Every state has weird history, and Arkansas is no different. We thought we knew every odd happening in this state, but we were wrong. We perused the corners of the Internet and found some events that just may shock you.
1. In 1837, a violent knife fight on the floor of the Arkansas General Assembly left Representative Joseph J. Anthony dead.
He was killed by the Speaker of the House John Wilson. The assembly was debating whether or not the State of Arkansas should pay citizens a bounty for wolf pelts. I bet you thought today’s politics were rough, huh?
2. Scientists discovered a previously unknown “small tree or large bush” called mespilus canescens, commonly known as Stern's medlar. It only grows in Prairie County, Arkansas and only 25 plants are known to exist.
3. The only working diamond mine in the United States is Crater of Diamonds State Park. In 1990, a woman named Shirley Strawn found a three karat diamond, which, under park rules, she got to keep. The diamond was later certified as “perfect.”
4. Hattie Caraway was the first woman who served a full term in the U.S. Senate.
She was appointed to replace her husband who died in office in 1931, but she shocked the political establishment by deciding to run for reelection. She won, and became the first woman to ever preside over the Senate. She served from 1931 to 1945.
5. In 1945, the Arkansas legislature accidentally repealed all state laws. In 1947, the Arkansas Supreme Court decided that the legislature probably didn’t mean to do that.
Maybe they were just distracted by the pretty dome?
6. The mascot for the Arkansas School for the Deaf is the Leopards. Yes, you read that right. They’re the Deaf Leopards.
No, their games don’t look like this.
7. Pine Bluff has the only remaining single-arch McDonald’s location.
Maybe this doesn’t exactly qualify as shocking, but I’d be shocked if I drove past it.
8. This shocking thing almost happened in Arkansas: Charlie Chaplin almost gave up show business to move to Arkansas to raise hogs.
9. In 1868, Arkansas had some trouble with the Ku Klux Klan until the militia kicked them out of the state.
There were lots of murders, plantations were burnt, and the Klan attempted to take over the town of Augusta. That trouble lasted until the leader of the militia, Daniel Phillips Upham, “managed to rid the entire state of Arkansas of the Ku Klux Klan.”
10. The wood of the tree that produces what most Arkansans call “horse apples,” and most other folks seem to call “Osage orange,” was so prized for the making of bows that in Arkansas in the early 1800s, one Osage bow was worth a good horse and a blanket.
11. Around 2000, when Mike Huckabee was governor of Arkansas, the governor’s mansion was being renovated. So, what does a respectable Arkansan do? He moves a triplewide trailer house onto the property until the renovations are complete.
He and the first lady were proud to live there and laughed off detractors.
12. Susan Alamo’s body was missing for awhile.
You may have heard of her husband, Tony Alamo, who is widely regarded to be a cult leader and an all-around bad, bad dude. The Alamos were headquartered in Dyer, a small community in Crawford County. Tony Alamo was charged with the theft of his wife’s body. Why did he steal it? Because he thought she’d resurrect. Eventually, her body was interred in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but that didn’t stop the locals from telling ghost stories about it. Noting, of course, that at one point, Tony Alamo owned 29 businesses in and around Alma. Sleep well, Crawford County!
Which of these is most shocking to you? Did we miss any crazy, bizarre, or outright shocking events?