The New International Encyclopædia/Arkansas
ARKANSAS, är'kan-sa̤ (popularly known as the 'Bear State'). A south central State of the United States, bounded by Missouri on the north, the Mississippi River (which separates it from Tennessee and Mississippi) on the east, Louisiana on the south, and the Indian Territory on the west, with Texas touching the southwest corner. It is nearly square in form, each side measuring about 250 miles, and covers an area of 53,850 square miles, of which 805 square miles are water. It ranks twenty-third in size among the States of the Union.
Topography. With the exception of a few high bluffs, the eastern margin of the State is subject to inundation from the Mississippi River, causing an overflowing of the numerous lakes, bayous, and swamps. But the region to the westward attains a higher elevation, and the surface is broken by numerous ranges of hills and low mountains, which have a general trend from east to west. The mountains in the northwest are a part of the Ozark uplift, being continuous with the elevations in the Indian Territory to the west and Missouri to the north. The highest points in the State do not exceed 2800 feet. The Arkansas River bisects the State from northwest to southeast and joins the Mississippi. The White River enters the State from southwestern Missouri, flows southeast, receives the Black and Cache Rivers from the north and joins the Arkansas near its mouth. The Ouachita, Saline, and Bartholomew, tributaries of the Red River, drain the southern part of the State. The Arkansas is navigable for boats of light draught throughout its course within the State; the White for 260 miles; the Ouachita and Bartholomew each for 150 miles; the Saline, Red, and Black each for 100 miles, making a total of some 3000 miles of waterways within the State. The upper courses of the streams furnish water power.
|COPYRIGHT, 1891 AND 1902, BY DODD, MEAD & COMPANY.|
AREA AND POPULATION OF ARKANSAS BY COUNTIES.
|County Seat.|| Area in
|Chicot||D 1||Lake Village||616||11,419||14,528|
|Desha||D 4||Arkansas City||725||10,324||11,511|
|Garland||B 3||Hot Springs||652||15,328||18,773|
|Hot Springs||B 3||Malvern||631||11,603||12,748|
|Jefferson||D 3||Pine Bluff||919||40,881||40,972|
|Lafayette||B 4||New Lewisville||524||7,700||10,594|
|Lincoln||D 4||Star City||560||10,255||13,389|
|Little River||A 4||Richmond||556||8,903||13,731|
|Montgomery||B 3||Mount Ida||918||7,923||9,444|
|Pulaski||C 3||Little Rock||788||47,329||63,179|
|St. Francis||E 2||Forrest City||646||13,543||17,157|
|Sharp||D 1||Evening Shade||606||10,418||12,199|
|Van Buren||C 2||Clinton||684||8,567||11,220|
Climate and Soil. Except in the eastern swampy districts, where malaria and other fevers are common, the climate is pleasant and healthful. The snowfall is light, and prolonged droughts are unknown. The mean rainfall for the State is 50.6 inches; at Fort Smith, 46.5 inches; at Hot Springs in the southwestern part, 63.2 inches; at Little Rock, 52.3 inches. Mean temperatures for January and July respectively are as follows: At Little Rock (central), 40.8 and 80.3 degrees; at Fort Smith (northwest), 36.1 and 80.0 degrees. The hill country of the northern part of the State has little land of agricultural value, the soil being sandy and thin; but the bottom lands, having a heavy black soil, are very productive. In the limestone regions are found much red clay and loam, the residual materials from the decomposition of the limestone. The higher lands of the Arkansas Valley, from Indian Territory to Little Rock, are composed of a dark, sandy loam. Below Little Rock a sandy, sometimes clayey, soil borders the river, and this grades toward the south into black, sandy, and 'buckshot' soils, which are the richest in the State, and which yield from 2000 to 3000 pounds of seed cotton to the acre. The bottom lands of the Red River Valley contain a black, sandy loam or a red, sticky clay called "gumbo." A yellow loam is characteristic of some of the southern counties, which are underlaid by deposits of the Tertiary Age.
