Date Original



This letter from James Yell to Sam Williams discusses cases before the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Biographical/Historical Note

James Yell was born on March 10, 1811, in Bedford County, Tennessee, the son of Pearcy Yell and Jane Gist Yell. James Yell taught school for three years and served as Bedford County, Tennessee magistrate. He married Permelia Young in Bedford County, Tennessee, on July 12, 1832. They had two children, Lizzie M. Yell and Fountain Pitt Yell. The family moved to Pine Bluff, Arkansas, in 1838 at the request of James’ uncle Archibald Yell, who had also recently moved to Arkansas. James Yell practiced law and was politically active, serving as state senator from Jefferson County from 1842-1845. In 1852, he helped incorporate the Little Rock and Napoleon Railroad and served on its board. He was also a Whig candidate for governor in 1856 and ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for the Confederate Senate in 1861. Yell served as a general in the state militia before the Civil War. During the secession convention Yell was appointed major general of the newly-formed two-division "Army of Arkansas." His appointment was short-lived; he commanded troops until the summer of 1861 when the Arkansas governor transferred troops to Confederate command. Yell protested the action and was removed from command on July 23, 1851. He died in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, from pneumonia on September 5, 1867.

Physical Description

Document, 8.5" x 11"

Geographical Area

Arkansas; Tennessee





Resource Type



James Yell letter, SMC.021.009


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

James Yell letter, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


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United States History