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

Saenger Theatre

The Saenger Theatre, which opened in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) on November 17, 1924, was called “The Showplace of the South” and made Pine Bluff an entertainment center for people in southeast Arkansas. It was one of over 300 such theaters the Saenger brothers built in the South during the 1920s, of which fewer than 100 remain. The Saenger Theatre is now owned and operated by a local non-profit agency, Old Towne Centre Theatres, Inc. It is located across the street from the Community Theatre on West 2nd Avenue. O. C. Hauber owned an old store building that he converted into the Hauber Theater in 1912. It changed hands twice and became the Saenger. It later burned due to a …

Saline County Courthouse

The Saline County Courthouse, located at 200 North Main Street, is in the historic commercial district of Benton (Saline County). The courthouse square is surrounded by Conway and Sevier streets, named after two Arkansas families that joined together to create an influential political faction in the nineteenth century called “the Family.” The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the structure as architecturally and historically significant due to its Romanesque Revival architecture. The Saline County Courthouse, featured in the 1973 movie White Lightning because filmmakers considered it to be a typical Southern courthouse, is the third seat of justice in the county’s history. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 22, 1979. In 1836, William Woodruff, editor …

Sam Epstein House

The Sam Epstein House in Lake Village (Chicot County), constructed in 1910, was of historical and cultural significance on several counts. The wood-frame house itself was an interesting blend of Colonial Revival design with touches of Craftsman and Vernacular, primarily in the additions and the second story. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 21, 1992, but burned down approximately twenty years later, on June 30, 2012. Sam Epstein came to America from czarist Russia at the end of the nineteenth century. As a young adult, he moved to Memphis, Tennessee, with his brother Nathan and peddled a variety of goods between that city and the Louisiana border. Epstein left Memphis to become one of the …

Sammon, Winona

aka: Peggy Shannon
Winona Sammon was a stage and cinema actress in the 1920s through early 1940, using the stage name Peggy Shannon. There were high hopes for her career early on, but as it progressed, her roles became smaller and less prestigious. Winona Sammon was born on January 10, 1907, to Edward and Nannie Sammon in the upstairs living quarters over her father’s store on Barraque Street in downtown Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). She had a younger sister. In late 1923, she traveled to New York City with her mother to visit an aunt, who lived in the same building as Florenz Ziegfeld’s secretary, “Goldie” Glough. Sammon was invited for some publicity pictures with Ziegfeld, who, with famed choreographer Ned Wrayburn, chose …

Sanders, Ira Eugene

Ira Eugene Sanders became the most well-known and respected rabbi in Arkansas for his indefatigable efforts in promoting social work and civil rights. Ira Sanders was born on May 6, 1894, in Rich Hill, Missouri, one of five children of Daniel and Pauline (Ackerman) Sanders. His father was a wholesale meat packer. When Ira was six years old, his family moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where he attended public school. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Cincinnati, possibly in sociology, in 1918; he then obtained a rabbinate degree from the (Reform) Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, in 1919 and was ordained as a rabbi that year. He served as rabbi of Congregation Keneseth Israel in Allentown, …

Sanders, Theodore Marcus

Theodore Marcus Sanders was an accomplished architect who designed a variety of buildings in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and other cities in Arkansas. Many of his buildings have been nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, including the Ada Thompson Memorial Home, the Woman’s City Club building, and the Cornish House—all in Little Rock. He was partner in the Thompson, Sanders and Ginocchio firm, which continues to operate in the twenty-first century as Cromwell Architects Engineers. Theodore Sanders was born in Little Rock on March 13, 1879, to Fred and Fannie Sanders. He was one of ten children. The family had settled in Little Rock in 1879 after a relative saved them from starvation on the family’s fledgling farm …