Geology and Mineral Resources. A northeast line drawn from Texarkana in the southwestern corner, through Little Rock to Pocahontas in the northeast, divides the State into two parts; the northwest portion is underlain by Paleozoic rocks with a small area of Cretaceous rocks in its southernmost corner; the southeastern portion is occupied by the less consolidated rocks of Tertiary and Post-Tertiary Ages. The Paleozoic area is essentially the 'hill country;' the Tertiary district is a part of the low level, fertile Atlantic coastal plain. The oldest rocks known in the State are of the Ordovieian or Lower Silurian Age. They extend over the line from Missouri and lie on the southern flanks of the Ozark uplift, and consist of sandstones, quartzites, and limestones, the latter in the upper part of the series. They furnish good building stones, quartz sand for glassmaking, and lime. Along the southern boundary of the Ordovician formations, in the vicinity of Batesville and Cushman in Independence and Izard counties, are deposits of manganese ore which are worked to some extent, the product being shipped to steel manufacturers in the East. Another area of Ordovician rocks is found in the Ouachita Mountains west of Little Rock. In these mountains are large masses of a silicious rock, novaculite, from which are made the finest known whetstones, called in the markets "Arkansas" and "Ouachita" stones.
These whetstones are obtained in Garland, Howard, Hot Springs, Montgomery, Polk, Pulaski, and Saline counties, and their quarrying constitutes an important industry. In connection with the Ordovician rocks of the Ouachita uplift are found some deposits of manganese ore, but these are of little importance compared with those of the Batesville region. Around the edges of the Ordovician area of the northern part of the State is a narrow strip of Silurian limestone, the Saint Clair limestone, that furnishes a fine quality of pink marble useful for ornamental purposes. The Devonian formation is poorly developed. It is known as the Eureka shale and the Sylamore sandstone, but is of importance for the reason that in connection with it are found phosphate deposits which give promise of yielding valuable returns. Gold and silver have been reported in large quantities in the Ouachita Mountains, but examinations made by the State geologist have proven the reports to be erroneous or misleading, and the amount of these precious metals to be very small. Deposits of zinc blende have been opened recently in Sevier County, and other occurrences of this ore, as well as of galena, are known in the northwestern part of the State. Aluminium ore in the form of bauxite occurs near Little Uock and farther west at Bryant in Salina County. Iron ores are of little importance, though they are found, at many places, in the form of limonite. Nickel is also known, but sparingly, in Salina County. The coal measures cover large areas and furnish a good quality of bituminous coal in abundance. Oil and gas have been found only in small amount. In the Cretaceous and Tertiary areas no metals have been found, but there are deposits of lignite and greensand.
Igneous rocks of great geologic interest are found at Magnet Cove and Fourche Mountain, in the eastern end of the novaculite region near Hot Springs. No Pre-Cambrian rocks are known in the State. Mineral springs are common, especially so in the Ouachita Mountains. Those at Hot Springs are famous for their medicinal qualities, and have led to the foundation there of a renowned health resort. The Ouachita Mountains have been shown to be the westerly extension of the south end of the Appalachian mountain system, and to have been formed at the same time and by the same causes that upheaved the Appalachians.
Mining. The lack of transportation facilities and of adequate geological surveys has delayed the development of the mineral resources of the State. Mining in some directions, however, is steadily growing. The output of coal (bituminous) has increased in value from $200,000 in 1886 to $1,687,000 in 1900. Granite, sandstone, limestone, and slate are quarried, and building clay is obtained. Whetstones of superior grade have been quarried since 1840. Some cement is manufactured, and small quantities of zinc ore and bauxite are exported.
