Prisons, Schools , Asylums

Transcribed by : Tina Easley









Every civilized community has certain obligations resting upon it, certain duties to perform, in protecting the life and property of its citizens from wanton violators of law, and in caring for the weak and unfortunate who are unable to care for themselves. To discharge these obligations and duties, penal and charitable institutions are established and supported at the public expense. In some of the territories—before they became states—Congress made grants of land or appropriations of money, or set apart the proceeds of the internal revenue collected therein, to the amount of $40,000, for the purpose of establishing territorial prisons.

Arkansas received no such assistance, however, and at the time the state was admitted into the Union there was not within its borders a penal or charitable institution belonging to the state. During the territorial period there was no serious demand for such institutions. True, there were outlaws in those days, but the county jails were sufficient for their imprisonment when convicted. The Arkansas pioneers, generally speaking, were of a healthy, hardy race, who had little need for hospitals of any kind. If one fell ill, the neighbors were always willing to lend a hand, and the mentally or physically defective were too few in numbers to justify a heavy expenditure for asylums for their care and comfort. But with the admission to statehood came a rapid increase in population and it was not many years until the need for such institutions made itself felt. The first public institution established by law was


On December 13, 1838, Gov. James S. Conway approved an act of the Legislature making an appropriation of $20,000 for a penitentiary, to be located at some point convenient to the seat of government. Commissioners were appointed to select a site. On July 24, 1839, they reported that they had purchased from P. T. Crutchfield 92.41 acres, "about a mile and a quarter west of Little Rock, for $20 per acre.'' Work was commenced soon after the purchase of the location, but the prison was not completed until 1842.

Four years after the penitentiary was first occupied as a prison, the main building was destroyed by fire during a revolt of a few of the convicts bent on making their escape. Authorities appear to be confused as to the date of this fire. Pope, in his "Early Days in Arkansas," says it occurred on July 4, 1846, after the warden "had given the convicts a special dinner and holiday, in commemoration of the birthday of American Independence." Hempstead's "History of Arkansas" says the building was burned on August 5, 1846. As a matter of fact both these dates are wrong. The Democrat of July 31, 1846. refers to the fire of "yesterday," and in the issue of August 7, 1846, says:

"The main building of the penitentiary was destroyed by fire on Thursday, the 30th of July. * * * The most immediate cause of the revolt and destruction of the building was the recent and entire change in the agents and keepers of the prison, by which raw and inexperienced men were placed in charge of the prisoners. We understand that only five of the convicts (including Morgan, who was killed by another convict on the side of the keepers), were actively concerned in the revolt, and that some ten or twelve of the convicts declared themselves ready to aid the keepers, and several of them did actually render efficient service."

Morgan, the convict who was killed, was the instigator of the revolt. In November, 1846, James and Benjamin Davidson, and three convicts named Eakin, Kennedy and Van Horn, were tried before Judge Field for incendiarism and complicity in the insurrection. Kennedy was acquitted and the others received life sentences. On December 23, 1846, Governor Drew approved an act providing for the rebuilding of the penitentiary, at a cost not exceeding $10,000, and the contract was let to George Brodie for that amount. The new building was occupied in 1849.

The Legislature of 1850 created a board of penitentiary inspectors, composed of the secretary of state, auditor and treasurer, and directed this board to have walls of stone built around the cellhouse, work shops and keeper's residence, and the buildings roofed with slate. Bids for the work were opened on March 3, 1851, and the contract was awarded to John Robins, of Little Rock, for $50,000. On January 26, 1855, John Robins and Alexander George entered into a contract with the state to make certain designated repairs and erect a brick workshop, 40 by 150 feet, two stories high, for $18,000. This work was completod in September, 1856, together with the walls ordered in 1850, giving Arkansas one of the best penitentiaries in the South.

During the early years of the Civil war, Federal prisoners were confined in this penitentiary and after Little Rock was occupied by the Union forces commanded by General Steele in September, 1863, it was converted into a place for the confinement of Confederate prisoners. While thus used, little attention was given to keeping the buildings in good repair and at the close of reconstruction era large appropriations were necessary to place the institution in its former condition.