Saphore, Edwin Warren

The Right Reverend Edwin Warren Saphore served from 1935 until 1938 as the seventh bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas. In 1917, he became the first elected suffragan (assistant) bishop of the diocese, serving in that position until the retirement of Bishop James R. Winchester in 1931. In the absence of a duly elected and ratified bishop, he served as the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese until his election as bishop in 1935. Edwin Warren Saphore was born in Rahway, New Jersey, on September 17, 1854, to Daniel A. Saphore and Martha Warren Saphore. He graduated from South Jersey Institute at Bridgeton, New Jersey, and received a BA from Pennsylvania State College (now the University of Pennsylvania) and an …

Sawyer, Lewis Ernest

Lewis Ernest Sawyer was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Sixth District of Arkansas in the Sixty-Eighth Congress, serving only briefly in 1923. Lewis E. Sawyer was born in Shelby County, Alabama, on June 24, 1867, to Virginia L. Sawyer (maiden name unknown); his father’s name is unknown. He moved with his family to Lee County, Mississippi, where he received his early formal education in the local public schools. He graduated from the University of Mississippi at Oxford. Sawyer studied law and was admitted to the Mississippi bar in 1895. Soon afterward, he opened a private practice in Friars Point, a once prosperous town on the shores of the Mississippi River that had struggled …

Schilberg, Richard

Richard Schilberg was an aviation pioneer whose early efforts in Stuttgart (Arkansas County) made him Arkansas’s first acknowledged aircraft manufacturer. Richard Schilberg was born on September 28, 1887, at Canada, Kansas, the son of Gottlieb Schilberg and Juliana Heidt Schilberg. He moved to Stuttgart in 1909 and opened a welding shop, initially specializing in agricultural machinery. He married Gladys Fricker on January 28, 1913. They divorced in 1926 and he married Mable Stilzen in 1927. The couple took their first airplane rides in June 1913, when one of Arkansas’s first aerial exhibitions came to the town. Increasingly interested in flying, he began building aircraft in Stuttgart by 1914, becoming the first major promoter of aviation in the Grand Prairie region. …

Schmidt, Charles “Boss”

Arkansas native Charles “Boss” Schmidt was a baseball player whose minor and major league career spanned most of the first two decades of the twentieth century. His nickname was a tribute to the toughness he exhibited, especially in fights during his baseball career (with other ballplayers, including his Detroit Tigers teammate Ty Cobb) and during a brief stint as a boxer. Charles Schmidt was born on September 12, 1880, in London (Pope County)—some sources say Coal Hill (Johnson County)—to German immigrants John and Mary Schmidt. It is unclear how many siblings he had, but a younger brother, Walter, played professional baseball with the Pittsburgh Pirates. As a youth, Schmidt worked in the coal mines central to the region’s economy. While …

Schoonover, Wear Kibler

Wear Kibler Schoonover won many academic and athletic awards while attending the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). While he was part of the All-American football team, he went to Hollywood to play a part in the film Maybe It’s Love. Schoonover later served in the U.S. Navy and worked for the government in the Legal Services Department of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Wear Schoonover was born on March 18, 1910, in Pocahontas (Randolph County) to attorney Eugene Gardiner Schoonover and Estelle Waddle Schoonover; he had two siblings who died in infancy and one brother. Schoonover graduated from Pocahontas High School and attended UA, accomplishing much in both academics and sports. Schoonover was the first UA athlete …

Schoppach, Annie

aka: Annie Adelia Anette Ryerse
Annie Schoppach was the first female graduate of the Medical Department of the University of Arkansas (now the College of Medicine of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences). She practiced medicine in Little Rock (Pulaski County), entering a profession that was almost entirely male dominated. Annie Adelia Anette Ryerse was born in Port Ryerse, Ontario, Canada, on May 3, 1859, the daughter of James and Sarah Ryerse. The Ryerse family was the most prominent family in the area, her great-grandfather having been the lieutenant governor of the Western District of Upper Canada. She experienced a great deal of loss early in her life. Her mother died when she was a small child. Later, her twin sister died. Her paternal …

Schumann, Clarence (Trial and Execution of)

