Monday, April 11, 2016

No Shame, No Penalties for Helping a Corrupt Authoritarian Presidential Candidate Get Elected: The Apparently Irrelevant Legacy of Paul Manafort

A couple of years ago, I was following the Euromaidan Revolution protests in Kiev that ultimately resulted in the bloody ouster of the corrupt president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. This thuggish man had been elected with the help of political consultants who had softened his image and put nice words in his mouth. His main American consultant was Paul Manafort, who apparently not only became a close adviser to the thief-president, but also reaped huge rewards for his work. 
Hip Thug: Yanukovych Campaigning in 2007

This quote from the September 29, 2007 issue of The Telegraph summarizes the work Manafort did for Yanukovych: 
Hoping to retain the premiership, Mr Yanukovych has begun a campaign to convince Ukrainians that his time in office has taught him the virtues of democracy and media freedom. 
Sacking his Russian consultants, he hired Paul Manafort, an American spin doctor who had advised Bob Dole during the 1996 race for the White House, to burnish his image.
Under Mr Manafort's tutelage, the once avowedly pro-Russian prime minister has undoubtedly changed. He has ditched the bouffant hairstyle favoured by Soviet apparatchiks, taken to playing tennis with the US ambassador, begun speaking in Ukrainian rather than Russian and has even pledged to take his country into the European Union.
Even his past has been spun. Twice convicted as a teenager for armed robbery and grievous bodily harm, the old Yanukovych had the KGB expunge his criminal record and refused to discuss it in public.
Today, the new Yanukovych is happy to talk about his past, telling questioners about growing up in a broken family and spending his childhood in a hard scrabble east Ukrainian neighbourhood. He was not a criminal, he insists, but a victim of poverty. (Source:
Appalled by Manafort's role in helping elect such a corrupt, authoritarian person as president of Ukraine, I wrote a blog about Manafort and the assistance he provided to Yanukovych over a period of years. It can be found here:

The February 2014 battles on Maidan and elsewhere left 82 people dead and 1,100 injured. After Yanukovych fled to Russia (the Ukrainian Parliament voted 328 - 0 to impeach him), Manafort could not be found for comment. He faded from public view. As far as I know, he has never publicly discussed his work in Ukraine, much less apologized for his role in helping to elect Yanukovych.

Now Manafort is back in the spotlight. The Trump presidential campaign recently hired him to manage its efforts to round up delegates and maintain their loyalty at the Republican National Convention. A few days after his hiring, Manafort has become quite visible as a spokesperson for Trump. He recently told an interviewer that "I work directly for the boss," meaning he does not report to Trump campaign director, Cory Lewandowski,  Only yesterday (April 10, 2016), he was on Meet the Press accusing the Cruz campaign on "Gestapo Tactics" to secure delegates.  

While Manafort apparently is a talented political consultant -- at least he has earned millions from people willing to pay him for his advice, his moral compass seems to have quit working decades ago. Nevertheless, he is still welcome to work on the highest level of politics. Apparently there is no shame attached to helping to elect corrupt authoritarians, and no penalties come from helping to rip apart  the fabric of a sovereign nation.

I guess no one should be surprised that the Trump Campaign would find Manafort's work in Ukraine to be of no concern. So what if he helped elect a thug whose cynical corruption was startling even for Ukraine?   

What is surprising is the lack of attention paid in newspaper stories to his disreputable past. The New York Times article announcing Manafort's appointment to manage "delegate corralling" mentioned only that he was a "seasoned operative" and "veteran Republican strategist." Apparently his work in helping undermine democracy in Ukraine was unimportant.

Even worse, an April 7 article in the Washington Post, presented his work in heroic terms with the headline:  "From Ukraine to Trump Tower, Paul Manafort unafraid to take on controversial job." For this reporter, Manafort's work in Ukraine was just another job that ended badly.

It seems that many (most?) in the press view the presidential campaign as a big game of moves and counter moves  The hiring of Manafort was viewed as a astute move because of his experience, many years ago, as a delegate manager for Gerald Ford, and his reputation as a political consultant. When such game is being played, who has time to pay attention to such minor short comings as his work helping a thieving thug get elected president of another country?

In my view, every newspaper story that mentions Manafort without stating his role in helping undermine democracy in Ukraine is incomplete, and the reporter should be ashamed to have his name on it. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Swiss Vintner, the Prohibitionist Mayor, and the Drunken Woodsman with a Cotton Hoe: An 1894 Murder in Conway, Arkansas

On the afternoon of Saturday, May 26, 1894, a young timberman rode his horse a few miles from his home in Mayflower, Arkansas, to the Conway farm of Peter Paul and Magdalena Loetscher where he intended to buy some of their home-made wine. Both the timberman and a friend who traveled with him had been drinking whiskey for a while. They told some friends that if Loetscher didn’t sell them wine, “they would beat him up.”

Peter Paul was not around when the two men arrived. His wife, Magdalena, refused to sell them wine because of the local prohibition law. The timberman grabbed some containers of wine and Magdalena tried to stop him. He picked up a nearby cotton hoe and hit her in the head with it, then he hacked both of her arms. Hearing screams, husband Peter Paul, who was returning from a trip to town, ran to her defense, waving an old dragoon saber. Ignoring the weapon, the young man battered him with the hoe; the last swing landed so hard it broke into five pieces. The blows severely fractured Peter Paul’s skull; smashed his ribs, causing a collapsed lung; and broke a bone in his left arm.[1]

As the Loetschers lay moaning on the ground, Joe Luke – the woodsman with the hoe — grabbed some jugs of wine and left the farm. With his companion, he sought out Conway’s Mayor William W. Martin to tell him that Loetscher had illegally sold them wine. Hearing that, the mayor ordered the city Marshall to haul Loetscher immediately to the Mayor’s Court. However, because Peter Paul was so badly injured, the trial was delayed until Tuesday, May 30th, when, according to a story in the Arkansas Echo, the “half-dead man” was “dragged to court” and “he stood there with his fractured skull, broken arms and badly bruised back asking for mercy.” He got none. Mayor Wilson found Loetscher guilty of illegally selling wine, fining him $200 and court costs. The author of the Echo story commented on the mayor’s action:  “So justice will be measured when such fanatics come to power.”[2]

The encounters of the Swiss vintner with the drunken timberman and the mayor were described in the Arkansas Gazette, a Little Rock newspaper, on June 1, 1894, the Friday after the trial:

P. P. Loetscher, who runs a wine joint in the east part of town, was up again in the Mayor’s Court, and fined $200 for selling wine….A timber man by name of Luke and J. P. Thompson went to Loetscher’s and filled up on wine. Luke got into a difficulty with Loetscher and he and family jumped on Luke, and Luke slashed them right and left with a hoe, laying some of the household up for repairs. Thompson told of the big fight, and our vigilant Mayor got wind of it, and he brought Loetscher in, and found him guilty, and assessed fine with trimmings. 

Three days after this story was published, on Monday, June 4, 1894, 49-year-old Loetscher died from his injuries. He left behind his wife, who had emigrated from Switzerland with him, three young boys, and a daughter in her twenties.

