Monday, May 21, 2018

On May 28th, the City of Hof will hold its 586th Schlappentag

The most distinctive feature of Hof, Germany, located at the top of East Bavaria, is its annual Hofer Schlappentag. This year on May 28, it will hold its 586th celebration to mark that day.
Sign advertising Schlappentag, showing the wooden
shoes (Schlappen) and the special Schlappenbier
Before explaining what the Hofer Schlappentag is and why it has been around for more than half a millennium, I want to mention some other notable features of this hilly city of 48,000 people that sits on the banks of the Saale River. An important one is its location. Following World War II, after Germany was divided into sectors, Hof was a border town in the American Zone. Across the border was the Russian Zone, which in 1949 became the German Democratic Republic. 

From that time until 1990, Hof was on the front lines of the Cold War, facing a heavily fortified border. Its train station was full of relieved travelers who had successfully weathered the ordeal of passing from East to West Germany, and stressed passengers who were about to undergo the indignities attended upon travelers who wished to enter the DDR. 

Another important aspect of Hof’s location is that it lies a few miles distant from the western finger of Bohemia that probes into Germany big southeastern belly. This part of Bohemia, now in the Czech Republic, is a narrow peninsula surrounded on three sides by the ocean of Germany. For decades, until 1917, it was part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, and a large percentage of its residents had a Germanic heritage and spoke German. After WWI, it became part of Czechoslovakia. (On the map above, the peninsula is located in the western part of the Cheb region, which is in the far west of the Czech Republic. Hof is a few miles north of the top of the peninsula.) 
Hof Center Center, with St. Mary's Church
The boundaries and ethnic makeup of the Bohemians in this isolated peninsula caused few problems until the early 1930s. Then, some Germans – adherents of the Nazi Party -- living there and in neighboring parts of Bohemia started complaining of mistreatment by Czechoslovakians, demanding to be brought into the German Reich.  Their rabble rousing provided one of the flimsy excuses Hitler used to justify sending the German army into Czechoslovakia in 1939. When the 1000-year Reich was disassembled in 1945, Czechoslovakia – under the guidance of the Soviet Union – expelled all ethnic Germans from the Sudetenland (including the peninsula), even those whose families that had lived there for centuries and who had not supported the Nazis.  Many of those expelled settled nearby in cities such as Hof and Marktredwitz and in the land surrounding them.
Hof City Center
(One city in the Czech peninsula is named Aš  [in German, Asch], and it is a thirty-minute ride from Hof on a slow train. From Asch and surrounding area, about 27 persons from the Reichardt, Geyer, Penzel, and Wunderlich families emigrated to Little Rock from 1848 to 1856, where many became prominent citizens. But that is another story.)

Detail for Hof's Turnhalle 
Present-day Hof is a pleasant city with the distinctive architecture of Eastern Bavaria that features multi-story buildings of different colors standing next to each other. Also it has a welcoming city center, anchored, as expected, by the largest and oldest church in town. The city center offers, among its mixture of businesses, two large book store. It is a pedestrian zone, so many restaurants offer outdoor seats from which to watch the parade of Hofers. Scattered about the center city are men and women (known locally as Wärschtlamo) with brass cauldrons filled with hot coals to boil wursts for hungry patrons.  

It is in the city center that much of the Schlappentag celebration takes place. The story of Schalppentag begins in January 25, 1430. On that sad day, Hof was attacked by Hussites, who easily routed the Hofers, who apparently did not put up much a fight. After the Hussites ransacked the town and moved on, the pitiable Hofers came to beg the Prince of Brandenburg for relief from taxes they owed him. They had nothing they could pay. The Prince was a bit irked, but granted ten years of relief from taxes with the condition that the Hofers would arm themselves and prepare to defend the city in the future.

Wurst seller with his brass Cauldron 

They agreed to the condition, and in 1432, the city government required its healthy male residents, most of whom were tradesmen, to join the protection guard and attend at least one instructional session on musket shooting a year.  As time passed, the protection guard members grew less enthusiastic about their annual training requirement, but continued to show up to avoid paying a fine. Many men put off the training until the last day possible, the first Monday after Trinity Sunday (which falls in late May or the first part of June). In 2018, Trinity Sunday is May 27th.

At first, only a dozen or so men, wearing their work clothes and wooden work shoes (clogs), known as Schlappen, walked down the street as the work day began to the indoor shooting range for their instruction. They would wait their turn for their musket-shooting lesson.

Over time, more of the men waited until the Monday deadline for completing training, and they would meet up to walk together to the shooting range, clopping down the street in their wood shoes. Finally it became a tradition for most of the protection guard to march together early on Trinity Monday to receive their training.

So on May 28, 2018, Hofers, joined by other volunteers in wooden shoes, will form for the 586th time a marching line and proceed through the city to the training site. That re-creation of the long tradition is followed, I understand, by many opportunities for merriment, especially if you enjoy beer, because that day – and only on that day -- an especially strong locally brewed beer – Schlappenbier – can be sold in the city. By tradition, however, the beer cannot be sold to visiting Hussites,. 

For pictures and videos from previous Schlappentag celebrations (in German), see:

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Little Rock's Last Reconstruction Mayor

I have attached a link to the recently completed draft of the third paper in a trilogy related to the early political and governance career of Frederick Kramer, a German immigrant who settled in Little Rock in 1857, had success as a businessman, and was a republican-backed candidate for the Little Rock school board, city council, and mayor.  In running for, and winning, these positions, he was forced to to swim in the bubbling cauldron of local reconstruction politics. 

Frederick Kramer, Picture published in the
Arkansas Echo
The first paper examined the 1870 Little Rock election and the attempt of Republican brindle-tails (a pro-civil rights faction of the party) to steal it. Specifically, it is the story of the attempted "usurpation" of the vote in the city election, followed by a scheme to 'usurp" the city council to install the faction's preferred candidates for ward 1 and ward 3 aldermen. The usurpation attempts were led by Little Rock''s mayor at the time, A.K. Hartman, a brindle-tail, who wanted  to insure the defeat of Kramer, a fellow Saxon, who was running for ward 1 alderman. Kramer was supported by the Republican Party's minstrel faction and was viewed by Hartman as a political enemy. The attempts to "usurp" the election led to some interesting drama as the two factions plotted against each other.

The title of the paper is:
Mayor A.K. Hartman and the Brindle-tails Usurp Little Rock’s 1870 Election, To No Avail
The draft paper can be viewed and downloaded using this link:

The second paper tells the story of the selection of the Little Rock city council president following the 1871 election. The election had been a successful one for the brindle-tails, and they held four of the eight council seats. These four brindle-tail aldermen put forward their candidate for the position. The other four members of the council were minstrels, and they wanted Kramer to be council president. The position was considered important because a year earlier many of the mayor's powers had been stripped from him and given to the city council president (mainly to punish Mayor Hartman for his actions against the minstrels). In the course of trying to elect the new city council president, the city council voted 701 times in one day on who should hold the job. The result led to some hard feelings and Kramer's decision to abandon politics for a year.

The title of the paper is: 
The Crazy Day in 1871 When Little Rock’s City Council Voted 701 Times to Elect Its President
The draft paper can be viewed and downloaded from Dropbox using this link:

H. H. Rottaken & Co.'s First
Advertisement, Oct. 7, 1868,
In the Gazette
The third, and recently drafted, paper covers the period from the November 1873 election in Little Rock until the election in April 1875, this one under a new state constitution that had been written and adopted after the Brooks-Baxter War (April 15 - May 15, 1874). The first part of the paper is about the 1873 election in which Kramer beat H. H. Rottaken, the candidate of the Citizens' Party, a surrogate for the Democratic-Conservative Party. The second part examines the administration of Mayor Kramer whose term was a challenging one because of the War, but also because the city had been slammed by the front edge of the 1873 depression a few weeks before the election. During his term, Kramer was chief executive of a city that could not pay its employees for months at a time. As the city battled its desperate financial situation, Mayor Kramer -- who was the city's chief law enforcement officer -- battled fakirs -- con men -- who had infested the city, and he led an experiment with a voluntary police force. The paper ends with the April 1875 election. With the Democratic-Conservative Party ascendant, Kramer sought the mayoral nomination of that party, but lost. Then he refused the Republican Party nomination, which nevertheless put him on the party's ticket. Kramer announced that he was going to vote for the nominee of the Democratic-Conservative Party, and the republicans suffered a complete humiliation at the polls. With that election, the democratic-conservatives had "redeemed" the city of Little Rock, making Kramer the last reconstruction mayor. 

The title of the paper is:
Frederick Kramer Beats Herbert H. Rottaken in the 1873 Election
To Become Mayor During a Time of Financial Distress, Fakirs, and Political Strife,
Then to Abandon the Republican Party

A draft of the paper can be viewed and downloaded from Dropbox using this link:


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Vienna in 1873 as Seen by a Visitor from Little Rock, Arkansas

The November 2, 1873 edition of the Daily Arkansas Gazette contained the following letter describing what a visitor from Little Rock saw while visiting Vienna a few weeks earlier:

Vienna: The German Capital as Seen by a Citizen of Little Rock

We are permitted to make public the following extracts from a private letter to Capt. H. H. Rottaken from his half-brother Mr. E Thuemmler, who left a few weeks since for a European tour:

Vienna October 8, 1873

For some days past I have been doing this peculiarly “mixed” city. I say “mixed” because you have here a little from all parts of the world, human and brute –animate and inanimate. I imagine Babel could not have been a much more confounding place than Vienna is to an American. This is supposed to be a German city, but enter a given crowd of people on any of the main streets and ask a question in German, it as likely to be answered in Portuguese, Spanish, or English as is German. It is utterly impossible by appearance to judge with the least certainty a man’s nationality – faces, dress and manners are as varied as languages, and I very much doubt that the real Viennese is at all times quite certain he is in his own “Kaiserstadt.”

It is impossible to impart, in any degree, an idea of the universal splendor found in the richer parts of Vienna. It is true [that] magnificence is cheap where labor costs next to nothing, and where the commonest laborer who is at all permitted to engage in the production of articles of elegance, must be himself a “master” in his art – but the true secret of the wonderful impression that both the exterior and interior beauties of Vienna produce, is to be found in the correct taste and the constant longing for the beautiful, characteristic, in an eminent degree, of the inhabitants of this place.

The prevalent building is a four-story, broad, white house, in a style of architecture curiously compounded of the modern and antique. Every building, of any consequence, has it porticos (also supported by splendid caryatides) and elaborate ornamentation at every available point – the whole white as snow. The interior of the better houses is all gilt and glitter, and even the lower middle classes are seldom content without a few real oil paintings, and an attempt at sculptural display in the “best room.”

