—A Part of the Civil War Discovery Trail —
Patrick Cleburne found a home, friends and a profession in Helena.
When the Civil War began, he supported his adopted state, writing
to his brother, Richard, "I am with Arkansas in weal and woe."
From Clerk to Lawyer
Two years after arriving in Helena, Patrick Cleburne became
a partner in the Grant and Nash Drugstore. When he and his
partner sold the store, Cleburne used his profits to enter into
the study of law. Becoming a lawyer offered Cleburne what
he most wanted, an "avenue to distinction and civil
"These people have been my friends"
By the time he became a citizen in 1855, Patrick Cleburne
had entered wholeheartedly into Helena's social life. He
formed a chess club, joined the local Masonic order, and was
an active member of St. John's Episcopal Church. Cleburne
counted among his friends John J. Hornor, James Millinder
Hanks, Thomas C. Hindman and James C. Tappan — some of
Helena's most influential men. The young Irish immigrant
found a home and friends in Helena.
The Yell Rifles
During the summer of 1860, as the presidential election drew
near, many Southern communities formed militia companies
to defending the South and her institutions.
Among those formed in Helena was the Yell Rifles, named
after former Arkansas governor and Mexican War hero
Archibald Yell. The men elected Patrick Cleburne their
Leaving for War
In the spring of 1861, Patrick Cleburne and the 115 men of
the Yell Rifles marched off to war. Before boarding the
steamboat for Camp Rector, Cleburne addressed his men and
the citizens of Helena at the Methodist Church.
As they escorted the men to the boat, the citizens of Helena
could not know that most of the men, including Patrick
Ronayne Cleburne, would never see Arkansas again.
Top right: St. John's Episcopal Church, 1864
Middle right: Patrick Cleburne's Book of Common Prayer
Now at the Phillips County Museum, this book is the only possession of Cleburne's known to be in Helena.
Bottom right: Patrick Cleburne in 1864
Hundreds of people attended Patrick Cleburne's farewell address at the Methodist Church, a frame building located on Porter Street at Walnut.