On June 5th, the day after Loetscher died, a story in the Arkansas Gazette had a tone that differed greatly from the first one:

With a Hoe
Joe Luke Murders P. P. Loetscher in Conway – Luke Escapes

Special to the Gazette

Conway, June 4 --  P.P. Loetscher died this morning.  The Coroner’s jury this evening found that he died from wounds inflicted by a hoe in the hands of Joe Luke. A warrant will be issued for Luke, charging him with manslaughter. Luke has left. Loetscher’s arm was broken, his skull fractured and side bruised. He has been acting dementedly and was thought to be suffering with delirium tremens.

A related story appeared in the Galveston Daily News (and other regional newspapers) on June 7th:

Little Rock, Ark – A special from Conway, Ark. says that Joe Luke, a drunken character, while suffering from delirium tremens Sunday attacked P. P. Loetscher, a prominent German farmer, with a hoe inflicting wounds which resulted in death Monday morning. Luke escaped.

As these stories note, Luke fled arrest, going to Texas where he had spent some years during his childhood. After Arkansas’ governor, in response to an outcry from German-speaking residents of the state, offered a reward for Luke’s capture, the sheriff of Faulkner County, where Mayflower and Conway are located, tracked him down and brought him back to Conway. The sheriff later complained that the governor had not paid him the reward.

Prohibitionists and the Murder of P.P. Loetscher

While the murder of P.P. Loetscher was the senseless act of a drunken rowdy and the mayor’s abuse of the dying man was callus at best, they were not random acts. Both were the culmination of actions by Conway-area prohibitionists, especially the mayor, that had made life difficult for Loetscher (and other vintners) by stopping the legal sale of alcoholic beverages in the city.

From this perspective, the murder grew out of the conflict that had arisen between the immigrant winemaker and the prohibitionist mayor, who was assisted by his allies. The conflict started with the enactment of a “three-mile prohibition law” in Conway, and it was exacerbated by Mayor Martin’s strict enforcement of it.

Arkansas’s three-mile law, permitted by state legislation passed in 1871, was a back-door way for prohibitionists to stop the sale of alcoholic beverages within cities when they were unable to get a county-wide prohibition law. The law, when adopted locally, made the sale of liquor illegal within three miles of a specified church or school. Strangely, the law was not an ordinance approved by a city council, but – under the provisions of state law – it went into effect for two years when a majority of citizens living within a three-mile radius of a designated church or school signed a petition in favor of it and presented it to the county court.

Prohibition sentiment was strong in Conway when in 1888 petitions for a three-mile law were circulated there. The petition drive was led by Martin, along with Rev. Edward A. Tabor, a Methodist pastor who exhibited the “zeal of a crusader.” Their efforts were aided by women who supported prohibition:  the Arkansas Gazette reported on June 30, 1888 (p. 2):  “A vigorous campaign is being waged in Conway in favor of the three mile prohibition law. The ladies are especially involved.”

The involvement of women in the prohibition drive is not surprising. They were among the leaders of state and national prohibition efforts. Their role was essential because, even though they were not yet allow to vote in elections, they were counted among the adult residents of a specified three-mile zone and they could sign the petition for a three-mile prohibition.[3]  According to a pro-prohibition history of Conway’s three-mile law, “The sheets of many of the documents [petitions] were stained with tears that fell from the eyes of wives of drunken husbands, as they tremblingly wrote their names.”[4]

The petition effort was predictably and strongly opposed by the owners of bars and taverns in Conway and by others, including immigrants such as Loetscher. The opponents sought, according to a pro-prohibition writer, to stop people from signing the petition “by all the influences they could summon and by intimidation.”

From all accounts, both sides were ferocious in their positions, and hard feelings resulted. One newspaper article called the battle over the three-mile-law “an unholy fight.”

An indication of the depth of emotion stirred by the issue was the murder of John McCulloch, a Conway citizen who had once served as a city alderman, on the night of September 1, 1890 in the Faulkner County Courthouse. McCulloch, who had opposed prohibition, was shot by J.R. Williams, a “Prohi.” Less than a year later, Williams also killed John’s brother, Sam McCulloch, shooting him in the back on June 27, 1891, while he was running away. In both killings he claimed self-defense.[5]

When the “dry forces” thought they had enough signatures, they filed the three-mile petitions with the Faulkner County Court. The petitions were closely examined, with both pro- and anti-prohibition lawyers challenging and defending every name on them. After hearing the evidence, the court determined that the petitioners lacked the required number of signatures to comprise a majority of adults in the designated area.

That ruling was challenged in the circuit court, and on August 8, 1888, Circuit Judge Joseph W. Martin ruled that the petitions had the signatures of a majority of adults in the affected area and ordered the county court to prohibit for two years “the sale of intoxicating liquor within three miles of the public schoolhouse in block 25 of the town of Conway.” He allowed people with unexpired licenses to continue to sell liquor until their licenses expired. Because the licenses were issued annually, all of them were expired on December 31, 1888.[6]

According to a newspaper article describing this ruling, “The courtroom was crowded during the trial and the bulge of revolvers could be seen under many of the men’s coats. The victors were afraid to cheer lest a bloody affray be started.”[7]

Although the circuit court ruling was challenged multiple times in court, it was upheld and on January 1, 1889, Conway’s taverns were closed. That year the Arkansas legislature strengthened prohibition in Conway by passing legislation that made it unlawful to sell whisky within five miles of the Conway Baptist Church. A newspaper article on that legislation observed that the laws in place made Conway “dry as a bone.”[8]

The author of the Arkansas Echo article describing Loetscher’s murder wrote that Loetscher was affected by the three-mile law when Hendrix College, to a large extent due to the efforts of Mayor Martin, decided to relocate in Conway and opened its campus in September 1890. According to the Echo author, when Hendrix opened, Loetscher could no longer sell wine at his farm because it lay within three miles of the campus.[9] (It is not clear why the opening of Hendrix College, instead of the original provisions of three-mile law, made it illegal for Loetscher to operate his wine garden.)

Whatever triggered the three-mile law to stop Loetscher from selling wine, it was a disaster for him and his family. Beginning in 1889 or 1890, this law meant that Loetscher could no longer do what he had been doing for more than a decade to make a living: legally operating a “wine garden” on his farm to sell the wine he made.

Under financial duress, Loetscher continued to sell wine to feed his family, and the mayor had him arrested several times. According the Arkansas Echo, “Because without selling his wine he could not feed his family with his farm income, he resisted desperately. [Loetscher] was hounded like a beast. Spies were on the lookout day and night. He was convicted every time he was accused, proof or no proof. The mayor had no pangs of conscious in dealing with him.” In short, when prohibition became law, Loetscher went from being a respected citizen to a repeat lawbreaker.[10]  

Because of the three-mile prohibition law and Mayor Martin’s zealous enforcement of it, the Loetschers were in a difficult position when Joe Luke arrived at their farm on May 26, 1894, demanding wine. They likely refused to sell it to him because they feared Mayor Martin would find out and arrest them again. This refusal enraged drunken Luke, leading to the murder. If Loetscher could have legally sold Luke the wine he wanted, the murder perhaps would have not occurred. While Luke was the murderer, Mayor Martin and the other Conway prohibitionists who enacted and enforced the three-mile law created the circumstances of the deed.

