae worked as an attorney in Prescott and served as the city recorder in 1908–1909. He became a member of the firm McRae …

Dairyman’s Bank Building

The Dairyman’s Bank Building located in Carlisle (Lonoke County) was constructed around 1901. Established as a financial institution to promote the local agricultural economy, the Dairyman’s Bank was one of the earliest banks established in the town and the town’s only bank until 1907. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 29, 2019. Carlisle was incorporated in 1878 and in a short time grew into a thriving community based upon local agriculture. To help stimulate the growth of the agriculture economy, the Dairyman’s Bank was founded at the beginning of the twentieth century. The bank opened with capital of $5,000 and was managed by President M. A. Thompson. In about 1901, as the town …

Dallas County Courthouse

The Dallas County Courthouse in Fordyce was erected in 1911. The building is the most elaborate structure in Dallas County to be built in the Classical Revival style of architecture. The courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 27, 1984. On January 1, 1845, Dallas County was established, with Princeton being selected as the first seat of county government.The first courts in Princeton were held in the home of Presley Watts. The first Dallas County Courthouse was built in 1846 on the east side of the square in Princeton. In 1852, a second courthouse was built in Princeton at a cost of $6,000.The courthouse remained at Princeton until 1908, when it was officially moved to Fordyce, …

Dallas County Training School High School Building

The High School Building at the Dallas County Training School is located in Fordyce (Dallas County). Constructed in 1931 with assistance from the Rosenwald Foundation, it served African-American students in Dallas, Bradley, Calhoun, and Cleveland counties. Added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 2004, the building was unoccupied by 2001. A school for African-American students began operating in Fordyce in a wooden building in 1918. Designed to serve four counties, the building was overwhelmed, and local citizens explored options to expand the facility. After securing $2,600 from the Rosenwald Foundation, local African Americans donated $300, and public funds of $9,690 covered the balance, giving the cost of construction of the 1931 section of the building a …

Damascus CCC Camp No. 3781 Historic District

The Damascus CCC Camp Co. No. 3781 Historic District, located on Camp Hill Road in Damascus (Van Buren and Faulkner counties), is a collection of stone structures associated with a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) facility that operated there in cooperation with the U.S. Soil Conservation Service (USCS) during the Great Depression. The Damascus area had long seen agricultural use, which led the CCC to establish Camp Damascus there on June 1, 1935, under USCS control to help rehabilitate farmland in a region damaged by a long history of poor farming techniques. Junior Company 3781, SCS-5 was located on a forty-acre site leased for one dollar per year from William A. Brown. Construction of the camp began on June 12, and …

Dardanelle Agriculture and Post Office

The Dardanelle Agriculture and Post Office is a 1938 U.S. Postal Service structure in Dardanelle (Yell County). A mural there painted by artist Ludwig Mactarian was financed through the U.S. Treasury Department’s Section of Painting and Sculpture (later renamed the Section of Fine Arts), a Depression-era stimulus project that promoted public art. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 14, 1998. U.S. congressman David D. Terry notified the postmaster for the county seat for northern Yell County in June 1936 that $60,000 in federal money was set aside for land acquisition and construction of a new facility for the town. A few months later, Dardanelle’s Post-Dispatch reported that the U.S. Treasury Department was purchasing …

Dardanelle Confederate Monument

The Dardanelle Confederate Monument is a commemorative sculpture erected in 1921 by the Joe Wheeler Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) to commemorate local men who had served in the Confederate army during the Civil War. The Joe Wheeler Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy’s effort to raise a Confederate monument was one of the last in the state, but by 1921 its members had raised $1,760 to purchase a statue to honor Yell County’s Confederates. A local newspaper reported on it as follows: “The site for the monument being the street-end between the Dardanelle and Farmers banks. We understand this street-end, which extends only from Front Street, will be permanently closed and sodded with …