When the Legislature provided for the erection of the new capitol building on the site of the penitentiary, the prison was removed to a new location southwest of the City of Little Rock. The Gazette of June 20, 1910, said:

"It is the intention of the penitentiary board to abandon the old penitentiary, the walls and buildings of which will be demolished within the next three weeks. The improvements at the new penitentiary southwest of the city will soon be completed and the prison ready for occupancy by all convicts now

ARKANSAS STATE PENITENTIARY On site of the present state capitol, used during the Civil war as a Federal Prison confined by the old walls. The removal of the prisoners from the old walls will not be attempted until everything is in readiness for their caref including the completion of the sewer system, which is now being constructed and work upon which is proceeding rapidly."


By an act of the Legislature, approved by Governor Baxter on April 15, 1873, the penitentiary commissioners were authorized to lease to the most responsible bidder the convicts under their charge. On May 7, 1873, J. M. Peck became the lessee for a term of ten years, on condition that he would defray all expenses of keeping said convicts. A few months later Zeb Ward became a partner of Mr. Peck, and in March, 1875, he became the sole lessee. Early in the fall of 1875 a Little Rock newspaper published an article alleging that the prisoners were ill treated. This led to an investigation in October, 1875, when it was disclosed that the terms of the lease had been violated in numerous instances, that the convicts had been poorly fed at times, and that excessive punishment had been inflicted in many cases for slight infraction of the rules. In his message to the Legislature in November, 1875, Governor. Garland called attention to the results of the investigation and recommended that some method be devised for keeping the prisoners within the walls of the penitentiary. But the Legislature was either unable or unwilling to change the system.

Ward's lease expired on May 7, 1883. The firm of Townsend & Fitzpatrick then acquired a lease for ten years, agreeing to bear all expenses of maintaining the convicts and pay the state $26,000 per annum. The new lessees then incorporated the Arkansas Industrial Company and took charge of the prisoners, who were hired out to planters, contractors, coal mining companies, etc. Says Shinn:

"The general management of the company was humane, but it was not able to control its numerous deputies and guards. In the year 1887 the evil culminated in a great scandal in the coal mines at Coal Hill. Prisoners were whipped unmercifully, worked at unlawful hours and brutally treated. An investigation revealed a course of treatment that was a disgrace to our civilization, and the convicts were removed to Little Rock. The public conscience was awakened. Grand juries began to indict and the courts to punish the wrongdoers. The Legislature created the office of prison inspector in 1889, and at the expiration of the lease it was not renewed. The state has since then taken charge of the convicts, and, while hard labor is still required, the lease system with its evils has been abolished."

The Townsend & Fitzpatrick lease expired in 1893 and the Legislature of that year directed the penitentiary board to take charge of the convicts and employ them either on the "state account system" or the "contract system": that is, when the state had not sufficient work to keep them employed, the convicts might be hired out under contract, the state retaining control. It was the intention, under the "state account system," to use the convicts upon the state lands, clearing ground, cultivating it, quarrying stone, cutting timber, etc., but no appropriation was made to provide for their safe-keeping, and the board was unable to carry out the plan. Thus, while the lease system was theoreticallyabolished, the convicts were hired out by the board, the state holding control. Subsequently a state farm was purchased to provide employment for all the convicts, but even then there was at times a surplus of convict labor that the state could not utilize to advantage, and the prisoners were hired out. The biennial report of the state auditor for 1911-12 says:

"The policy of hiring out the surplus convicts, selling their labor when not engaged upon the farm, has been continued, the existing contract for this labor having until January next to run. It has not been, and is not now, the desire of the board to continue this system, and, if profitable employment for all the convicts could have been found without resorting to the contract system, the present board would gladly have taken advantage of it. But it has not been practicable to work all the convicts on the farm, and, as the state cannot afford to maintain them in idleness, it has appeared necessary to sell the surplus labor for what it would bring. The amount earned for the state by this labor during the two years ending on September 30, 1912, is $163,526.30, all of which has been paid by the contractors."

In the spring of 1914 a movement was started to establish a library in the penitentiary, ''to send the prisoners out in the world better and more desirable citizens." A large number of books were donated, money was contributed, etc., by citizens in sympathy with the project, and the library was formally opened on August 2, 1914.