There are more soldiers in the street every day than in St. Louis during the liveliest times of the war. Music, street cars, policemen, fruit and flower-vendors and brilliant cafes are “thick.” At night the brilliancy of the streets is marvelous. Everything possible is done for the comfort of the population. Parks, shaded walks with frequent benches, are found in all parts of Vienna, and really, from the number of people constantly in the streets, one would suppose that the outdoor beauties were adequately appreciated.
Buildings of the 1873 World's Fair are in the foreground;
St. Stephens Church and the walled city are in the middle;
the Vienna woods are in the distance
Picture from Wikicommons
The world’s fair is certainly grand.[1]  I have been there five times, and am only beginning to obtain a clear impression of its extent, its wonders, and its excellencies. I have, of course, a great many notes, and will, in time, make use of them.
This was the entrance to the 1873 World's Fiar
From Wikicommons
Leaving New York on the 6th of September, I arrived at Bremen on the 20th – then on to Leipzig and after two days there, to Selka.[2]  Remaining but a few days, I proceeded to “Miesitz.” I then came to Vienna.


Background of the Letter’s Author and Recipient

The young man who wrote this letter, Eugene Thuemmler (1848 – 1891), had moved from St. Louis to Little Rock in about 1869. Thuemmler was not a German immigrant, but both of his parents were. His father Traugott Edward Thuemmler  (1815 – 1867) was born in Saxony, and his mother Sophia (1812 – 1890) was from Prussia. Edward was born in St. Louis on March 13, 1848 and grew up there.

An 1863 graduate of St. Louis High School, Thuemmler – according to his passport application – was 5’ 10” tall,  with gray eyes, brown hair, oval face, and a “Teutonic” nose.  

The letter was written to Thuemmler’s half-brother, Herbert Herman Rottaken, who had been born in either Elderfeld (a city now part of Wuppertal) or Aachen, Germany, on July 25, 1839.[3]  In about 1844, while he was still a young child, he had been brought to the United States by his parents. His mother was Sophia Rottaken, later Thuemmler. The first name of his father is lost to history. According to family lore, the Rottaken family, which included father, mother, Herbert, and his younger sister Augusta (born in 1843), lived briefly in Little Rock in 1846.[4]

If they were in Little Rock in 1846, it was a brief stay. Sophia and the two children were in St. Louis in 1847 when she re-married on March 27th. (It is not known if her first husband died or if the couple had divorced.) A year later, she and Traugott, her new husband, were the parents of Edward, their first child together. The 1850 census showed Traugott and Sophia living in St. Louis with Herbert, Augusta, Edward, and a newly born daughter named Emily. Traugott managed the boarding house in which they were living. Later he got a job as the executive secretary of an insurance company

H. H. Rottaken (who opted to keep his father’s last name) moved to St. Charles, Missouri, late in the 1850s, and soon after the Civil War started, he joined the Seventh Regiment of the Missouri Cavalry Volunteers.  He initially held the rank of Sergeant, but in 1862 was commissioned as an officer, rising to the rank of Captain. He had a distinguished war service record.[5]

After the war, Rottaken returned to St. Louis, but in 1868 he and Susan, his wife, moved to Little Rock to open a wholesale liquor store. He quickly established a reputation as a sportsman and hunter, but his business struggled in a highly competitive market filled with well-established merchants.[6]  He was joined in his retail store in 1870 by his step-brother Edward Thuemller, who became a partner. However, the step-brothers ended their partnership in early 1871.

After the split, Thuemller ran the business with a partner (“Thuemmler & Eliot”) for about nine months, then on his own (“Thuemmler & Co,”). He closed the store in December 1872.

After leaving the retail liquor business, Rottaken took a job as a deputy sheriff, appointed by W. S. Oliver, the elected Sheriff, a Republican. In August 1872, he received a political appointment from the Republican governor: he was named head the Pulaski County board of registrars. However, after he figured out that the job entailed registering voters likely to vote for the Republican Party and finding ways to refuse to register other voters, he resigned this post.[7]  Soon after that, he affiliated himself with the Democratic-Conservative Party.

In October 1873, the Citizen’s Party – a stand-in for the Democratic-Conservative Party – nominated him as its candidate for mayor. His Republican-nominated opponent was Frederick Kramer, a German immigrant, prosperous merchant, and well-known citizen of the city.[8]  The election was scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 5, just four days after the publication of the letter.

The letter was, of course, not political, but its publication so near the election might have been. The newspaper that published it, the Daily Arkansas Gazette, was the Democratic-Conservative Party organ and it strongly supported and promoted Rottaken’s candidacy for mayor. Perhaps the letter was intended, at least in part, to give a boost to this reputation.

Whether the letter’s publication had anything to do with politics, it was likely read with pleasure by immigrants from Europe who knew Vienna as one of the great capitals of the world and by others with an interest in foreign cities they knew they would never visit.

And after the letter was published

After this European trip, Thuemller returned to Little Rock and resumed his life in the city. Like his step-brother Rottaken, Thuemuller was a sportsman and he was president of the local sharp shooter’s club. He also had a strong cultural bent and was a fine singer with the Little Rock Maennerchor. Periodically he wrote a column for the Arkansas Gazette on the Little Rock economy. In 1880, he received patent 226,570 for a thermo-dynamic engine he had designed.

In 1881 Thuemmler, with his wife Harriet (he married her in Washington D.C. on June 21, 1874) and two small daughters, moved back to St Louis and he worked there as a grocer. In about 1886, he and his family moved to Chicago, and he operated a wholesale “notions” business until his death on March 11, 1891.

Rottaken decisively lost the 1873 elected. However, his fortunes changed a few months later when in April, 1884, he joined the Baxter forces in the Brooks-Baxter War. Rottaken was made a captain in the Baxter forces and was first appointed the chief ordinance officer and later the inspector general. 

When the war ended with Baxter’s victory, Rottaken was rewarded for his service with an appointment as the Pulaski County Sheriff.  After the appointive term ended, he was elected for a two-year term in 1876. During his terms in office, he hired his step-brother Thuemmler as a deputy sheriff.

Rottaken’s wife died in 1876. Two years later, in 1878, he married Fredericka Reichardt Miller, the widow of Charles Miller who had been the business partner of Frederick Kramer when in 1863 the two had started a grocery store that grew into one of the most successful in the city. His new wife was the sister of Adelina, Kramer’s wife.
Fredericka Miller Rottaken on the day of
her wedding to H. H. Rottaken, 1878
(Arkansas Gazette, Dec. 10, 1938, p. 63)
Rottaken continued to be active in local public service. In 1881, he was the chief of Little Rock’s volunteer fire department and nearly lost his life in an accident that knocked him off the top of a tall ladder while fighting a fire. From 1892 to 1894, he held the office of Pulaski County Assessor, enraging the city’s largest businesses with a dramatic upward reassessment of their property values. He was elected city alderman in 1901 and served two two-year terms. 

Aside from his public sector work, Herbert and Fredericka were active investors in real estate and various mining ventures.  Over time, their investments made them quite wealthy. Rottaken died on September 17, 1908 following a hunting accident in which he accidently shot himself, nearly severing his left arm.[9]

[1] The 1873 World’s Fair was held in Vienna. In preparation, the city’s infrastructure was improved through extensive public investments. The fair opened on May 1st and closed on October 31th. It featured impressive pavilions constructed in the city’s Prater area. In all, it offered 26,000 exhibitions that were visited by over 7 million visitors. Unfortunately for Austria, this number was far less than expected. The attendance was held down by news of a cholera outbreak in the city and a stock market panic that marked the beginning of a world-wide recession. Because of the relatively small attendance, the fair’s revenues paid only about a third of the cost of staging the event. See  and

[2] Selka is a village about 50 miles due South of Leipzig. It is now part of the Thuringia Province. At the time, it was in the Saxony-Altenberg Province of the newly unified German state. Miesitz in a small town about 40 miles southeast of Selka, also now in the Thuringia Province. (Both Selka and Miesitz were in East Germany after the end of World War II.)  It is likely Thuemller’s father lived in Selka before he emigrated and that Thuemller had relatives in Miesitz. Neither were or are tourist destinations.

[3] The Elderfeld birthplace was mentioned in an undated and unattributed obituary published in a German language newspaper, likely the Arkansas Staatszeitung. This clipping of the obituary is in a scrapbook that is part of the Miller-Rottaken Family Papers in the archives of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies. The Aachen birthplace is stated in a short biography written in the 1970s by a granddaughter of Rottaken. This typewritten biography is also in the Miller-Rottaken Family Papers. In the 1870 census, Rottaken told the census takers that he was from Prussia. See the Miller-Rottaken Family Collection, BC.MSS.10.28, Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Arkansas Studies Institute.

[4] The German-language obituary mentioned in footnote 3 says he and his family were in LR in 1848. The typewritten bio says he and family were in LR in the 1850s. See the Miller-Rottaken Family Collection, BC.MSS.10.28 Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Arkansas Studies Institute.

[5] His army service is documented in the biographical sketch mentioned above. See the Miller-Rottaken Family Collection, BC.MSS.10.28 Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Arkansas Studies Institute.

[6] The October 7, 1868 issue of the Daily Arkansas Gazette (p. 3} noted “H. H. Rottaken & Co. have opened a wholesale wine, liquor, and cigar store one door from the Gazette office.”  Soon after he arrived, Rottaken convinced the managers of the State Fair to hold a pigeon shooting contest as part of the fair activities. He won the competitions in 1868, 1869, and 1870, and ran a small business supplying pigeons for such competitions. The publisher of the Gazette was impressed by Rottaken and wrote two stories about him, touting his sportsman skills and his pack of dogs. See Our Neighbor Rottaken. Daily Arkansas Gazette, August 11, 1869, p. 4. And Rottaken, Daily Arkansas Gazette, July 8, 1870, p. 4.

[7] Rottaken testified on his experiences as a registrar at a one of the hearings that followed the Brooks-Baxter War. The Investigation Committee, Daily Arkansas Gazette, July 29, 1874, p. 4.

[8]  For more information on Kramer, see this entry in the Arkansas Encyclopedia of History and Culture:

[9] Herbert Rottaken Dies from Shot. Daily Arkansas Gazette, September 18, 1908, p. 1.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Little Rock's Two Kramer Schools

One of the better known public buildings in Little Rock during the first seven decades of the 20th Century was the school house on Sherman Street between 7th and 8th streets. The building, completed in 1895, was named the Kramer School in honor of Frederick Kramer, a civic-minded German immigrant who served on the Little Rock school board from February 1869, when the school board was first created, until he retired in 1894. During almost all of those twenty-six years, he was elected by fellow board members to chair the board.
Kramer School on Sherman Street; the
large tower shown in the picture was torn
down in the 1950s

The handsome Kramer School building on Sherman street was not the first school in the city named in honor of Frederick Kramer. Another school built in late 1869 and early 1870 was also called the Kramer School (sometimes it was referred to as the Ward 1 school).  The first Kramer school was located near the eastern end of Second Street between the mansion built by Alexander George in the 1840s and the high banks of the Arkansas River.     
This picture shows part of the 1870 Bird's Eye View Map of Little Rock. The first Kramer School
was located by the Arkansas River on the left side of the map (above the blue mark).
The spot where the second Kramer School was built is marked by a blue tick at the top of the map.
The Kramer School on Second Street was the first one authorized by the Little Rock School District after city voters approved its creation and elected its board members. Near the end of 1869, the board hired A. J. Millard to construct the school, paying him $18,000 to erect a two-story brick building with an entryway, four classrooms, a basement with a modern Ruttan heating system, a painted tin roof, and stone steps. When completed, the school building was described by the Daily Arkansas Gazette as “a beautiful edifice.” It was, the Gazette noted, the “finest and best school house in the city.” The Arkansas Democrat later wrote that it was “the finest in the state.”

