Arkansas, USA

[seal of the state of Arkansas]
The 25th state to be admitted to the Union, 15 June 1836. The Indians of eastern Arkansas were visited by Father Marquette on his voyage down the Mississippi in 1673. Jesuit missionaries labored among them as early as 1689 and until 1730, with little encouragement, however, one of them, Father Paul du Poisson, having been killed by the Indians of Mississippi in 1729. An earlier victim was Father Nicholas Foucault of the Foreign Seminary, killed also in Mississippi, in 1702. When Arkansas, as part of Louisiana, was ceded to the United States in 1803, the memory of Catholicity had almost died out. Missionary priests from the Diocese of New Orleans visited the region in 1822 and 1824, and about 1826 a chapel was built at the Post of Arkansas and another soon after at Pine Bluff, although in 1830 there was still no resident priest. In the next two years two priests were sent there by Bishop Rosati of Saint Louis, but little progress was made until a bishop was named to care for the 700 scattered Catholics of the territory. The diocese of Little Rock comprises the state. Catholic influence on the place names of the state is shown in

  • Gethsemane
  • Saint Charles
  • Saint Francis
  • Saint James
  • Saint Paul

See also,