Clarence Schumann was the second of only two people legally executed in Garland County (Harry Poe, an African–American teenager, was the first). On July 11, 1912, Schumann, a white man, murdered his wife after she refused to grant him a divorce. At trial, Schumann’s lawyers argued that his addiction to morphine rendered him insane and that he should be spared the death penalty. On October 29, 1912, however, a Garland County jury found Schumann guilty and sentenced him to death. He was executed on June 2, 1913.   On July 11, 1912, Clarence Schumann came home from work to find his wife, Lula, gathering clothes in the backyard. He shot her twice with his pistol, killing her. Garland County authorities arrested him that evening. When questioned, Schumann explained that he was angry that his wife would not grant him …

Scipio A. Jones House

The Scipio A. Jones House is a 1928 Craftsman-style residence on Cross Street in Little Rock (Pulaski County) that was the home of Scipio Africanus Jones, a renowned African-American attorney, and his second wife, Lillie. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 28, 1999. Jones was born a slave in 1863 near Tulip (Dallas County). Moving to Little Rock around 1881, he attended Walden Seminary (now Philander Smith College) in Little Rock and Bethel Institute (now Shorter College) in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) before passing the bar in 1889. Jones would practice law in Little Rock for the remainder of his life, with his most noteworthy case being the defense of the so-called Elaine …

Scott Cemetery

Scott Cemetery, established in 1920, is located in rural Lawrence County near Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County). The cemetery is representative of many small, rural African-American cemeteries in the South, although it is not associated with a nearby church. There are approximately 101 graves in the cemetery, including those of former slaves and of several leaders of the African-American community in the area. Scott Cemetery was listed in the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A, with local significance for its association with the ethnic heritage (burial customs) of the African-American community of Walnut Ridge, Hoxie (Lawrence County), and the surrounding portions of Lawrence County from the 1920s to the present. Scott Cemetery is one of seven African-American cemeteries within …

Scott, James Powell

James Powell Scott was a prominent mid-twentieth-century American artist and art educator. He began studying, producing, and teaching art in Arkansas. Now best remembered for his lithographs, watercolors, and oil paintings on canvas, Scott has works in the collections of major regional and national art museums, including the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. James Powell Scott, the second of three sons, was born to Wellington Friend Scott and Sarah Powell Scott on April 22, 1909, in Lexington, Kentucky. He attended public schools in Kentucky and in Arkansas after his family moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County). In 1928, Scott graduated from Little Rock High School. Scott studied art fundamentals with Adrian Brewer, a popular Little Rock artist and …

Searcy Confederate Monument

The Searcy Confederate Monument is a commemorative sculpture erected in 1917 at the White County Courthouse to honor local men who had served in the Confederate army during the Civil War. White County sent eight companies of infantry and cavalry troops to fight for the Confederacy, and shortly after the turn of the twentieth century, local members of the United Confederate Veterans (UCV) decided it was time to raise a monument in their memory. The Reporter, a trade magazine for monument makers and dealers, included a notice in 1904 saying, “At the recent reunion of Camp Walker-McRea [sic] U.C.V., held at Searcy, Ark., a committee was appointed to co-operate with a committee of the local chapter of the U.D.C. in …

Searcy County Draft War

Coming on the heels of a notorious case of World War I–era draft resistance in Polk County was the less notable Searcy County Draft War in Leslie (Searcy County). Like other such so-called draft wars in Arkansas, the Searcy County incident involved a family/clan living in an isolated, mountainous region. In August 1917, a year prior to the incident, the youngest son of the local Goodwin family, Miller Goodwin, had committed suicide rather than enter into military service. The Arkansas Gazette reported that he had left his home to report for military service in Marshall (Searcy County). During the trip, he stopped at a neighbor’s house at breakfast time. Shortly after his arrival, he shot himself. Suicides such as that …

Sebastian County Courthouse

aka: Fort Smith City Hall
The Sebastian County Courthouse stands at 100 South 6th Street, less than a mile from the Fort Smith National Cemetery, in the heart of the frontier city of Fort Smith (Sebastian County). The white, Art Deco–style courthouse is home to one of the county’s two seats of justice (the other is in Greenwood) as well as Fort Smith’s City Hall. This is the only public building in Arkansas that has this dual purpose. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the building for its historical significance due to its New Deal–era construction, as well as its architectural attributes. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 8, 1993. After Sebastian County’s establishment in 1851, citizens of the …

