Billstown (Pike County)
The first settlers in the area were William Canatser and Thomas Titus, who obtained forty acres in federal land patents in 1858. As more settlers moved into the area, a school named Pleasant Hill was established by 1895. Later schools included Chigger Hill and Baulding Branch. Pleasant Hill school was also used for church services, and Methodist and Church of Christ congregations were organized, both later constructing buildings. John Hipp, who obtained eighty acres in 1885, donated the land for the Pleasant Hill school and a cemetery.
The town reached its peak in the early 1900s. Never incorporated, it had a post office, two stores, two churches, a school, and a doctor during this period. It is unclear how the town obtained its name. One theory is that many of the early settlers were named Bill, including Bill Thomasson, Bill Delany, Bill Williamson, Bill Stokes, Bill Shurnan, and Bill Dossey. The post office opened in 1888 and closed in 1917.
The Billstown school consolidated with nearby Delight during the 1948–49 academic year. Arkansas Highway 301 opened as a gravel road in 1951 and was paved between Billstown and Murfreesboro in 1970. The community of Billstown is centered on the intersection of Highway 301 and Billstown Road, which links the community to Delight.
Musician Glen Campbell was born in the community in 1936. His paternal grandfather moved to southwestern Arkansas from Alabama, arriving in the area by 1900. The Campbell family grew quickly in the area, and many family members owned or worked on farms in the southern Pike County area. Campbell, who died in 2017, is buried in the Campbell Cemetery north of Billstown. His parents, siblings, and many other relatives are buried in the cemetery, as well as other community members.
In the twenty-first century, Billstown serves as a bedroom community for Delight and Murfreesboro. A Church of Christ and several cemeteries are located in the area.
For additional information:
Pike County Heritage Club. Early History of Pike County, Arkansas: The First One Hundred Years. Murfreesboro, AR: Pike County Heritage Club, 1978.
Henderson State University
Last Updated: 07/26/2019