Agriculture. Few States are so exclusively agricultural as Arkansas. It shared with the other Southern States the disasters of the Civil War, but not to so great a degree. It was new and comparatively undeveloped at that time, and it soon regained and rapidly exceeded its former importance. In 1860 the farm acreage was only a little more than one-fourth of the total area of the State; in 1900 it was 49 per cent. During the decade 1890-1900 the farm acreage increased by 1,755,000 acres. In 1860 but 20.7 per cent. of the farm land was improved, while in 1900, 41.8 per cent. of it was improved. There has been during the period mentioned a rapid increase in the number of farms and a decrease in their size. The average size in 1860 was 245.5 acres; in 1900 it was 93.1 acres. The farms in the cotton belt average a little smaller than in other parts of the State. In three counties in that section the number of farms doubled during the last census period, and in others the increase was almost as marked. The farms are there cultivated largely by negroes, who constitute about 26 per cent. of the total number of farmers (80 per cent. in two counties), but the acreage cultivated by them is only 13.8 per cent. of the total. Of the white farmers, 56.3 own their farms; of the colored farmers only 21.2 per cent.
As already mentioned, there are two agricultural sections in the State. The region north and west of a line drawn from near the northeastern corner of the State to Little Rock and thence west to the boundary is known as the upland region, containing much hilly and mountainous territory, resembling the Missouri region to the north; while the southern division, consisting largely of low ground and an alluvial soil—much of it requiring drainage and some of it subject to annual overflow—resembles the Louisiana region to the south. The cereals and temperate zone crops predominate in the northern division; while cotton and representative southern crops predominate in the other. The cotton product of the State yields nearly half of the total crop receipts, though the acreage is less than one-third of the total cultivated area. In 1900, 819,000 bales of cotton were marketed, giving the State fifth rank among the cotton-growing commonwealths. Corn, wheat, and oats are the most important of the cereals. Hay and forage crops are also of considerable value. Peas are raised in the southwest; Irish potatoes in the northwest; and sweet potatoes throughout the State. Sorghum cane is produced, but in less quantities than formerly. The northwestern part of the State has acquired an enviable reputation in the production of fruits. The number of apple trees increased from 2,114,000 in 1890 to 7,434,000 in 1900. The peach trees exceed 4,000,000. In 1900 there were 9600 acres of strawberries. A minor local industry is the cultivation of roses and other flowers for the making of perfumes and for seeds. As in most other cotton-growing States, stock-raising is on a small scale. Horses, mules, and asses are necessary to the agriculturist, and their numbers are increasing rapidly. The raising of swine is extensive and increasing; but the last census showed a decrease in the number of dairy cows, neat cattle, and sheep. There was, however, a large increase in dairy products. The figures for farm animals, and also for crops, will be found in the following table:
Manufactures. But little manufacturing is carried on in the State, the census of 1900 showing only 2 per cent. of the population engaged in that industry, yet the wage-earners (26,500 in 1900) have almost doubled in number during the last decade, and the capital invested has more than doubled. The value of manufactured products of the State has also doubled, rising from $22,700,000 in 1890 to $44,900,000 in 1900. The greatest increase was in the manufacture of lumber and timber products, and the vast forest resources of the State promise a bright future in this particular industry. The forest area exceeds 25,000,000 acres—an area larger than that of the State of Indiana. There are varieties both of hard and soft wood. The number of establishments manufacturing lumber and timber products increased, during the decade ending 1900, from 539 to 1199; and the wage-earners in that industry from 6563 to 15,895. Prominent among forest products are sash, doors, and blinds, cedar posts, cypress shingles, staves, and spokes. The value of the forest product for 1900 was estimated at $26,000,000. As a natural outgrowth of the vast cotton interests of the State, there have developed such branches of manufacturing as cotton-seed oil and cake pressing, and cotton ginning. Spinning and weaving, however, have made no progress. Flour and grist-mills are important, but not participating in the rapid development of the other industries. The following table shows the progress of the leading industries:
|Increase, 1890 to 1900||......||1,817||11,333||19,731,217|
|Per cent. of increase||......||145.4||109.1||114.2|
|Per cent. total industries||1900||64.0||81.9||82.4|
|Lumber and timber products||1900||1,199||15,895||23,959,983|
|Planing mill product, sash,||1900||50||1,082||2,266,522|