This drawing of the first Kramer School was included on the
1870 Bird's Eye View Map of Little Rock
The school opened in 1870, attended by African-American students living on the east side of the city.  In November 1870, a Gazette reporter visited the Kramer School and wrote the following description of what he found there:  

[The school] presents more of neatness and comfort than any similar building in the city. There are but three occupied rooms at present.

The first we entered is in charge of Miss Foster, who is now in her second year as a teacher in our schools. As we entered, Miss Adella Thomas was giving a less in music. The pupils were very apt, and displayed considerable skill. Miss Thomas is the teacher of music for all the schools.

Leaving this room, the next we entered was in charge of Miss Fishburn. The recitations we heard were very fair.

In the next room, Mr. Mason is the teacher. He is also the principal of the school, a finely educated gentleman, and said to be a very fine teacher.

Sadly, just three years later, on October 30, 1873, the school building burned to the ground. The fire started at about noon in the basement, where two furnaces were located. The Gazette attributed the fire to the “inattentiveness of the firemen [who tended the furnaces].” The city’s volunteer fire departments responded quickly to the fire, but were unable to get water from the Arkansas River because of the high banks or from the nearest public cistern, located several blocks away at the corner of Markham and Commerce streets. One department did extract some water from the cistern in the school yard, but the amount was too little to stop the fire.  

The loss of the city’s finest school was a blow to the city school system, and its impact was made worse by the failure of the board to purchase adequate insurance for the building and the recent bankruptcy of the local company from which it had purchased the insurance policy. The school board had insured the building for only $5,000, and it could not collect even that much because of the demise of the company that sold it the insurance coverage. (At the next meeting, the board voted to obtain insurance for other schools equal to their full value.)

The destruction of school came at a particularly bad time. Little Rock, like the rest of the nation, had been hit by a major recession and tax collections had plummeted. During that 1873-74 school year, the board struggled to obtain funds to pay teacher salaries, and it considered closing city schools three months early. However, even though local lenders refused to buy the school district’s notes or bonds, Kramer found investors in Cincinnati who would, and the schools borrowed enough to remain open for the full school year.

The recession continued in the following years, and the district had little money to rent classroom space much less build a new school. It had to sell much of its real estate, including the land on which the Kramer School had sat, to help pay for teacher’s salaries and cover its debt.

The loss of the school house and the lack of funds to build or rent another one had dire consequences for the African-American children living on the east side of Little Rock. It appears that the school board provided no classrooms for these displaced children during the 1874-1875 and 1875-1876 school years. Certainly in 1876-77, the board did not. This deplorable situation was brought up at a January 1877 school board meeting by A. G. Cunningham, a board member, who complained that the board continued to refuse to build a school house to “educate 250 colored students” who were “now living in ignorance.”

It took almost three more years, and heated controversy, before the school district finally built a new school on the east side, and despite the original plans for it to be used to educate African-American students, the board decided to make it a white school and let the African-American students use the space that was left vacant by the white students going to the new building.

Unlike the short-lived first Kramer School building, the second has had a long and fruitful existence. It served as a regular school building until 1969. Then, from 1969 to 1978, it hosted an experimental school operated by Bettye Caldwell of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Center for Early Development and Education. After that program moved to a new school building in 1978, the Kramer School building sat vacant for a couple of decades, then was sold to investors who, through renovation, carved it into loft apartments. The building still stands (without the original tower in front) as the Kramer School Artist Co-op Apartments. 

A few blocks to the northeast of these apartments, the land on which the first Kramer School was located now is part of the grounds for the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum.


For more on Frederick Kramer, see this entry in the Arkansas Encyclopedia of History and Culture:

School Board. Daily Arkansas Gazette, January 11, 1870, p. 4.
Around the City. Daily Arkansas Gazette, February 15, 1870, p. 4
Our Public Schools, Daily Arkansas Gazette, November 26, 1870, p. 4.
Destructive Fire. Daily Arkansas Gazette, November 1, 1873, p. 4.
School Board. Daily Arkansas Gazette, January 28, 1877, p. 4.
Kramer School. Portrait of the Late Honorable Kramer Presented to the School. Arkansas Gazette, December 23, 1894, p. 3
Free Schools. There were none in Arkansas Prior to 1868 [Reminiscences of Judge Henry Coldwell], Arkansas Democrat, January 20, 1902, p. 3
Public School Reminiscences [Letter from A. J. Millard]. Arkansas Gazette,               June 17, 1914, p. 8
Francis Jones. Local System of Schools is the First Formed in State. Arkansas Democrat. May 20, 1916, p. 3.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

September 5, 1967: Leaving On a Jet Plane : The Institute of European Studies Adventure Begins

I know what I was doing fifty years ago today, and I cannot think of anything else I would rather have been doing. Thanks to my good fortune, I was getting on a flight to London to embark on a two-week study tour of Western Europe with about 200 other college students from throughout the United States.

I say it was my good fortune for several reasons. First, I was fortunate that the faculty and staff of the Vienna campus of the Institute of European Studies (IES) were brave enough to load a large group of college students on five buses to show them (I should say, "educate them about") Western Europe. This study tour kicked off IES's year-long "study abroad" program in Vienna, and it was a great start to the school year. Also, it was my good fortune that at the time such a trip was financially feasible. The dollar was strong and the costs of gasoline, hotel rooms, and meals were a fraction of the cost today, even considering the impacts of inflation. Finally, I was most fortunate to be on one of the buses, thanks to an IES scholarship honoring Sen. J. W. Fulbright. Without that, I would have been back on the University of Arkansas campus. 

The IES Tour Bus at the White Cliffs of Dover Waiting for a Ferry
September 14, 1967

Below is the agenda for the "Western European Field Study Trip." It took the group in my bus to London, Oxford, Stratford-on-Avon (where I saw McBeth at the Globe Theater), Bruges, Paris, Trier, Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna. At different locations, we had lectures from IES faculty members (Porhansl, Benesch, Mowatt, Balekjian, Arndorfer, Fellner), plus local specialists. Of the group, I especially liked Dr. Benesch, who had a relaxed manner, a notable sense of humor, and did not take himself too seriously, as was common among Austrian faculty members.

IES Students in Paris, September 17, 1967

The trip was made more enjoyable by the group of students traveling together in our assigned bus. The long trips provided an opportunity to get to know a bunch of students from campuses scattered throughout the United States. I had a chance finally to meet some Yankees and Californians, about whom I had heard rumors but rarely talked to. 

IES Students at the Salzburg Castle, Sept. 24, 1967

Yep, fifty years ago I was getting on an airplane to start one of the best years of my life. Probably before I departed someone should have told my parents, "Don't send your kid to Study Abroad unless you are prepared to welcome home someone you don't recognize."

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Mayor A.K. Hartman and the Brindle-tails Usurp Little Rock’s 1870 Election, To No Avail

In November 1870, aldermen Frederick Kramer of the first ward and Asa Richmond of the third ward ran for re-election to the Little Rock city council. Both were supported by the regular republicans (the “minstrels”), a faction headed by Gov. Powell Clayton, but were opposed by the anti-Clayton reform republicans (the “brindle-tails”) who viewed them as barriers to controlling the council. One brindle-tail leader, Little Rock Mayor A. K. Hartman, especially wanted Kramer, a fellow Prussian and an implacable foe, off the council. To that end, Hartman helped carry out a brindle-tail plot to usurp the ward 1 polling place, replacing the regular election judges and ballot box with their own. The plot’s results were not what Hartman or the other brindle-tails expected.


12:01 a.m., Monday, November 14, 1870
Downtown Little Rock

Both hands of the town clock had just pointed straight up. Midnight. Time had come for the seven men hiding out in a small room under the Arkansas governor’s office to move out. They had been cooped up there for six hours, protected by members of the Governor’s Guard in their fancy new Zouave jackets. Before leaving, the men tied on masks, pulled on shabby outer clothes, and plopped beat-up hats onto their heads. In that garb, they hoped, no one on the streets at this late hour would recognize them.[1]

The men crossed the State House courtyard to Markham Street, the darkness broken by gas lights and muted rays filtering out of scattered saloons. Their coarse clothes warded off the nippy mid-November weather. Clustered closely, the knot of men – five of them white and two black – shuffled down the street with their heads down and the edges of their misshapen hats pulled to their eyebrows. No one saw them. The street was empty.

Quickly they reached a two-story building on Markham close to its intersection with Main Street. One of the men fished a key out of his pocket, unlocked the door and swung it open. The men slipped inside and waited as the-man-with-the-key lit lamps. Then they took a few steps to a large meeting room. Inside, they peeled off their masks and removed their hats and outer garments. They seated themselves around a large oval table as a drum stove was lit. The fire knocked away the damp chill in the room.

Near 1:00 a.m., a man stood to address the five men seated around the table, and thus began the first meeting of the new Little Rock city council that had been elected six days earlier.[2] The man who spoke was Alderman James V. Fitch, the president of the outgoing city council who was starting the second year of his two-year term. The other men at the table were Alderman Calvin Sanders, who, like Fitch, was a holdover beginning his second year on the council; D.P. Upham and Daniel Ottenheimer, newly elected aldermen; and aldermen Frederick Kramer and Asa Richmond, who had been re-elected at the recent election, but whose victory was being challenged. That challenge was the reason for the extraordinary circumstances of this meeting. Two of their colleagues, aldermen Charles Tipton and David Robinson, both holdovers, had not been informed of the meeting.

Fitch called the council meeting to order and noted that its first task was to swear in the aldermen who had won the recent election. Then, the council would, as required by the state law governing first-class cities, complete its other organizational duties. He reminded the aldermen that the council, because of rumored threats, would stay in session until midnight.

The man-with-the-key, City Clerk James M. Vance, had unpacked the city seal and council records he had earlier removed from the city hall for safe keeping. He sat at a desk near the oval table taking notes.

In the calm of the early morning in a familiar room secured by city policemen, the men around the table were likely thinking, “So far, so good.”

And a few blocks away...

1:01 a.m., Monday, November 14, 1870
A Building at the Corner of Main and Mulberry (Third) Streets

As the city council meeting started, another group of men sat impatiently in a first-floor room of a two-story building located on the northeast corner of Mulberry (recently renamed Third) and Main Streets. The room was in the offices of two physicians, Dr. Alexis Karl Hartman and Dr. John Edwin Quidor. The ten or so men in the room had been waiting several hours for the early morning to arrive. They, like the men who had hidden under the governor’s office, planned to occupy surreptitiously the city council chambers early that morning to hold the organizational meeting of the new council. When they did, they would install Dr. Quidor and Charles Winstead as aldermen in place of Kramer and Richmond.

