I n July 1905, a middle-aged couple living on a small farm near Murfreesboro, Arkansas, took on the biggest obligation of their lives when they finally decided to buy a special 243-acre tract lying beside the county road only a short distance back toward town.  About a year later, the husband found two strange little crystals on the surface of the new property and soon became known as the first person outside of South Africa to discover diamonds at their original source?in this instance a known volcanic deposit geologists had examined periodically since the 1840s. [3]

    The event assured widespread name recognition for John Wesley Huddleston, the discoverer; but the ensuing publicity told very little about the man, himself.  Unless they knew him personally or saw his image on a “picture post card,” those outside the Murfreesboro area could only imagine the appearance of that lucky rural Arkansan:  newspapers, magazines, and journals, the news media of the time, carried no photographs or sketches of him.  Their reports focused upon mining groups and others involved with the new Pike County diamond field and rarely included even a brief comment from the person who set it all in motion. [4]


    Even basic details of the discovery varied from the beginning, thereby leaving ample room for the growth of imaginative stories over the years.  Boosted to some extent by Huddleston's own embellishments, the folk tales were already assuming a life of their own before his death on November 12, 1941, at almost eighty years of age. [5]   Then, inevitably, more variations appeared after he left the scene.  In 1949, a journalist visiting Murfreesboro listened awhile and concluded that John Huddleston “now ranks in local tradition with the legendary Paul Bunyan of lumber camps.” [6]   Had the writer returned a few years later as private interests began promoting the diamond field as a unique tourist attraction, he would have found the legend sprinkled with outright myths-in-the-making. [7]


    The most influential collection of tales finally appeared in 1976, in Howard A. Millar's memoir about his long experience at the Pike County diamond field. [8]  In that account, Huddleston emerged basically as a “son of a sharecropper,” a “dreamy backwoodsman who loved to roam the forests, seeking buried treasures and ‘prospecting' for precious metals . . .”  Buying “160 acres” in “1906,” the lucky prospector found diamonds on it later that year and quickly sold out for $36,000 cash, “to be paid in $10 bills.”  Then he proceeded to squander his fortune, Millar said.  Part of the money was siphoned off somehow during an ill-fated second marriage.  “He also bought several pieces of property around the courthouse square in Murfreesboro and two farms near Arkadelphia [in adjoining Clark County].  In each case he put down only a minimum payment and in time lost what he had invested.” [9]

    In Millar's version of events, a lack of both ambition and good judgment finally left John Huddleston broke and virtually begging for loans.  The memoir failed to clarify when all of this happened, but it implied the downfall began soon after the Discoverer sold his property in 1906.  Neglecting to mention the 1930s and the impact of the Great Depression, Millar's disjointed account left the impression Huddleston fell into poverty long before the onset of those hard times, apparently before the prosperous decade of the Twenties. [10]


    As the memoir suggested, personal limitations affected John Huddleston's encounter with fame and fortune.  He clearly contributed to some of those tales unfolding in the early decades; yet, being totally illiterate and evidently inarticulate in dealing with the public, he could hardly control the overall process. [11]   Gangly; characteristically serious and unsmiling; burdened to some extent by a moderate harelip?he hardly inspired journalists or scholars to probe beneath the popular imagery.  Well into middle age, a thick, black mustache accented the facial expression that some interpreted as an unfriendly attitude.  Later as the aging process and a clean-shaven face softened his features, personal tragedies intervened to help maintain the seemingly uninviting appearance. [12]



Left, John Huddleston the Discoverer, late 1906.  By all accounts, he stood well over six feet tall.  Photographs from Crater of Diamonds archive. [13]

Left, a mellower John Huddleston, c. 1930. A harelip is clear on his upper-right side (zoom in).

