The Jackson County Historical Society will hold its summer meeting on Sunday, July 28th, at 2:00 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church parish house. The speaker will be Richard Butler from Little Rock, who will talk about his great granduncle, Harmon Remmel, for whom the town of Remmel, Remmel Avenue and Remmel Park were all named.
Harmon L. Remmel was the son of German immigrants who came to America to get rid of the increasing militarism in their country in the 1840s. Born in 1852 in Stratford, New York, he moved to Newport when he was twenty-four and joined his brother-in-law, William Burdick Empie (Margaret Van Dyke’s grandfather) in the lumber business. Harmon Remmel was the timber buyer and William Empie was the mill manager, and they sold cut-up timber to the Singer Sewing Machine Company for sewing machine cabinets. He was a member of the State House of Representatives for Jackson County in 1886, (and an ardent Republican) and he ran for governor in 1894, 1896 and 1900. In 1894, Remmel moved to Little Rock and became the Arkansas and Texas representative for the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York. He organized the Mercantile Trust Company and then the Banker’s Trust Company, and he served as president of each bank. He was a delegate-at-large to various Republican National conventions, and he served as a member of the Republican National Committee from 1912 until his death in 1927. Richard C. Butler, Jr., a cousin of Newport’s Margaret Van Dyke, is a graduate of the Little Rock public schools and Washington and Lee University. He was an attorney in the Trust Department of Commercial National Bank in Little Rock for many years, but in recent years he has devoted his energies to historic preservation, restoring homes in the Quapaw Quarter and in old Washington. He has long been active in the Arkansas Historical Association and in the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas. His talk promises to be informative and engaging, and the public is invited.