Dardanelle Pontoon Bridge

The Dardanelle Pontoon Bridge was the largest pontoon bridge in existence in the United States, crossing the Arkansas River between Dardanelle (Yell County) and Russellville (Pope County). A toll bridge, it opened for traffic in 1891 and lasted until the construction of a steel bridge replacement in 1929. The bridge cost $25,000, financed by a group of stockholders and built by Roberts and Sons of Independence, Missouri. Construction started in 1889, and the bridge opened for traffic on April 1, 1891. It was over 2,200 feet long and eighteen feet wide, with a load limit of 9,000 pounds. Originally, each end of the bridge was anchored to a piling, and only the center actually floated. However, the fluctuation of the …

Das Arkansas Echo

aka: Arkansas Echo
Das Arkansas Echo was a weekly German-language newspaper published out of Little Rock (Pulaski County) from 1891 to 1932. It promised an “allgemeine Zeitung für Wahrheit und Klarheit auf dem politischen und sozialem Gebiete” (general newspaper for truth and clarity in political and social realm). At the time of its establishment, it was one of three German-language newspapers in the state; the Arkansas Volksblatt of Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and the Arkansas Staats-Zeitung of Little Rock also provided news to German-speaking immigrants. The Echo reported a circulation of 850 in its early years, with circulation eventually reaching around 1,300. The Echo’s predecessor was Der Logan County Anzeiger (Logan County Gazette), which was published by Conrad Elsken and had a circulation …

David O. Dodd Memorial

The David O. Dodd Memorial is a monument erected at the Old State House in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1923 to honor a young Confederate spy executed by Union authorities in 1864. David Owen Dodd was a seventeen-year-old boy who was captured by Union pickets near the Ten Mile House south of Little Rock in late 1863 with coded papers outlining Union forces in and defenses of the capital city. Dodd was tried, convicted, and hanged on the grounds of St. Johns’ College in Little Rock on January 8, 1864. In the years following the war, as monuments were erected around the state in memory of the Arkansas men who had fought for the South in the Civil War …

Davis, Anthony (Lynching of)

Anthony Davis, an African-American man, was lynched in Texarkana (Miller County) on October 9, 1906, reportedly by other local black residents. The alleged crime was the assault of a teenaged girl. Davis was described in news reports as a “negro hack driver” (driver of a hackney carriage for hire) who was forty years old and had a wife and three children. A week before his murder, he was arrested for reportedly assaulting a “fifteen-year-old mulatto girl,” according to the Arkansas Gazette, though national newspapers placed her age at sixteen. The unnamed girl was en route from Baxter (Drew County) to Crockett, Texas, and had asked Davis to ferry her from one depot to another. However, he drove her outside the …

Davis, Herman

Herman Davis was an outstanding marksman who distinguished himself in the U.S. Army during World War I. General John J. Pershing listed Davis fourth on a list of the greatest heroes of World War I. Herman Davis was born on January 3, 1888, at Big Lake Island, which later became Manila (Mississippi County), the son of Jeff and Mary Ann Vance Davis. The family operated a country store and supplemented its meager income with hunting, fishing, and farming. Davis quit school after the fourth grade to help support the family. He grew up in the woods and became a hunting guide at an early age, thought to be in his teens. Davis was an accurate shot and in the period …

Davis, Howard (Lynching of)

On October 25, 1914, a mob in Newport (Jackson County) took an African-American man named Howard Davis from county authorities and hanged him for allegedly murdering Marshal James S. Payne. Davis was supposedly assisted in the murder by an accomplice, John Woodard. Some national reporting indicates that there may have been at least one more accomplice. While there is no information available on Davis or Woodard, or on Bob Griffin, to whose house Davis fled after the shooting, Payne was apparently a popular resident of Newport. He was forty-three years old at the time of these events and had a wife and five children. Born in Missouri in 1871, he married Parlee Belford in 1892, and by 1900 they were …

Davis, Jeff

Jeff Davis was a populist governor who railed against corporations and often resorted to race baiting in his campaigns. His tenure in office proved extremely divisive, creating for him many enemies. However, Davis dominated Democratic politics in the state in the early years of the twentieth century, being elected to the office of governor three times and going on to become a U.S. senator. Jeff Davis was born on May 6, 1862, near Rocky Comfort (Little River County) to Lewis W. Davis, a Baptist preacher, lawyer, and county judge, and Elizabeth Phillips Scott. Named for the president of the Confederacy, Davis enjoyed a relatively privileged childhood. In 1869, his family moved to Dover (Pope County) and then, in 1873, moved …