The two would-be aldermen were there in the room as were the aldermen, Robinson and Tifton, who were missing from the council meeting that had just convened without their knowledge. Also present were two men who had served with Robinson and Tifton on the outgoing city council: Norval W. Cox, who had not stood for re-election, and Andrew Alexander, who had lost to Ottenheimer in Ward 4.[3]  

               Mayor A. K. Hartman

The most important man in the room was Dr. Hartman, Little Rock’s mayor, the group’s leader.  Hartman, 32 years old, was, according to the Daily Arkansas Gazette, whose editor detested him, “large and corpulent, resembling much a large lager beer barrel, of which he is said to be very fond.” The Gazette reported that Hartman had a “dull sneaking look in his eye, and is in no manner prepossessing in appearance.” Despite that unflattering picture painted by the newspaper, many years later, Kramer, who was not Hartman’s friend, recalled him as being a “fine looking man.”[4]

Hartman spent his first twenty or so years of life in Saxony, a province of Prussia. He studied medicine there, and in the late 1850s emigrated to the United States, marrying and settling in St. Clair County, Illinois, not far from St. Louis.[5]

He and his wife Margaret were living in O’fallon in Clair County when he joined the 43rd Regiment of the Illinois Infantry on June 17, 1864 as an “assistant surgeon.” He served on its regimental staff in Little Rock from September 1, 1864 until December 31, 1864. Perhaps because of some difficulties with the job, he resigned “for the good of the service.”[6] After the war ended, he returned to Little Rock, bringing his wife and three kids with him.

In Little Rock, Hartman practiced medicine, and much of his work was attending to the growing number of freedmen who had flocked to the city during and immediately after the war. He was appointed city physician in 1868. In that position, he treated patients who had no money to pay for their medical care. He continued to hold that position throughout 1869, even as he served as mayor.

Hartman was well regarded by the city’s African-Americans for the attention he gave to even the poorest residents needing medical help. His work was lauded by “An Old Citizen” who wrote in an 1868 letter to the Morning Republican, “Unwearied, in season and out of season, at all times and in all weather, the Doctor is ever ready to wait on the poor as well as the rich.”[7]  His virtues were also celebrated in a long poem published in the same paper a day after his first election as mayor. This verse lauded his work as a physician:

               The widow, the orphan, the sick and the poor,
               His help never would ask in vain.
               Hope and relief at misery’s door
               He’d leave, over and over again.[8]

Hartman’s well-earned popularity with black men, who in 1869 were newly enfranchised and made up a majority of registered Little Rock voters, was instrumental in his election as mayor. In January 1869, he was elected to the office for an eleven-month term by a vote of 1,106 to 310 and in November 1869 to a two-year term by a vote of 813 to 159.[9]

During his first term from January to November, 1869, Hartman dominated the city council so thoroughly that the Arkansas Gazette described him as a “boss” and nick-named him “Count Bismarck.” At the time, the real Otto von Bismarck, a husky man, was the minister president of Prussia who was masterfully using war and diplomacy to make Germany a unified state.[10]

The Gazette complained about Hartman, “He controls the whole council. If a motion is made which he does not like, he simply refuses to put it to a vote.” The Gazette also found little to like about the eight-member city council that included four freed slaves: “We venture the assertion, without fear of successful contradiction, a more ignorant, illiterate, uncouth, and undignified set of men than that which composes the present city council could not be brought together in one body.”[11] Such poisonous remarks were common in the Gazette, an organ of the Democratic-Conservative Party, that regularly maligned blacks, whom they viewed as lacking the intelligence to vote, much less hold office.  

Hartman’s domination of the council ended when his first term expired. The aldermen elected in November 1869 were less inclined to defer to the mayor. Only two aldermen from the previous council – Andrew Alexander and Asa Richmond -- were re-elected, and only Alexander had consistently supported Hartman. Among the six newly elected aldermen, only one, David Robinson, was a Hartman ally. Thus he had the dependable support of only two of the eight aldermen on the new council.

One reason for the uneasy relations between the mayor and a majority of the aldermen was his affiliation a few weeks before the election with the reform republicans, an emerging faction of the Republican Party opposed to the leadership of Gov. Powell Clayton.[12]  This affiliation did not endear him to the six aldermen who were aligned, some closely, some loosely, with the regular republicans loyal to Clayton.

Hartman destroyed his chances for a cordial relationship with the council majority with a letter sent to the alderman ten days after the November 3, 1869 election. In it, he demanded that the council remove from office two newly elected aldermen whom he maintained were not qualified under law to hold office. One of his targets was Kramer, a fellow Saxon.

Frederick Kramer was a wealthy and widely respected citizen of the city who had immigrated to the United States in 1848 from Halle in the Prussian province of Saxony and had settled in Little Rock in 1857 after serving six years in the U.S. Army. In November 1863, he had opened a grocery store with a partner, Charles Miller, that had grown into one of the largest in the city. Although Kramer had been supported by the Republican Party in the November 1869 election, he insisted he was not a member of the party. Nonetheless, he did not sympathize with the aims of the reform republicans and was expected to vote consistently with the regular republicans.

In his letter to the city council dated November 13, 1869, Hartman wrote:

I have undeniable information that Mr. Frederick Kramer, one of the aldermen elect of the 1st ward, has voted “against” the present constitution of the state of Arkansas, and consequently could not register, and in fact has not registered under the state legislation. He has also by taking the oath of office required by law committed perjury.[13]

This letter outraged most of the council members, who tossed it aside and denounced Hartman for writing it. Three months later, still angry at him and unimpressed by his conduct in office, the city council by a 6 – 2 vote declared the office of mayor vacant and stopped paying the mayor’s salary.[14]  Most of the council’s actions against Hartman were overturned by a court decision, but by then the council had transferred the bulk of the mayor’s powers to the president of the city council.

As the November 1870 election approached, Hartman badly wanted a new council with a majority of aldermen who were reform republicans, by then widely called “brindle-tails.” A council with a brindle-tail majority would return power to the mayor and would support the larger agenda of the faction.

To get a brindle-tail majority on the council, they needed to win the seats held by Kramer and Richmond, whose one-year terms were expiring. Hartman particularly wanted Kramer defeated because he – thanks to Hartman’s efforts to remove him from the council -- had become a dangerous enemy.

               Dr. John E. Quidor, Brindle-tail Candidate for City Council

To defeat Kramer and help get a brindle-tail majority on the council, Hartman convinced his medical practice partner and next-door neighbor, Dr. Quidor, to run for the ward 1 alderman seat. Quidor was born in New York in about 1827, the son of John Quidor, a talented “literary painter” and Eliza Jane Quidor. His father was known as a “visionary eccentric” whose paintings evoked “poetic fantasy;” although he achieved only minor fame during his lifetime, interest in his work revived in the 1940s and many of his paintings are exhibited in prominent American art museums.[15]  

Before the Civil War, Dr. Quidor completed some training in medicine in Virginia and graduated from Castleton Medical College in Vermont. In 1859, he became the city physician of Jersey City, New Jersey, where, among his other duties, he conducted autopsies for the local police investigating murders.[16]

When the Civil War started, Quidor served for three months as the surgeon of the 2nd Regiment, New Jersey Militia. Then in August 1861 he was appointed by the President to be a surgeon of the Union Army with the rank of major. He was sent west and carried out duties in Kansas and New Mexico. After a little more than two years in the position, he was discharged from the Army on November 30, 1863, likely because “elements of his character … irked his military superiors.”[17]  Barely two weeks earlier, his wife Mary had died in Jersey City, leaving four young girls.[18]

In the years that followed, Quidor resumed his medical practice, put his children in orphanages, and in 1866 moved to Batesville, Arkansas, the location of an army post. Quidor operated the post hospital there as a contractor.[19] In the latter half of 1869, when the Batesville post was transferred to Little Rock, he also moved there. The 1870 census showed that he and a woman named Margaret, who was born in Prussia, resided together in a house next to Mayor Hartman’s. It is uncertain if she was his wife.

Like his father, Quidor was a peculiar man. A northern dandy, he made quite an impression – but not an especially favorable one – as he walked around Little Rock in fine clothes and a plug hat, a stovepipe like that favored by the martyred president. The Gazette described him making a presentation before the city council “with all the suavity of manners and airs of a French dancing master.”[20]

The Gazette tagged him with a deprecating nickname: Squedor. According to a nasty article in the Batesville Times that was republished in the Gazette, Quidor had been “the butt of all jokes” there and had “confined himself almost exclusively to the companionship of negroes.” The article said that “The citizens of [Little Rock] should either hang him or send him to an insane asylum.”[21]

An anonymous letter published in the Gazette a few days before the 1870 election made scurrilous accusations against Quidor and his character.[22] Among the more interesting were that Dr. Quidor had a side job of playing the violin in “Little Rock’s fast saloons” and once was engaged as a second violin for a circus visiting the city. 
Whatever Quidor’s failings as a human being, Hartman supported his candidacy as his best bet to replace Kramer as the Ward 1 alderman thereby helping obtain a brindle-tail majority on the city council. He also had a bigger goal in mind: if Hartman were elected as a Pulaski County state representative (the brindle-tails had nominated him for a seat in the Arkansas House of Representatives), he wanted Quidor, his close ally, to succeed him as mayor.

In pursuit of those goals, Hartman campaigned diligently for the brindle-tail ticket. Also, perhaps because of how much he wanted to achieve those goals, he agreed to take part in a clever, but patently illegal, plot to ensure that the brindle-tails were victorious in the November 1870 election in Ward 1 and throughout the County.

Sunday Morning, November 6, 1870
Two Days before the Election
Law Offices of Rice and Benjamin, Markham Street

On the Sunday morning before the Tuesday election, a group of prominent brindle-tails, including John L. Hodges, one of the two main leaders of the faction, gathered to review how the campaign was going in Pulaski County. They met in the law offices of Rice and Benjamin, located in the Weaver Building across Markham from the Arkansas State House. The “Rice” of “Rice and Benjamin” was B. F. Rice, one of Arkansas’s U.S. Senators, who was crossways with Gov. Clayton and supported the brindle-tails.

Attending the meeting, in addition to Hodges, were other members of the brindle-tail brain trust: Mason W. Benjamin, Rice’s law partner and brother-in-law; Milton L. Rice, the senator’s brother and member of the law firm; Judge John Whytock of the Seventh Circuit Court; and E. W. Gantt, a prosecutor in Whytock’s circuit. In addition, in attendance were several front-line brindle-tail office holders, including Mayor Hartman, Clerk of the Pulaski County Court George W. McDiarmid, and U.S. Marshall Robert Francis Catterson. 

