Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area


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Little Rock Look Back: Mayor Charles Moyer

On April 18, 1880, future Little Rock Mayor Charles E. Moyer was born in Glenwood, Minnesota. A man of contradictions, he was both a candidate backed by (and probably personally involved in) the Ku Klux Klan, yet he also brought the Goodwill Industries organization to Little Rock and Arkansas to help those less fortunate.

He came to Little Rock shortly after the turn of the 20th century as a clerk in the Post Office, and later served as a mail carrier. He then worked for Plunkett-Jarrell Wholesale Grocer Company in Little Rock. On January 1, 1921, he took office as County Judge for Pulaski County. In 1924, he ran against incumbent mayor Ben Brickhouse in the Democratic primary. Since Brickhouse had displeased the Klan, which was an active part of Democratic politics in Little Rock and throughout the nation at the time, Moyer won the primary.

Mayor Moyer led the City of Little Rock from April 1925 through April 1929. In 1927, the last lynching in Little Rock took place. While race-baiting crowds were surrounding City Hall demanding an African American prisoner be released to them for vigilante justice, Mayor Moyer was in hiding at an undisclosed location. Not able to get the prisoner they wanted, they took out their venom on another man who had assaulted a white woman and her daughter.

After leaving office in 1929, Moyer moved for a time to Batesville. He returned to Little Rock and was a chief deputy sheriff. From 1937 to 1941, he served as Pulaski County Assessor. In 1941, he returned to the office of Little Rock Mayor after J. V. Satterfield opted to serve only one term and did not seek re-election. Mayor Moyer led Little Rock through most of World War II. He left office in April 1945 and died on May 29, 1945, barely one month after leaving City Hall.


Little Rock Look Back: Senator William Marmaduke Kavanaugh

CLR KavanaughOn March 3, 1866, William Marmaduke Kavanaugh was born in Alabama. He later moved with his family to Kentucky before coming to Little Rock as a newspaper reporter.

Kavanaugh served as editor and manager of the Arkansas Gazette before entering politics.  From 1896 until 1900, he served as Pulaski County Sheriff, which at the time also included the duties of tax collector.  From 1900 until 1904, he was County Judge of Pulaski County.  In that capacity he helped wrangle several cities, railroads and trolley lines to create a compromise which lead to the completion of the Third Street Viaduct which connected Little Rock with Pulaski Heights. It is still in use today.

After leaving his post as County Judge, he had a varied career in banking and business interests.

When Senator Jeff Davis died in early January 1913, he left the last few weeks of his term incomplete as well as the new term he was set to start in March 1913.  There was much interest in who would fill the remainder of Davis’ current term, because that person might be the frontrunner to also fill out the new term.  (This was at the time that the U.S. Senators were still selected by state legislatures.) Defeated Governor George Donaghey appointed J. N. Heiskell to fill out the term. But once the Arkansas General Assembly convened in mid-January, they overrode Donaghey’s appointment and replaced Heiskell with Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh served in the Senate from January 29, 1913 until March 3, 1913.  He was succeeded by Joseph T. Robinson who had only recently taken office as Governor.  Speculation was that Kavanaugh would not want the full six year term, so that he was acceptable choice to all of the politicians jockeying for the full appointment.  From 1912 until 1915, he was an Arkansas member of the Democratic National Committee.

Another interest of Kavanaugh’s was baseball.  He served as president of the Southern Association minor league starting in 1903.  The baseball field in Little Rock situated at West End Park was named Kavanaugh Field in his honor.  It stood until the 1930s when it was replaced by what is now known as Quigley Stadium.  (In 1927, Little Rock High School had opened on the land which had been West End Park.)

Kavanaugh died on February 2, 1915 at the age of 48.  He is buried in Oakland Cemetery.

Prospect Road was renamed Kavanaugh Boulevard in his memory.


Little Rock Look Back: Count Casimir Pulaski

On March 6, 1745, Casimir Pulaski was born in Poland. A Polish nobleman and military commander he has been called a “father of the American cavalry.”

Born in Warsaw, he followed in his father’s footsteps he became involved in the military and the revolutionary affairs in Poland. Pulaski was one of the leading military commanders for the Bar Confederation and fought against Russian domination of Poland. When this uprising failed, he was driven into exile.

Following a recommendation by Benjamin Franklin, Pulaski emigrated to North America to help in the cause of the American Revolutionary War. He distinguished himself throughout the revolution, most notably when he saved the life of George Washington.

Pulaski became a general in the Continental Army, created the Pulaski Cavalry Legion and reformed the American cavalry as a whole. At the Battle of Savannah, while leading a daring charge against British forces, he was gravely wounded, and died shortly thereafter.

Pulaski is one of only eight people to be awarded honorary United States citizenship. He never married and had no descendants.

Arkansas is one of several states to have a county named in honor of Count Pulaski.  Pulaski County was Arkansas’s fifth county, formed on December 15, 1818.


Little Rock Look Back: William Marmaduke Kavanaugh

CLR KavanaughOn March 3, 1866, William Marmaduke Kavanaugh was born in Alabama. He later moved with his family to Kentucky before coming to Little Rock as a newspaper reporter.

