The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture (online at is one of our favorite stops on the “Interwebs,” chock-full of intriguing information about the place we call home. We never come away from a visit to those digital stacks without learning good stuff about this state we adore. For the 2015 Natives Guide, we decided to plug variations on the number 15 into its search window and see what popped up. The results, seen below in no particular order (except for the events of 1815 and 1915, a nod to the century marks), turn out to be a real smorgasbord of Arkansas history, from the pre-territorial era to the present day. Here we go:

Davidsonville, in the Arkansas Territory, is founded in 1815 and the territory’s first post office and courthouse are established in the years following.


In 1803, the U.S. government purchases the Louisiana Territory (which includes present-day Arkansas) for the fire-sale price of $15 million. The territory would first be surveyed in 1815.

Jan. 1, 1915: Gov. George Donaghey declares the Arkansas State Capitol — which had been under construction since July 1899, becoming a costly boondoggle and political football in the intervening years — complete.


Feb. 8, 1915: Hugh Patterson Jr., the Arkansas Gazette publisher who led the paper at the time of the 1957 Central High School Crisis (when its coverage of the crisis won two Pulitzer Prizes), is born in Cotton Plant, Miss.

March 20, 1915: The great gospel singer Sister Rosetta Tharp is born at Cotton Plant in Woodruff County.


March 27, 1915: The great blues guitarist Robert Lockwood Jr. is born in the community of Turkey Scratch near Helena.

March 1915: “The Champion,” a short film starring Charlie Chaplin and featuring Little Rock native and film star Bronco Billy Anderson in a cameo role, premieres.

June 9, 1915: Workers at the Wheelbarrow coal mine in Johnson County go on strike, leading to the then-famous Wheelbarrow Strike of 1915.

July 1, 1915: A farmer reports the first sighting of the so-called “White River Monster” — an enormous gray beast allegedly as big as a city bus — on the White River near Newport.


July 5, 1915: North Little Rock City Hall opens at Main and Broadway streets. (Little Rock City Hall had opened previously, on April 15, 1908, at West Markham and Broadway streets.)

July 20, 1915: Little Rock’s Mount Holly Cemetery Association is incorporated.

The Arkansas General Assembly passed the Newberry Act in 1915, which banned the manufacture and sale of alcohol in the state, five years before the 18th Amendment instituted Prohibition nationwide

Little Italy, a community of Italian immigrants near the border of Pulaski and Perry counties, was founded in 1915.

Feb. 15, 2011: Author Maya Angelou of Stamps is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.

Sept. 15, 1975: Wiederkehr Village, home to the famous Arkansas winery, is incorporated in Franklin County.

At the 2010 census, African Americans constituted 15.4 percent of the racial makeup of Arkansas.

July 15, 1996: Mike Huckabee is sworn in as the state’s 44th governor following the resignation of Jim Guy Tucker.

May 15, 2005: The U.S.S. Razorback Submarine opens for tours at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum in North Little Rock.


The Star of Arkansas, a large diamond discovered in 1956 at what eventually became Crater of Diamonds State Park near Murfreesboro, weighs in at just over 15 carats.

Feb. 15, 1882: The Agricultural Wheel, a farmer’s union that eventually expanded to 10 states, has its first official meeting near Des Arc.

March 15, 1940: Music producer, songwriter and Stax Records label co-owner Al Bell is born near Brinkley in Monroe County.

Dec. 15, 1935: The Arkansas poet Jo McDougall is born near DeWitt.

The song “15 Million Light Years Away” is the third track on “Back Thar n’ Over Yonder,” the latest album by the band Black Oak Arkansas.

June 15, 1889: Scipio A. Jones, who would go on to be one of the state’s most prominent black attorneys, passes the bar exam in Little Rock.

Oct. 15, 1873: The Arkansas Press Association is founded.

March 15, 1928: Thomas O. Murton, whose attempts to reform the Arkansas state prison system while serving as the warden of Tucker State Prison Farm and Cummins Prison were fictionalized in the 1980 Robert Redford film “Brubaker,” is born in Los Angeles, Calif.

May 15, 1874: The Brooks-Baxter War, a skirmish between rival gubernatorial campaigns following a disputed election, ends when President Grant declares Baxter the legitimate governor of Arkansas and sends troops to Arkansas to quell the feud.

Jan. 15, 1945: Vince Foster, whose 1993 suicide would later bloom into an enduring right-wing conspiracy theory involving Bill and Hillary Clinton, is born in Hope.

Sept. 15, 1958: In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ordering the integration of Little Rock Central High, the state legislature and Gov. Orval Faubus close all Little Rock high schools, leading to the so-called “Lost Year.”

Jan. 15, 1998: Special prosecutor Kenneth Starr receives permission from the Department of Justice to expand the Whitewater investigation to include Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Aug. 15, 1986: The 374th Strategic Missile Squadron, which oversaw the operations of several of the nuclear missile silos in North Central Arkansas, is deactivated.

July 15, 1914: The state’s last legal hanging, of Arthur Tillman, is held in Paris in Logan County.

Jan. 15, 1861: The Arkansas Senate passes a bill to allow a public vote on whether to hold a secession convention.

Jan. 15, 1967: Elijah Eugene Pitts of Mayflower, who would become one of football’s first black stars while with the Green Bay Packers, plays in the first Super Bowl, scoring two touchdowns in the Packers’ 35-10 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

June 15, 1836: Arkansas becomes the 25th state in the Union.

Dec. 15, 2003: The great Arkansas political cartoonist George Fisher — who had worked for the Arkansas Gazette and the Arkansas Times — dies at his home in Little Rock.

July 15, 1964: Dr. Ozell Sutton attempts to eat lunch in the state Capitol cafeteria and is refused service and sues. Philander Smith students and members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee are beaten by State Troopers and onlookers during attempts to desegregate the cafeteria in March 1965, but in April 1965 a federal judge rules in Sutton’s favor and the restaurant is desegregated.