Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Arkansas

ARKANSAS, a State in the South Central Division of the North American Union; bounded by Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma; gross area, 53,850 square miles; admitted into the Union, June 15, 1836; seceded, March 4, 1861; readmitted, June 22, 1868; number of counties, 75: pop. (1890) 1,128,179; (1900) 1,311,564; (1910) 1,574,449; (1920) 1,752,204. Capital, Little Rock.

Topography.—The surface presents the features of mountains, prairies, hills, valleys and swamps. The Ozark, Boston, Ouachita and other ranges, from 1,500 to 2,000 feet high, occupy the W. and N. W. parts, with numerous spurs and outlying hills of considerable altitude; the central part is rolling ground; and the E. part is low, with many lakes and swamps and is liable to overflows of the Mississippi. Drainage is by the Mississippi, Arkansas, St. Francis, Black, White, Ouachita, Saline and Red rivers. Compensation for the absence of a sea-coast is had in the navigability of long stretches of the principal rivers, thus permitting a valuable water traffic with adjoining States.

Geology.—The upper mountainous, forest and mineral lands may be separated from the lowlands and alluvial plains by a line drawn across the State from N. E. to S. W. The principal formations are the lower Silurian in the N.; the sub-carboniferous on the S.; the cretaceous in the S. W., and the tertiary, overlaid by quarternary sands and clays. Hot and mineral springs are numerous and some of them are widely known. The valley of the St. Francis in the N. E. is a continuous swamp covered with a heavy growth of cypress, gum, oak, hickory and sycamore, while in the higher land there is an abundance of white oak and hickory. In the Arkansas valley are red cedar, Cottonwood, maple and several varieties of oak. Other forest growths of value are ash, walnut, elm, willow, and papaw.

Mineralogy.—The State contains semianthracite, cannel, and bituminous coal; iron and zinc ores; galena, frequently bearing silver; manganese; gypsum, oilstone of superior quality; marble; alabaster; rock crystal; copper; granite; kaolin; marl; mineral ochers, and salt. The State is an important producer of coal and of bauxite, the mineral from which aluminum is extracted. Other minerals produced in considerable quantities are lime, manganese, natural gas, lead, and zinc. The coal production in 1917 was 2,228,000 long tons. The production of zinc is valued at $1,500,000 annually. The total value of the mineral products in 1917 was $12,061,702.

Soil.—The soil varies with the geological characteristics and surface conditions already described. Agriculturally, the most valuable soil is found in the river bottom-lands, and as the surface rises from these bottoms the soil becomes less productive. There are large submerged tracts that only require proper drainage to make them valuable to the farmer. The uplands generally are well timbered and well watered.

Agriculture.—The production and the value of the principal crops in 1919 were as follows: Corn, 48,726,000 bushels, valued at $79,911,000; oats, 9,240,000 bushels, valued at $8,131,000; wheat, 3,230,000 bushels, valued at $6,525,000; rice, 6,162,000 bushels, valued at $14,789,000; hay, 770,000 tons, valued at $15,785,000; cotton, 830,000 bales, valued at $151,060,000; potatoes, 3,321,000 bushels, valued at $6,808,000; sweet potatoes, 4,600,000 bushels, valued at $5,201,000. Of farm and ranch animals the most numerous are swine and cattle.

Manufactures.—There were in 1914 2,604 manufacturing establishments, with 41,979 wage earners. The capital invested was $77,162,000; the amount paid in wages, $20,752,000; the value of materials used, $44,907,000; and the value of finished product, $83,940,000.

Banking.—In 1919 there were 78 National banks in operation, having $5,557,000 in capital and $3,437,220 in outstanding circulation. There were also 386 State banks, with $14,062,000 in capital, $101,896,000 in deposits, and $145,181,000 in resources.

Education.—Conditions have never been favorable in Arkansas for educational development owing to the large percentage of negro population. There is a compulsory education law, but several counties are exempted from its provisions. Enrollment in the public schools is about 450,000 and the average daily attendance about 300,000. There are about 11,000 teachers. The expenditure for public schools is between $4,000,000 and $5,000,000 annually. In 1917 the Legislature passed measures providing for aid for the establishment of rural high schools.

The principal universities and colleges are Arkansas College, Hendrix College, Ouachita College, Arkansas Cumberland College, University of Arkansas (q. v.).

Churches.—The strongest denominations numerically in the State are the Methodist Episcopal, South; Regular Baptist, Colored; Regular Baptist, South; African Methodist Episcopal; Disciples of Christ; and the Methodist Episcopal.

Railroads.—The total railway mileage of the State is 5,400. There has been little new construction in recent years.

Finances.—The assessed realty valuation in 1919 was $359,436,376. The State debt was $2,008,166. The internal revenue receipts amounted to $7,515,009.

State Government.—The Governor is elected for a term of two years. Legislative sessions are held biennially, and are limited to 60 days each. The Legislature has 35 members in the Senate and 100 in the House. There are 7 representatives in Congress. In politics the State is strongly Democratic.

History.—This portion of the original Territory of Louisiana, named after a tribe of Indians found there by the earliest explorers of record, was first settled by the French in 1670. It became a part of Louisiana Territory in 1803, of Missouri Territory in 1812; was organized as Arkansas Territory, with the present Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory in 1819; and was detached from Indian Territory and created a State in 1836. It was settled almost exclusively by people from the Southern States, and early became a battle ground in the Civil War. Following the seizure of Federal arsenals by the State authorities after the State had seceded, came the defeat of the Confederates in the battle at Pea Ridge, May 6-7, 1862, and in that of Prairie Grove, or Fayetteville, Dec. 7 following; the occupation by the Union forces of Helena; and the capture of Arkansas Post by a combined Union military and naval force, Jan. 11, 1863, and of Little Rock, Sept. 10, following. The State was under military control in 1864-1868 and adopted its present Constitution in 1874.

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Copyright, L. L. Poates Eng. Co., 1921

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© Ewing Galloway