    Of course, mere illiteracy does not imply John Huddleston was ignorant or basically inarticulate.  Howard Millar, himself, called the elderly Discoverer “rather intelligent,” “likeable,” and “entertaining” in private conversation; and journalist Tom Shiras clearly had a favorable impression of him in the mid 1920s. [14]   Yet, those writing about Huddleston never indicated he had given a public speech or had even commented when appearing as a guest of honor at events.  Journalists, scholars, and others who encountered him rarely used even a brief quotation.  Although Howard Millar's description of the man overstated the effects of the harelip and the serious expression, it made a valid point in underscoring the general impact of speech and public personality.


    For those pursuing the real John Huddleston, the illiteracy of the man, his wife, and many others within their extended family looms as a handicap?a barrier that has caused even leading family genealogists-historians to fall back upon Millar's collection of tales. [15]   Nevertheless, in those days reading-and-writing was a smaller part of the language of rural life than it is now.  Among other forms of expression, John Huddleston bought and sold property and paid taxes, and in Arkansas almost everything of value appeared in the county tax assessments (at one point, dogs over three months of age were added to the personal-property list).  Huddleston and his wife Sarah produced a substantial number of public documents before his discovery of diamonds; afterwards, they had over $40,000 at their disposal and generated an amazing quantity of tax entries and real-estate deeds, along with numerous court cases.

    The public records reflect more than John Huddleston's property ownership, economic conditions, values, and character; they also tell a great deal about his forebears and extended family group.  Generally, they help define the man in relation to his socio-economic context.  In the process they challenge basic tenets of the prevailing Huddleston image:  that he was essentially a foolish farmer-prospector who sprang from a poor rural background?the sort of man who seemed predestined to waste his fortune soon after selling his diamond-bearing land.


[1] Banks, Arkansas Diamonds: Dreams, Myths, and Reality (© 1994, 1997; online edition available at , Pike County Archives and History Society); summarized as “Diamond Mining,” Encyclopedia of Arkansas (2006), online at .  In the summer of 1908, the online book will be expanded and titled Crater of Diamonds: Dreams, Myths and Reality.


[2] When Huddleston died, his nephew Jefferson D. (Jeff) Riley served informally as administrator of his estate.  Upon Jeff Riley's death, his daughters Rita and Clarene became custodians of Huddleston's belongings.  Rita (Mrs. James Arnold) lives in Nashville, Arkansas, about fifteen miles southwest of Murfreesboro; Clarene (Mrs. Richard Musgrave) lives nearby.  Huddleston's small collection of photographs evidently became part of the records collection of his brother-in-law Lee J. Wagner, and later was donated to the Crater of Diamonds archive (see Bibliographic Note 1, below).


[3] Pike County, Deed Record L, 340, Warranty Deed with Lien, H. M. and M. J. Ross, W. G. and Mattie McBrayer, F. E. and Nellie McBrayer, and Florence McBrayer to J. W. Huddleston, July 15, 1905 (land described as East of the River, Northwest quarter of Section 28 of Township 8 South of Base Line, Range 25 West of 5 th Principal Meridian, 112.06 acres [abbreviated form:  Section 28, Township 8, Range 25 W, or 28-8-25], and part of the NE ¼ of Section 28, Township 8, Range 25, 131.50 acres); “Background of Discovery,” Banks, Arkansas Diamonds.

    Property usually was deeded to husbands, and sometimes to wives and single women in their own right.  Under State law, however, marriage bestowed the right of “dower and homestead” upon wives and “curtsey interest” upon husbands, giving them legally defined, lifelong interest in a spouse's properties.  The law required their signature on deeds, mortgages, or other related documents.  In case of illiteracy, State law required that a witness certify the seller's “mark” (typically an X ).