Davis, Lovett (Lynching of)

Early on the morning of May 25, 1909, an African-American man named Lovett Davis was hanged in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) for an alleged assault on a young woman named Amy Holmes. Although the Arkansas Gazette reported that Davis was from Atlanta, Georgia, and had relatives there, public records provide no information to confirm this. Amy Holmes was living in Pine Bluff with her uncle, railroad conductor H. Knowlton Padgett. Holmes was the daughter of Knowlton’s older sister, Harriett, who died in Batesville (Independence County) in 1893. She was still living with the Padgetts in 1910. According to the Pine Bluff Daily Graphic, Davis, described as a “big burly negro,” was a suspect in several robberies in Pine Bluff. Intent …

Day, Clyde “Pea Ridge”

Known as the “hog-calling pitcher” in a baseball career spanning the 1920s and early 1930s, Clyde Henry “Pea Ridge” Day transported his considerable talents, his hometown’s name, and a slice of the lively culture of the Arkansas hills onto the national scene. Day’s fun-loving showmanship and competitive spirit brought rare publicity to his hometown and home state. Clyde Henry Day was born on August 25, 1899, the second child of James (Jim) and Elizabeth Day. Day’s family lived on a farm and operated a steam-powered sawmill three miles north of Pea Ridge (Benton County), near the Missouri state line. His birthplace is taken to be Pea Ridge, although family members think the actual birth may have taken place in McDonald …

De Queen and Eastern Railroad Machine Shop

The De Queen and Eastern Railroad Machine Shop, located in De Queen (Sevier County), was built in 1905 for repairing and maintaining train engines. It is one of the only buildings constructed during the early years of the Eastern Railroad Company and by 2019 was also the only remaining railroad shop in that area of the state. The shop was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 20, 1996. A long, one-story building with brick masonry and tall glass windows on its façade, it is notable for its Italianate architecture, rare for buildings with an industrial use. Its large curved windows remain intact. On top of the building is a monitor roof with small windows for more …

De Queen Commercial Historic District

The downtown buildings of what is now the De Queen Commercial Historic District were built from 1900 to 1961. The district is locally significant under Criterion A on the National Register of Historic Places as the original commercial center supporting the city of De Queen (Sevier County). The district was listed on the National Register on January 26, 2012. The district boundaries encircle thirty-five buildings. Contributing buildings retain many of their historic features, with the historic integrity of this community at fifty-five percent intact. The identity of the area is defined through its proximity to the courthouse and its remaining historic structures. Historically, the buildings in this district were related to commerce, healthcare, recreation and culture, and government. There were …

Dean, “Dizzy”

aka: Jay Hanna Dean
Jay Hanna “Dizzy” Dean was a professional baseball player and radio and television baseball broadcaster who was later inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. Dean and his younger brother, Paul, pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals during the team’s “Gashouse Gang” era of the 1930s. Along with the aging Babe Ruth, “Dizzy” Dean was considered baseball’s major drawing card during the Depression years of the 1930s. Born in Lucas (Logan County) on January 16, 1910, Jay Dean was the son of Albert Monroe “Ab” Dean, a tenant farmer and sawmill worker, and Alma Nelson Dean. His Arkansas childhood was not an easy one. His mother died in 1918 from tuberculosis, and …

Dean, Arthur (Lynching of)

On September 9, 1911, a twenty-three-year-old African-American man named Arthur Dean was lynched in Augusta (Woodruff County) for a crime spree that ended in the alleged murder of a white woman named Mrs. Albert Vaughan. According to the Arkansas Gazette, Dean had earlier been convicted of assault and had been released from the penitentiary two weeks before the crime spree. On the morning of September 8, he went to the home of Tom Ligon, an African-American farmer who lived five miles east of Augusta. This was perhaps Thomas Ligon, listed on the 1920 census as a tenant farmer living in Augusta with his wife, Mary, and six children aged thirteen and under. While at Ligon’s home, Arthur Dean encountered an …