By the act of June 4, 1897, the penitentiary board was authorized "to purchase or cause to be purchased, with such funds as may be at its disposal, not otherwise appropriated, any lands, buildings, machinery, livestock and tools necessary for the use, preservation and operation of the penitentiary, to the end that the largest number of convicts that can be comfortably employed may be made self-supporting," etc.

At that time the board was composed of the governor, secretary of state, auditor, attorney-general and commissioner of mines, manufactures and agriculture. After looking at a number of farms, the majority of the board decided in favor of the Cummins and Maple Grove plantations, in Lincoln County. The two plantations (now generally referred to as the Cummins Farm) embrace over ten thousand acres and the purchase price was $140,000. Immediately after the purchase, a stockade and buildings were erected and a large number of the convicts were removed to the farm.


With the establishment of the convict farm in Lincoln County, it was thought that all necessity for hiring out the convicts was at an end. But the increase in population brought a corresponding increase in the number of violators of law, and by 1910 both the penitentiary and the convict farm were overcrowded. Then the old system of hiring out the prisoners was resorted to as the most convenient method of caring for the surplus prison population, as shown, by the report of the state auditor above quoted.


On March 28, 1919, Governor Brough approved an act of the Legislature to establish "a state reformatory for women, to be known as the Arkansas State Farm for Women. " The act provided for the appointment by the governor of nine directors, five of whom should be women, and these directors were authorized to purchase a farm of not less than 120 acres, to "include woodland and tillable pasture, with a natural water supply, and be located reasonably near some railroad." The act appropriated $5,500 for salaries and $4,500 for maintenance.

Pursuant to the provisions of this act, the directors acquired 185 acres about two and a half miles from Jacksonville, in the northeastern part of Pulaski County and convenient to the main line of the Missouri Pacific Railroad. The purchase was made in 1919 and the institution was opened early the following year. With the penitentiary proper, the Cummins and Tucker farms and the State Farm for Women, the State of Arkansas is well provided with facilities for caring for the convict population.



Next to the penitentiary as established in 1838, the School for the Blind is the oldest of the state's institutions. The first effort toward the education of the blind in Arkansas was made in 1850 by Rev. James Champlain, a blind Methodist minister, who opened a school at Clarksville, Johnson County. His pupils numbered only five, and, as he failed to receive the support and encouragement he anticipated, the school was closed after about five months.

In 1858 a Mr. Haueke, a blind Baptist preacher, visited Arkadelphia, where he interested a number of the charitably inclined citizens in a movement to establish a school for the blind. In October of that year an association was formed for the purpose, and the name of "The Arkansas Institute for the Education of the Blind" was adopted. The school was opened in February, 1859, with Mr. Haueke in charge and seven pupils in attendance. On February 4, 1859, the institution was incorporated and Governor Conway appointed the following board of trustees: T. E. Garrett, Harris Flanagin, T. A. Heard. J. B. McDaniel, J. W. Smith, H. B. Stewart, S. Stephenson, W. A. Trigg and J. L. 'Witherspoon.

Mr. Haueke resigned his position in the summer of 1859 and Otis Patten was selected as his successor. Mr. Patten and Isaac Lawrence spent some time in traveling over the state, trying to induce the parents of blind children to send them to the school. Through their efforts the attendance increased and the institution prospered until the fall of 1863, when, owing to conditions growing out of the Civil war, it was closed. The Legislature of 1866-67 appropriated $8,000 for buildings, $1,200 for salary of a superintendent, and $200 a year for the support of each pupil. With this encouragement, the school was reopened in March, 1867.

On July 22, 1868, Governor Clayton approved an act for the removal of the school to Little Rock. It was closed at Arkadelphia about the middle of September and opened at Little Rock in the second week in October, in "Rose Cottage," with Liberty Bartlett, R. L. Dodge and C. C. Farrelly as trustees. A tract of about eight acres, on the southern border of the city, was purchased, a brick building and several temporary frame buildings were erected, and the institution was removed to its quarters in 1869. By the act of March 15, 1879, the name was changed to the "Arkansas School for the Blind." In 1885 the Legislature appropriated $60,000 for additional buildings. The first brick structure was then converted into a workshop, where the boys were taught broom and brush making, mattress making, chair caning, etc. The girls were taught sewing, both by hand and machine, bead work and some other occupations. Other buildings have been added as occasion demanded, and typewriting has been added to the course of study. A dictaphone was installed in 1916. The superintendent dictates his letters to this instrument and they are then typewritten by the students.