Kavanaugh served as editor and manager of the Arkansas Gazette before entering politics.  From 1896 until 1900, he served as Pulaski County Sheriff, which at the time also included the duties of tax collector.  From 1900 until 1904, he was County Judge of Pulaski County.  In that capacity he helped wrangle several cities, railroads and trolley lines to create a compromise which lead to the completion of the Third Street Viaduct which connected Little Rock with Pulaski Heights. It is still in use today.

After leaving his post as County Judge, he had a varied career in banking and business interests.

When Senator Jeff Davis died in early January 1913, he left the last few weeks of his term incomplete as well as the new term he was set to start in March 1913.  There was much interest in who would fill the remainder of Davis’ current term, because that person might be the frontrunner to also fill out the new term.  (This was at the time that the U.S. Senators were still selected by state legislatures.) Defeated Governor George Donaghey appointed J. N. Heiskell to fill out the term. But once the Arkansas General Assembly convened in mid-January, they overrode Donaghey’s appointment and replaced Heiskell with Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh served in the Senate from January 29, 1913 until March 3, 1913.  He was succeeded by Joseph T. Robinson who had only recently taken office as Governor.  Speculation was that Kavanaugh would not want the full six year term, so that he was acceptable choice to all of the politicians jockeying for the full appointment.  From 1912 until 1915, he was an Arkansas member of the Democratic National Committee.

Another interest of Kavanaugh’s was baseball.  He served as president of the Southern Association minor league starting in 1903.  The baseball field in Little Rock situated at West End Park was named Kavanaugh Field in his honor.  It stood until the 1930s when it was replaced by what is now known as Quigley Stadium.  (In 1927, Little Rock High School had opened on the land which had been West End Park.)

Kavanaugh died on February 2, 1915 at the age of 48.  He is buried in Oakland Cemetery.

Prospect Road was renamed Kavanaugh Boulevard in his memory.


Little Rock Look Back: Mayor David Fulton

MayorFultonOn January 2, 1771 in Ireland, future Little Rock Mayor David Fulton was born.

He served as the fourth and final mayor of the Town of Little Rock in 1835. His term was cut short by the transition of Little Rock from town to city status. Once that happened in November 1835, a new election had to be held.

Mayor Fulton was also proprieter of the Tan Yard, a tanning operation in Little Rock.   He later served as a judge and was appointed as  Surveyor General of Public Lands in Arkansas by President Martin Van Buren in 1838.

Mayor Fulton married Elizabeth Savin in June 1795 in Maryland.  She died in November 1829, while they resided in Alabama.  Among their children was William Savin Fulton who served as Territorial Governor of Arkansas in 1835 and 1836 and was one of Arkansas’ first US Senators upon statehood in 1836.  Mayor Fulton was serving as Mayor at the same time his son was Governor.

Mayor Fulton came to Little Rock in 1833.  His daughter Jane Juliet Shall and her four children came to Little Rock as well.  The family made the move to be nearer to the future governor.  The Fultons and Shalls rented the Hinderliter House (now part of Historic Arkansas Museum) in 1834.

In addition to serving as Mayor, he was president of the Anti-Gambling Society and a Pulaski County Justice of the Peace.  From 1836 until 1838, he was County Judge of Pulaski County.

Mayor Fulton died on August 7, 1843 and is buried at Mount Holly Cemetery as are several other members of his family.


Little Rock Look Back: Little Rock becomes a City

LR sealOn November 2, 1835, the Town of Little Rock became the City of Little Rock upon the signature of Territorial Governor William S. Fulton.  The Town of Little Rock had been established on November 7, 1831.

The new charter deemed that the election of officers (including a Mayor and eight aldermen) would be on November 10 at the Pulaski County Courthouse. To be eligible to serve, candidates had to be free white men who were aged 30 and above.

The charter established a constable and a court system, gave the City the ability to levy fees and fines, and provided the fact that the City would not have responsibility for maintaining county roads.

This transformation, cut short David Fulton’s term as Mayor of Little Rock by two months. James Pitcher would be elected the first Mayor of the City of Little Rock.


Little Rock Look Back: Mayor Buddy Villines

judgebuddyOn this date in 1947, future Little Rock Mayor Floyd G. “Buddy” Villines was born.  A 1969 graduate of Hendrix College, he served in Vietnam in 1970 and 1971. He later graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Law School.

Villines’ first interaction with Little Rock City Hall was as an employee in the City Manager’s office.  After joining the private sector, he returned to City Hall in 1985 serving on the Little Rock City Board of Directors.  He was re-elected in 1989.

While on the City Board, he was chosen as Vice Mayor for a two year term in 1987 and 1988.  The following year he was selected as Mayor for a two year term.  In 1990, Villines was elected Pulaski County Judge; he resigned from the City Board in December 1990 to take office.

Villines served as Pulaski County Judge for 24 years, from January 1991 until December 2014.  He is the longest serving County Judge in Pulaski County history.