Dean, Paul

aka: Paul Dee "Daffy" Dean
Like his brother, Jay Hanna “Dizzy” Dean, Paul Dee “Daffy” Dean was a baseball player who enjoyed his greatest success as a teammate with his brother on the St. Louis Cardinals. Due to injuries, Paul Dean had only two truly successful years in the major leagues, though he attempted numerous comebacks. However, the Dean brothers’ 1934 and 1935 seasons are well remembered by baseball historians. Paul Dean was born on August 14, 1913, in Lucas (Logan County) to sharecroppers Albert Monroe Dean and Alma Nelson Dean. He became a professional baseball player in 1932 by signing with Houston of the Texas League. In 1934, he joined his brother on the pitching staff of the St. Louis Cardinals, prompting Dizzy’s famous …

DeGray Creek Bridge

DeGray Creek Bridge is a pin-connected Pratt pony-truss bridge located near Arkadelphia (Clark County). Constructed in 1915, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 2010. It is the only known surviving bridge of its type in the state. The bridge consists of two steel trusses, seven feet tall and twelve feet apart. A steel deck substructure is attached to the trusses, and pins hold the sections together. The deck is covered by wooden planks. This bridge is connected to the banks of the creek by concrete and is a single lane wide. The bridge and similar bridges were prefabricated to be constructed in a manner that would allow them to be quickly and easily …

Dellinger, Samuel Claudius

Samuel Claudius Dellinger was curator of the University of Arkansas Museum in Fayetteville (Washington County) and head of the Department of Zoology for over thirty years. As curator, he built the museum’s archaeology collection into one of the best in the nation. In Dellinger’s view, the museum was, first and foremost, an educational resource for the people of Arkansas, and he worked to generate interest in it from the university community and the general public. Samuel Dellinger was born on January 14, 1892, in Iron Station (later Lincolntown), North Carolina, to Robert H. and Laura Loftin Dellinger. After graduating from high school, Dellinger attended Trinity College (later Duke University), where he was a varsity wrestler and swimmer. Dellinger earned his …

Democrat Printing and Lithographing Company Building

The Democrat Printing and Lithographing Company building, located at 114 East 2nd Street in Little Rock (Pulaski County), housed the Democrat Printing and Lithographing Company from 1924 to 1999. In the twenty-first century, it is a mixed-use building with space for commercial offices, retail stores, and lofts. On December 17, 1998, the building was added to National Register of Historic Places. The Democrat Printing and Lithographing Company building was built in 1924, in an area then known as the East Markham Warehouse District. Its namesake, the Democrat Printing and Lithographing Company, was founded in 1871 as the commercial printing division of the Arkansas Democrat newspaper. The Arkansas Democrat divided its assets in 1906, which separated the printing division from the …

Desha County Courthouse

The Desha County Courthouse in Arkansas City (Desha County) is a two-and-a-half-story brick structure built in 1900 in the Romanesque Revival architectural style. The courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 12, 1976. After the establishment of Desha County in 1838, the first county seat was located at Napoleon in 1843, a river port at the confluence of the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers. Early courts were held at Wellington, a plantation in the Red Fork Township. In the fall of 1865, the old Marine Hospital building was leased by the county from the federal government for the purpose of conducting county business. By the 1870s, the county seat at Napoleon had been abandoned due to frequent flooding. In 1873, …

DeValls Bluff Waterworks

The DeValls Bluff Waterworks, located at the corner of Hazel and Rumbaugh streets in DeValls Bluff (Prairie County), was constructed in 1936 and installed with assistance from the Public Works Administration (PWA), a New Deal public relief agency. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 20, 2007. As the United States struggled with the Depression of the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration enacted the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) to ease the effects of businesses closing. The act included an organization called the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works (or Public Works Administration), which was created on June 16, 1933, to help finance federal construction projects and create jobs. DeValls Bluff, located on the …