|doors, and blinds, incl.||1890||38||640||1,761,932|
|Oil, cottonseed and cake||1900||20||667||2,874,864|
|Flouring and grist-mill||1900||410||443||3,708,709|
|and repair shops||1890||8||847||1,299,558|
|Printing and publishing||1900||217||600||839,787|
Transportation and Commerce. The Mississippi River gives the State a water outlet to the Atlantic, and a water communication with the other Mississippi Valley States. Besides this, the Arkansas, and a large number of smaller streams traversing the State, afford navigable waterways. The very multiplicity of these, together with the broken mountainous nature of the western and northern portions of the State, have greatly retarded the development of an adequate railroad system. At present, however, railroad construction is making rapid progress. The first railroad in the State was not completed when the Civil War broke out in 1861, and there were but 859 miles in 1880. In 1890 the mileage had increased to 2203; in 1900 to 3167. There are altogether 39 railway lines, of which the principal are the Saint Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern; the Saint Louis Southwestern, and the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf. There are about 6 miles of line to every 100 square miles of territory, and about 24 miles to every 10,000 inhabitants. A State Railroad Commission has been recently created, which examines and revises the rate sheets of the railways, and fixes rates for such roads as may fail to furnish rate sheets. The foreign commerce is carried on largely through the port of New Orleans, and consists chiefly of cotton and lumber.
Banks. In 1900, fourteen national banks had been organized in the State, seven of which were in operation. The capital stock aggregated $1,070,000; the circulation outstanding, $330,000; the deposits, $3,108,000; and the reserve, $1,003,000. In addition to this, there were thirty-nine State banks, having resources amounting to $6,604,000; capital stock, $1,243,000; and deposits, $4,464,000. There were, besides, a few small private banks.
Finances. About 1880 there arose a dispute between the State of Arkansas and the United States. The latter held certain coupon bonds of the State, which the State asserted the right to offset by an unliquidated claim which had arisen through failure of the Government to patent to the State some 273,000 acres of swamp lands. After a prolonged discussion, the matter was settled finally in 1900. Arkansas relinquished claim to the lands, guaranteeing the titles to the settlers, while paying to the Government $160,572. The debt of the State in January, 1901, was $1,271,000, of which sum $1,113,000 was a part of the permanent school fund.
Education. Arkansas, like the other Southern States, has labored in the face of very unfavorable conditions for the establishment of adequate schools. There is a very large and widely scattered rural population, and the experience of every State bears testimony to the difficulty of the solution of the rural educational problem. The average length of the school term (about 70 days) is less than that of any other State, with one or two possible exceptions. Of a school population of 349,000 whites (1900), 230,000 were enrolled and 142,000 were in average attendance; while of 135,000 blacks, 84,000 were enrolled, and 52,000 were in average attendance. Of the total school population 65 per cent. were enrolled, and 62 per cent. of these were in average attendance, the excellence of the schools varies with the community, each being dependent almost wholly upon itself for financial support. The school interests are in the hands of local school directors. The State has a permanent school fund of $1,118,709. The interest on this, together with the amounts arising from the 2 mills State school tax and other sources, aggregates nearly $500,000 annually, and constitutes the common school fund, which is apportioned among the various counties. The district tax in 1900 amounted to $805,000 and the poll tax to $163,000; making a total school revenue of nearly $1,500,000 as against an expenditure of $1,369,000. Of the 6959 teachers employed, 4152 are males, a larger proportion than in any other State. There are twenty-four secondary schools in the State. A State University is situated at Fayetteville. There are no State normal schools, but private enterprise has provided several answering their purpose. Private and sectarian interests also maintain several small colleges, six of which are for the education of the colored race.
Charitable and Penal Institutions. The State maintains a lunatic asylum, but it is inadequate to meet the public needs. There are also a deaf-mute institution and a penitentiary now located in Pulaski County. There is no reform school, and juvenile offenders are confined in the county jails and the State penitentiary.
Religion. As is common in the Southern States, the Baptist and Methodist churches contain the bulk of the church membership. Of the other churches represented, the Presbyterian and the Christian are the only ones that have obtained any considerable following.
