Archive | October, 2016

A Birthday in Pocahontas

No one in Pocahontas, Arkansas, seems to know why its 150th birthday was celebrated in 2006, when the town, as everyone knows, was given its current name, and chosen as the county seat for Randolph County, in 1835.  Nor does anyone know for sure why it was named “Pocahontas,” although it may be because it […]

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The Uses of Dueling

In the society of frontier Arkansas, as in the rest of the South, all respectable white men were expected to conform to a code of honor.  But that code imposed some special requirements for the status of  “gentleman,” qualities that constituted a key part of a person’s social rank. Donald P. McNeilly, the author of […]

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Wolf Scalps, Murder, and the Real Estate Bank

The birth of the Real Estate Bank of Arkansas was marked by a very public murder. The bank, established by the 1836 Arkansas Constitution, was conceived and operated as a mechanism for the wealthy planters of the cotton-growing south and east to plunder the state—and the state’s most powerful politicians were among the plunderers.  It […]

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What were They Reading? Mark Twain Had Some Thoughts.

Albert Pike, a lawyer, journalist, Civil War general and later a major figure in American Masonry, kept a circulating library in the office of the Arkansas Advocate.  We know the titles of some of his books, because borrowers often failed to bring them back, and he had to put ads (and poems) in his paper […]

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