Dewees, Mary

A renowned reformer and advocate for prisoners’ rights, Mary Dewees was the first superintendent of the Arkansas State Farm for Women, the state’s first women’s prison, from 1920 to 1924. Mary Dewees was born on July 5, 1895, to Thomas B. Dewees and Lillie Dewees in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Bucknell University, where she studied social work and became well versed in the latest forms of progressive penology, especially ways to reform so-called wayward women. Dewees became director of education at New Jersey’s Clinton Farms reform school for women in 1918. At the age of twenty-five, Dewees was recruited by Grace Robson, another women’s reform pioneer who helped organize New Jersey’s first women’s reformatory in 1913. The following year, …

Dexter B. Florence Memorial Field

The Dexter B. Florence Memorial Field is an airport located in Arkadelphia (Clark County). Owned by the City of Arkadelphia, the facility serves both local general aviation and as the location for Henderson State University (HSU) flight operations. The first airplane to visit the city landed on May 25, 1918. Other planes infrequently appeared in the city over the next two decades until the first airport was constructed in 1933–34, located across the Ouachita River from Arkadelphia. The first plane landed at that facility on April 24, 1934. The land was leased for only three years, and after the expiration of the lease, the airport closed. It was reopened in 1939 when students from Henderson State Teachers College (which later …

Dibrell, James Anthony, Jr.

James Anthony Dibrell Jr. was a founder of the University of Arkansas Medical Department (now the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences—UAMS) and served as its second dean. As a practicing physician and dean of the medical school, Dibrell was responsible for many of the developments in medical education in Arkansas at the turn of the century. James Dibrell was born on August 20, 1846, near Van Buren (Crawford County). His father, James A. Dibrell Sr., was a prominent pioneer physician of the Van Buren area well known in state medical circles. The Civil War had taken a toll on the family finances, so Dibrell began his medical education by “reading” medicine with his father in the evenings and working …

Dickey, Bill

aka: William Malcolm Dickey
William Malcolm (Bill) Dickey is considered by baseball historians to be one of the best catchers in baseball history. Dickey played and later coached for the New York Yankees during that club’s dominance from the late 1920s to the early 1960s. His years as a player and coach are seen as a bridge that connects the great Yankees teams of those years. It is doubtful that any baseball figure can match the team success Dickey enjoyed as a player and coach. Combined, player/coach Dickey’s teams won seventeen American League titles and fourteen World Series (and Dickey was named to eleven All-Star teams in his playing career). That team success combined with Dickey’s individual performance made for an extraordinary career. Bill …

Dickinson-Moore House

Constructed circa 1915, the Dickinson-Moore House in Arkansas City (Desha County) has experienced the ebb and flow of the city’s history, as well as its floodwaters. Like many buildings in Arkansas City, it was built upon a tall foundation to protect it from the high water that frequently inundated the area. This practical adaptation makes the Dickinson-Moore House a unique example of Craftsman architecture in Arkansas City. It is believed that a member of the Dickinson family had the house built. The Dickinson family patriarch in the town was planter and attorney Colonel J. W. Dickinson, of whom the Goodspeed history of the area speaks rather glowingly: “No name is entitled to a more enviable place in the history of Desha County …

Dickinson, Samuel Dorris

  Samuel Dorris Dickinson was an archaeologist, historian, journalist, linguist, and college instructor. He was one of the early academically trained archaeologists to work and teach in Arkansas. He was a participant in the development of the field of archaeology in the United States, when few who worked as archaeologists had college degrees. He was an editor at the Arkansas Gazette, Arkansas Democrat, and Shreveport Journal for nearly thirty years. Dickinson was a well-known collector of antiques from the early territorial period of Arkansas. He also acquired folk art, religious art, books, paintings, and fossils. Dickinson published widely on his archaeological and historical research in a number of regional professional journals. Sam Dickinson was born on February 26, 1912, in …

Dierks Forests, Inc.

