Learn about some historic late night killings in the safety of daylight at Old State House

OSH logoAs part of the ongoing Brown Bag Lectures, today the Old State House Museum features “On the Hunt For the Texarkana Moonlight Phantom”

In 1946 a number of murders and assaults were committed late at night in and around Texarkana. The unknown killer was nicknamed by the press the “Moonlight Phantom.” Thirty years later, Arkansas filmmaker Charles B. Pierce loosely based his film The Town That Dreaded Sundown on these incidents. For a special Halloween edition of Brown Bag Lunch Lectures, Brian Irby of the Arkansas History Commission will talk about this spooky, unsettling case that has remained unsolved for almost 70 years.

It will take place starting at noon today at the Old State House Museum.

 

Little Rock Look Back: John Elliott Knight, LR’s 18th Mayor

Jno E Knight sigOn September 20, 1816, future Little Rock Mayor John Elliott Knight was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts. In 1843 he married Hannah Donnell in New York, and came to Little Rock that same year.

Knight was editor of the Arkansas Democrat from 1846 to 1850. He was also associated with the Arkansas Gazette and published the short-lived Chronicle. In 1851, Knight served as Mayor of Little Rock. In 1855, he served as a member of the City Council.

In 1858 a song was published entitled “I Am Near to Thee” which featured music by Arkansan Benjamin Scull and lyrics by Knight.  The song was dedicated to Mary Woodruff.

During the Civil War, he served as a Colonel.  During the 1850, 1860 and 1880 census, he was listed as an attorney.

He had one daughter, Elizabeth Knight, who married James S. Pollock, a banker in Little Rock. Knight died in Little Rock, Arkansas, on October 28, 1901, and was buried in Mount Holly Cemetery. Elizabeth Knight Pollock died in 1910.

As an attorney and newspaper editor, John E. Knight collected documents about the settlement of Little Rock. Those papers are now part of a collection at the Arkansas History Commission.  The majority of these papers are from William Russell to Chester Ashley, pertaining to pre-emption claims in and around Little Rock. Other material concerns the 1819-1822 dispute related to the the New Madrid Certificate and pre-emption claims of James Bryant, Stephen F. Austin, and William M. O’Hara.

Vintage Military Vehicles on display by MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History

vintagevehicleThe MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History is hosting its 2nd annual vintage military vehicle show on the museum’s front lawn in MacArthur Park.

The event will feature Jeeps and other vehicles from members of the Arkansas Military Vehicle Preservation Association.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, Brian Irby, Archival Assistant at the Arkansas History Commission, will present a program on Camp Pike at 1:00 p.m. inside the museum.

The vehicles will be on display from 9am to 3pm.

 

Little Rock Look Back: Mayor John Elliott Knight

Jno E Knight sigOn September 20, 1816, future Little Rock Mayor John Elliott Knight was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts. In 1843 he married Hannah Donnell in New York, and came to Little Rock that same year.

Knight was editor of the Arkansas Democrat from 1846 to 1850. He was also associated with the Arkansas Gazette and published the short-lived Chronicle. In 1851, Knight served as Mayor of Little Rock. In 1855, he served as a member of the City Council.

In 1858 a song was published entitled “I Am Near to Thee” which featured music by Arkansan Benjamin Scull and lyrics by Knight.  The song was dedicated to Mary Woodruff.

During the Civil War, he served as a Colonel.  During the 1850, 1860 and 1880 census, he was listed as an attorney.

He had one daughter, Elizabeth Knight, who married James S. Pollock, a banker in Little Rock. Knight died in Little Rock, Arkansas, on October 28, 1901, and was buried in Mount Holly Cemetery. Elizabeth Knight Pollock died in 1910.

As an attorney and newspaper editor, John E. Knight collected documents about the settlement of Little Rock. Those papers are now part of a collection at the Arkansas History Commission.  The majority of these papers are from William Russell to Chester Ashley, pertaining to pre-emption claims in and around Little Rock. Other material concerns the 1819-1822 dispute related to the the New Madrid Certificate and pre-emption claims of James Bryant, Stephen F. Austin, and William M. O’Hara.

Gov. Davis vs. Baptist Church in 1902 today at Old State House

Jeff Davis2Today at noon, the Old State House will host another of its Brown Bag Lunch Lectures. This one is entitled Jeff Davis, Alcohol, and the Second Baptist Church Controversy of 1902.

In 1902, Arkansas’ notoriously divisive Governor Jeff Davis was spotted publicly drinking alcohol aboard a train. A firestorm of controversy resulted within the Second Baptist Church of Little Rock and Davis was thrown out of the congregation.

This lecture will reveal the roots of the controversy in an earlier fight over building the new state capitol building between Davis and former Governor James Eagle, chair of the deacons of the church.

Brian Irby is a library tech at the Arkansas History Commission. He received his B.A. and M.A. in history at the University of Central Arkansas.

Arkansas’ African-American legislators during Reconstruction

On display at the Arkansas State Capitol is a temporary exhibit – Arkansas’s African American Legislators, 1868-1893.  It was created by the Black History Commission of Arkansas and the Arkansas History Commission. It honors the African Americans who made up a significant part of Arkansas’s legislature during the 1860s and early 1870s, and who continued to serve until 1893.

State Rep. William H. Grey, one of first two African Americans to serve in Arkansas legislature

On Tuesday, February 14, 2012, State Representative Fred Allen and Black History Commission chair, Carla Coleman, spoke at the official opening of the exhibit in the lower-level foyer at the Arkansas State Capitol. African Americans participated in Arkansas politics for the first time following the Civil War. After the end of that conflict, the state adopted a new constitution in 1868. Its provisions included the right to vote and hold public office for black males.

Between 1868 and 1893, eighty-five African Americans are known to have served in the Arkansas General Assembly. These legislators included lawyers, merchants, ministers, educators, farmers, and other professionals. The majority served in the House, with nine being chosen for the Senate. Election laws passed by the General Assembly in 1891 and new poll tax regulations in 1893 effectively ended the election of African Americans to the legislature. Blacks did not serve again in the General Assembly until 1973.
Photographs survive for forty-five of the African Americans who served in the Arkansas General Assembly during the nineteenth century and are featured in this exhibit. Forty-three of these are from the holdings of the Arkansas History Commission.