City Named After Confederate Veteran
Who Flourished in Banking Business
The man for whom the City of Rison was named, William Richard Rison, was
a Huntsville, Alabama banker.
He was born January 20, 1837 at Huntsville. He was the son of Archibald and
Martha (Bibb) Rison whose parents came to Alabama from Tennessee in the
According to the History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography:
Mr. Rison received a common school education, and at the age of 15
accepted a position as a clerk in a grocery store, which position he held
1853. He then kept books in a dry goods house until 1859, when he went into
the Northern bank of Alabama, where he remained until he was detailed into
the mining department in the military service of the C. S. Army.
In the summer of 1864, he was attached to the Fourth Alabama cavalry as
first lieutenant, and served until the close of the war, at which time he
commanding the company. After the war he went to Aberdeen, Miss.,
where he engaged in the mercantile business, until March, 1866, when he
went to Huntsville, and established a private bank. Later his son engaged
with him in the business, the firm becoming W. R. Rison and Co. In 1872,
he was appointed county treasurer of Madison County, and was elected
to that office in 1874. He has been a director of the Huntsville Cotton Mill,
and vice-president of the Dallas Manufacturing Company, He was a Royal
Arch Mason, and a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.
Married: on June 18, 1868, to Maria L., daughter of Leroy and Mary
(Brandon) Jones, of Huntsville. Children: 1. Archie L. W. R. Rison died
July 16, 1904 and is buried in the Maple Hill Cemetery at Huntsville.
He has four descendants living today: Mrs. Word Orem of Reston,
Virginia; Mr. Harry M. Rhett, III of Nashville, Tennessee; Mrs. W. Warren
Rhett of Birmingham, Alabama; and Mrs. Henry Crosby of Huntsville,
Alabama. So far as can be determined, W.R. Rison never visited the City
of Rison, Arkansas.
RISON FAMILY PORTRAIT - This family portrait, taken circa
1886-87, shows the City of Rison's namesake, William Richard
Rison (seated, right). Pictured with him are: Martha Bibb Rison
(seated, left), wife of Archibold Rison and W.R. Rison's mother;
Archie Rison (standing, center), the son of Martha and
W.R. Rison; and Marie Louise Rison, (center, front) daughter
of Archie Rison and his wife, Rena Lavier Rison.