The Man Who Made Wine

When Peter Paul Loetscher arrived in Conway in 1871 (or soon thereafter) with his wife and infant daughter, their main challenge was to survive as they carved a new life out of the wilderness in which they had chosen to live. Likely, planting a vineyard was not high on his list of things to do to feed his family during his early years in Arkansas.

He had been born on March 13, 1845 in the Graubünden Canton (the Arkansas Echo erroneously wrote that he was born in Canton Appenzel), which is located in the Alps near the borders with Italy, Austria, and Liechtenstein. His wife was Magdalena (Lena) Luck who was born on December 8, 1844 in nearby Sankt Gallen, Switzerland. The couple had married in 1868.

Peter Paul Loetscher is the tall young man in the back standing behind his mother and father.
Source: Photo added by Andreas Heege to

We know something about Peter Paul’s life in Switzerland thanks to Andreas Heege, an archaeologist who has researched pottery produced in 18th and 19th century Switzerland. In his work, Heege wrote about the St. Antönien Potters, also known as Lötscher Potters, a family business that made household items for more than a century. Peter Paul came from this family of potters.[11]

According to Heege’s research, Peter Paul Lötscher’s great-grandfather Peter Lötscher (1750 – 1818) started the business making ceramic, glass, and porcelain items in the early 1780s. It was located in St. Antönien in the Graubünden Canton. In 1806, he passed the business on to Peter Paul’s grandfather, Andreas Lötscher (1787 – 1852), who built a new workplace in Ascharina near St. Antönien. After Andreas’ death, Peter Paul’s father, Christian (1821-1880) took over the firm. Then in 1867, Peter Paul, at the age of 22, began managing the business. Apparently he did not like the work, or perhaps was not good at it. For whatever reason, he quit the business and emigrated in 1871. After his departure, his father resumed management of the firm.  Following his death in 1880, Peter Paul’s younger brother took over the business which closed in 1894.

Records accessed through show that Peter Paul, Lena, and their daughter Verena (who was less than a year old) traveled from Bremen to New Orleans on the Hannover, a recently built 300 foot-long ship sailed by the North German Lloyd line, arriving on April 1, 1871. They were likely among the 700 or so third class passengers the ship accommodated. Peter Paul was 26 years old at the time. On the passenger list, he listed his occupation as “brick maker.”  

Also aboard the Hannover was Peter Paul’s cousin, two years older, identically named Peter Paul Lötscher (1842 – 1908). His cousin was traveling with his wife Magartha (1843-1915?) and their children Johann (age three) and Dorathia (less than a year old). After arriving in New Orleans, his cousin continued with his family up the Mississippi River to Dubuque, Iowa. His arrival there was assisted by relatives, Peter (1811-1886) and Margaretha Loetscher (1815-1895), who had been living in Dubuque since 1851.[12]  

The movements of Peter Paul and his family after their arrival in New Orleans are unknown, so it is not certain exactly when they arrived in the Conway area. Perhaps they also went to Dubuque before their journey to Arkansas. Wherever they traveled after leaving New Orleans, it seems likely they settled in the Conway area in 1871 or 1872.[13] It is a mystery why they chose this remote location, instead of a place nearer his relatives.

According to the Echo, Loetscher was one of the first German speakers to settle in the Conway area which was then “in a primordial state.” Settling the land was hard work: “Amid the many difficulties and hardships, he cultivated his land, but the worst problem was that he was not conversant in English and there were no Germans to be found in the vicinity.”[14]

Actually, at least one other German-speaking immigrant came to the Conway area is 1871. According to the Arkansas Encyclopedia, Max Frauenthal (1836-1914) arrived in Conway that year with a railroad construction crew. He stayed and started a mercantile business with a store in the center of the city. His store, Frauenthal and Schwarz, was open until 1952.[15]

The presence of the Peter Paul Loetscher in Conway is first documented on a petition he signed, along with 30 other men, in 1875 to incorporate a swath of land as the city of Conway. His signature shows that he was a qualified voter living within the boundaries of the land to be incorporated.[16]

Loetscher and Frauenthal were not the only German-speaking settlers in the Conway area for long.[17] Others joined them in the latter years of the 1870s. Near the end of the decade, the Holy Ghost Fathers and the Benedictines cooperated with the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad to attract German-speaking immigrants to the Arkansas River Valley. The Benedictines, headquartered at St. Benedict’s,  near Altus, offered immigrants access to cheap land along the river from Clarksville to Ft. Smith. The Holy Ghost Fathers had their headquarters first in Conway, then in Morrilton; they offered cheap land along the Arkansas River from Little Rock to Atkins.

As they started their mission in the Arkansas River Valley, the Holy Ghost Fathers built in 1879 the St. Joseph Church in Conway (it is still in existence). To assist with the development of the St. Joseph Society as an immigrant community, a Holy Ghost Fathers priest, Joseph Strub, moved to Conway to minister to Catholics living in the vicinity. He also assisted the effort to attract more Catholic immigrants to the Arkansas River Valley by writing a German-language guidebook, published in 1880. It emphasized the cheap land made available by the railroad and the quality of life in the area.[18] 

The recruitment of German-speaking immigrants had some success in Faulkner County. In 1880, the census showed that 165 Faulkner County residents had been born in Germany, Switzerland, or Austria. It counted 49 heads of households who were born in Germany (40), Switzerland (3), or Austria (5).[19]  In 1890, the number of German-, Swiss- and Austrian-born residents of Faulkner County had increased to 223.[20] 

The late 1870s and early 1880s wave of immigration into Central Arkansas is described in detail by Jonathan James Wolf in an Arkansas Historical Quarterly article.[21] He wrote about the recruitment of immigrants, the costs and challenges they faced after arriving, and how they related to their English-speaking neighbors. He noted that the difficulties of settling in a new land resulted in a high death rate among immigrants. According to Wolf, of about 500 German-speaking immigrants living in Morrilton in 1880, 46 died; another 49 died in 1881. He wrote that about the same percentage of immigrants in Conway also died during these years.[22]   

It is clear from Wolfe’s research that the Germans who came to the Arkansas River Valley in the late 1870s and early 1880s faced great hardships. Fortunately for them, they were assisted by the Catholic Church and their German-speaking neighbors to adapt to their new situation. In contrast, when the Loetschers arrived in 1871 or 72, they had no such support as they scratched out a farm in the new frontier.