    In recent decades, Huddleston has received credit for discovering the first diamond “pipe” in North America; but in the early days virtually all leading geologists and mining engineers agreed the event was much more significant.  The basic sources:

    George F. Kunz and Henry S. Washington, “Note on the Forms of Arkansas Diamonds,” American Journal of Science , 4 th Series, 24 (1907), 275:  evidence “seems conclusive” that diamonds are coming from the peridotite [the basic volcanic rock], and “if so, this is evidently the first occurrence of diamonds in place on either the North or South American Continent.”  (At the time, the only significant diamond-mining known outside Africa was in South America; and that, as all activity outside Africa, was recognized as alluvial [“placer”] mining.)  The point was further clarified in Kunz and Washington, “Occurrence of Diamonds in Arkansas,” Mineral Resources of the United States, 1906 (1907), 1250:  “As this is the only place outside of South Africa where diamonds have been found in peridotite . . .”

    John T. Fuller, “Diamond Mine in Pike County, Arkansas,” Engineering and Mining Journal, 87, No. 3 (January 16, 1909), 154:  the Arkansas diamond field is the first “original matrix” discovered in the Western Hemisphere.

    Hugh D. Miser and Clarence S. Ross [U.S. Geological Survey], “Diamond-Bearing Peridotite in Pike County, Arkansas,” Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institute for 1923 (U.S. Government Printing Office, 1925), 261-262:  clearly stated that the only original diamond-bearing formations were in South Africa and Arkansas, while deposits in Brazil and elsewhere were placer.  Also, for example, Robert S. Lanier, “Has Arkansas a Diamond Field,” American Review of Reviews , 36 (September 1907), 301-303.

    In the popular press, an exceptionally clear statement appeared in a well-researched article in a Sunday edition of The Commercial Appeal , Memphis, Tennessee.  According to experts, it said, the big Pike County pipe was “the only spot in the Western Hemisphere where the diamond has been found in the original matrix, or, in plain English, in the solid rock from which the diamonds are supposed to have been derived.  South Africa is the only other locality up to the present time in which the diamond has been found in the matrix.  Previous to 1870, when the South African fields were discovered, all the diamonds found since the beginning of history had been recovered from river beds or alluvial deposits, to which the stones had apparently been carried from their original resting place.” (“Status of Diamond Fields of Pike County, Arkansas,” Commercial Appeal, March 21, 1909, page unclear on available microfilm copies.)

    At first, editors of the New York Times adopted the cautious statement used often by non-professional publications:  “The Pike County diamond field is the first to be discovered in the United States.” (“The Diamonds of Arkansas,” August 4, 1907, p. 6.)  Later, the Times followed Kunz's lead, referring to “what geologists believe to be the only native diamond bearing matrix in the United States and the only known geological counterpart of the South African diamond area.” (“Diamond Mines are Busy in Arkansas,” June 14, 1931, Sec. 8, p. 7.)


    John C. Branner, another prominent expert and a former Arkansas State Geologist, might have raised some temporary doubt in 1909, after one of his field trips to South America.  In the Engineering and Mining Journal , he challenged John Fuller's recent statement in that publication “to the effect that ‘diamonds have never been found in South America in the true matrix.'” Not true, said Branner:  “Certain washings near Diamantina in the state of Minas Geraes took their material entirely from itacolumite decomposed in place.  This locality I have visited and I make this statement from personal observations.  The late James E. Mills stated to me that he had seen a diamond in place in the itacolumite.  Recently Prof. O. A. Derby, the director of the Geological Survey of Brazil, has seen a diamond from Bahia in the original quartzite.” (“Some Facts and Corrections Regarding the Diamond Region of Arkansas,” Engineering and Mining Journal, 87 [February 13, 1909], 372; reprinted as “Didn't Overlook Diamond Rock,” Arkansas Gazette , February 27, 1909, 12.)

    Branner neglected to attach dates to these events.  In any case, the suspected sites evidently turned out to be unusual sedimentary deposits.  For early background on Brazilian diamond mining: .


