My greatest debts for this study belong to my oral sources. The story
tellers of Conway County first led me to this narrative. I especially wis
to thank Polly Church, Ruth Cupit, Earl Bentley, Jane Emde, Clarki
Turney, Robert Cruce, Alpha English, Blanche McCray, Mrs. Gran
Reddig, and Poindexter Fiser, who shared information about their an
cestors for my story, which in some cases does not flatter them.
Librarians at the University
of Central Arkansas, the University o
Southern Mississippi, and the Arkansas History Commission provide
much assistance in finding and using relevant materials. Special thank
go to Sandy Breeding and Karolyn
Thompson of the interlibrary loan
departments at UCA and USM. Meg Hacker of the National Archive
Regional Center in Fort Worth helped me get the federal court cas
files concerning fraudulent Conway
County elections. Rod Ross of the
legislative office of the National Archives in Washington, D.C., afte
much hunting, located the four volumes of manuscript testimony con
cerning the Clayton murder and Conway County elections, which
forms the basis of much of this study.
I greatly benefited from the critical readings of all or parts of thi
work by my colleagues at the University of Central Arkansas, Waddy
Moore, Cathy Urwin, David Petersen, and, as always, my wife, Debbie
Barnes. Besides reading the manuscript, Tom Dillard gave me nu
merous leads on sources from his vast knowledge of Arkansas history
early draft of a section of this work was published in the
Historical Quarterly,
and I thank particularly editor Jeannie Whayne fo
her interest and advice. I especially thank Charles C. Bolton, Mark
Schantz, and Duke University Press's insightful reviewers, who read
later versions of the manuscript and provided valuable comments and
criticism. My friend Ralph Gallucci encouraged me to write this book
even though it seemed to be an unconventional career turn. Thanks
also to Valerie Millholland of Duke University Press for her support
Graduate assistants Edman Wilkes, Mick Cabe, and Sharon Allen
helped with many tasks ranging from counting census entries to biblio-
graphic work. A special thanks goes to Donna Johnson for her assis-
tance in so many ways.
This study, like much of the writing of southern history, stands
under the looming shadow of C. Vann Woodward, who spent his ado-
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