The men at the meeting were united in their disapproval of Gov. Clayton and his self-serving ways, but they also had other reasons for splitting from the Republican Party. Some likely joined the reform republicans for their own gain. Others joined because of their strong belief in the need to provide greater help to the state’s African Americans. Included in this second group was County Clerk McDiarmid, who at 28 was the youngest man at the meeting. He had been an abolitionist living in Kansas before the Civil War, and when the war began, he joined the Union Army as a private in Company G, 5th Kansas Cavalry. He rose through the ranks, and at the end of the war, was Captain of Company A, 54th U.S. Colored Troops, garrisoned in Little Rock. McDiarmid’s determination to champion African-American civil rights was likely bolstered by his marriage in 1866 to Clara Alma Cox, a well-educated, liberal, and action-minded young woman.[23]

One of the men at the meeting, U.S. Marshal Catterson, had not split from the regular republicans (who in 1870 had become widely known as the “minstrels) for personal gain or for idealistic reasons. Instead, he had joined the brindle-tails to avenge an insult by Gov. Clayton, a former friend whom he had loyally served:  In October, 1869, Clayton had, literally, slapped him in the face.   

According to one account of the incident, Clayton had scheduled a secret meeting with some leading Democrats to explore how the Republican Party might cooperate with them to squelch the rise of the nascent reform republican faction. The planned meeting sparked rumors that the Governor was going to “sell out” the Republican Party to get the votes of Democrats for his bid to become a U.S. senator.

On October 18, Governor Clayton was on his way to his office when he was met at its entrance by General Catterson. At that encounter,

[Catterson] openly took him to task for arranging a meeting with Democratic leaders for “turning over the State to the Democracy.” The Governor promptly responded that he was “a liar.” The General…retorted that the Governor was “a d___d liar.” This was drawing a nice, if profane, distinction of epithets. The one-handed Executive [Clayton had lost hand in a hunting accident about a year earlier] rejoined with a stinging slap upon the General’s right cheek. The Governor had to reach upward to strike his lank lieutenant, who offered no resistance… [Catterson] looked a volume of martial law, but only remarked that he would not strike a one-armed man and went his way, with the print of Clayton’s fingers on his face.[24] 

A few minutes later, Gov. Clayton regretted what he had done.[25]  His impulsive act had cost him a friend and had created a dangerous, capable enemy.

Catterson had demonstrated his capabilities and courage as a front-line officer in the Union Army. He had enlisted as a private and was quickly made an officer. He rose to the rank of colonel and led his brigade into many battles. On May 31, 1865, shortly before he left the army, he was brevetted to Brigadier General.[26]

He moved to Union County, Arkansas, after the war to go into business, and in March, 1868 was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives to represent Union and Calhoun Counties. When Gov. Clayton began forming a state militia shortly after his inauguration, he put Catterson in charge of a district that included his home county. Then, when the governor deployed the militia to end violence against Republicans and African-Americans in several counties, he appointed Catterson to be the brigadier general in charge of the militia in the large Southwest Arkansas district.

The Militia Wars began in November 1868 and ended in early 1869. Catterson led a poorly equipped and badly provisioned militia comprised largely of African-American troops that managed in about three months to pacify the district. However, his militia was accused of committing numerous crimes and outrages during its campaign.[27] 

While the Militia Wars made Catterson a villain among Democratic-Conservatives throughout Arkansas, he was a hero to most Republicans, especially African-Americans. Thus the slap, the main reason Catterson was sitting in the offices of Rice and Benjamin two days before the 1870 election, had given the brindle-tails a boast in its battle against Gov. Clayton’s minstrels.

In the midst of the Sunday morning meeting, Mayor Hartman joined Hodges at his invitation in a small side room for a private discussion. He sat across from Hodges, the “short thick man with mutton chop whiskers, red face, and tip-tilted nose,” as Hodges told him how the brindle-tails planned to make sure they were not cheated out of winning the upcoming election in Pulaski County and asked him to help carry out the plan in Ward 1.[28]  Hartman described the plan – the usurpation plot -- in testimony later given to a U.S. Senate committee:

[Hodges] made me acquainted with the plan to take possession of the polls and nominate [election] judges by the people against the set of regularly nominated judges nominated by the registrar of the county, and he put me in charge of the First Ward, where I reside, to take care of that ward for that purpose….

It was to be done by going to the polling places at an early hour, before midnight or so, and putting a squad of men in and holding the polling room, or room where the votes were polled, at all hazards, and if the regularly appointed judges appeared, to refuse them admittance, and at the hour of 8 o’clock in the morning, elect judges by the people and hold an election.[29]

Later in his testimony, he clarified his explanation of the plan and how it would work:

…the general plan was not to prevent the regular judges from holding elections, but it was for the other parties to be at the polling places ahead of time and then claim that the regular judges were not on hand at the proper time; that the regular judges were not to be superseded, but when they made their returns, McDiarmid, the county clerk, was to count the returns of the bogus judges instead of the regular judges, which he did.

As part of their plan, the brindle-tails designated a leader, like Hartman in Ward 1, at each of the larger Pulaski County precincts, and each of these leaders was deputized by Pulaski County Sheriff William S. Oliver and by U.S. Marshal Catterson. As deputy sheriffs and deputy U.S. marshals, the usurpation plot leaders in various precincts could, if needed, use the force of law to help take over the polling places.

In his Senate committee testimony, Hartman said that he told Hodges he doubted the legality of taking the planned actions, but that Hodges assured him that Sen. Rice and others had reviewed the plans and determined they were legal. Furthermore, when Hartman asked U.S. Marshal Catterson about the legality of the planned actions, Catterson told him that he had a telegram from President Grant authorizing him to move ahead with the plan. Hartman said that he asked to see the telegram, but never did.

In testimony before the same Senate committee, and in statements elsewhere, Hodges denied the substance of the meeting as described by Hartman. He said he had done nothing except alert poll leaders that if the regular judges did not show up to open polling places on time, they should elect their own judges to open and operate the polling places.[30] 

6:30 a.m., Tuesday, November 8, 1870
Election Day
The Truck House, the Ward 1 Precinct Polling Place
Dr. Charles D. Ludwig was certain he was about to be shot.

It was about 6:30 a.m. He had been arrested by a foreigner named Johnson or Jamison or Johannson, who claimed to be a deputy sheriff, because he refused to leave the truck house, the designated site for Ward 1 voting that day.[31] Then he had watched as the “deputy sheriff” told a black man named Lewis Hunt to remove him from the building. Ludwig had not been too frightened when Lewis unsheathed a pistol, cocked and waved it in his face, and ordered him to leave the building. He knew Hunt, who worked for Mayor Hartman, and was not scared of him. Ludwig had again said he wouldn’t leave.

Then things got rough. Ludwig was manhandled by some of Hunt’s buddies who carried him from the building, ripping his clothes in the process. He had watched as Hunt gave one of the muscle men, whom Ludwig did not know, a pistol and told him to shoot Ludwig if he “moved a finger.” Ludwig’s eyes had followed Hunt as he walked away, then he heard his guard cock the pistol and felt its barrel pressed against his back. He heard the man yell, “God damn you, drop that pistol or I will kill you now.”

Ludwig didn’t have a pistol. He started screaming at Hunt to come back, his panicked tenor voice raising alarm for blocks around.

               Charles D. Ludwig, DDS

Ludwig had not expected to face any danger when he showed up at 6 a.m. to begin his duties as one of three duly appointed election judges for Ward 1. He had arrived recently in Little Rock, having settled with his wife Josey in the city in Spring 1870 to offer his services as a dentist. He brought impressive credentials with him: a graduate of the Pennsylvania Dental College, he had for the past few years taught “operative dentistry and therapeutics” at the St. Louis Dental College.[32]

Charles, 37, and Josey, 24, set up their residence and his office on the second floor of a two-story building on the corner of Mulberry (Third) and Main Streets. On the first floor below them were the offices of Drs. Quidor and Hartman. Like Hartman, both Charles and Josey were German immigrants. Charles had come to the U.S. from Württenberg as a child with his parents, and Josey had immigrated recently from Bavaria.

Up until election day, the Ludwigs had enjoyed Little Rock, and he and Josey had made quite a splash, mainly with their singing. According to the Gazette, Josey was a “prima donna from New York” who a visitor in Little Rock had heard sing at the Stuttgart Royal Opera two years earlier. Hearing her prepare for her first Little Rock concert, the Arkansas Gazette gushed that he “had never heard a finer singer,” noting that she had a “pure soprano voice,” and “she has not her superior in this country.”[33]

Soon after their arrival, Charles and Josey began organizing concerts featuring her and other local talent. The first was held on July 8, 1870 in the Little Rock City Hall. Another of her grand concerts took place at the City Hall on October 14th, only three weeks before election day. At that concert, as part of a longer program of fine music, she and her husband sang a duet, The Awakening of the Statute, from the operetta The Beautiful Galatea by Franz von Suppé.[34]

On October 26, 1870, Ludwig was asked by the county Board of Registrars, also known as the Board of Review (whose members were James V. Fitch, Asa Richmond and E. M. Phillips), to serve as an election judge for Ward 1 along with George Reichardt and L. W. B. Johnson. He accepted the appointment, and that led him to show up early at the ward 1 polling place, the truck house where the Defiance Hook and Ladder Company kept its fire equipment. Finding the door locked and seeing about 30 men inside, he insisted on being admitted to the building. After getting in, he was arrested and the events that followed had led to the cocked pistol poking his back and his frantic shouts.

Fortunately, his shouts attracted attention, and Ludwig was relieved when Hunt returned and disarmed the guard. About that time, Deputy Sheriff Johnson-Jamison-Johannson exited the building and declared that he was going to take Ludwig to jail. He and another man, with Ludwig in their custody, had walked him down Markham Street, when, as they reached the plush Pacific Hotel, Ludwig refused to go any further. About that time, L.W.D. Johnson, one of the other ward 1 election judges, and Ferdinand Sarasin, a ward 1 election clerk and long-time resident of the city, walked by and stopped to see what was going on. Faced with a protesting prisoner and inquiring citizens, the Deputy Sheriff abandoned Ludwig, warning that he would return with a posse to take him to jail.[35]

               Back at the Ward 1 Polling Place

After Ludwig was released from custody, he and Johnson met up with the third judge, Reichardt, and they went together to the ward 1 polling place, arriving at about 7 a.m. They found the truck house was still locked and occupied by a couple dozen men; Mayor Hartman had joined the men inside and refused to allow anyone else to enter.

About then, H. H. Rottaken, a Prussian immigrant who was the foreman of the Defiance Hook and Ladder Company, came by to see why there was a crowd in front of the truck house. When he tried to enter the building, Hartman sent a man to see what he wanted. Rottaken described what happened:

… [I told the man that] I was foreman of the [Defiance Hood and Ladder] company and the proper custodian of the room and responsible for everything in the house, and that no one had any right to enter without my permission. I opened the door and found other parties inside, some asleep – some were colored men. I admitted the judges regularly appointed by the board of review, as I had previously given them permission to occupy the room for election purposes, and ordered all others to vacate the room. This was before the hour of seven o’clock a.m.[36]

According to sworn testimony of the three election judges and several witnesses, the regular Ward 1 polling place opened in the truck house shortly before 8 a.m., the time polling places were supposed to begin operation.