Despite the lack of assistance, the Loetschers did well, though they may have lost a child in the early 1880s. Peter Paul and Magdalena had four children that grew into adulthood. The oldest, Verena (or Brena) Lötscher (1869-1947) was born when Peter Paul and Lena were still living in Switzerland. Three other children were born in Arkansas:  Christian F. (1874 – 1935), John Andrew (1882-1958), and Carle R. (1889 – 1931). Also, it appears that they had another boy who died in childhood. According to the 1880 census, the Loetscher household included a two-year old boy named George. He does not show up in later records of family members. I have found no information about his fate.

Not long after the 1880 census was completed, Peter Paul began to acquire land. According to U.S. General Land Office records, he received an 80-acre homestead on July 20, 1881, bought another 40 acres on August 25, 1882, and purchased another 80-acre homestead on May 5, 1883. Apparently he made a decent living from his land.

No information can be found on when Loetscher started growing grapes and making wine. In any case, he was among the first farmers in the state to do so. According to the Arkansas Encyclopedia, the earliest vintners in Arkansas included Johann Wiederkehr, from Switzerland, and Jacob Post, from Germany, both of whom both produced wines in Altus (Franklin County). Both started making their wines in about 1880.[23]

Apparently by 1888, several German-speaking farmers in Central Arkansas were growing grapes and selling wine made from them. An article in the Daily Arkansas Gazette promoting life in Faulkner County mentioned grape growing and wine production:

Grape culture is receiving a great deal of attention, the Concord and other varieties yield immense quantities of wine (400 to 500 gallons per acre) and sells for $1 and upwards per gallon. The German citizens (always thrifty and prosperous wherever they may be) are developing this industry very rapidly.[24]  

Not long after this article was published, after the sale of locally made wine was prohibited within three miles of the Conway public school, commercial wine making in Conway came to a quick end.

According to the Echo, as more Germans settled in Conway in the 1870s and 1880s, Loetscher provided them advice and help: “He was long valued as an authority on many things, especially on the topic of wine making. He had established a splendid wine garden and lived happily and contentedly in his own way with his family, until the College was built here….”[25]

Although most of the newer German-speaking arrivals around Conway were Catholics, likely the Loetschers were not. Direct evidence of what church, if any, the family attended is lacking. However, genealogical information shows that their relatives in Dubuque were Protestants.[26] While most non-Catholic German-speaking immigrants were Lutherans, Conway did not get a Lutheran Church until 1884 when a German Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized and a sanctuary erected. Its initial membership was only twelve families. It is not known if the Loetscher family was one of them.[27]

In politics, Peter Paul was a Republican – the party that had been in power when he and his family had arrived in the Conway area in the early 1870s. In 1886, he ran for Faulkner County coroner on the Republican ticket, but lost the election with fewer votes (771) than the candidates of the Democratic Party (1274 votes) and the Wheeler Party (863).[28]

In 1888, after about seventeen years in the United States, it seemed that Loetscher’s decision to emigrate from Switzerland had paid off. He and his wife had three young sons and a 20-year old daughter, owned 200 acres of productive land and a wine garden, and earned a decent living. That happy situation came to an end in 1890 when the three-mile law went into effect, a new prohibitionist mayor was elected, and a new college arrived.

The Methodist Who Believed Wine Was Evil

Captain William Wyle Martin, the man who helped bring misery into Loetscher’s life, is an unlikely villain in any story. He was a progressive mayor with many accomplishments, a successful businessman, and a highly admired philanthropist who was honored after his death by burial on the Hendrix College campus. He also was a staunch Methodist, an ardent prohibitionist, and a moralist who strictly exercised his mayoral powers guided by his beliefs.

Martin was born on February 20, 1835 in Bunker Hill, Tennessee where his father owned a plantation. He was one of nine children in the family. In 1848, he moved with his family to Van Buren County, in the north-central part of Arkansas, where his father had bought a farm. In 1851, the family moved again to a large farm in Conway County. That part of Conway County was transferred to Faulkner County in 1873. His father was “a well-known politician…and a man of considerable influence in the Democratic party.”[29] 

Captain William W Martin.

Soon after the Civil War started, Martin joined the Arkansas 10th Regiment of the Confederate Army. He was appointed to be a third lieutenant in Company A of the Quitman Rifles. After the battle of Shiloh, he was promoted to captain. He and his unit were captured at the fall of Port Hudson in Louisiana in July 1863. According to one account of his life, he returned to Arkansas when he escaped from his capture. Other accounts of his life do not mention an escape, stating that he returned to Arkansas when the war ended.[30]

Following the war, Martin settled in Springfield, Arkansas, which was, at the time, the seat of the Conway County government. Springfield is about a dozen miles north of Conway. After serving a couple of years as a deputy sheriff of Conway County, Martin went into the mercantile business with some partners; the store’s name was Martin and Vaughn.[31] The business continued to operate, renamed W.W. Martin & Co in 1875, until 1885 when he moved to Conway.

When Martin arrived in Conway his path had been paved, at least to some extent, by his brother Jesse England Martin, who was eight years younger than him. J.E. Martin had lived in Conway for a decade and had been elected in 1875 as the first sheriff of Faulkner County. In 1876, he had been elected to represent the county in the state legislature. He left that office after one term to attend to his new mercantile business where he kept “a stock of goods and supplies that would beggar description as to their variety.”[32] He was elected again to the legislature in 1888 and served in that office for many years. 
From Daily Arkansas Gazette, March 21, 1888
Soon after his arrival in Conway, William Martin opened a store, Martin and Harton, that sold general retail goods and brokered cotton for nearby farmers. His store was housed in a building with two 25 ft. by 140-ft floors.[33] The 1888 Daily Arkansas Gazette article that extolled life in Faulkner County commented favorably on Martin and Harton’s business:

The leading merchants in town are Martin and Harton, who do a general merchandise business of about $80,000 yearly and handle 2400 to 3000 bales of cotton. They are progressive, go-ahead men of large ideas and money to back them up. They are foremost in all public enterprises and do not hesitate to lend their aid to the immigrant cause.[34]

As Martin settled into his new home, he apparently found many things he did not like about the city. According to Bill Lynch, writing in the Arkansas Historical Quarterly:

When Captain Martin arrived in Conway he found a dirty little country town whose main attribute was six licensed saloons. There were no paved streets or sidewalks…. From the time of its founding until the late 1880’s Conway was known as a “tough town.” It was under control of the whisky element. The six saloons in Conway had gambling in the back rooms. Captain Martin declared war instantly.[35]

To improve the situation, Martin became active in civic affairs. He was quickly elected to the city council and became a member of the school board. In 1888, as described earlier, he joined a local pastor in an effort to rid the city of its saloons. With its enactment in 1888, the three-mile prohibition law forced saloons to shut down on January 1, 1889 and also put wine-selling farmers such as Loetscher out of business.

In 1889 and 1890, Martin led an effort to induce a private college, which had recently changed its name from Central Collegiate Institute to Hendrix College, to relocate from Altus to Conway. The College had recently affiliated with the Methodist Church and several towns were interested in hosting it. Martin put together $72,000 in pledges to assist the college with its relocation. On March 4, 1890, the Trustees of Hendrix College met to decide where the college would relocate. On the 51st ballot, the Trustees selected Conway over Arkadelphia and Searcy.[36]

Mayor William W. Martin

According to the Arkansas Gazette, Conway got Hendrix College because its offer was “the most liberal.” The most zealous suitor was Martin “who gave the trustees to understand that Conway had come to Little Rock to secure the college and if money had a language and could talk, and if the trustees understood that language and were willing to listen to the talk, he believed they would be persuaded to look with favor on his town.”