Sebastian County Road 4G Bridge

The Sebastian County Road 4G Bridge, located on what is now West Harmony Road where it crosses a tributary of Sugar Loaf Creek near West Hartford (Sebastian County), is an open masonry substructure bridge constructed in 1940 through the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Depression-era public relief agency. Sebastian County leaders in 1939 decided to undertake an ambitious and widespread effort to improve rural roads throughout the county with assistance from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal agencies. They applied for funding from the WPA and on December 11, 1939, that organization approved $1,226,362 for a county-wide project to “improve roads, including clearing; grubbing; excavating and grading; constructing curbs, gutters and bridges; draining; laying pipe; surfacing; and performing incidental and …

Sebastian County Union War of 1914

The Sebastian County Union War of 1914 is one of the major instances of labor contention and violence in the state of Arkansas. Growing out of a mining operator’s attempt to save his badly run company by eliminating union labor, it resulted in murder, the destruction of property, and a lawsuit that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Sebastian County was one of the centers of the state’s coal-mining industry in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, producing over 1.5 million tons of coal in 1913. Parallel to the strength of the industry was the strength of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), a union of which every miner in the state was a member. …

Shady Lake CCC Bridges

The Shady Lake CCC Bridges were nominated to the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A with local significance for their association with the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in Polk County. The bridges, completed by crews from Camp Shady in December 1936, were constructed as a part of the Shady Lake Dam project begun in October 1935. The CCC originally developed the area for recreational purposes, and the bridges and road still service numerous camping and picnicking sites around the lake in the twenty-first century. The Shady Lake CCC Bridges were also nominated under Criterion C with local significance as a good example of CCC native-stone bridge construction. These single-span structures are supported by arched, corrugated …

Sharecropping and Tenant Farming

Farm tenancy is a form of lease arrangement whereby a tenant rents, for cash or a share of crops, farm property from a landowner. Different variations of tenant arrangements exist, including sharecropping, in which, typically, a landowner provides all of the capital and a tenant all of the labor for a fifty percent share of crops. Tenancies have been used widely throughout Arkansas, but prior to the Civil War, slaves worked most vast agricultural tracts along the Mississippi River planted in cotton. When the South lost the war, bringing slavery to an end, Arkansas landowners and freed slaves then began negotiating new labor relationships to cultivate land up and down the Arkansas Delta. While some planters preferred day labor, using …

Sharp, Willous Floyd

Willous Floyd Sharp was a longtime government official. While he served in a number of different capacities at the local, state, and federal levels, he was best known for his leadership of Arkansas’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) programs during the New Deal. Floyd Sharp was born on March 28, 1896, in Union, Tennessee, one of seven children born to Rufus Sharp and Mary Jane Sharp. The family moved to Idaho in 1899. In 1907, the family moved to Arkansas, settling in Garland County. Sharp received his early education in the area’s local schools. He served in the U.S. Army during World War I, and upon his discharge from the military, he got a job working as a printer for the …

Shaver, Dorothy

Dorothy Shaver was the first woman in the United States to head a multi-million dollar firm. She became president of the prestigious New York City Fifth Avenue firm of Lord & Taylor in 1945 and is credited with much of the company’s success. A trailblazer and a trend setter in her time, her legacy continues today. Dorothy Shaver was born on July 29, 1893, in Center Point (Howard County) to Sallie Borden and James Shaver. Her maternal grandfather was Benjamin Borden, editor of the Arkansas Gazette, and her paternal grandfather was Robert Glenn Shaver, a prominent Confederate officer who served with distinction during the Civil War. When Shaver was five years old, her family moved to Mena (Polk County), a …

