The Arkansas Toothpick will be publishing a historic profile series over the next five weeks on Arkansas General James Yell written by Arkansas Toothpick contributor Jerry Lawrence from Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The first installation of this series includes an introduction to the work. Other editions of this series will include genealogical information on Yell, the General during and after the Civil War, and a brief biography of the Arkansas general. Following is the beginning of the series:
Jefferson County has always had a few outstanding, prominent men around at any given time, but it seems that in the mid-1800, Pine Bluff and Jefferson County were blessed with such men.
There was Samuel C. & John S. Roane, Judge William Bocage, Judge Murray & his son John Ed Murray, (who became the youngest Confederate General in the Civil War). Then there was A.A.C Rodgers, a merchant and a strong Unionist, William Porter Grace a lawyer and strong Secessionist, and the Vining brothers, George and Tom, a name that was prominent, in the business world of Pine Bluff well into the 20th century.
Another prominent Pine Bluff man of that time was General James Yell, the subject of this thesis and the nephew of Archibald Yell, Arkansas second governor and Mexican War hero. Almost all of Arkansas and Pine Bluff historians have failed to recognize James Yell in any of their work. This is very puzzling because some of the men , of that time period, wrote about him and spoke very highly of the General.
The research for this paper is the results of a query made to the Jefferson County Genealogy Society several years ago by a Mr. Bruce Alardice. By answering his query I learned a lot of Arkansas history, Pine Bluff history and Civil War history, which I did not know before doing the research for this gentleman. It resulted in some 30 references relating to General Yell and the Yell family, which I sent to Mr. Allerdice. He took this and other information and produced a page and a half in a book entitled More Generals in Gray.
There is much more research to be done relating to Yell and the Arkansas Militia specially their involvement in seizing of Union steamboats before the actual war begin. Another bit of history the historians leave out when they write their many books.
(Part 2 will be published on the Arkansas Toothpick on November 23, 2014.)