The Gazette continued:

Mr. Martin contributed $13,000 to the college, conditional upon its being located at Conway, and informed the delegation if his town’s guarantee was not sufficient he was ready to make his contribution $20,000. This was all he could do for the present, but after the college had been located at Conway he promised to give it further assistance and upon his death the trustees would find a clause in his will endowing the institution with $100,000.[37]

Martin kept his promises, continuing his support of the college during its difficult early years in Conway, providing money to pay its yearly deficits until the institution got on its feet. Later he led fund-raising efforts for Hendrix College and helped create an endowment. Over the years he contributed about $75,000 in cash and assets to the college (his contributions, adjusted for inflation, equaled the equivalent of about $2 million today). He served for twenty years on Hendrix College’s Board of Trustees.[38]

Shortly after the meeting that netted Hendrix College for Conway, Martin was elected mayor of the city which was still divided by the fight over the three-mile law.[39]  As an adamant moralist, Martin used his executive and judicial powers to discourage unbecoming behavior. For example, during his first term he shut down the local billiard hall and refused to allow a circus to come to town because he did not want students at the soon-to-open Hendrix College to be corrupted by these questionable activities. Also, he was unyielding in enforcing the three-mile prohibition law, levying heavy fines on people he convicted of illegally selling alcoholic beverages.[40]

His use of mayoral powers did not sit well with some people in Conway, and he was challenged when he first ran for re-election in 1891 in a “heated” and “embittered” contest that generated intense emotions. Likely his re-election fight was the final battle between pro- and anti- prohibition forces over the future of the city. According to the Daily Arkansas Gazette:

[Martin’s] uniform rule of sitting down on wrong and making all violators of the law, be they whosoever they may, atone to the offended law, made him very unpopular with a certain element, and in the same ratio popular with the opposition. So the main fight was for and against Capt. Martin. So, after a hard day’s fight, of the 262 votes polled, Capt. Martin received 153 and J.V. Mitchell 102….Capt. Martin’s friends regard this as a great victory, and a move in the direction of building up our town morally and educationally.[41]

With his opposition routed, Martin served as mayor for more than a decade holding the office from 1890-1895, 1896-1899, 1900-1905. The terms were interrupted, for example during the 1895-1896 term, when he stepped aside to allow someone else to hold the office. Though popular with a firm majority of Conway voters, he was not universally liked. On Christmas Eve, 1903, a would-be assassin placed two sticks of dynamite outside the back of his store. While the explosion damaged the back of the building and “showered him with glass and debris, it caused no injuries or deaths.[42]

According to an admiring biographer, Martin was a progressive mayor who took the lead in improving the city, donating his salary to projects such as paving streets and sidewalks. While he was mayor, the city of Conway purchased the local power and light plant company and made it a municipal enterprise. Even after stepping down as mayor, he led the effort to create a water and sewer system in the city.[43]

Martin was also an inexhaustible civic activist, joining and often leading such organizations as the Young Men’s Christian Association, various prohibitionists groups, and groups such as the Masons, the Cleveland Club (1888), and the Bryan Club (1896). He was an energetic promoter of local and state economic development and was active in a Civil War veterans group.[44]

Above all, Martin was a generous philanthropist. Not only did he donate large sums to Hendrix College, he made liberal donations to other organizations such as the Methodist church. In fact, when any good cause came along, Martin was among the first in line to make his donation. 

In 1910, five years after he had resigned as mayor and after he had been defeated when he ran for county judge, Martin was elected to represent Faulkner County in the Arkansas State Legislature. He was still in the state legislature on November 1911 when he led a delegation of Arkansans who were touring northern states to tout Arkansas as a good place to invest. While in Canton, Ohio, he represented the delegation in a ceremony to place flowers on the grave of ex-President William McKinley. The ceremony took place during a snow storm. Shortly after the event, he developed pneumonia.[45] He died on December 10, 1911.

Seven hundred people showed up at his funeral. The president of Hendrix College, A.C. Miller, paid him warm tribute:

He was the most remarkable man that I have ever known…With little early education he became, by reading and experience, a man of wide and accurate information and liberal and progressive views. In business he was the embodiment of honesty, in all the relations of life the very incarnation of integrity. Nothing could turn him from the full discharge of recognized duty. …With his start and business acumen he could have accumulated a half million. He sacrificed business interests and gave so freely that he died comparatively poor. He made money not for self, as he spent less than the average clerk upon himself, but he laid tribute on material things for the sake of his Master and transmuted corn and cotton into spiritual things….He did not sell himself for lucre but lost himself in the service of others and found himself in the lives of others…[46]

Among his many other tributes, George W. Donaghey, Arkansas’ governor (who had made his career in Conway and was a prohibitionist), called him “Arkansas’ greatest philanthropist and private citizen.”[47]   An obituary in the February 1912 issue of the Confederate Veterans Magazine observed that “To the end of his life he was a fighter; but the energy and courage and fidelity that held him true as steel to a soldier’s duty during the war had since been directed to the destruction of what he conceived to be wrong and the building up of what he conceived to be right and good.”[48] 

Martin was buried in Martinsville, a settlement built on and around land that he and his brother Jesse owned near Cove Creek about 20 miles north of Conway. However, in 1919, Hendrix officials decided that his final resting place should be on the campus of Hendrix College, to which he had contributed so much. With permission of the family, he was brought back to Hendrix and buried “beneath a rugged Ozark boulder which symbolizes the dignity, simplicity and unyielding strength of the man who lives under it.”[49]

In the end, the man whom the Arkansas Echo had deemed a ‘fanatic” and who had treated Peter Paul Loetscher so unsympathetically as he lay dying had otherwise lived an enviable life of service and generosity, leaving a lasting legacy in Conway and beyond. In a 1999 review of Faulkner County’s past, the Log Cabin Democrat proclaimed Martin to be the fourth most important person in the county’s history.[50]

The Man Who Killed For Wine

The man who killed for wine was 27 year-old Joe (Joseph) Luke who worked for one of the timber companies that was gobbling up forests in Central Arkansas. The young man’s life likely resembled the lives of the backwoodsman who made Arkansas famous from its early years as a rowdy, dangerous, and uncivilized place. He was exactly the type of man that prohibitionists most wanted to deprive of liquor.

Joseph N. Luke – named after his father and grandfather — was born in December 1866.  His father was Joseph Reese Luke (1842 - 1925). His mother was Sara Margaret Pearson Luke (1849 - 1885). Joseph Reese and Sara Margaret had married in 1866 and were living in Alabama when their first son was born.