The Gazette and Democrat of March 21, 1851, contained the following announcement: "The trustees of the Clarksville Institute have made arrangements to have a class of deaf mutes taught. The school for mutes will open on the first of May. Tuition gratis. Boarding can be had very reasonable. Only a limited number of pupils (6 or 8) will be taken. Persons wishing to send may know more by addressing the ' Trustees of Clarksville Institute, Johnson County, Ark.' Application must be made soon.''

This was the first attempt to establish a school for the education of deaf mutes in Arkansas. The Clarksville Institute found the undertaking a losing proposition and after a few months the school was suspended. In 1860 a deaf mute school was organized at Fort Smith, on a broader basis than the one at Clarksville. About the time it was placed in good working condition the war came on and, like many similar institutions in the South, it was crushed out of existence.

Nothing further in this direction was attempted until July 10, 1867, when Joseph Mount, himself a deaf mute, opened a school in Little Rock. It was a private institution, though the city contributed to its support. By the act of July 17, 1868, this school was incorporated as "The Arkansas Deaf Mute Institute" and permanently located at Little Rock. The first board of trustees was composed of Albert W. Bishop, Henry Page, John Wassell, George R. Weeks and Robert J. T. White. Mr. Wassell was elected president of the board In his first report, dated November 21, 1868, he says:

"On the 14th day of September, A. D. 1868, the institute was opened for the reception of pupils, two, a young man and a young woman, being in attendance, who had hitherto studied in a private school supported by the City of Little Rock. The school was kept in a private boarding house until October 6th, when it was removed to a more commodious building, where they congregate as in a family. The change from boarding to housekeeping involved the necessity of buying everything necessary for a new enterprise, although the utmost economy was observed in expenditures. On October 20th two other deaf mutes, a boy and a girl, were admitted as state pupils in the manner provided by law."

The report also gives the amount of expenses incurred from September 1 to November 21, 1868, as $809.30, and states that Joseph Mount had been employed as principal at a salary of $100 per month and his board. He resigned on February 28, 1869, and for about four months the school was without a teacher. Then Marquis L. Brock, an instructor in the Illinois Deaf Mute School, came to Little Rock and remained until the latter part of February, 1870. In April, E. P. Caruthers took charge and remained at the head of the institution for several years. After many ups and downs, the institute was located upon its present site, in the western part of Little Rock and on an eminence overlooking the Arkansas River. In a circular announcing the opening of the fall term on October 4, 1893, the superintendent, Frank B. Yates, said:

"This place has undergone much improvement during the past summer, and among other things done a large building has been erected, enabling the school to receive about one hundred more pupils than it could possibly take last year. This is a free school to the poor and absolutely free, in every respect, to those in indigent circumstances. So free is it that there is positively no excuse, however poor the father of a deaf child may be, for his keeping that child at home and allowing him to grow up in igorance. The deaf child is entitled to educational privileges equal to those of his hearing brother, and the state has generously recognized this fact. It has provided this noble institution of learning for this afflicted class, wherein they can be transformed from the dark night of ignorance into the bright sunlight of Christian intelligence. The doors of this noble charity are now wide open for the admission of 100 mutes never before in school."

These words of Mr. Yates, penned more than a quarter of a century ago, are equally true in 1921, except that it should be added the institution has been va.itly improved by the erection of new buildings, the purchase of new equipment, the employment of additional teachers, etc., until Arkansas' Deaf .Mute Institute compares favorable with those of other states.


This institution, commonly called the Insane Asylum, dates its beginning from April 19, 1873, when Governor Baxter approved an act of the Legislature providing for the establishment of the "Arkansas State Lunatic Asylum'' at Little Rock. By the provisions of this act the governor was authorized to appoint five trustees, who should "manage and direct the affairs of the institution, appoint a superintendent," etc., and an appropriation of "not exceeding $50,000" was made for the purchase or erection of the necessary buildings.