Sheehan, James Murray

James Murray Sheehan served as the first journalism instructor and first publicity director at University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), was editor of the Arkansas Traveler, and published two well-received novels, Half-Gods and Eden. Half-Gods, published in 1927, offered a scathing satire of Fayetteville and the university. Murray Sheehan was born to David Este Sheehan and Alfarata Winder Sheehan on December 15, 1887, in Hamilton, Ohio. Sheehan earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and a master’s from Harvard University. Before coming to the University of Arkansas, he served as a sergeant major of artillery in the Sixth Division during World War I, worked as a newspaper reporter, and taught at the University …

Shelton-Lockeby House

The Shelton-Lockeby House is located on Springhill Church Road, west of Murfreesboro (Pike County) in the Spring Hill community. Constructed in 1905, the single-story, dogtrot-style home was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 28, 2005. The land upon which the house was constructed was owned by a number of individuals before being purchased by James Shelton in 1896. The taxable value of the land increased in 1905, indicating that a house was constructed on the property at that time. Shelton sold the land to W. M. Riley in 1907, who in turn sold it to James Lockeby in 1915. James and his wife, Lula Ann, raised animals and grew a number of crops on the property, …

Sherrill, William LeVan

William LeVan Sherrill was a human rights activist whose black nationalist philosophy, leadership skills, and speaking abilities helped catapult him into the executive ranks of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), the largest grassroots organization ever assembled by people of African descent. Sherrill was also a staunch advocate of Pan Africanist thought into the second half of the twentieth century, helping to lay a foundation for the African-American social struggle. Sherrill was born on May 9, 1894, in either Forrest City (St. Francis County) or Altheimer (Jefferson County)—sources conflict on the matter. His father was William Sherrill Sr., a Methodist minister, but the name of his mother is unknown. The predominately black St. Francis County and Jefferson County, which …

Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church

The Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, located at 1200 Hanger Street in Little Rock (Pulaski County), was built in 1919 in the late Gothic Revival style. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 24, 2020. According to Little Rock city directories, the congregation had constructed a building at the southwest corner of 12th and Hanger under the leadership of the Reverend Jack Steele by 1897. Complete with a bell tower in the center of the front façade, the one-and-a-half-story, wood-frame structure served the primarily African-American congregation until 1919. The longest-serving pastor of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church was the Reverend Caleb Darnell (C. D.) Pettaway, who served from 1927 until his death in 1968. At the same …

Shivery, George (Lynching of)

George Shivery (or Shiverey), a white man, was lynched in Pocahontas (Randolph County) on March 23, 1901, at 1:30 a.m. for the alleged crime of killing a city marshal. He was one of only two men, both of them white, ever to be lynched in Randolph County; George Cole had been lynched in 1872. According to the Arkansas Gazette, Shivery resided in a houseboat along the Black River with his wife and four children. On the evening of March 20, Shivery allegedly shot and killed John Norris, a city marshal. Initial reports in both the Gazette and the Arkansas Democrat reported that Shivery (whose name was initially given as James Chavari) had confronted Norris regarding the latter’s attempt to cut …

Shrader, Gustave Joseph

Gustave Joseph Shrader was a photographer who was best known as the official photographer for the state Senate and House of Representatives and for several Little Rock (Pulaski County) schools. Joseph Shrader was born on May 25, 1870, in Orel, Russia, to a merchant. In 1885, Shrader began serving as a photographer’s apprentice. He immigrated to the United States in 1892. Shrader met Bertha Frank, a resident of Louisville, Kentucky, and married her in December 1900 in Memphis, Tennessee. The couple had one child, Gustave Joseph Shrader Jr., called “Buddy.” Shrader worked for photographers in Louisville, Kentucky; Memphis, Tennessee; Indianapolis, Indiana; Providence, Rhode Island; and New York City. In May 1901, he opened a studio with his wife in St. …