    After the Great Depression of the 1930s, writers tended to revert to the “first in North America” theme.  A feature article in 1947, however, demonstrated that the real significance of Huddleston's discovery had not been forgotten.  Repeating points made earlier in the Commercial Appeal, the author reminded readers:  “Therefore, the priceless dramatic facts of the Pike county [sic] diamond mines are that (1) there is only one other world phenomenon like it ? the one in South Africa ? and (2) . . .” (Glenn A. Green, “May Re-establish Field Day for Diamond Hunters,” Arkansas Democrat , Sunday Magazine, April 6, 1947, pp. 6-7.)  Green mentioned he had read Miser's report published by the Smithsonian (6).


    As discussed later, the volcanic formation had been surveyed and mapped by State Geologist John C. Branner in 1888.  Prior to that, at least three geologists wrote reports about it (see the comment in Banks, Diamonds, “Background”).


[4] Publicity between the discovery and Huddleston's death is summarized later in this study, especially in Bibliographic Notes 3a and 4.


Bibliographic Note 1 .   Huddleston photographs .  The available photographic record for John Huddleston and family is limited but invaluable.  Almost all of the small collection in the Crater of Diamonds archive was originally with the records of Lee J. Wagner, Huddleston's brother-in-law.  Although a few items probably came from John Huddleston's personal belongings upon his death, Wagner worked with the group that bought the diamond field in late 1906, and he collected photographs until finally leaving his job as property custodian in the early 1940s.  In any case, Wagner's records included copies of two key images taken by journalist Tom Shiras in the 1920s (Wagner accompanied Shiras and Huddleston during a visit to the diamond field, as described in “Single, Older, and Still Resourceful” and in Bibliographic Note 4, below).

    Currently, the following are in the Wagner Collection, Photographs, Crater of Diamonds State Park archive (no Huddleston prints or negatives were found in the extensive vertical files of the Department of Parks and Tourism, Little Rock, “Crater of Diamonds”):  Files 23.3, 23.56, 23.66, all three of an elderly and clean-shaven Huddleston, visiting with Wagner and others at the diamond field; 23.80, Shiras' excellent shot of a well-dressed Huddleston, clean-shaven, kneeling and pointing to the spot where he found the first diamond; 23.83, distant shot of Huddleston and others at the field beside a small test plant; 23.100 (Shiras), Huddleston standing in the field, slight harelip visible; 23.101, faint image of Huddleston and others at the field, beside a big cut left by a mining company in 1920-1922; 23.108, good picture post card of the middle-aged Discoverer, still with mustache, c. 1915(?); 23.110, excellent family portrait, c. 1908, Huddleston with mustache); and 23.112, Huddleston and Sam Reyburn of Little Rock, who headed the group taking an option on the property in September 1906.

    Another copy of 23.80 turned up in the Millar Collection, Photographs, unnumbered file, Crater archive.


[5] “Discoverer of Diamonds in Arkansas Dies,” Arkansas Gazette , November 13, 1941, p. 2; “Discoverer of Diamond Field Buried Today,” Arkansas Democrat , November 13, 1941, p. 14; “John W. Huddleston,” Pike County Courier, November 14, 1941, p. 1; “John W. Huddleston,” Nashville News, November 14, p. 1.  Although the writer of the obituary declared Huddleston 84 years of age, the best evidence indicates he was born in early 1862.  The disruption of the Civil War apparently obscured his exact birthdate:  his father, David Fielding Huddleston, joined the Confederate army in 1862 and the family did not reappear in the regular federal census of Pike County until the survey taken June 14, 1880, when his parents declared John Wesley's age as 17. (Original census sheets, 1880, Pike County, Thompson Township, Sheet No. 12, Dwelling-Family 77/77, census p. 419B.)  The survey sheet of June 18, 1860 included only David F., his wife America, and two sons, James D. (age 5) and Louis J. (2). (Thompson, 4, 28/28, 436.)

