A Brief History of The Arkansas School for the Blind
The first organized effort to educate the blind in Arkansas was started at Clarksville in 1850 by Reverend James Chaplain, a blind Methodist minister. However, after a year of tiresome effort with no support and little encouragement from the general public, the school was discontinued.
In 1858, Reverend Haucke, a Baptist minister who was blind and who was interested in the education of the blind, opened a school at Arkadelphia known as the "Institute for the Education of the Blind". The following year, in 1859, the institute was incorporated and a board of trustees appointed by Governor Conway. The school was supported by private contributions until the legislature of 1861 made an appropriation.
In October of 1859 Otis Patten, who was blind and who had taught at the Kentucky Institute for the Blind for eleven years, became superintendent of the school.
He remained superintendent until March 1885, some 26 years.