Simon, Charlie May

Charlie May Simon is among the state’s most prolific major authors. Known primarily for her children’s literature, with just under thirty books and with numerous short stories to her credit, Simon had a long career writing for adults as well. Additionally, she is known as the wife of Pulitzer Prize–winning poet John Gould Fletcher. Her work in the field of children’s literature has been honored in Arkansas since 1971 by the annual presentation of the Charlie May Simon Book Award. Simon was born Charlie May Hogue on August 17, 1897, not far from Monticello (Drew County), to Charles Wayman Hogue and Mary Gill Hogue. She was named after both her parents, according to Southern tradition. Her father, a tenant farmer …

Simon, Howard Jacob

During the 1920s and 1930s, Howard Jacob Simon was a nationally celebrated painter in oils and watercolors and an illustrator in sketches and woodcut prints. In Arkansas, he was best known for his drawings and woodcuts that illustrated Charlie May Simon’s books and the book Back Yonder, An Ozark Chronicle by Wayman Hogue, Charlie May Simon’s father. Howard Simon was born on July 22, 1902, in New York City to Samuel Simon, a salesman of general merchandise, and Bertha Simon. He had one brother. Before he was fifteen, Simon knew that he wanted to be an artist. He went daily to the National Academy of Design. He then spent two years at the New York Academy of Arts and drawing …

Sink-Crumb Post 72 American Legion Hut

The Sink-Crumb Post 72 American Legion Hut, located on the northeastern corner of 2nd and Cherry streets in the small Clay County community of Knobel, is a tin-roofed cypress log building designed in the Rustic aesthetic common among American Legion buildings erected during the early 1930s. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 25, 2008. As with other towns around Arkansas, Knobel was home to many World War I veterans, and when the state’s American Legion leadership began encouraging the creation of additional posts in the late 1920s, members decided to band together and create Sink-Crumb Post 72. The post—likely named for local men who died while in military service—was founded in the spring of …

Slater, Philip (Lynching of)

On March 22, 1921, fifty-year-old Philip Slater was hanged on the public square in Monticello (Drew County) for allegedly assaulting a white woman in nearby Wilmar (Drew County). Philip Slater was one of many African Americans who worked in Drew County’s timber industry, the largest industry in the county in 1920. According to the 1920 census, Slater and his wife, Jimmie, were boarding with Addie Green on Buber Street in Wilmar. Both Philip and Jimmie could read and write, and he was working as a laborer in a lumber mill. This may have been the large Gates Lumber Company, which was located in Wilmar. Slater was reportedly fifty years old when he was murdered. According to the Arkansas Gazette, on …

Slaughter, Tom

Dead before his twenty-fifth birthday, Tom Slaughter was a violent, arrogant, and handsome conman, bank robber, and killer. When he died on December 9, 1921, in Benton (Saline County), Slaughter had been given the death sentence for murder. Tom Slaughter was born in Bernice, Louisiana, on December 25, 1896, but he lived in the Dallas, Texas, area until he was fourteen. Slaughter then moved to Pope County, Arkansas, where he was convicted of stealing a calf in 1911. Slaughter was sentenced to the Arkansas Boys’ Industrial Home. A few months later, he escaped. He returned to Russellville (Pope County), where he paraded before Sheriff Oates, who arrested him. He escaped from jail the second night. For the next ten years, …

Sloan-Hendrix Academy

In 1891, the board of trustees of Hendrix College in Conway (Faulkner County) recommended, in part to help provide for an educated clergy, a plan to build affiliated academies. The recommendation was adopted unanimously, and five academies were organized, the second being Sloan-Hendrix Academy in Imboden (Lawrence County). Imboden was selected due to the support of the local citizens and the influence of businessman W. C. Sloan, reportedly the wealthiest man in the county. The community provided land for the campus and money for buildings and equipment. The school was established in 1899 and set to open a campus located southeast of town. The buildings were not completed on time, however, and the classes of the first session were held …