Population. The population by decades is as
follows: 1820, 14,000; 1830, 30,000; 1840, 97,000;
1850, 209,000; 1860, 435,000; 1870, 484,000;
1880, 802,000; 1890, 1,128,000; 1900, 1,311,000.
In 1820 Arkansas ranked twenty-sixth in order
of population, and has since varied but little
from this position, being twenty-fifth in 1900.
The State ranks tenth in respect to negro
population, the rate of increase for this class being
greater than it is for the whites. In 1880 they
numbered 210,000; in 1890, 309,000; and in 1900,
366,000. The rate of increase for the whole
population during the last decade was 16.3, as
against 20.7 for the United States. There are 24.7
people to the square mile, the density being a little
less than that of the United States. As in
other Southern States, foreign immigration has
been unimportant, the total number of
immigrants in 1900 being but 14,289. The excess of
males in the population is 39,000. The State is
in striking contrast with the nation as a whole,
in the relative proportions of the rural and urban
population. But eight places exceed 4000 in
number of inhabitants, and contain but 6.9 of the
total population. Cities.—In 1900, Little Rock,
the capital, had a population of 38,307; Pine
Bluff, 11,147; Fort Smith, 10,903; Hot Springs,
9412. The State has seven representatives in
Congress. For population of the State by counties,
the back of the map.
Government. The present constitution, which is the third for the State, was adopted by a vote of the people in 1874. Either House may propose an amendment to the constitution, which, if approved by a majority of both houses and by a majority of the voters at the next general election, is adopted. To enjoy the right of suffrage one must have resided in the State one year, in the county six months, and in the precinct or ward one month, while an amendment passed in 1893 further restricts the suffrage to those who have paid a poll tax. Elections are held every two years, on the first Monday in September. Some further provisions of the constitution are: “No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any court.” Six per cent. is the legal rate of interest, and all contracts for a greater rate than 10 per cent. are void, both principal and interest being forfeited. The property of the wife is not liable for the debts of her husband. The principal causes for divorce are adultery, habitual drunkenness, cruel treatment, or desertion for one year.
Legislative.—The representatives to the State Legislature are elected for a term of two years, and cannot exceed 100 in number, each county being entitled to one member, while the extra members are distributed among the more populous counties. Thirty and thirty-five are respectively the minimum and maximum limits to the number of senators, who are elected from districts of contiguous counties, serving for four years. The session of the legislature is limited to sixty days, unless extended by a two-thirds vote of each House. The governor may call an extra session.
Executive.—The governor, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, and attorney-general are each elected for a term of two years. The governor's veto may be overridden by a majority vote of each House. If the office of governor becomes vacant twelve months before the expiration of the term, a new election is held to fill the vacancy—if the vacancy occurs within that period, the president of the Senate completes the term.
Judiciary.—There is a supreme court of five members, each elected for eight years; a number of circuit courts, each member of which is elected for four years; a probate and county court for each county; and at least two justices of the peace for each township — the justices of the peace and county judges being elected for terms of two years. The General Assembly also vests such jurisdiction as may be deemed necessary in municipal corporation courts, courts of common pleas, where established, and when deemed expedient, and establishes separate courts of chancery.
Local Government.—Each county has a sheriff, assessor, coroner, treasurer, and surveyor, each elected for two years. Each township has a constable, who is elected for two years. The Legislature may create other local offices. The county court, together with a majority of the justices of the peace, levies road taxes when the people have voted in favor of such a measure. The Legislature provides, by general laws, for the organization of cities (which may be classified) and incorporated towns, and can place certain restrictions upon them.
Militia. — The organized militia has a total strength of 1900, 1600 of whom belong to the infantry. The only limitation to the extent of organization is that there shall not be more than four companies in any one county. The census of 1900 reported 250,000 males of militia age within the State.
