Archive | February, 2017

Leaving Arkansas: Martha Bettis Cooper

When Arkansas’ free people of color were forced to leave the state in 1859, Martha Bettis Cooper  and her son Drew Bettis sold the properties they had acquired in Jacksonport and boarded a steamboat heading north.  With them came a 10-year-old named John Bettis, who was probably a nephew.  They traveled up the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers […]

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From Nation to Wasteland: The Cherokees in the Civil War

The Cherokee Nation, like several others in Indian Territory, was plagued by deep divisions, between mixed-bloods and full-bloods, between those who had accepted removal and those who had resisted till the end. In the case of the Cherokees, the antagonists were, on one hand, those who had accepted the Treaty of New Echota, many of […]

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What Chaos Looks Like: Arkansas Civilians in the Civil War

From the beginning of the conflict, Arkansas’ experience in the Civil War was fated to be one of drawn-out agony. Until the moment that Fort Sumter was attacked, the state was roughly evenly divided between those who favored secession and the Unionists or “cooperationists,” most of whom hoped to preserve their slave-based society while remaining […]

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