Nevertheless, implementing the usurpation plot, the brindle-tails who had been kicked out of the truck house assembled on its porch and pretended they did not see the regular judges or the opened polling place. One of them, Frederick Krull, an immigrant from Bremen, testified before a U.S. House of Representatives committee that he was at the polling place at 8 a.m. and it was not open and the judges were nowhere to be found. He continued:

At that point the crowd of men outside the building demanded that the polling place open so they could vote, so the men elected judges to replace those who were absent.  After that, Hartman swore in the new judges and a list of eligible voters was provided by an emissary of county clerk McDiarmid. The polling place opened and Hartman spent most of the day directing black voters to the outside poll…. [37]

The substance of Krull’s testimony was repeated under oath (in almost the same words) by more than a half-dozen other witnesses.

Hartman testified that on election day, “All that I could make vote I made vote there [the outside poll].” He told black voters that the inside poll was “illegal.” He was successful: almost all black ward 1 voters cast their ballots at the outside polling place.[38]

The voting at the two polls – the regular one inside the truck house and the alternative one outside of it – went smoothly until about 3 p.m. when U.S. Marshall Catterson showed up to arrest the three regular election judges on trumped up charges of violating the federal “Enforcement Act” by illegally denying a person the right to vote. The judges were able to post bonds and return quickly.  When the election was over, the judges at the two polling places counted the votes and reported them to the county.

Wednesday, November 9, 1870,
The Day After the Election

The issue of the Arkansas Gazette published on November 9th, the day after the election, overflowed with dismay at and condemnation of the brindle-tail efforts to usurp the Pulaski County election. The Gazette headline was:

The Election
Disgraceful Proceedings --
The Brindle-Tails Attempt to take Forcible Possession of Polls
Are Foiled and Hold Separate Elections –
Regular Elections Broken Up in
Eastman, Ashley and Badgett
Precincts by the Radicals --
The Death Struggle

The first sentence of the story was, “The details of the election yesterday are sickening and disgusting in the extreme to every honest citizen.”

While the Gazette documented the election usurpation in Pulaski County for several days, the Morning Republican – affiliated with minstrels – was restrained, mildly observing “the frauds attempted to be perpetuated by certain individuals will be exposed at the proper time.”[39]

In contrast, another Republican newspaper verged on the hysterical in its reaction to the usurpation plot. In an article headlined “The Satanic Clique”, the Fort Smith New Era condemned the usurpation as “fraud more contemptible than was ever perpetuated by any class since America was first discovered.”

In several stories, the Gazette reported what had happened at the Ward 1 precinct and also at the Eastman, Ashley, Gray, Campbell, and Badgett precincts at which the regular judges were driven away and the usurper’s judges ran the only polling places. In addition, the newspaper told of the drama at Little Rock’s third ward precinct and the Eagle precinct, both of which ended up with two polling places (the regular one was forced outside), as well as at other precincts where the interlopers were foiled in their attempts to take over the polls.

All of the city’s papers, except for the Arkansas State Journal, the Brindle-tail paper, reported the results from the regular polling places in Ward 1 and Ward 3 as follows:

               Ward 1                                              Ward 3
               Kramer 234                                      Richmond   161
               Quidor      3                                      Winstead       4

However, according to the votes tabulated at the usurper’s polling place, the results were:

               Ward 1                                              Ward 3
               Kramer   11                                     Richmond     32
               Quidor  346                                     Winstead    377

County-wide vote results that included the votes cast at the usurper’s polls showed Brindle-tail candidates winning, by lop-sided majorities, all of county offices and Pulaski County’s seats in the Arkansas legislature.[40]

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, November 11, 12, and 13, 1870
The Run-up to the Little Rock City Council’s Organizational Meeting

On the Friday, November 11th, County Clerk McDiarmid buttressed the claim to office of the candidates who received a majority of votes at the usurper’s polls by issuing them “Certificates of Election.” Usually, this certificate was treated as conclusive evidence that a candidate had won the office for which he had competed.[41]

Unfortunately for the brindle-tails, the Certificates of Election proved to be a weak link in their plot: state law did not mandate that legislative bodies seat candidates issued this certificate. Instead, it allowed each one to decide who would be permitted to serve on it. Thus Little Rock’s minstrel-dominated city council would determine who had won seats on the council.

When this situation became clear, Hartman and his allies realized that Quidor and Winstead would not become aldermen unless some minstrel aldermen were persuaded to vote to seat them or unless some minstrel aldermen were absent when the council decided who could take the oath of office.

               Rumors of a March and Possible Riot

By Saturday, Nov. 12th, rumors circulated that the brindle-tails were mobilizing their black supporters to help pressure the city’s aldermen to vote Quidor and Winstead onto the city council. Stories were whispered of plans for a massive march of armed “colored” men to the city hall on Monday night when the new city council would organize itself. It was said that the march would turn into a riot if the aldermen did not take the right actions.

That rumor was reinforced by what “a friend told a friend” about Dr. Quidor’s “harangue” urging “a few colored men” to “bring others from the country, armed with pistols, to intimidate and overawe the citizens of this place into letting certain persons claiming to be elected Aldermen into the City Council.” According to the friend, “[I]t was urged to bring not only those who had arms, but to bring those who had none, and that arms would be furnished them in the city.”[42]

Another rumor: Mayor Hartman would take forcible possession of the city council and “install the bogus aldermen from the first and third wards.” Also, “Several threats [were made] to burn down certain buildings, in case [their owners] were opposed to their revolutionary scheme.”[43]  

Then word got around that on Sunday,

[A] gun-smith was assaulted by three colored men, in the most violent and abusive language, and ordered to open his gun shop, that they “wanted some pistols.” The gunsmith informed them that he did not sell arms on the Sabbath, but if they would come down on Monday his store would be open, and he would wait on them. In reply to this, the colored men told him that Monday would not do, and that he must go home and get his key, and that they were bound to have his arms within twenty-four hours. (Emphasis in the original story)

Worst of all, people heard about Quidor’s conversation with a friend’s friend:

On Saturday evening, in a conversation held between a friend of ours and a Dr. Quidor, … Quidor said that “there was a plan on foot to force him as Alderman onto the City Council on Monday evening, that there would be an armed force of colored men on hand to accomplish this thing….; that he, Quidor, and Winstead, from the Third Ward, were to go into the council as Aldermen, and that the man who said aught against, no matter who he was, would be a dead man; that he and Winstead were to be installed or the whole d____d town would be laid in ashes, and the d____dest riot ever seen would follow.”[44]

The truth of these various rumors is unknown. However, evidence that something was going on is found in the fact that on Sunday, November 13th, Quidor was arrested, probably by city policemen. The Gazette reported:

Dr. Quidor, who claims to have been elected aldermen of the first ward at the bogus polls, and who had made some indiscreet remarks about suppressing the council was arrested yesterday evening on the charges of endeavoring to incite a riot, and on giving bond was released.[45]

The disposition of his case is unknown.

               The Fiat Accompli Plan

In case the intimidation plan did not work, the brindle-tails formulated a second plan: they would hold a rump city council meeting very early on Monday morning that only the brindle-tail aldermen would attend. At that organizational meeting, the aldermen would swear in Quidor and Winstead as members of the council. To carry out this rump meeting, the brindle-tails had allies in the city hall who would not only get them into the council chambers, but also would provide access to city records and the city seal. If all went well, the brindle-tails would present the minstrels a fiat accompli to chew on with their Monday morning bacon.

To be sure, the plan had its problems. The main one was the lack of a fifth aldermen, who along with Tifton, Robinson, Quidor, and Winstead, would comprise a quorum and a majority of the council. To get the fifth alderman to the meeting, they nicely asked Sanders, who represented the 2nd ward, to attend the rump meeting, but Sanders refused to take part in it. Then some hot heads threatened his life if he did not cooperate, but Sanders still said no.[46]

The attempt to strong arm Sanders, a tough 33-year-old former slave who had fought with the Union Army, was a mistake. He was alarmed enough by the threats to ask Gov. Clayton for protection. When Clayton heard about the threats and plans for a rump meeting, he told his allies on the council what was going on. Then he helped them formulate a plan to thwart the brindle-tails: they would hold a city council meeting before the brindle-tails could hold theirs and would occupy the council chamber for the entire day to make sure no rump meeting was held there on Monday. The plan, of course, was a top secret. The governor would provide a hideout beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. From there the aldermen could go to city hall soon after midnight without being seen.

1:05 a.m., Monday, November 14, 1870
Council Chambers of the Little Rock City Hall

After the Little Rock city council opened its meeting, those present examined the Credentials of Election submitted by Upham, Ottenheimer, Kramer, and Richmond. Finding them in order, the council allowed the four men to be sworn in as aldermen. The city council then choose Finch to be its president.[47]

1:10 a.m., Monday, November 14, 1870
Offices of Drs. Quidor and Hartman

The men assembled in the offices of Quidor and Hartman were eager to occupy City Hall to hold their rump city council meeting. Before going, however, Hartman sent the burly Cox, one of the outgoing aldermen, to scout the path.

With barely enough light to avoid a tumble, Cox walked three blocks down deserted Main Street, nary a soul to see, and turned left on Markham Street expecting a dark city hall to come into view. Instead, he saw a lighted building with a uniformed man standing at its front door. The policeman beckoned him, inviting him to go in to see the new city council at work. Cox took a quick peek inside, and then retraced his steps to the doctors’ den as rapidly as his big-man legs could move.

Breathing heavily from his exertions, he told the men in the room what he had just seen. According to an “observer,” whose account was mainly intended to amuse, when the men heard the news, their faces were filled with “dismay, consternation, defeat, and humiliation.” They had been “outwitted and outgeneraled…. Squedor turned a double somersault to vent his anger, swearing ‘h__l and demnition take all de ploody ku-klux;’ the mayor groaned like one who had received a death blow; Winstead stood by with gaping mouth and rolling the whites of his eyes like one who had staked his all and it suddenly vanished.”[48]

Even with the exaggerations of this colorful description, it contains a core of truth: Hartman and his co-conspirators must have realized they had been defeated.

12:30 p.m. Monday, November 14, 1870,
Little Rock City Council Chambers

After a short noon recess, Quidor and Winstead appeared before the Little Rock city council to contest the seating of Kramer and Richmond as aldermen. They presented their Certificates of Election and demanded to be installed as the rightfully elected aldermen. The council, with Tipton and Robinson in attendance (they had been notified by the city marshal of the meeting at about 6 a.m.), referred the appeal to the newly formed committee on credentials that consisted of aldermen D. P. Upham, Frederick Kramer, and Dan Ottenheimer, men unlikely to be sympathetic to the claims.[49] 

11:59 p.m., Monday, November 14, 1870
Little Rock City Council Chamber

The session of the city council that had started twenty-three-hours earlier neared its end. It had recessed several times to give the alderman some breaks, but nevertheless the day had been a long one, and a minute before the meeting would finally adjourn, the aldermen were slouching around the oval table in the city council chambers.