History. The name Arkansas (pronounced Ar′kansaw) was that of an Indian tribe found by the first explorers within the limits of the present State. About 1685, Frenchmen settled at Arkansas Post. Arkansas formed a part of Louisiana Territory till 1812, and of Missouri Territory till 1819, when it was organized as Arkansas Territory, including Indian Territory. On June 15, 1836, it became a State. Though settled chiefly from the South, Arkansas was fairly divided between Unionists and Secessionists in the early part of 1861; but President Lincoln's call for troops led to the passing of an ordinance of secession on May 6, 1861. The Confederates were defeated at Pea Ridge, March 6-7, 1862, and at Prairie Grove, December 7. Helena was occupied by Union forces, and Arkansas Post was captured on January 11, 1863. With the fall of Little Rock, September 10, 1863, the Confederate power in the State collapsed. In October and November Union delegates from twenty counties met at Fort Smith to take steps to reorganize the State Government, and in January, 1864, a convention met at Little Rock and framed a constitution, which was accepted by the people, but rejected by Congress. Under the Reconstruction Act of 1867, a constitutional convention met January 7, 1868, at Little Rock, and framed a constitution, which was ratified March 13, by a small majority. On June 22 the State was readmitted to the Union. In April, 1874, an armed collision occurred between the adherents of two rival claimants for the governorship. Federal aid was invoked, and President Grant formally recognized Baxter, Republican, as the lawful governor. In 1874 a new constitution was adopted. It marked a radical change in the existing law and was in the main a return to ante-bellum conditions. Of recent years the prosperity of the State has increased with the development of its rich mineral resources. Since 1876 the Democrats have been victorious in State and national elections; the congressional delegation as a rule is solidly Democratic. The electoral vote has been cast as follows: in 1836 and 1840, for Van Buren and Johnson, 3; 1844, Polk and Dallas, 3; 1848, Cass and Butler, 3; 1852, Pierce and King, 4; 1856, Buchanan and Breckenridge, 4; 1860, Breckenridge and Lane, 4; 1864, no vote; 1868, Grant and Colfax, 5; 1872, 6 votes not counted; 1876, Tilden and Hendricks, 6; 1880, Hancock and English, 6; 1884, Cleveland and Hendricks, 7; 1888, Cleveland and Thurman, 7; 1892, Cleveland and Stevenson, 8; 1896, Bryan and Sewall, 8; 1900, Bryan and Stevenson, 8.
The following is a list of the governors of Arkansas from the date of its organization as a Territory:
|William S. Fulton||1835-36|
|James S. Conway||Democrat||1836-40|
|Thomas S. Drew||“||1844-48|
|John S. Roane||“||1848-52|
|Elias N. Conway||“||1852-60|
|Henry M. Rector||“||1860-62|
|Ozro A. Hadley||“||1871-72|
|Augustus H. Garland||Democrat||1874-77|
|Wm. R. Miller||“||1877-81|
|Thomas J. Churchill||“||1881-83|
|James H. Berry||“||1883-85|
|Simon P. Hughes||“||1885-89|
|James P. Eagle||“||1889-93|
|William M. Fishback||“||1893-95|
|James P. Clarke||“||1895-97|
|Daniel W. Jones||“||1897-01|
|Jefferson Davis||“||1901 —|
Bibliography. Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletins (Fayetteville, 1896, et seq.); Arkansas Climate and Crop Service Monthly Reports (Little Rock, 1896-1900); Arkansas Common School Commissioner Report (Little Rock, 1857); Arkansas Department Biennial Report of the Secretary (Little Rock, 1882-1898); Arkansas State Lands, Commission of, Biennial Report for 1876-78 (Little Rock, 1878); Arkansas Levee and Railroad Construction Bonds Committee, Report of Special Committee of House of Representatives (Little Rock, 1873); Harvey, Minerals and Rocks of Arkansas, Catalogue of species (Philadelphia, 1886); Lewis, Natural Resources of Arkansas (Little Rock, 1869); Hillyard, The New South (Baltimore, 1887); Monette, Discovery and Settlement of the Valley of the Mississippi (New York, 1846).
- Does not include many ginneries operated in connection with saw, grist, and cotton-seed oil mills, or for the use exclusively of plantations on which they are located.