Who is John Barleycorn? Colonial Arkansas 1803 - 1876 1876 - 1919 1920 - 1950
In a popular antebellum Arkansas story, a backwoodsman bought a 5-gallon barrel of whiskey, only to return a week later for another.

"Surely you haven't drank that whiskey already?" inquired the astonished merchant.

"It ain't so much," replied the backwoodsman. "There are six of us, counting the kids, and we have no cow."

This exhibit by noted Arkansas historian Ben Johnson focuses on the three-century struggle between the forces of prohibition and their opponents within the Natural State. The long-running saga of this attempt at social reform in Arkansas demonstrates that efforts to legislate morality are seldom as straightforward as they initially seem.

The site is divided into chronological narratives, but each section contains some surprises.

Throughout the site, click on any image to enlarge


Old State House Museum
Old State House Museum