During the early evening hours, the atmosphere in the council chambers had been tense as the aldermen awaited the arrival of armed marchers. Some aldermen feared a race riot and some worried their businesses or homes might be torched. But as the minutes passed with no signs of trouble, they relaxed. Despite the many rumors and false reports of planned violence, all remained calm.

When both hands of the city clock again pointed straight up, the city council adjourned and six tired but pleased aldermen headed home, this time walking onto Markham Street without their disguises. Their long meeting had accomplished what they had set out to do: thwart a rump council meeting and install Kramer and Richmond as alderman. As a bonus, no mob had materialized. The day had been a good one for the minstrels, but, as they would learn in the coming year, not as good as they thought.   

The Aftermath
11:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 7, 1871
Election Day, Downtown Little Rock

The results of the 1871 municipal elections had been announced, and the brindle-tails were celebrating with an impromptu march, many “hoo-rahs, some guns shooting into the air, and not a little alcohol. They had swept the city elections: Their candidate for mayor, former U.S. Marshal Catterson, had trounced, by a 710 to 374 vote, the incumbent mayor A. K. Hartman, the minstrel nominee, and the four brindle-tail supported city council candidates had won, ousting aldermen Fitch and Sanders.[50] 

This resounding success of the Pulaski County brindle-tails came only a year after their widely condemned and mostly disastrous effort to usurp the county elections. Not only had the Little Rock city council refused to seat the tainted candidates who won at the usurper’s polls, but the Arkansas General Assembly did the same, depriving the brindle-tails of a state senate seat and four Pulaski County state representative seats.

Because most African-Americans voters had not voted at the regular polling places in 1870, their votes had not counted. If their votes had been cast at the proper polling places, they likely would have given most of the brindle-tail candidates in Pulaski County a winning margin.[51] Thus with their misguided plot, the brindle-tails had, it seems, stolen victories from themselves.

They did not do the same in November 1871, though the path to victory was a strange one.

Impeachment Proceedings Against Hartman

A few weeks after the 1870 election, the Little Rock city council, as fully expected, denied the claims of Quidor and Winstead to seats on the council. Then on December 1st, three Little Rock citizens filed “misdemeanor in office” charges with the city council against Mayor Hartman for slandering Kramer in 1869 and interfering with the 1870 election. The charges triggered impeachment proceedings. The council scheduled a trial on the charges for December 3rd. If convicted, Hartman would be permanently removed from office.[52]

The trial was stopped by a temporary restraining order issued by the circuit court. Still waiting for a court decision that would allow the trial to proceed, the council voted on the last day of 1870 to suspend Hartman from office until the city council determined he was innocent of the charges. The council appointed a temporary mayor to fill the position.[53]

Durning the first three months of 1871, while Hartman’s trial remained on hold, the state was roiled by political turmoil. After Gov. Clayton was elected U.S. Senator on January 10th by the state legislature, he refused to take the position as long as Lt. Governor J. M. Johnson, an anti-Clayton Liberal Republican, would succeed him. So, during January, Clayton tried to remove Johnson from office, first by a vote of the state legislature, then through the state courts. His efforts failed.

In February, the Governor’s enemies – Democrats and reform republicans – tried to impeach him for his treatment of Lt. Governor Johnson. The House of Representatives narrowly voted for articles of impeachment, but they were rejected by Senate.

Then suddenly, for reasons no one understood, the Lt. Governor agreed in early March to leave his position to become Secretary of State, a post that became vacant through the resignation of a Clayton ally. At the same time, Clayton got Ozra A. Hadley elected president of the Arkansas Senate, the office next in line to become governor in the absence of a Lt. Governor. Thus when Clayton resigned to become senator, Hadley, his selected successor, became governor.[54]

Hartman Denounces the Brindle-tails and Impeachment Charges Are Defeated

With the daily headlines about state-level political intrigue, outrage over the 1870 election usurpation in Pulaski County faded, and interest in Hartman’s impeachment waned. However, Hartman bolted back into view when on March 2, he renounced the brindle-tails, claiming they had tricked him into “doing dirty work” for them. Further, he wrote in a letter:

Messr. Brooks, Hodges, & Co. have shown themselves to be entirely unfit to be the leaders of the Republican party – wanting in honesty and patriotism – qualities which entitle them highly in their present occupation as leaders of the Democratic party….I consider it my duty as a Republican to support Governor Clayton and his administration.”[55]

Hartman’s repudiation of the brindle-tails likely saved him from being removed from office when, on May 5, 1871, the council finally convened his trial. At the trial, Hartman’s lawyers denied the charges made against him, then the council quickly adjourned the proceedings until late October, just a few days before the expiration of Hartman’s term of office and the 1871 election.[56]

Hartman Nominated by the Minstrels

As the 1871 election approached, rumors abounded about who would be the minstrel candidate for mayor. On October 9th, the minstrels settled the question at their city convention, nominating Hartman, the man who minstrel council members had twice removed from office for untoward acts! They were willing to overlook the fact that less than a year earlier, their candidate had been a leader of a plot to steal the 1870 election from them.[57]

On October 30th, barely a week before the election, the city council reconvened Hartman’s impeachment trial and voted 4 -1 to acquit him of the charges. Kramer voted against the acquittal, and the brindle-tail aldermen did not attend the trial. By the another 4 – 1 vote, the council expunged the charges against Hartman from the record.[58]

As the election campaigning took place, the Gazette conveniently forgot what it had written soon following the usurpation attempt in 1870:

The Brindles have been flaxed out in [city government] as well as in the state government and henceforth we may congratulate ourselves … on having got rid of that pestiferous and revolutionary element in our state politics.[59]

That newspaper and most Democratic-Conservatives (whose party had not nominated a slate of candidates) supported the brindle-tail candidates in Pulaski County, and the Gazette did its part to promote the campaign of Gen. Catterson, whom the paper had harshly criticized in previous years. Following his victory, the Gazette observed: ‘The new mayor, Gen. Catterson, we believe will honestly and faithfully administer the duties of his office. In times past we have widely differed from the general in politics, but we have never heard his honesty or integrity question.” It praised the results of the election as the triumph of “honesty over rascality.”[60]

As the Brindle-tails celebrated their 1871 victories on the streets of Little Rock, Sen. Powell Clayton was likely somewhere nearby, thinking about what he could do to in 1872 to redeem the minstrel’s losses. After all, Gov. Hadley held substantial powers in the conduct of elections. Next time he could use them much more effectively for the benefit of minstrel candidates. And he would.


[1] The early morning events of November 14, 1879 are described, with some embellishments in “Town Talk.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, Nov. 30, 1870, p. 4. The new uniforms of the Governor’s Guards were mentioned in this article: “Governor’s Guards.” Morning Republican, Nov. 17, 1870, p. 4. It stated that “they present a gay appearance in their new uniforms.” The Zouave jackets are mentioned in John M Harrell. 1893. The Brook and Baxter War: A History. Slawson Publishing Co., p 154.

[2] The organizational meeting of the city council was covered “City Council – Its Organization.” Daily Arkansas Gazette. November 15, 1870, p. 4.  According to state law governing larger cities, the city council was required to organize itself at a meeting held on the Monday following a municipal election.

[3] The article describing this meeting does not explicitly name Cox and Alexander as attending, instead referring to “portly” ex-aldermen “C. and A.” who were about to become “functus officio.” Both Cox and Alexander fit this description.  Cox had, according to the Daily Arkansas Gazette (October 12, 1869, p. 4) “aldermanic proportions” and Alexander had “a rotund figure who is size compares to the mayor” (“The Municipal Election in November – Pen Picture of the City Council.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, August 11, 1859, p. 4.) The terms of both men expired when new aldermen were sworn in.

The presence of Alexander at the meeting is not surprising because he had been a supporter of Hartman on the council. However, Cox had not been a Hartman supporter. Nevertheless, since faction affiliations were fluid at this time, he may have switched sides. 

[4] Kramer’s comments were in “Accused of Pension Fraud.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, June 23, 1894, p.8. The article included a reprint a story published in the St. Louis Globe and Democrat about Hartman’s arrest for attesting to a signature on a widow’s pension application even though he was not present when the signature was completed. The charge was later thrown out by a judge who noted that Hartman had been helping the widow without charge and the mistake was a technical error without criminal intent.  

[5] Hartman gave Saxony as his birthplace in the 1860 and 1870 censuses. It is unknown in which town or towns he lived in Saxony. Circuit Court Records of St. Clair County show that he married Margaret Althus on June 7, 1859 in St. Clair County, Ill.  Her father had emigrated from Saxony, but she was born in the United States. The 1860 census showed the two living in St. Clair Co.  His obituary stated that he attended the “State Medical School at Saxony.”  “Dr. Hartman Dead.” St. Louis Republic, January 12, 1899, p. 12.

[6] U.S. Civil War Records and Profiles, 1861 – 1865 (accessed on; Roster of Field and Staff 43rd Illinois Infantry, at; Illinois Civil War Muster and Descriptive Rolls Database,

[7] [Letter]. Morning Republican, March 17, 1868, p3 

[8] “To A.K. Hartman.” Morning Republican, January 8, 1869, p 2

[9] “The City Election.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, January 6, 1869, p.3 and “City Election.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, November 3, 1869, p. 4.

The January 1869 municipal election was held to replace the council members appointed in 1868 by the military governor. New members were elected to fill all eight aldermen positions. The members elected in January served a shortened term because the 1868 constitution specified municipal elections would be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November.

At the November 1869 election, the first under the new state constitution, all eight city council seats were up for election. Except for this first election, aldermen were to serve two year terms, staggered so that four would be elected each year. Following the November 1869 election, the aldermen drew lots to determine which four would serve two year terms and which four would serve only one-year terms. Both Kramer and Richmond drew one-year terms.

[10] and [11] “The Municipal Election in November – Pen Picture of the City Council.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, August 11, 1869, p. 4.

[12] The affiliation of Hartman with Brooks was discussed in “The Upcoming Election.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, October 1, 1869, p. 2. 

This dissenting faction was initially formed by Liberal Republicans, comprised mainly of native Unionists who were unhappy with Clayton because of the Militia Wars to quell the Ku Klux Klan. They were joined, and later surpassed in importance, by radical Republicans who supported greater efforts to expand and protect the civil rights of African Americans. Both Liberal Republicans and disaffected Radical Republicans were unhappy with Clayton’s imperious ways and his distribution of patronage. See George Thompson. 1976. Arkansas and Reconstruction. Kennikat Press, pp 90 – 96.

[13] “The City Council Grossly Insulted by the Mayor.” Morning Republican, November 19, 1869, p. 4 and “Council Proceedings.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, November 21, 1869, p. 4.

[14] “City Council. Office of Mayor Declared Vacant.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, February 19, 1870, p.4.