Joseph Reese Luke had been born in Tallapoosa, Alabama. His parents had died when he was very young: his father Joseph D. Luke in 1845 and his mother Mary Ann Carter in 1847.  After his mother’s death, young Joseph Reese Luke had gone to Panola, Texas, to live with his mother’s relatives. The 1860 census showed him living there with the family of Barney M. Carter.

Confederate Soldier, Joseph Reese Luke, Father of the Killer

When the Civil War came, Joseph Reese Luke, 19, joined the Confederate Army, enlisting on February 2, 1862 in the 3rd Alabama Cavalry Regiment in Coosa County, Alabama. After the war, he returned to Alabama, but moved with his wife and infant sometime between December 1866 and 1868 to Arkansas. His first daughter, L. Mary, was born in 1868 in Conway County, Arkansas. According to the 1870 census, the family, with two children, was living in East York, Conway County. (This community was near Springfield, where W.W. Martin and a partner had recently opened a mercantile store) 

At some point in the 1870s, the Luke family moved to Panola, Texas, where Joseph Reese had spent much of his childhood. They were living there when the 1880 census was conducted. By then, Joseph and Sara Margaret had five children: Joseph N (14), L Mary (12), Willie D (10), Ella E (5) and Alfred (3). 

Sometime between 1880 and 1885, the family moved back to Arkansas. The family members were living in Arkansas on April 4th, 1885, when Sara Margaret died. She was buried in the Pearson Cemetery, located in the Wooster Community of Faulkner County. 

In 1888, Joseph Reese Luke married Nancy Caroline Shewmake (1858 – 1929) from Muddy Bayou in Faulkner County. They had three sons: Arthur Clarence (1890-1974), Jessie Marvin Luke (1894 - ? ), and Ray Alexander Luke (1894- 1974). When the second son, Jessie M. was born in 1894, the year of the murder, the family was living in Mayflower.

After the murder, Joe Luke fled Arkansas and traveled to Texas (where he had lived with his family a few years during his childhood). A story in the Echo in early July reported that the Conway County Sheriff, last name Wilson, had tracked Luke down in Texas and arrested him near Decatur. Wilson brought Luke back to Arkansas to stand trial for manslaughter.

I have found no records or newspaper stories showing that Luke was prosecuted or served prison time for the manslaughter (the charge leveled against him by the local grand jury). If Luke did serve time for his attack on Loetscher, it was likely for a short term. According to the 1900 census, Joseph N Luke was living in Panola, Texas as a boarder with Charley and Cynthia Carter (relatives of the family that raised his father) and their four children. He was listed as a widower working as a farm laborer.

Joseph N. Luke does not appear in any subsequent census lists.[52] Likely, he was not alive in 1925 when his father, Joseph Reese, died. His father’s will gave his estate to sons Arthur, Jesse, and Ray Luke, with a grant of $5 each to daughter Ella and daughters-in-law Sally, Leddie, and Lizzie Luke. It contained no provisions his wife, who was still alive, or for his first-born son, Joseph N.

From the newspaper stories about the killing and census information and, we know just a few facts about the life of Joseph N Luke. The census responses showed that he was poorly educated (no schooling, but could read and write) and worked as a farm laborer in 1900 (and, perhaps, as a farmer in 1910). The newspapers described him as a “woodsman” and a “drunk” who on May 26, 1894 was acting “dementedly” and was thought to be suffering from delirium tremens. If these characterizations are true, Joseph Luke resembled many other poorly educated, liquor-loving characters who made Arkansas a dangerous place during the nineteenth century and who inspired prohibitionists in their efforts to deny liquor to such people.


Joseph Luke’s lethal attack on Peter Paul Loetscher and Mayor Martin’s apparent mistreatment of the dying Loetscher occurred within the context of a bitter fight over the legality of liquor in Conway. The prohibitionists wanted to keep liquor out of the hands of hard-edged ruffians, like Joseph Luke, who could be characterized as “drunks.” In doing so, they did not distinguish between bad characters downing hard liquor and other people, especially German-speaking immigrants, for whom wine and beer were innocent pleasures.

The success of the Conway prohibitionists had unintended consequences. As it shut down the sale of hard liquors, it also deprived local winemakers such as Loetscher of income important to their livelihoods. Also it created a situation in which the Loetschers could not sell their home-made wine to a crazed man who, when denied it, impulsively attacked them. In addition, the prohibitionist’s hard-won victory apparently made a good man like Mayor Martin insensitive to Loetscher’s suffering caused by loss of income from the sale of wine and later by Luke’s vicious attack on him.

In the story of Loetscher’s murder, we have a man who was a victim not only of a murderous attack, but also of a movement that took away his livelihood. We have an alcohol-crazed young man who ruined his life by his lethal attack on the victim. And we have an upstanding citizen who brought no credit to himself when, in this case, he acted as the “enforcer of what was right,” sparing no sympathy for a neighbor who lay dying before his court.


[1] In German, the last name was spelled Lötscher. Following convention for anglicizing German names, the ö was changed to “oe.” This account of Loetscher’s murder is from the Arkansas Echo, June 10, 1894, p. 1.  The Echo was a German-language newspaper published in Little Rock from 1891 to 1932. See  

For a translation of this Echo article, see “Misfortune Befalls a German Vintner in Conway, 1894,” July 18, 2013 blog entry.

[2] In the Arkansas Echo dispatch of June 10, 1894, the author not only expressed anger at Loetscher’s murder, but also concern that German-speaking immigrants were treated unfairly in the Conway area and that prohibitionists were attacking their way of life. Note that the $200 fine in 1894 is equivalent to about $5,000 in 2016.

A few days after the June 10th article, another short article in the Echo from the Conway correspondent mentioned the death of the editor of the Log Cabin Democrat, a Conway paper, noting: “In Conway starb der Editor der Log Cabin. Der Mann war einer der Fanatiker, die in den Eingewanderten geringen Menschen sehen” (“In Conway the editor of the Log Cabin died. The man was one of those fanatics who see immigrants as lesser people.”  Arkansas Echo, June 15, 1894, p5

[3] “Beginning in the 1870s the Arkansas legislature enacted a series of liquor control laws, the most important of which was the Three-Mile Law. This measure provided for the prohibition of the sale of alcoholic beverages within a three-mile radius of a church or public school, if a majority of the area inhabitants signed a petition favoring such a ban. In 1884 the Three-Mile Law was used to eliminate the sale of liquor in Mount Vernon, and a few years later was used by anti-liquor forces in Conway who achieved a similar victory. The ‘dry’ cause in Conway was led by Reverend Edward A. Tabor and a prohibitionist politician, Captain William W. Martin.  Joe Mosby. “Wet vs Dry Battle Dates Back more than a Century.” Log Cabin Democrat, Sept. 12, 2008, accessed at . This quote is from Faulkner, Its Land and People, a book published by the Faulkner County Historical Society.  Three-mile laws became popular in counties in which the county legislative body rejected proposals for county-wide prohibition.

[4] This quote is from an article by Frank E. Robins published in the Log Cabin Democrat on May 25, 1931; it was republished in the Faulkner County Facts & Fiddlings, XXXIV (3-4), Fall-Winter, 1997, pp. 15-16.

