On this day in 1851, one of Arkansas’s governors was born in Jenny Lind.
According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, John Sebastian Little was the first male child born in the newly created Sebastian County.
HIs parents, Jesse and Elizabeth Tatum Little were pioneer settlers.
In his early 20’s, he taught school and studied law. In 1877, he married Elizabeth Jane Irwin and the couple had five children.
He became active in Arkansas politics after making a home in Logan County. After serving the state as a prosecuting attorney, judge, and congressman Little was elected as governor in 1906.
He stood for “free silver” prohibition, and antitrust legislation.
As governor, he promised free public school textbooks, a textile school, more support for the state university, suppression of gambling, and road improvements.
The problem, he only served one month.
Two days before his inauguration, Little became sick and disappeared. He went back home to Greenwood and left his son, Paul in charge of the state. He suffered from a nervous disorder.
He never returned to Little Rock.
Little died on October 29, 1916 at the Arkansas State Hospital for Nervous Diseases.
On this day in 1836, Benton incorporated.
History records say 300 years earlier, Hernando de Soto traveled through the area around the Saline River. They found Native Americans had settled in the area.
A trail marker sits near the junction of U.S. Highways 67 and 70.
The town is home to 13 properties registered on National Historic Places, including Indian mounds.
The town was named after U.S. Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri Territory.
The first mayor was Rezin Davis who deeded eighty acres to the town.
Joshua Smith opened the first store in 1834.
Benton hit the big screen in a few well-known movies. In 1973, White Lightning starring Burt Reynolds was filmed in the town.
Parts of Sling Blade were also filmed in Benton.