Smackover Riot of 1922

In late November 1922, a hooded and robed “cleanup committee”—possibly members of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) or some related group—rode through the Smackover (Union County) oil fields in order to drive away “undesirable” people, such as saloon owners and gamblers. The vigilantes killed at least one person, shot at others, and destroyed buildings, and there were widespread reports of floggings and even cases of people being tarred and feathered. This multi-day riot mirrored other vigilante actions in the newly established oil fields in Arkansas. The previous February, the citizens of El Dorado (Union County) had formed a “Law Enforcement League” for the same purpose. Smackover is located twelve miles north of El Dorado in Union County, an area that had relied on …

Smith, Effie Anderson

Effie Anderson Smith was an Arkansas-born landscape painter and pioneer settler of Arizona. She began painting in southwestern Arkansas, in the style of the Hudson River School. Her mature style, exemplified by her Grand Canyon paintings, emerged after studies with California Impressionists. Born near Nashville (Howard County), on September 29, 1869, Effie Anderson grew up in Hope (Hempstead County). Her mother, Martha Adelia Coulter Anderson, came from a family of planters near Lockesburg (Sevier County). Her father, Major Adolphus Anderson, whose family members were planters in South Carolina, came to southwestern Arkansas in the 1850s as a surveyor and civil engineer. Her parents married in March 1861, before her father joined ten of his brothers in the South Carolina forces …

Smith, Hay Watson

Hay Watson Smith, a Little Rock (Pulaski County) Presbyterian minister, was a leading opponent of the movement to outlaw the teaching of biological evolution in Arkansas schools during the 1920s. His liberal viewpoints, both political and theological, brought him into conflict with traditional elements and resulted in charges of heresy by some within the southern Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS). Hay Smith was born on February 18, 1868, the fifth of seven children, to J. Henry Smith and Mary Kelly Watson Smith in Greensboro, North Carolina. His father was a prominent Presbyterian minister. His brother, Henry Louis Smith, was later president of Davidson College in North Carolina, which Smith attended, graduating in 1890. Smith then entered Union Theological …

Smith, Leroy (Lynching of)

On May 11, 1921, fourteen-year-old Leroy Smith was hanged at McGehee (Desha County) for allegedly attacking J. P. Sims and Arabella Bond as they drove along a road between McGehee and Arkansas City (Desha County). It is one of many accounts of alleged roadside attacks, some of which are referred to in historian Kristina DuRocher’s book, Raising Racists. Although early reports, including the one in the Arkansas Gazette, indicated that the name of the lynching victim was unknown, an article in the St. Louis Argus identified him as Leroy Smith, a teenager from Lake Providence, Louisiana, which is about sixty miles from McGehee. The 1920 census lists a teenager named “Lawyer” Smith, born around 1908, living in Police Jury Ward …

Smith, Less (Lynching of)

On December 9, 1922, an African-American man named Less Smith was lynched in Morrilton (Conway County) for the alleged murder of deputy sheriff Granville Edward Farish. Farish had been in Conway County since at least 1900, when he was twelve years old and living in Welborn Township with his parents, Columbus and Bell Farish. At the age of seventeen, he married sixteen-year-old Carrie Spears in Morrilton. Carrie might have died, because in 1909 he married a woman named Myrtle, and in 1910 they were living and farming in Welborn Township. In 1920, he and Myrtle were living in Welborn Township with their children Thetus (age eight), Cessna (age seven), Harrell (age five), Janie (age three), and Dorothy (age one). As …

Smithville Public School Building

The Smithville Public School Building, located on Highway 117 in Smithville (Lawrence County), is a single-story, T-shaped educational structure built in 1936 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Depression-era public relief program. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 14, 1993. The first school in Smithville, then the county seat of Lawrence County, was a one-room log building built before the Civil War at the southwest corner of the Smithville Cemetery. School teacher Jasper N. Hillhouse later built a one-room building in 1872 on land that was donated by W. C. Sloan. As Smithville thrived in the late nineteenth century, two rooms were added to accommodate the growing student population. Smithville’s fortunes waned in …