At that time the state was agitated "from center to circumference" by the unsettled political conditions, which culminated in the Brooks-Baxter war the next year. Consequently, the first board of trustees was unable to make much progress toward the establishment of the institution, except to purchase a site. In his last message to the Legislature, Governor Garland urged the importance of establishing the asylum without delay. "No class of suffering humanity," said he. "has so large a claim upon the community as this; and no charitable institution is as much needed as one for the proper treatment of these persons."

Governor Miller also discussed the necessity for such an institution in his messages of 1877 and 1879. The Legislature of the latter year passed a bill appropriating $40,000 for the establishment of the asylum and directing that it be located at Snow Springs, an out-of-the-way place, some four or five miles from the City of Hot Springs. This bill was vetoed by Governor Miller. 0n tlu grounds that the appropriation was insufficient and the location was undesirable. He pointed out that the trustees had estimated that $150,000 would be necessary for the erection of buildings and equipment of an asylum; that the bill did not provide for issuing bonds or levying a tax for the purpose of raising the amount of the appropriation; that payments would have to be made in scrip, then at a discount of 20 per cent, so that only $32,000 would be realized from the appropriation of $40,000. "The proposed location," said he, "is in a wilderness, remote from indispensable conveniences. No price is fixed in the bill for the land, and the state has already expended $16,000 in payment for other land for the same purpose."

The Legislature was not able to pass the measure over the veto, and there the matter rested until February 8, 1881, when Governor Churchill approved a bill providing for a levy of a one-mill tax on all the property of the state for two years, and the appropriation of $150,000 "for the purpose of building, organizing, furnishing and operating an insane asylum at or near Little Rock." With a portion of the appropriation immediately available, the trustees went to work and the institution was opened on March 1, 1883, with Dr. C. C. Forbes as superintendent. P. 0. Hooper was then president of the board. The other trustees were: John 0. Fletcher, J. M. Hudson, John W. Stayton and Thomas R. Welch. During the year 1883 the grounds were inclosed with "good, substantial fences," and in the first annual report, dated January 1, 1884, Doctor Forbes gave the number of inmates as 247. Since that time liberal appropriations have been made by the Legislature, new buildings erected and better facilities provided.

Several good physicians have occupied the office of superintendent, but perhaps none accomplished more for the institution than Dr. J. L. Greene. In the summer of 1911 he announced that arrangements had been made for the care of 300 patients more than had ever been cared for in the asylum. Commenting upon this, the Gazette of September 16, 1912, said: "For years it was a matter for public regret that the lack of accommodations for all the insane of Arkansas at the State Hospital for Nervous Diseases made necessary the keeping of some such persons in county jails. But with the increased accommodations that have been provided by the good management of Dr. J. L. Greene, there is now no insane person in any jail in the state so far as is known. * * * Arkansas is not only caring for all of its insane, but is making splendid progress in restoring to usefulness those persons who can be cured by proper medical treatment."

Owing to a controversy with the old Board of Charities, Doctor Greene resigned late in the year 1914. Governor Hays then removed the board and appointed a new one, which elected Dr. Frank B. Young, who remained in charge only about a year. Dr. E. P. Bledsoe was then appointed, but in June, 1916, he got into a dispute with the Board of Control over the matter of appointments and was removed. An effort was then made to have Doctor Greene return to the institution as superintendent, but he declined. The present superintendent (1921) is Dr. C. C. Kirk.


About twenty-five years after the close of the war, when those who wore the gray were growing fewer in number and infirm in body, some philanthropic citizens saw the need of some sort of an asylum for the veterans. Foremost in the work of establishing the institution were John D. Adams, W. B. Campbell, John G. Fletcher, R. A. Little and Thomas W. Steele, all of whom subscribed to a fund to establish the home. Early in the year 1890 these men reported that $8,500 had been received. That summer a tract of some sixty acres of ground, about six miles southeast of Little Rock, was purchased, the old residence on the place was remodeled and the home was formally opened on December 1, 1890.