    John Huddleston, himself, usually varied his age after reaching adulthood; but generally his statements and other data indicate birth in early 1862.  His sister Harriett's firm birthday ? April 4, 1863 ? helps pinpoint the time.  The day and month of his birth never appeared in the records reviewed for this study, and the census of 1900 entered “Un” [unknown] for the month. For highlights see the Census, 1900, Thompson Township, Sheet No. 4, Dwelling-Family 60/60, census p. 93B (age “40” ? the first time he suggested a birth-date of 1860, which later became the standard for family genealogists and others); Census, 1910, Clark County, Caddo Township, 16/18, census p. 128 (age 50); Census, 1920, Pike, Thompson, Sheet 1-B, 15/15 (age 55); Census, 1930, Thompson, Sheet 2-B, 44/48, (age 67); Marriage License, John W. Huddleston and Lizzie Curtis, December 28, 1921, Pike County, Marriage Record F, p. 311 (age 59).  The ages given in 1900 and 1910 might have been adjusted because of the disparity between John and his wife Sarah, who evidently was born about 1856 (Census, 1870, Thompson, 58/58, p. 235, family of William M. and Lucinda Keys, including Sarah A., age 14; Census, 1900, Sarah A. Huddleston, born October 1853, age 46; Census, 1910, Clark County, age 51).  After becoming wealthy, the Huddlestons moved to Arkadelphia, where Sarah might have been inclined to shed a few years.

    The most detailed and reliable family genealogy initially used 1860 as John Huddleston's birth-date; but later the author changed the master copy to 1862 (Georgia Belle Huddleston Evans, “Fielding Huddleston of Parson Co., N. C., and His Descendants,” privately distributed [Nashville, Arkansas:  1990], p. 49, original typed manuscript, 138 pp., with slight revision and introduction added, Pike County Archives and History Society [PCAHS], Murfreesboro, Arkansas; copy of original only, in File FHF 637, Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives [SARA], Washington, Arkansas).  Another substantial but less reliable work used only 1860:  Patsy Ruth Mackey Stewart, “History of the Keys Family,” privately distributed, two volumes, 1986, p. 16 of largest volume, both now in the custody of Shirley Strawn, Murfreesboro.

    Basic information from the census survey sheets for Pike County, 1860-1880 and 1900, is available at , in the Online Records Library ( for 1880, the transcriber erroneously entered 7 for Huddleston's age instead of 17, as in the original census)


Bibliographic Note 1a .  The original census sheets for 1840-1880 and 1900-1930 are available on microfilm at many archives and libraries (a fire in Washington, D. C. destroyed or damaged much of the census of 1890 before it was released).  The census of 1940 is scheduled for release on April 1, 2012 (federal law conceals the information in each census for seventy-two years).  Slightly abbreviated versions of the census are printed and often posted online by history societies or other organizations; Pike County, 1840-1880 and 1900-1930 have been printed by the Pike County Archives and History Society (PCAHS), Murfreesboro.  As noted above, those prior to 1920 are online.  The remainder will be posted in the future.

    After Pike County was established in 1833, the census reflected the gradual division of the county into more than a dozen administrative townships as federal land surveys were completed and various areas were opened to public entry (these differed from the Township Plats, the standard federal survey maps discussed below).  John Huddleston's forebears appeared first in Missouri Township (southeastern Pike County) and moved westward into Thompson Township (around Murfreesboro and the Little Missouri River) and other areas as they opened.


[6] Junius B. Wood, “America's 35 Acres of Diamonds,” Nation's Business, 37 (March 1949), 63-64.


[7] The trend is reviewed in Bibliographic Notes 5 and 6.  For full context, see Banks, Diamonds, available online at .


[8]   Howard A. Millar, It Was Finders-Keepers at America's Only Diamond Mine (New York:  Carlton Press, 1976), 18-27.  For a detailed account of Millar's involvement in Pike County, see Banks, Diamonds, “Northeast Slope” and following sections.  A Midwestern mining engineer, Millar joined his father, Austin Q., in Murfreesboro in early 1914 and remained until retiring to Fayetteville in the late 1960s.