Snodgrass, William Anderson

William Anderson Snodgrass was an instructor at the University of Arkansas Medical School (which later became the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences). During World War I, he organized Hospital Unit T and served as a major in the United States Medical Department in England and France. William Snodgrass was born on March 17, 1874, to Andrew J. Snodgrass and Elmira F. Masterfield Snodgrass at Murray, Kentucky. When he was ten, his family moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County). After completing public school and his premedical courses, he entered the Medical School of the University of Arkansas. He graduated in 1896 and was employed as Little Rock’s city physician in 1898. In 1898, he married Lelia Phillips, and they had …

Socialist Party

Partly as a result of the extreme poverty that has plagued the state and partly due to the fiercely independent nature of the people in the more mountainous regions of Arkansas, there has long existed a portion of the populace that frequently supported political movements outside the long-dominant Democratic Party. While such movements failed to overthrow the Democrats, they served the discontented elements in the state and gave them a platform of their own. Among the strongest of the third-party groups was the Socialist Party. Arkansas, along with Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma, possessed some of the strongest statewide groups in the nation prior to World War I. The earliest formal effort to create a state group occurred in 1898, but that …

Somervell, Brehon Burke

General Brehon Somervell was a major factor in the success of American military forces during World War II. He oversaw the construction of troop-training facilities and the supply of all American military forces. As construction division chief of the Army Quartermaster Corps, he was a major influence in the planning and construction of the Pentagon. Brehon Burke Somervell was born on May 9, 1892, in Little Rock (Pulaski County), the only child of Dr. William Taylor Somervell and teacher Mary S. Burke. In 1906, his family moved to Washington DC. In 1910, Somervell received an appointment to West Point upon the recommendation of Representative Charles C. Reid of Arkansas and, in 1914, graduated sixth in a class of 107. Upon …

Sorrells, John Harvey

John Harvey Sorrells was executive editor of the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain and former deputy director of the U.S. Office of Censorship during World War II. At the time of his death, the Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) native was well respected in journalism circles for his first-hand knowledge of the field and his warm, engaging personality. John Harvey Sorrells was born on March 31, 1896, in a one-story house on State Street in Pine Bluff, one of four children of Walter Bartlett Sorrells, who was a circuit judge, and Mary Iva Fletcher Sorrells. In 1886, his maternal grandfather, Reid Fletcher, launched and edited the Daily Graphic newspaper in Pine Bluff. As a high school student working part time, John Sorrells would …

South Elementary School (Wynne)

South Elementary School, located at 711 East Union Avenue in Wynne (Cross County), is a single-story, brick-veneered four-room schoolhouse constructed in 1939 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Depression-era public relief program. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 24, 2006. In the early part of the twentieth century, white children in Wynne’s segregated school system were attending classes in a 1906 building; in 1928, an elementary school and gymnasium were erected when President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal offered an opportunity for funds for a new school. The school district successfully applied for financing from the WPA to build a new school in the fall of 1938. The Wynne Daily Star-Progress reported in …

Southern Club

The Southern Club was a gambling and entertainment facility established in 1893 in Hot Springs (Garland County) that gained notoriety during the 1930s as a hangout for visiting gangsters. Among the oldest structures in Hot Springs, the club is located at 250 Central Avenue near the center of the downtown business district. The building was added to the National Register of Historic places on June 25, 1985, as part of the Hot Springs Central Avenue Historic District. At the end of the nineteenth century, Hot Springs experienced tremendous growth as a health resort and spa. One of the buildings constructed during this period was the private club of Charles Dugan and Dan Stuart, the Southern Club, which was built and …

Southern Tenant Farmers Museum

The Southern Tenant Farmers Museum in Tyronza (Poinsett County), which opened on October 6, 2006, focuses on the tenant farming system of agriculture in the South and the farm labor movement that arose in response to this system. The museum is owned and operated as an educational program of Arkansas State University (ASU) in Jonesboro (Craighead County). It is housed in the historic Mitchell-East Building, which served during the 1930s as a dry-cleaning business for H. L. Mitchell and a service station for Clay East, two of the principal founders of the Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union (STFU). The museum was created after the Tyronza community approached Arkansas State University for assistance in saving the rapidly deteriorating building and in utilizing it …