[5] The enmity between J.R. Williams and the McCullough brothers apparently was directly related to the prohibition fight (Daily Arkansas Gazette, Feb. 9, 1892). Newspaper accounts linked it to William’s service as the foreman of a Grand Jury that apparently returned indictments of the McCulloughs. After that, Williams said that he was threatened and feared for his life. He was acquitted of all counts for killing John McCullough, but found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for shooting Sam McCullough. After he was convicted and sentenced to a year in prison, “one hundred and one of Conway’s prominent citizens” assembled in Little Rock to ask Arkansas’ governor to pardon him.” The group brought letters with petitions supporting a pardon signed by 2,467 “white voters” and by “1616 ladies” from Faulkner County. A letter from the circuit court judge from the area spoke of the “desperate and lawless character of the McCulloch boys.” According to a statement by a local attorney, E. A. Bolton:

…for years Conway has been controlled by an element who did not afford proper protection to life and property. Ladies were not free from insult on the streets, even on Sundays.

The McCullough boys, Bob, Will, and Sam were leaders of an element which threatened the very existence of all law and order in the town. The law and order party composed of the best elements of the community, finally succeeded in getting control, and were represented on the Grand Jury by J. R. Williams as foreman. He dared to do his duty and indicted the law breakers. (Daily Arkansas Gazette, March 11, 1892)

As Williams was being brought to Little Rock for the meeting with the governor, the third brother – Will – attempted to shoot him. He was not charged with a crime but released with the promise that he would leave the county and never return.

After Williams spent a month in prison, Governor Eagle issued a pardon that released him. (Daily Arkansas Gazette, April 17, 1892)

See these articles:  “Prohis and Anti-Prohis in Faulkner County,” Daily Arkansas Gazette, Feb. 9, 1892, p. 6; “A Great Scene: One Hundred and One of Conway’s Prominent Citizens,” Daily Arkansas Gazette, March 11, 1892, p.1; J.R. Williams, The Conway Man Convicted of Manslaughter Is Pardoned by Gov. Eagle, Daily Arkansas Gazette, April 17, 1892. “He is Acquitted: J.R. Williams Held Blameless for the Killing of the McCullochs,” Daily Arkansas Gazette, July 21, 1892.

[6] Frank Robbins, p. 16. See footnote 4. 

[7] Frank Robbins, p. 16. See footnote 4. 

[8] “Very Dry”, Daily Arkansas Gazette, Feb.16, 1889, p. 4.

[9] It seems strange that Loetscher’s farm – within the Conway city limits – was further than three miles away from the “eight churches and five Sabbath schools” located in Conway on January 1, 1889, when the law came into effect. [Arkansas Gazette, June 30, 1888, p. 2]

[10] Arkansas Echo, June 10, 1894, p. 1

[11] His summary of their work is available in a German-language Wikipedia article at . For pictures of some pottery made by the Loetscher Pottery, see  and

[12] Both the older Peter, who came earlier to Dubuque, and the younger Peter were born in Graubunden Canton. The following year, another relative from Graubunden Canton, Christian Loetscher (1850 – 1922) immigrated to the United States, settling in Dubuque. Christian became a hugely successful inventor and businessman. He founded Farley and Loetscher Manufacturing Company, incorporated in 1881, that became the “nation’s largest sash and door manufacturing company.” See the Encyclopedia of Dubuque at this link:,_Christian
[13] In 1871 and 1872, the land in and around the future city of Conway was located in Conway County. It was transferred to the newly created Faulkner County in 1873.

[14] Arkansas Echo, June 10, 1894, p. 1

Also see. Carolyn Gray LeMaster, 1994. A Corner of the Tapestry: A History of the Jewish Experience in Arkansas, 1820s-1990. University of Arkansas Press.

[16] The signatories of the petition are shown in chapter 2 of Faulkner County: Its Land and People, 1986, which can be assessed here: (page 7 of 10)

[17] The first Catholic family to arrive in the Conway area, not long after Faulkner County was organized in 1873, was the Jacob Schichtl family. By 1876 the Schichtl family was joined by other Catholic families – Jacob Erbach, Edward Lachowsky, Joseph Schneider, John Weber, V. Wurtzelbach and H. Rappel. See
[18] The Guiding Star for the St. Joseph Colony: A Guide Book for Catholic Emigrants to the Arkansas River Valley. 1880 (translated and published in 1997 by the Faulkner County Historical Society). In German, the title is Leitstern zur St. Joseph’s Colonie (under Leitung der Vaeter von hl. Geist) im Westen des Staates Arkansas. Ein praktischer Wegweiser und treuer Fueher fuer Katholische Auswanderer.

[19] Included in the 49 households with a German-speaking head was the Loetscher family.  Peter Paul and Magnalena were living in the Cadron Township of Faulkner County with their daughter Brena (10) and sons Christian (6) and George (2). The two sons were listed as having been born in Arkansas. The Loetscher family was living with two brothers who had recently arrived from Germany, William Risse (23) and Barney Risse (26). (The Cadron township is a large one that includes all of Conway and more area outside the city.)

[20] Wolfe, Jonathan James. 1966. “Background of German Immigration: Chapter V, Beginning Life in the New Land.” Arkansas Historical Quarterly, XXV(4), Winter, p. 377. The number of German speakers was greater than 223, because many these European-born residents had children born in the United States. (Faulkner Co: Its Land and People, chapter 2).

[21] James Jonathan Wolf. 1966. “Background of German Immigration: Chapter V, Beginning Life in the New Land.” Arkansas Historical Quarterly, XXV(4), Winter, pp. 354-385.

[22] A Central-Arkansas drought in 1880-81 contributed to the high mortality of recently arrived immigrants during those years.

[24] “Faulkner County: Resources and Attractions of One of the Best Communities in Arkansas.” Daily Arkansas Gazette. March 21, 1888, p. 5.
Loetscher was not on the list of Faulkner County taxpayers in 1873, so he likely was renting land during the first years he was there. Earliest Taxpayers of Faulkner Co. Arkansas, April 12, 1873. Complied by Joe R. Goss.
[25] Arkansas Echo, June 10, 1894, p. 1

[26] Furthermore, neither Peter Paul nor his wife were buried in Conway’s St. Joseph Catholic Church cemetery, which was likely had they been Catholics.