On April 1, 1891, Governor Eagle approved an act authorizing the payment of pensions to disabled Confederate soldiers and their widows and the levying of a tax to raise revenue therefor. Section 15 of this act provided: "That ten thousand dollars of the fund thus raised shall be and hereby is appropriated annually for the erection and maintenance of a Confederate Home as is now established by the Ex-Confederate Association of Arkansas, which sum shall be paid on the order of the directors of said association. Provided, that no inmate of the said Confederate Home shall be entitled to draw a pension as provided for in this act; Provided further, that no part of the ten thousand dollars here as annually appropriated, shall be used until the said Ex-Confederate Association of Arkansas shall have conveyed to said state

the lands belonging to said Ex-Confederate Association with a good and sufficient title."

Thus the home became one of the charitable institutions of the state. With the first annual appropriation a new building was erected. It was completed in 1892. In the summer of 1911 the inmates were moved into tents while the entire home was remodeled. The interior walls were replastered and finished in light colors; new plumbing, including sanitary washrooms and bathrooms, was installed; also a modern power plant, supplying steam heat, hot and cold water, electric light and power to run a model laundry. The cost of the improvements was about $10,000.

For several years after the home was established the superintendent was a Confederate veteran. Then Dr. H. C. Stinson took charge and served for some time. On May 10, 1913, C. P. Newton was appointed. There were some misgivings that his youth might prove a handicap, but before a year had passed it was demonstrated that he was the right man for the place. In January, 1915, the institution housed more inmates than ever before in its history, among whom were 130 women, wives and widows of old soldiers. Mr. Newton resigned in 1918 to beeome a candidate for the Legislature, and in January, 1919, was elected speaker of the House. Rufus G. McDaniel, former state treasurer, was appointed superintendent upon the resignation of Mr. Newton. He was succeeded by Dr. George K. Mason, who served but a short time, when Mr. McDaniel was again appointed. Largely through the influence of Mr. Newton, the Legislature of 1919 appropriated $40,000 to cover a deficit in the funds of the home, and $115,000 for maintenance and repairs.


On April 25, 1905, Governor Davis approved an act providing for the establishment of'a "State Reform School, for the discipline, education, employment and reformation of convicts under the age of eighteen years." The act also provided that white and colored inmates should be kept in separate quarters, and that the female convicts should be kept to themselves. As thus established, the institution was for both sexes and was placed under the management of the penitentiary board. An appropriation of $30,000 was made for the purchase of a site and the erection of buildings, and the board was authorized to employ a superintendent, who should receive an annual salary of $1,500. A site a few miles west of Little Rock was purchased, a three-story brick building erected thereon, and the school was opened in the fall of 1906.

Within two years from the opening considerable dissatisfaction was manifested over the location. The Gazette of August 23, 1908, said: "The Reform School is located about four miles from the end of the Highland Park car line. It consists of about two hundred acres of land, which is said to be of about as poor a variety as can be found in Arkansas. That such an institution was located on such unfertile ground is deplored by nearly everyone who visits the institution and who can imagine what could be done by such a schood of boys upon rich soil. When the school was founded it was built in the very heart of a dense growth of timber. A boy who stepped twenty feet awa} from the house was hidden in the brush. Now the timber has been cleared away for a distance of at least five hundred yards from all sides of the main building. Since the school was started the boys have been engaged in clearing away the woods and the result, from a mere handful of youths, is considered remarkable."

In 1915 the probation officers of Jefferson and Pulaski counties prepared a bill for the removal of the school to a good farm. This bill was approved by the County Judges Association and the State Federation of Labor. It was passed by the Legislature, but was vetoed by Governor Hays on the grounds of economy. At the next session of the General Assembly, a similar bill was passed and was approved by Governor Brough. Up to this time the institution had been under the control of the penitentiary board and was regarded as a penal institution. The act of 1917 changed the name to the "Boys Industrial School of the State of Arkansas" and provided for a Board of Managers, composed of three men and two women. The board appointed by Governor Brough was as follows: Judge John W. Wade, of Little Rock; Miss Julia Houston, of Pine Bluff; Mrs. A. B. Stoops, of Stuttgart; W. H. Laney, of Clarendon, and F. T. Reynolds, of Fort Smith. Soon after being appointed, the members of the board met and organized by electing Judge Wade chairman, and Miss Houston, secretary.