[15] In the 1860 census, Quidor reported his age as 40, indicating he was born around 1820. In the 1870 census, his age is listed as 43, corresponding to a 1827 birth date. The few facts in biographical sketches of his father indicate that he was likely married in the latter part of 1820’s, providing some evidence that John E.’s birth year was closer to 1827 than 1820.

The art of John Quidor (January 26, 1801 – December 13, 1881) is exhibited in the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, and other museums. He is considered one of America’s foremost literary painters. Many of his paintings are scenes from books by Washington Irving. Quidor’s style was distinctive, differing substantially from traditional realism. Quidor was unable to support himself with his paintings, and supplemented his income by painting tavern signs, parade pennants (banners), and fire engines. For more information, see 
Wikipedia entry, .  Also, see the biographical sketch at the National Gallery of Art website:  In addition, consult this article: David Sokol. 1970. “John Quidor, Literary Painter.” The American Art Journal, vol 2, no 1, pp. 60 – 73.

[16] For a biographical sketch of John E. Quidor, see Valerie M. Josephson. 2012. Stirring Times: The Lives of New Jersey’s First Civil War Surgeons. Self- published.  Also see:

[17] See Francis Barnard Heitman. Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army from Its Organization, September 29, 1789 to March 2, 1903, vol. 1 (accessed on  This book wrongly states that Quidor died in October 1876. In fact, he remarried in the late 1870s and had a son, named John E. Quidor, in 1879, who became a doctor in Little Rock and North Little Rock. He was elected in the 1900’s to the Argenta City Council.

Also see [Note]. Trenton State Gazette, August 12, 1861, p. 3, which announced Quidor’s appointment to as a Brigade Surgeon of the U.S. Army.

[18] “Died.” New York Times. November 19, 1863.  [Mary Quidor, wife of John E. Quidor, died on November 18, 1863 in Jersey City, NJ.]

[19]  Quidor signed a contract on July 12, 1866. It is indexed in this publication: Contracts of the medical department. Letter from the Secretary of War, transmitting, in compliance with the act of March 3, 1809, a statement of contracts made on account of the medical department of the Army for the year 1866. March 13, 1867.  Accessed on

The following article mentions Quidor in Batesville at the army post: “Batesville and its Garrison.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, April 23, 1867, p. 2.

[20] The quote is from “City Council – Its Organization.” Daily Arkansas Gazette. November 15, 1870, p. 4.

[21] “Squedor.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, November 29, 1870, p. 4

[22] “Bismarck’s Man Friday.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, November 4, 1870, p. 4.

[23] See the entry “Clara Alma Cox McDiarmid in the Arkansas Encyclopedia at this link:

According to this entry, she was the “foremost nineteenth century women’s reformer” in Arkansas, supporting “suffrage, temperance, women’s education and the women’s club movement.”

[24] The information and quote is from John M Harrell. 1893. The Brooks and Baxter War: A History. Slawson Publishing Co., p 94. Harrell was a Democrat who deeply resented Reconstruction, disliked Radical Republicans, and held strong enmity for Catterson because of his role in the Militia Wars. His history of Reconstruction in Arkansas reflects those views, which became the most common narrative of reconstruction years in the state.

Newspaper stories about the incident were published in the newspapers of several states. For example, “Row Between Arkansas Radical Chieftains.” Galveston Daily News, October 23, 1869, p 1. It noted that “considerable feeling was aroused between the Governor and his former friends.”

Surprisingly, the incident was not mentioned in the Arkansas Gazette, which should have delighted in the conflict between two enemies. It also was not mentioned in the Morning Republican.   

[25] In his autobiography, Clayton had a slightly different explanation of the slap. He said it took place because Catterson thought Clayton was going to leave the governorship to go to the U.S. Senate, allowing a Unionist to become governor. Clayton had assured his allies he would not do so.  Then:

Having given this assurance to my friend, General Catterson, which he rejected in terms that I considered a reflection upon my veracity, in a moment of unguarded passion, I struck him. He did not return the blow and a moment after I left him I would have given a great deal to recall it, and I have always regretted it.

Powell Clayton, 1914. The Aftermath of the Civil War, in Arkansas. Neal Publishing Co., reprinted by Negro Universities Press, 1969, p. 315.

[26] The Wikipedia article on Catterson gives a good summary of his service in the Union Army. See

[27] Powell Clayton provided his justification for the Militia Wars and described what happened during the Wars in his book. Powell Clayton 1914. The Aftermath of the Civil War, in Arkansas. Neal Publishing Co., reprinted by Negro Universities Press, 1969.  Harrell (see Note 24) held a strong negative view of the militia actions, and in his book he detailed misdeeds and crimes by the militia. He maintained that the Ku Klux Klan did not exist as an organization in the state and was used as a pretext for actions to humiliate opponents of the Radical Republicans. Similarly, Thomas S. Staples enumerated the misbehavior of the militia and dismissed the need for action against the Ku Klux Klan. Thomas S Staples. 1923. Reconstruction in Arkansas, 1862-1874. Longman, Green, and Co. reprinted by Forgotten Books, 2015.

[28] Description of Hodges is in Harrell p 138 (see footnote 24)

[29] Report No. 512, An Inquiry into Certain Charges Against Hon. Powell Clayton in Reports of the Committees of the Senate of the United States for the Third Session of the Forty-Second Congress, 1872-73.  GPO, 1872. The report is accessible as a free e-book at:

[30] Whatever Hodges did or did not say to Hartman, state law made clear that if regular judges were not at their designated legal polling place at the scheduled opening time, they were to be replaced by vote of the people gathered at that polling place. Of course, the law had no provision allowing a group of men to stop appointed election judges from entering designated polling places or to ignore their presence there. 

[31] The man was Christian Johannson, who was also known as Johnson and sometimes Jamison. He was a lawyer who lived with Mayor Hartman. He had been in Arkansas and Little Rock for about three months at the time of the 1870 election and in the United States for about two years. He was not a U.S. citizen. In an affidavit for the Little Rock city council, he described how he had arrived at the ward 1 polling place at 1 a.m. the morning of the election and had brought with him a set of poll books and a ballot box (provided by the county clerk.) The fact that he brought these is strong evidence that the usurpation was pre-meditated, not the spontaneous result of the absence of regular election judges as sworn by brindle-tails. “Council Proceedings.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, January 1, 1871, p. 4. 

The account of what happened to Ludwig on election day is drawn from Johannson’s affidavit) and Ludwig’s affidavit filed with the Committee of Credentials of the Little Rock City Council. All of the sworn affidavits collected by the city council’s committee on credentials were published in the Morning Republican on December 2, 1870 and the Daily Arkansas Gazette on December 3, 1870.

[32]  [Untitled new item]. Daily Arkansas Gazette, April 9, 1870, p. 4 and [Advertisement]. Daily Arkansas Gazette, April 8. 1870, p. 4.

[33] “Mrs. Wheat’s Concert Tonight.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, May 13, 1870, p. 4.

[34] “Mrs. Ludwig’s Concert.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, July 8, 1870, p. 4 and “Grand Concert Given by Mrs. Josey Ludwig “(advertisement), Daily Arkansas Gazette, October 14, 1870 p 3.  Also see, Daily Fair Gazette, October 16, 1870, p. 4

[35] Affidavits of Johnson, Sarasin. Reichardt, and Wilfred Schoot in “The Charges Against the Mayor.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, December 3, 1870, p. 4.

[36] Affidavit of Rottaken in “The Charges Against the Mayor.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, December 3, 1870, p. 4.

[37] “Papers in the case of Thomas Boles vs. John Edwards” in The Miscellaneous Documents of the Forty-Second Congress, 1871-72. Government Printing Office, 1872. This document is available as an e-book at:

[38] Hartman’s Senate testimony {see note 29)

[39] “The Election – Disgraceful Proceeding.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, Nov. 9, 1870, p. 4; “The Election in the City.” Morning Republican, Nov. 9, 1870. P4.; and “The Satanic Clique.” Fort Smith New Era, December 2, 1870, p. 1.

[40] These results were published in House hearings (see note 37), but not in the Daily Arkansas Gazette or the Morning Republican.

[41] “Heaping Up Wrath.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, November 13, 1870, p. 4.

[42] “Keep Quiet, and All will be Well,” Morning Republican, Nov. 14, 1870, p. 4. 

[43] “Our City Affairs.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, November 15,1870, p. 4.

[44] “Keep Quiet, and All will be Well.” Morning Republican, Nov. 14, 1870, p. 4. 

[45] “Items.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, November 15, 1870, p. 4.  In the same column of items this was reported, “Two hundred armed negroes were reported at Fourche Dam ready to march on the City. but we believe it proved to be a canard.”

[46] “Town Talk.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, Nov. 30, 1870, p. 4.  For more information on Sanders, see

Goodspeed, 1889. Biographical and historical memoirs of Pulaski, Jefferson, Lonoke, Faulkner, Grant, Saline, Perry, Garland and Hot Spring counties, Arkansas, comprising a condensed history of the state... biographies of distinguished citizens...[etc.]  Available for downloading at:

[47] “City Council – Its Organization.” Daily Arkansas Gazette. November 15, 1870, p. 4.

[48] “Town Talk.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, Nov. 30, 1870, p. 4.

[49] “City Council – Its Organization.” Daily Arkansas Gazette. November 15, 1870, p. 4.

[50] “The Election.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, November 8, 1871, p. 4.

[51] For example, combining the votes at both the inside and outside polls, Kramer had a total of 245 votes and Quidor had 349 votes. Assuming that the voters at the usurper’s polls were legitimate and were accurately counted, Quidor would have received a majority of Ward 1 votes if all had been cast at the regular polling place.

[52] “The Charges Against the Mayor.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, December 3, 1871, p. 4. “Council Proceedings.: Daily Arkansas Gazette. December 2, 1871, p. 4.  “City Council—Third Ward Contested Election Case Decided.” Morning Republican, December 9,1870, p. 4.

[53] “Council Proceedings.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, January 1, 1871, p. 4.

[54] Thomas Staples. 1923. Reconstruction in Arkansas, 1862-1874, Columbia University Press (reprinted by Forgotten Books, 2015), pp. 374-376.

[55] “Dr. Hartman’s Letter”. Morning Republican, March 3, 1871, p. 4 and “Hon. A. K. Hartman.” Morning Republican, March 27,1871 p. 2.

[56] “Mayor Hartman: The City Council as Court of Impeachment.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, May 5, 1871, p. 4.

[57]” Republican Convention.” Morning Republican, October 10, 1871, p. 4.; also “The Radical Caldron Boiling.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, October 10, 1871, p.4.

[58] “City Council.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, October 31, 1871, p. 4.

[59] “Radicalism Dead in Arkansas,” Daily Arkansas Gazette, Nov. 15, 1870, p. 4.

[60] “The Results of the City Election.” Daily Arkansas Gazette, Nov. 9, 1871, p. 4.  At the time of the 1871 election, Catterson was no longer a U.S. Marshal. He had been removed from the position by President Grant at the urging of Sen. Clayton.