Arkansas-based Dierks Forests, Inc.—which amassed holdings of 1.75 million acres of timberland—was one of the largest family-owned landholding entities in the United States until its sale to Weyerhaeuser Company in 1969. Hot Springs Village (Garland and Saline counties) was created in 1970 on landholdings from the Dierks company. After arriving in the United States, German immigrant Peter Henry Dierks (1824–1908) became a successful farmer and businessman in eastern Iowa, just north of Clinton. He and his wife, Margaretha Tauk Dierks, were the parents of Hans (1850–1929), John (1852–1924), Henry (1860–1895), Herman (1863–1946), and Peter (1867–1906), as well as three daughters. In 1880, Hans Dierks joined his brother John and another partner to develop a successful retail lumber business in seven …

Dierks, Herman

Herman Dierks was the co-founder and two-time president of the Dierks Lumber and Coal Company, supervising its lumberyard in De Queen (Sevier County) and other parts of eastern Oklahoma and northern Louisiana. With the help of his brothers, he helped create and control the Dierks timber empire. Born near Lyons, Iowa, on September 24, 1863, Herman Dierks was the seventh child of Peter Henry Dierks, a German farmer and a banker, and Margaretha Dorothea Tauk, a Danish immigrant. He joined his brother Hans in Nebraska after Hans bought land there along the newly constructed Burlington Railroad. Dierks farmed until he and his brother bought a lumberyard in 1887, which later proved to be the source of Dierks’s fortune. On May …

Dill School

aka: Ida School
The Dill School at Ida (Cleburne County), located on Highway 25 and Center Ridge Road, was built in 1937–1938 with assistance from the National Youth Administration (NYA), a Depression-era federal relief program. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 16, 1994. The first schools in the Ida area were established in the late 1800s and included a one-room log building called the Dill School. This school served the community until it was destroyed by fire in the early twentieth century. It was replaced by a one-room, wood-frame structure that was used until 1938, when the community sought funding from the National Youth Administration, one of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal agencies, which employed young …

Disfarmer, Mike

aka: Mike Meyer
A portrait photographer in Heber Springs (Cleburne County), Mike Disfarmer’s invaluable contribution to photography and the documentation of rural America went unnoticed until 1973, fourteen years after his death. This eccentric man’s work, which later garnered national attention, captures with stark realism the people in and around Heber Springs in the early to mid-1900s. The particularities of Disfarmer’s biography are sketchy, largely because of his reclusive lifestyle and meager status during his lifetime. Various sources date his birth to German immigrants as either 1882 or 1884; however, a World War II draft registration card for one “Mike Disfarmer” of Heber Springs lists an August 16, 1882, birth in Daviess, Indiana. Disfarmer’s family later moved to the German community of Stuttgart (Arkansas …

Dockery, Jess Orval

Jess Orval Dockery was an aviation pioneer and an innovator of agricultural aviation in the Mid-South region, based first in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) and, later, Stuttgart (Arkansas County) and Clarksdale, Mississippi. He played a leading role in developing aerial application processes, perfecting the science of crop dusting and spreading the practice to the Midwest. Jess Orval Dockery was born on February 26, 1909, in Dallas, Texas, to Jess P. Dockery and Myrtle Kemp Dockery. Confederate general Thomas Pleasant Dockery was his great-uncle, while socialite Octavia Dockery was a cousin. During World War I, his family moved to Lawton, Oklahoma, where his father ran a jitney service to Fort Sill, Oklahoma. This gave Dockery access to the base’s aircraft, leading …

Dockery, Octavia

Octavia Dockery was a writer, socialite, and eventual recluse who became embroiled in the “Goat Castle Murder” case in Natchez, Mississippi, in 1932. The case garnered national and international headlines when she was accused of having murdered her neighbor, Jennie Merrill. Dockery was never tried for the murder, owing to the fact that Merrill’s actual murderer was killed by Arkansas police before Dockery could be brought to trial. Her story, nevertheless, provides an excellent example of Southern Gothic come to life. Octavia Dockery was born at Lamartine Plantation in Columbia County, Arkansas, in 1865, the daughter of Brigadier General Thomas Pleasant Dockery, who commanded the Nineteenth Arkansas Infantry Regiment during the Civil War, and Laura Octavia West Dockery. She was …