The first duty devolving upon the new managers was to select and acquire a suitable site for the school. How this was accomplished is thus told by Governor Brough in his message of 1921:

"There is no institution in our state that gives greater promise of a wise correctional and educational administration than the Boys' Industrial School, located very desirably on 280 acres of land, 2 miles from Pine Bluff. Formerly the State Reform School was supervised by the penitentiary board and later by the penitentiary commissioners. These boards had not the time for proper supervision, so the General Assembly of 1917 changed the Reform School to the Arkansas Boys' Industrial School, with an honorary Board of Managers. With this change, the old penal idea was largely eliminated and the correctional and educational ideal substituted. The act creating the Boys' Industrial School required the institution to be moved to a more desirable location, the old site near Little Rock being poor, dry and rocky. After a thoroughgoing inspection by the Board of Managers, the superintendent, the governor and the state health officer, of the 160 acres of land donated by Captain Geisreiter, of Pine Bluff, this site was definitely determined upon as an ideal one from the standpoint of sanitation, agricultural development and industrial training. The Senate and Bouse committees of the 1919 Legislature visited the site, approved it and appropriated $98,000 for new improvements to be placed upon it, in addition to a $35,000 appropriation for biennial contingent expense."

The announcement of the selection of the 160 acres donated by Sebastian Geisreiter and his wife was made by the secretary of the board on October 19, 1917. At the same time she announced that the citizens of Pine Bluff had raised a fund of $5,466 for the benefit of the school, of which $3,500 was to be applied to the purchase of eighty acres adjoining the Geisreiter tract. The act of 1917 appropriated for the school the sum of $31,200, only $5,000 of which could be used for the purchase of land and the erection of buildings. By the donation of 160 acres and the generosity of the people of Pine Bluff, alarge part of the $5,000 could be used for a building fund. Cottages were erected and a detachment, of boys was set to work clearing the ground and putting it under cultivation. With the appropriation of $98,000 made by the Legislature of 1919, better and more modern buildings have been erected, and. while there is still room for improvement, the Boys' Industrial School is an institution of which the people of Arkansas may justly feel proud.


The first suggestion for a Girls' Industrial School came soon after the enactment of the Juvenile Court law in 1911, but no organized effort was made until 1914. Through the work in that year of Miss Erie Chambers and Miss Julia Houston, probation officers in Pulaski and Jefferson counties, respectively, the Legislature of 1915 passed an act providing for such an institution, but it was vetoed by Governor Hays. The Juvenile Court Board then started a campaign to raise funds for a school, which was opened in a building on the corner of Tenth and Louisiana streets (Little Rock), with four girls, under the charge of Mrs. Minnie Gosden as matron. Later a better building was secured at the corner of Tenth and Izard streets, but this was destroyed by fire on November 4, 1917.

By the act of 1917. providing for the removal of the Boys' Industrial School, an appropriation of $9,000 was made for a Girls' Industrial School—$3,000 for leachcrs, $5,000 for maintenance, and $1,000 for buildings. The building allowance was purposely made small, as it was intended that the old buildings of the State Reform School should be occupied. The Legislature of 1917 also authorized the governor to appoint a board of managers, consisting of three women and two men. Governor Brough appointed Mrs. C. L. Schafer, who was elected chairman; Mrs. M. B. Sanders, of Little Rock; Mrs. Jo Frauenthal, of Con way, Dr. Robert L. Smith, of Russellville, and Dr. A. C. Shipp, of Little Rock.