[27] See . The pastor of the first church was Rev. Frederick August Herzberger

[28] Daily Arkansas Gazette. Sept 11, 1886, p. 1

[29] J.E. Martin bio at this link

[30] According to the obituary in the February 12, 1912 issue of Confederate Veterans, Martin escaped his capture. See this link: . The obituary in the Arkansas Gazette did not mention such an escape: “Capt W W Martin Dies at Conway”, Arkansas Gazette, December 11, 1911, p. 5

[31] “Springfield was incorporated in 1858 with S. S. Ford Mayor…
After the war, the first firms to resume business were Hawkins & Co., Cargile 
& Moses, and N. W. Moore. Mr. Moore also erected a good hotel in 1867, 
which was the leading hotel till the removal of the county seat. W. W. Martin 
soon became associated with Mr. Vaughan under the firm name of 
Martin & Vaughan. Mr. Martin started with but the smallest capital, and during 
the location of his business here, made a fortune. This firm was the first to 
start the credit business, which for a long time after seemed to be the only 
way that business could be transacted.” Biographical and Historical Memoirs
 of Western Arkansas. Goodspeed Publishers, 1891.
[32] J.E. Martin bio, see note 29

[33] See Bill Lynch. 1952. “Captain William W. Martin.” Arkansas Historical Quarterly, Vol. 11, No. 1 (Spring, 1952), pp. 41-55. This description is from page 44:   As in Springfield, “Mr. Martin was most liberal and accommodating with the farmers who bought on credit. He furnished every help and encouragement possible, often taking great risks in order to favor the farmer and help him. Often when mortgages became due Captain Martin would just ‘forget’ to foreclose so as to give the farmer another chance to pay off the mortgage. This naturally made him popular among the farmers and working men.”

[34] “Faulkner County: Resources and Attractions of One of the Best Communities in Arkansas.” Daily Arkansas Gazette. March 21, 1888, p. 5. See note 24.

[35] Lynch, AHQ, p. 43 (see note 33)

[37] The quotation is from Daily Arkansas Gazette, March 23, 1890. Also see the Daily Arkansas Gazette, March 18, 1890, for information on the competition among towns for Hendrix College.

[38] Lynch, AHQ, p.  52 (see note 33)

[39] “Conway’s Compromise.” Daily Arkansas Gazette. April 3, 1890.

[40] Daily Arkansas Gazette, Sept 7, 1890 p. 1.

[41] “Late Election Returns,” Daily Arkansas Gazette, April 10, 1891.

[42] Bob Meriwether. “Two ‘Forgotten’ Tribulations of Capt. W.W. Martin,” Faulkner County Facts & Fiddlings, XXXIV(1-2), 1992, pp. 9-10.

[43] Lynch, AHQ, p. 48 (see note 33)

[44] Martin was elected delegate to the state Cleveland Club meeting (Daily Arkansas Gazette, July 29, 1888). He helped organize and was elected president of the Bryan Club (Daily Arkansas Gazette, July 18, 1896).

[45] Lynch, pp. 41, 54 (see note 33) 

[46] “The Late W. W. Martin,” Arkansas Gazette, Dec 20, 1911

[47] George W Donaghey, “Arkansas’ Greatest Philanthropist and Private Citizen,” Hendrix College Bulletin, Vol. II, no 1. January 1915, p. 3.

[48] Confederate Veterans Magazine, Feb. 1912 (see note 30)

[49] Lynch, AHQ, p. 55.

[51] The evidence that Joseph N. Luke was “Joe Luke,” the killer, is circumstantial, but strong:  (1) the 1880 census showed no family by the name of “Luke” living in Faulkner County, but in 1885 the family of Joseph Luke was living in Faulkner County when Joe Luke’s mother died, (2) the Luke family was living in Mayflower in 1894, and (3) an article about the murder stated Joe Luke was a young man who lived in Mayflower.

[52] A “Joseph R Luke” was living with his wife in Oklahoma in 1910, according to the census conducted that year. Like Joseph N Luke, he was born in 1866 and had parents who both had been born in Alabama. The man was a farmer, working rented land. All of the details of the Joseph R Luke correspond with those of Joseph N Luke, except the middle initial.  

Sources Consulted:

Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Western Arkansas. 1891. Goodspeed Publishers, .p. 37. Accessed at

Condray, Kathleen. 2015. Arkansas’s Bloody German-Language Newspaper War of 1892. Arkansas Historical Quarterly. LXXIV (4), Winter, pp. 327-351.

Durning, Dan. 2013. Misfortune Befalls a German Vintner in Conway, 1894.  July 18,
Blog entry.

Faulkner County Historical Society. 1986. Faulkner Co: Its Land and People.  (Chapter 2 can be assessed here:

Johnson, Ben. 2005. John Barleycorn Must Die. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press.

History of Central Arkansas. 1889. Chicago: The Goodspeed Publishing Co. (Entry on J.E. Martin, Faulkner County Biographies PART 1 can be accessed at )

LeMaster, Carolyn Gray. 1994. A Corner of the Tapestry: A History of the Jewish Experience in Arkansas, 1820s-1990. University of Arkansas Press.

Lynch, Bill. 1952. Captain William W. Martin. The Arkansas Historical Quarterly, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 41-55 (accessed at

Meriwether, Bob. 1992. Two ‘Forgotten’ Tribulations of Capt. W.W. Martin. Faulkner County Facts & Fiddlings, XXXIV(1-2), pp. 9-10.

Robbing, Frank E. 1931. “Conway Goes “Dry” (1888). Conway County Democrat, May 24. Reprinted in Faulkner Facts & Fiddlings. XXXIX (1-2),  1997, pp. 15-16.

St. Antönien-Keramik. Wikipedia (Germany).

Strub, Joseph (Translated by Kenneth C. Barnes). 1997. The Guiding Star for the St. Joseph Colony: A Guide Book for Catholic Emigrants to the Arkansas River Valley. Oldbuck Press, Conway, Arkansas. (Orginally published in German in 1880 titled Leitstern zur St. Joseph’s Colonie (under Leitung der Väter von hl. Geist) im Westen des Staates Arkansas. Ein praktischer Wegweiser und treuer Führer für Katholische Auswanderer)

Wolfe, Jonathan James. 1966. Background of German Immigration: Chapter V, Beginning Life in the New Land. Arkansas Historical Quarterly, XXV(4), pp. 354-385.

(Public records were accessed through searches of

Appendix:  Genealogical Information

Peter Paul Loetscher. March 13, 1845 – June 4, 1894.  Buried: Oak Grove Cemetery (Conway).

Magdalena “Lena” Luck L.  Dec 8, 1844 – Feb 8, 1897. Buried: Oak Grove Cemetery (Conway) 

Franie (Varena, Brena) Loetscher Rou. Oct. 27, 1869 – January 17, 1947.  Married Peter Rou (born in Switzerland), Buried: Primrose United Methodist Cemetery, Pulaski Co, Arkansas.

Christian F. Loetscher. Nov 12, 1874 – August 19, 1935. Buried: Colorado Springs, Co.

John Andrew Loetscher. May 13, 1882 – Mar 19, 1958. Buried: Primrose Methodist Church Cemetery, Pulaski Co.

Carle R Loetscher. Dec 3, 1889 – June 18, 1931. Buried: Saint Boniface Church Cemetery, New Dixie (Perry County), Arkansas  

Joseph Reese Luke. Oct. 13, 1842 – Feb. 7, 1925. Buried: Marcus Hill Cemetery, Enola (Faulkner Co.)

Sarah Margaret Luke. Feb. 22, 1849 – April 4, 1885. Buried: Pearson Cemetery (Faulkner County).