Dodd, Frank (Lynching of)

Frank Dodd was lynched in DeWitt (Arkansas County) on October 8, 1916, by a mob of about 300. He had reportedly insulted two white women the previous day. Dodd was the second man taken from the jail at DeWitt and lynched in as many months, though the previous mob had taken its victim to Stuttgart (Arkansas County) to be murdered. The exact identity of Dodd is difficult to determine, however. In the 1910 census, there is an African-American man named Frank Dodd living in Drew County with his wife, Isabella, but by the following census year she is living with her family and going by her maiden name; he apparently disappears from the record. According to the Arkansas Gazette, Dodd …

Dodd, Sonora Louise Smart

Sonora Louise Smart Dodd is known as the “Mother of Father’s Day.” She began trying to make Father’s Day an officially recognized holiday in 1909. Sonora Smart was born on February 18, 1882, in Jenny Lind (Sebastian County), the daughter of William Jackson Smart, a farmer and Civil War veteran, and Ellen Victoria Cheek Smart. She was the oldest of six children and the only girl. When Smart was five years old, her family left Arkansas and settled in Spokane, Washington, where she lived for the rest of her life. In 1898, her mother died in childbirth, and Smart helped her father raise her younger brothers. Smart married John Bruce Dodd, an insurance agent, on November 4, 1899, and they …

Dollarway Road

The Dollarway Road represents Arkansas’s early twentieth-century efforts at road building for automobiles. Called the Dollarway Road because of its cost, it is important as an early example of the state’s short-lived system of road improvement districts. The Dollarway Road was also the longest continuous concrete pavement in the United States when complete, and it marked the first use of reinforced concrete for bridge construction in Arkansas. Bicyclists started Arkansas’s Good Road Movement, which led to the establishment of the Good Roads League of the State of Arkansas in 1896. Upgrading road conditions and funding roads was a major concern. In 1907, the state legislature created road improvement districts, locally controlled groups that determined where roads would go and who …

Domestic Science Building

The Domestic Science Building is located on the campus of Central Primary School and the central office of the Arkadelphia Public School District in Arkadelphia (Clark County). Known for combining both Prairie and Classical architecture styles, the building was constructed in 1917 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 22, 1982. A public school board was formed in Arkadelphia in 1870 and operated schools intermittently for more than a decade. Faced with uncertain finances and several private schools operating as competitors, the public schools had difficulty remaining in operation. A permanent school building was constructed in 1888, and regular sessions began to be offered. The enrollment at Arkadelphia High School grew during the late nineteenth …

Donaghey, George Washington

George Washington Donaghey, the twenty-second governor of Arkansas, built a legacy in the state that endures today through his support of education. He was involved, directly or indirectly, in the beginnings of six of ten publicly supported universities in the state, as well as the creation of a state board of education. Beyond education, his work as governor left behind the initiative and referendum amendment to the Arkansas Constitution, a state board of health with the power to regulate sanitation and inspect food and drugs, prison and tax reform, and the completion of a new state capitol building. George W. Donaghey was born on July 1, 1856, in Oakland, Louisiana, to C. C. Donaghey, a farmer, and Elizabeth Ingram, a …

Down in “Arkansaw”

B-movie studio Republic Pictures shot hillbilly situation comedy Down in “Arkansaw” (1938) in California. The only Arkansan in the film was Pinky Tomlin, who was born in Eros (Marion County) but raised in Oklahoma. The film was the first in a series of eleven comedies made by Republic from 1938 to 1943 featuring the Weaver Brothers and Elviry (consisting of Missourians Leon, Frank, and June Weaver), a popular “rube” vaudeville and radio act. The Weaver series also included Arkansas Judge (1941). In his book Hillbilly, Anthony Harkins noted that the years 1937–1945 saw “the hillbilly stereotype at high tide” in popular culture, with the Weavers and Judy Canova making pictures at Republic, Arkansan Bob Burns appearing in films for Paramount …