    The memoir and Millar's general influence on Huddleston's image are treated in Bibliographic Notes 5 and 6.  Other prominent examples of his effect:  family genealogies (noted above); displays at Crater of Diamonds State Park and literature for the park's annual John Huddleston Day celebration.  Among other interesting items, a long poem-song written in 1985 employed almost all of Millar's basic themes, including these about Huddleston's tragic fate:

        .        .        .        .        .

       He fell in love with a carnival girl,

        A blonde from Arkadelphia.

        John thought he was rich, indeed,

        But she was even wealthier.


        She soon had all of his money,

        Was sure that it would take her far,

        And while John shopped in a general store,

        His bride ran away with his car.

        .        .        .        .        .        .

        John Huddleston died in poverty

        And was buried near the vale

        Where millions of diamonds still remain

        In crumbly volcanic shale.


       No headstone, no inscription marks

        His final resting place,

        Just an ordinary river rock

        With nothing on its face.



        John Huddleston, John Huddleston,

        Why did you ever sell your mine?

        You could have been the richest man

        Below the Mason-Dixon line. (Magdalene Collums,

        Hempstead County History Society, Washington,

        Arkansas, “John Huddleston and His Diamond

        Mine” [1985], File SF 269, Southwest Arkansas

        Regional Archives.)


[9] Finders-Keepers, 18ff.  Millar began by calling Huddleston a “rather intelligent” person with outdoor skills.  At another point he said they were good friends and “With all his faults, John was a likeable character and an entertaining conversationalist.” (26.)  In between, he proceeded to convey less flattering images of the rural Arkansan.

    Millar said he first met Huddleston in 1914 and “came to know him well, and to feel great pity for him when his sudden wealth was gone and he fell upon hard times.” (18.)  Huddleston, however, lived in Arkadelphia from early 1908 to early 1918, and during that time was in Murfreesboro only for visits.  Millar was away in military service when Huddleston moved back to Murfreesboro in March 1918, and was discharged in early 1919.  Evidently, the two had no significant interaction until about 1920.  The personal memories Millar referred to in the book take on some meaning only in the time-frame of the early ‘20s?not in the context of 1914-1920, when Huddleston clearly prospered.  Largely, the kernels of truth in Millar's account apply to events following Huddleston's disastrous second marriage in late 1921 (discussed later).

    To some extent, Millar's poorly organized treatment, particularly the lack of chronology, resulted from faulty recollection and failure to refresh his memory with records on hand.  His introduction to Finders-Keepers cautioned readers :  “Much of what I have written here is based on my memory.  So many years have passed since the early days of diamond mining in Arkansas; however, I have done my best to tell what I know and to do so honestly and accurately.  Any errors are mine, but they are unintentional.” (11.) 

    Twice, Millar said he had gotten parts of his account from Huddleston directly, which raises the question:  how much of the embellishment originated with Millar and how much with a likeable and entertaining John Huddleston?  The same question applies to the more unflattering descriptions of Huddleston:  how much from Millar ? the often impatient Midwestern professional­ ? and how much from local sources Millar accepted uncritically?


[10] Finders-Keepers, 20.  While some folk tales made Huddleston dependent upon other benefactors, Millar cast himself as a source of loans.  Yet, there is no evidence John Huddleston became the destitute figure portrayed in Finders-Keepers.   Of course, he and a great many other Arkansans experienced harder times after the onset of the Great Depression.  Millar, himself, had properties seized for public auction in the early ‘30s because he fell behind on tax payments (Banks, Diamonds, “The Millars and the Kimberlite Company”).