Circumstanccs combined to render it impracticable to use the buildings of the old Reform School, and in 1918 a campaign was started to raise $100,000 "for a Girls' Industrial School and Woman's Reformatory." The full amount was subscribed and $55,000 realized in actual cash. Congressman T. H. Caraway obtained an appropriation of $50,000 from the general government. In January, 1919, an ideal location of 200 acres in Saline County, only nineteen miles from the state capital, was purchased and the school was opened in the little dwelling already on the place. Miss Blanche Martin was appointed superintendent, and on April 13, 1919, a second cottage was completed and occupied. The Legislature of 1919 made an appropriation of $20,000 for salaries and maintenance. With the $105,000 raised by subscriptions and from the Tnited Stales, the main building was commenced in October, 1919, and was occupied on October 2, 1920. It is 209 feet long and only one story high: contains living and sleeping rooms, sewing and school rooms, kitchen and dining room. In the basement are a 2,000-gallon pressure tank, the laundry, the heating plant and a Delco lighting system. The cost of the building was $45.000. Sixty acres of the farm were under cultivation at the time it was purchased. An eight-acre orchard has been planted, milk is furnished by cows kept for the purpose, and some poultry is kept.


This institution was created by the act of May 31, 1909, which appropriated $50,000 for site and buildings and $30,000 for maintenance. The act also placed the control of the sanitarium in the hands of a board of trustees, to consist of six persons appointed by the governor, two of whom were to be practicing physicians. A site was selected on a ridge in the foothills of the Magazine Mountains, about four and a half miles 'southeast of Booneville, at an elevation of about one thousand feet above sea level.

From the beginning the sanitarium has received liberal support from the state. The Legislature of 1911 appropriated $60,000 for support, $15,000 for a hospital, $6,000 for additional houses for patients, $3,500 to improve the grounds and the water supply, and $500 for the construction of a road to the institution. Concerning the sanitarium, Governor Brough said in his message of 1921:

"This well equipped institution is located four miles from Booneville and covers 973 acres of land, on which there are an administration building, a hospital building and five large pavilions or cottages, twelve smaller cottages and a number of smaller buildings, valued at $217,000. During the biennial period from December 20. 1918, to December 20, 1920, 828 patients were received at this institution. Of these 828 patients, 171 were in the sanitarium on December 20, 1920. During this biennial period 121 patients were discharged with arrested cases; 277 were discharged with improved cases; 246 were discharged with unimproved cases, and 12 patients died."

The governor recommended appropriations for the improvements asked for by the management, and added: "The state could also well afford to make substantial appropriations for additional buildings, in order that the consumptives of Arkansas might know that there was a door of hope for them in their own state, instead of being compelled to go West at great expense and undergo the horrors of homesickness and death."


The Legislature of 1919 appropriated $75,000 for the purchase and equipment of a Hospital Dairy Farm, to be operated in connection with the Hospital for Nervous Diseases and furnish supplies to the other state institutions. It was stipulated that the farm should consist of "not more than five hundred acres." Before the close of the year a tract of 260 acres "more or less," situated near the Arkansas River and the St. Louis & Southwestern Railroad was purchased and the farm was placed in operation.


The following table shows the value of property owned by each of the state's penal and charitable institutions, as reported by the state comptroller:


Penitentiary (walls) $ 100,000 $23,185

Cummins Farm 506,000 137,593

Tucker Farm 413,500 82,290

State Farm for Women 27,000 4,000

Hospital for Nervous Diseases 1,600,000 175,000

Deaf Mute Institute 435,000 42,500

School for the Blind 191,000 70,000

Confederate Soldiers' Home 192,250 21,500

Boys' Industrial School 131,200 8,800

Girls' Industrial School 67,000 4,500

Tuberculosis Sanitarium 177,000 40,000

Hospital Dairy Farm 173,400 34,500


On February 10, 1917, Governor Brough approved an act providing for a "State General Hospital," to be managed by a board composed of the governor, attorney-general and three persons appointed by the governor. This board was authorized to sell certain lands (described in the act) belonging to the state and to use $200,000 of the fund thus acquired for the erection of buildings and purchase of hospital equipment.

The same session of the Legislature, by the act of March 6, 1917, took the preliminary steps for the establishment of the "Arkansas School for Feeble Minded," to be under the management of the General Hospital Board. Four thousand acres of unimproved state land were set apart to be sold and the proceeds applied to the erection of buildings, etc. Neither of these institutions has yet become a reality, but it is only a question of time until the lands appropriated to their use can be sold to advantage, and two more charitable concerns will be added to the above list.