Bethel (Clark County)

Bethel was a community in Clark County northeast of Okolona (Clark County). It was never a large settlement, and all that remains in the twenty-first century is a cemetery.

Located near the community of Dobyville, Bethel was situated at the intersection of State Highway 51 and the Dobyville Road. The Smart family obtained the land where the community existed in 1854. The land was part of a land warrant issued to the heirs of William Smart, who served in the Second Seminole War. Smart moved to Clark County around 1844 and died in 1848. His wife, Polly, died the same year the family moved to Arkansas, and after William’s death, their children lived with William’s brother and sister, Thomas and Elizabeth. In 1854, the family received more than 182 acres for William’s military service. On the same day, Thomas purchased an additional forty acres adjoining the larger parcel.

Thomas and Elizabeth both married into the Crow family who moved to Clark County in 1818 and eventually obtained hundreds of acres of land near the Smart property. Another nearby landowner, John Logan, also married into the Crow family and purchased eighty acres of land east of the Smart property in 1856. The families in the area grew subsistence crops and some cotton.

A school named for the Logan family was built on their property, but no details exist about the dates of its operations or any other information. A Bethel Baptist Church also served the area. A nearby cemetery named for the church was established, and the oldest legible grave dates to 1880. Dates of operation for the church are unknown, but the church did give its name to the community.

The Bethel community was close to the Dobyville community and often considered part of that settlement. Dobyville contained a post office, a school, and several churches. The post office opened in 1879 and operated until 1914, when operations were consolidated with Okolona. It is not known when the school opened, but it consolidated with Shady Grove School District in 1926. Shady Grove in turn consolidated with the Okolona School District in 1929.

For additional information:
Richter, Wendy, et al. Clark County Arkansas: Past and Present. Arkadelphia, AR: Clark County Historical Association, 1992.

David Sesser
Henderson State University


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