Helen M. King (1895-1988) was a rug-hooking artist. She was born in Powhatan on September 20, 1895. She was the only child of John William Martin, a prosperous lumberman, and Clara Isabelle Martin. The family moved to Batesville when Helen was a young child. In 1913, she married a local merchant, Fitzhugh Hail. However, within the year, both Fitzhugh and Helen's unborn child died. She decided to pursue higher education and studied at several schools: the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio Mechanical Institute, and Sophie Newcomb College in New Orleans. She married her second husband, Harry King, in 1916. While furnishing her home in Searcy, Helen began reading everything she could find on the subject of hooked rugs. Before long, she was teaching classes on the art form. She was featured in Life in 1940 and National Geographic in 1946. In 1948, she published a book, How to Hook Rugs. By this point, her rug kits were selling all over the United States. Helen died on December 11, 1988.[1]

Several of King’s possessions are featured in the Powhatan Historic State Park collection.[2]




[1] “King, Helen M.” Encyclopedia of Arkansas. http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?search=1&entryID=1690 Retrieved November 1, 2018.

[2] Powhatan SP Archive.