Dr. James Wyatt Walton House

The house of Dr. James Wyatt Walton at 301 West Sevier Street in Benton (Saline County) is one of the oldest homes in Saline County. However, the Walton House’s historical importance, unlike the more elaborate and much older Gann House, is tied to both its architect and the family it housed for many years. The Walton House was designed by famous Arkansas architect Charles Thompson of Little Rock (Pulaski County) in early 1902. Construction of the house was finished by Thompson’s contractor John S. Odum in April 1903. Thompson’s firm also designed the Saline County Courthouse just up the street from the Walton House. Dr. James Wyatt Walton is often called the county’s first doctor. In truth, he was the …

Dr. Smith’s Champion Hoss Hair Pullers

During the height of the great string band era of the 1920s, one of the largest and most popular string bands in Arkansas was Dr. Smith’s Champion Hoss Hair Pullers. Originally founded to promote tourism in the area of Izard County, the band went on to achieve a modicum of regional success before succumbing to the Depression. Dr. Smith’s Champion Hoss Hair Pullers was founded by Dr. Henry Harlin Smith, a surgeon for the Missouri Pacific Railroad who lived in the Calico Rock (Izard County) area. On his travels with the railway, he found that he was often working to dispel the backward image that many people outside of Arkansas had of the region. Smith thought that if more people …

Dr. T. E. Buffington House

The home of Dr. T. E. Buffington is located at 312 West South Street in Benton (Saline County), just west of the Benton Commercial Historic District. It was built specifically for Buffington in 1928. His house was designed in the English-Tudor Revival style but with some 1920s Craftsman influences throughout. Its historical significance lies with Buffington himself, an influential figure in the history both of Benton and of Lonsdale (Garland County). Turner Ellis (T. E.) Buffington was born on May 5, 1879, in Benton to William Ellis Buffington and Mary Marceline Miller Buffington. William and Mary moved to Saline County from Georgia in the early 1870s. Buffington was educated in Benton’s rural schools and at the medical school that became …

Drew County Courthouse

The Drew County Courthouse, located at 210 South Main Street in Monticello (Drew County), is a three-and-a-half-story Classical Moderne–style building that was constructed in 1932. This is the fourth courthouse building that has been constructed for Drew County. The first courthouse in Monticello was built in 1851 and cost less than $5,300. The second building was erected in 1856–57 and was of frame construction, just as the first had been. In 1870–71, the third courthouse (brick this time) was built on the square from local materials, costing $48,620. This courthouse had a 110-foot tower that displayed a four-dial clock. With the completion of the current courthouse, the third courthouse was torn down, and the bell and clock from the tower …

Driver, William “Judge”

William Joshua “Judge” Driver of Mississippi County served as a member of the Arkansas legislature (1897–1899), as circuit judge in the Second Judicial District (1911–1918), and as U.S. representative from Arkansas’s First Congressional District (1921–1939). During his tenure in Washington DC, Driver served as president of the powerful National Rivers and Harbors Congress for many years and became chairman of that group’s board of directors in 1940. Driver used his position in the National Rivers and Harbors Congress to influence federal flood control legislation that greatly benefited Arkansas in the early twentieth century. William Driver was born near Osceola (Mississippi County) on March 2, 1873, the second of John B. Driver and Margaret Ann Bowen Driver’s eight children. His father …

Drought of 1930–1931

Arkansas’s worst drought of the twentieth century took place in 1930–1931. Twenty-three states across the Mississippi and Ohio river valleys and into the mid-Atlantic region were caught in its grip. The severest drought centered upon eight Southern states, with Arkansas sixteen percent worse than the other states based on weather statistics. Agrarian blight became a precursor to corollary social, political, and disaster relief issues, which escalated and attracted national attention. The devastating Flood of 1927, financial upheaval from the 1929 stock market crash, and killer tornadoes preceded the drought that struck Arkansas in the spring of 1930. Rainfall during June and July 1930 was the lowest on record—thirty-five percent below rainfall in 1929. July temperatures, typically in the nineties, reached …