NOTABLE PEOPLE OF OUACHITA COUNTY
Shawn Andrews (1982 - ) is a former college and professional football guard who played for the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants. He played college football at the University of Arkansas and was a two-time All-American. He was born in Camden and graduated from Camden Fairview High School in 2000. Andrews earned numerous sports awards and Prep Football Report's first-team All-American honors.
Stacy Andrews (1981 - ) is an American football guard, who is currently a free agent for the NFL. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2004 and has played for the Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks. He played college football at Ole Miss. He was born in Camden and graduated from Camden Fairview High School in 1999. He is the older brother of Shawn Andrews.
Beth Brickell (1936 - ) is a prolific writer, actress, and producer who has appeared in, written, directed, or produced numerous movies and TV series. In 1986, she wrote an eighteen-article investigative series for the Arkansas Gazette about the 1957 disappearance of local attorney, Maud Crawford. She has recently published a book based on that series of articles. She grew up in Camden in the 1950s and graduated from Camden High School in 1954. She currently resides in Massachusetts.
Scott Bull (1953 - ) is a former college and professional football player, who played three seasons as a quarterback with the San Francisco 49ers in the 1970s. He played college football at the University of Arkansas and was the 1975 Southwest Conference Player of the Year. He was born in Camden.
Michael Burks (1957-2012) - Born in Milwaukee, Michael Burks grew up in Camden, and as an adult, made his home in North Little Rock. Known as “Iron Man” for his long sets, Burks was an award-winning blues guitarist. A popular performer at King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, he won the Living Blues Magazine’s Critics’ Award for Best Guitarist, and the Sonny Payne Award for Blues Excellence.
George Washington Hays (1863-1927), the 24th governor of Arkansas, was born in Camden (Ouachita County) on September 23, 1863, to Thomas Hays, a farmer, and Parthenia Jane Ross. After receiving a legal education at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, and studying with the firm of Gaughan and Sifford in Camden, Hays began his own law practice in his hometown in 1897. He served as Arkansas's governor from 1913 to 1917.
Morris Chapman is a songwriter, worship leader, and minister who is a three time Dove nominee. He received a Grammy nomination from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 1983 for best soul gospel performance for the album “Long time friends” which featured the songs, “Bethlehem Morning,” “We Remember You,” and “We give you praise.” He was born in Camden but moved to Las Vegas in 1957.
Barbara Hendricks (1948 - ) is an internationally acclaimed lyric soprano with a broad musical career that includes performances at major opera houses and various jazz venues throughout the world. She has achieved world-wide recognition as a human rights advocate. She was born in Stephens, Arkansas and currently resides in Switzerland.
General Doyle Overton Hickey (1892-1961) was born in Rector, Arkansas. He grew up in Ageeville and attended school in Camden, graduating with the class of 1909. He graduated from Hendrix College in 1913 and studied law until he enlisted for WWI. During WWII, Hickey was Chief of Staff for General Douglas MacArthur and received the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star and many other medals. The late Mae Coen of Camden was his aunt. He once taught school in the Lakeside community near Mustin Lake and had a job as a night clerk at the Ouachita Hotel.
Dr. James Hildreth (1956 - ) is a world renowned immunologist and AIDS/HIV researcher. Dr. Hildreth was the first African American Rhodes Scholar from Arkansas. He was born in Camden and graduated from Camden High School in 1974. He is currently the president and chief executive officer of Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee.
Robert L. Hite (1920 - 2015 ) was one of the few surviving members of the famed WWII Doolittle Raiders, who were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for their service during the war. He was the co-pilot on the 16th and final aircraft to launch from the USS Hornet in what was then known as the “Tokyo Raid” and was later named the “Doolittle Raid.” He was captured during the mission and spent 40 months in Japanese captivity as a prisoner of war before being liberated by U.S. troops Aug. 20, 1945. He moved to Camden following the war, where he worked in the hotel industry.
Little Willy John (William Edward John) 1937 – 1968) was born in Camden, and lived in the Cullendale area, until 1941 when his family relocated to Michigan. He had numerous hit recordings in the 1950s, including All Around the World, Need Your Love So Bad, and Fever. His career was cut short when he was convicted of manslaughter in 1966 and sentenced to the Washington State Penitentiary, where he died in 1968. He was posthumously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
Benjamin Travis Laney, Jr. (1896-1977), the 33rd governor of Arkansas, was born on November 25, 1896, in Ouachita County, the son of Benjamin Travis Laney and Martha Ellen Saxon. He was one of eleven children and his father was a farmer. He entered Hendrix College in 1915 but left in 1916 to teach before serving in the U.S. Navy during World War I. He received a BA from Arkansas State Normal School (now UCA) in 1924. Benjamin Travis Laney, Jr. served two terms as governor of the state from 1945-1949.
Nick McDonald (1928 - 2005) was born in Camden and graduated from Camden High School. In 1963, during his employment as a police officer and patrolman for the Dallas Police Department, he received international acclaim when he apprehended and arrested Lee Harvey Oswald following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Before his death in 2005, he wrote the book, Oswald and I, relating the events of the arrest.
David Hampton Pryor (1934 - present), the 39th governor of Arkansas, was born on August 29, 1934, in Camden to William Edgar Pryor and Susie Pryor. His father and grandfather were both sheriffs. His mother was the first Arkansas woman to run for elective office. David Pryor held four different political offices during his career: state House of Representatives member, U.S. congressman, governor, and U.S. senator. He served as Arkansas's governor from 1975-1979.
Matthew Herman Rothert, Sr. (1904 - 1989) was an avid coin collector (numismatic) and author of several books related to the field of numismatics. He advocated for and played a key role in getting congress to add the motto "In God We Trust” to U. S. paper currency. He received the American Numismatic Association's Medal of Merit in 1960 and later served as the organization's president. In 1973, he received the Farran Zerbe Award, which is the organization's highest accolade. He was the founder and owner of the Camden Furniture Company and lived in Camden from 1926 until his death in 1989.
Ne-Yo (Shaffer Smith) was born on October 18, 1982 in Camden and lived in the area until the age of 8 years old when his mother relocated the family to Las Vegas. Ne-Yo is a prolific songwriter, singer, music producer, and actor who has written and produced music for stars such as Beyonce', Rhianna, Kanye' West, and Celine' Dion. Ne-Yo appeared in an episode of the seventh season of CSI: NY as a hit-man, under his birth name of Shaffer Smith and was a highlighted personality on a 2015 episode of CBS Sunday Morning.
Tommy Tuberville (1954 - ) is a high profile college football coach who has successfully served as head coach for several major college teams, including Auburn University. Tuberville was the 2004 recipient of the Walter Camp and Bear Bryant Coach of the Year awards. He was born in Camden and graduated from Harmony Grove High School in 1972.
Gertrude Weaver (1898 - 2015) was named America’s oldest living person and the oldest living African American in the world on July 4, 2014 when she celebrated her 116th birthday. Gertrude was born in southwest Arkansas and has spent most of her life in Ouachita County until her death in 2015.