[11] Deed records and census survey sheets verify that illiteracy affected many within the Huddlestons' extended family, as it did many other rural adults in those days (the original U. S. Census sheets included sections for education and ability to read and write ? a simple “yes” or “no” was entered for the latter).  Consistent with census entries, John Huddleston's parents, David F. and Francis, put their X s on legal documents (“made their mark”).  Although the census indicated John Huddleston's wife Sarah could read and write, she was still X ing deeds shortly before her death.  He, on the other hand, always answered “No” and “No” to those census questions and continued making his mark on legal documents throughout his life.  Their five daughters, however, were literate. (For instance, see the Federal Census, 1910, Clark County, Caddo Township, family No. 16, p. 128, original survey sheets, and Clark County Deed Record 81, p. 169, Warranty Deed, J. W. and S. A. Huddleston to G. Cook, October 31, 1917.)

    Public education had become a major concern by the late 1800s, and the Huddlestons' daughters and most other youngsters in rural Arkansas attended school at least three months a year, basically learning the “Three Rs.”  Under those conditions, some illiterate parents might have stretched the truth when census-takers asked if they could read and write. 


[12] Millar's general description of Huddleston mirrored a photograph taken soon after Sam Reyburn's group optioned his property in September 1906, years before Millar and Huddleston got to know each other ( Finders-Keepers, 18; Photographs, file 23.112, Crater of Diamonds).

    Huddleston's slight-to-moderate harelip is noticeable in photographs taken in the 1920s and early ‘30s while he stood clean-shaven in the diamond field (above, Bibliographic Note 1).  His daughter Delia had a prominent harelip that created problems for her and obvious concern on the part of her parents (see the family photograph. taken c. 1908, original in Wagner Collection, File 23.110, Crater archive).  Whatever the exact effect on his speech, John Huddleston was comfortable enough with his blemish to remain clean-shaven once the mustache was gone.  Millar overstated the case by merely telling readers Huddleston's face “was disfigured by a hairlip [sic]” and his speech “was impaired.”

    Similarly, Millar's comment about an unfriendly attitude needs qualifying.  That description might have applied as Huddleston's second marriage began souring in January 1922; but prior to that, the Discoverer was around a great many strangers, none of whom indicated he was unfriendly.  By the mid 1920s, after his young wife's scandalous behavior, John Huddleston probably just preferred to be let alone; but even then, he remained open to inquiring journalists such as Tom Shiras of the Baxter Bulletin (below, Bibliographic Note 4).

    As for Millar's brief reference to the “hard expression” of Huddleston's eyes, that feature also softened considerably with aging and a clean-shaven face.  But the deaths of both his first wife, Sarah, and his youngest daughter, Miss Joe, undoubtedly helped maintain the serious demeanor (details later in “Good Life in Arkadelphia”).  The disastrous second marriage hardly improved his self-confidence and sociability (“Costly Encounter”).


[13] See Bibliographic Note 1, above.  This image of Huddleston was cropped from the photograph in File 23.112 (Huddleston and Sam Reyburn of Little Rock, c. late 1906).


[14] Finders-Keepers, 18, 26; interview of Huddleston c. 1924, in Tom Shiras, “Arkansas Diamond Discoverer,” Arkansas Gazette, Magazine Section, January 4, 1942, pp. 1, 10.


[15] Evans, “Fielding Huddleston and Descendants,” pp. 49-50; Stewart, “History of the Keys Family,” p. 16 of largest volume.  For another example of the family's lack of information, see Lisa Gentry, letter to the Pike County Archives and History Society, in PCAHS, Gems, 16, No. 2 (Murfreesboro:  Spring 2005), 62.  Gentry's grandfather was Robert Gentry, grandson of John Wesley Huddleston.  “He always wanted to try and know the truth beyond rumors about his maternal grandfather,” she wrote.  “He was only able to meet him once as a child. . . . [He] thought it very important that John Wesley be looked upon in good taste, despite his personal mistakes. . . . Remember, John Wesley was not just the ‘Diamond King':  he was also our family.”  Lisa Gentry mentioned that her grandfather finally had gotten some information through the PCAHS; however, his stated concern about personal mistakes and the image of the Diamond King suggests Millar's account was the basic source.