Boughton (Nevada County)

Boughton (Nevada County) is an unincorporated community in Boughton Township. Boughton is about four miles northeast of Prescott (Nevada County) and about ten miles southwest of Gurdon (Clark County).

The area around Boughton belonged to Hempstead County before Nevada County was formed in 1871. J. T. Cooper opened a general store in the Boughton area in 1872.

Created by the Cairo and Fulton Railroad, Boughton served as a stop on the rail line. It was laid out in the summer of 1873 by R. F. Elgin, along with townsites at Prescott and Emmet (Nevada and Hempstead counties). Boughton and the others grew quickly as people from across the countryside were attracted to the new settlements. In 1875, the Nevada County Court created Boughton Township from Missouri Township, and the new township included the settlement. The community and township are named for George Boughton, a land agent official with the Cairo and Fulton Railroad.

A post office operated in the community from 1874 to 1954. When it closed, the post office in Prescott assumed service to the community. A regular column relating news in the community began appearing in the Prescott Daily Picayune in the 1880s. The short distance between Boughton and Prescott led merchants in the community to regularly advertise in newspapers published in the county seat. In 1880, the county voted on serving liquor. Boughton Township voted to remain wet, while Missouri Township, where Prescott is located, voted to go dry.

A description of the community in 1890 showed the population as a bit less than 100 and listed a general store, sawmill, post office, and depot. L. W. Brower operated the sawmill several miles from Boughton and shipped 30,000 board feet of lumber daily. Boughton Baptist Church was founded in 1893. It continues to operate in the twenty-first century.

A 1907 report on the community appeared in the Nevada News. It reported that the community included a store operated by E. DeLaughter, who also served as the postmaster. DeLaughter also operated a sawmill in Boughton. Two doctors served the community at this time.

The school in the community served students in Boughton and other nearby communities. An early reference to the school mentioned a Professor G. C. Legg teaching at the school in 1887. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the school operated with a summer and a winter term. The Arkansas General Assembly created a special school district to serve the community in 1905 when it passed Act 167.

In 1909, both the school for African Americans and the school for white students were burned down by arsonists. The African-American school burned in July, and the white school burned down on October 23, two days before classes were scheduled to begin. The school board had allowed the insurance policy on the building to lapse in August and did not have the funding to rebuild immediately. After fundraising, the new building for white students opened on August 6, 1910. This building burned in January 1918 and once again was a complete loss. Rebuilding again, the school reopened and continued to serve students in the community until the school district consolidated with the Prescott School District after World War II. Students in the community continue to attend school in Prescott in the twenty-first century.

Buchanan Cemetery is located southwest of the community, with the oldest marked graves dating to 1881. Piney Grove Cemetery is located to the southeast of the community and contains graves dating to 1883.

In the twenty-first century, the community contains several homes and the Boughton Baptist Church; it also serves as a residential area for Prescott. Several agricultural businesses operate near the community, including poultry, timber, and cattle operations.

For additional information:
Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Southern Arkansas. Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing, 1890.

“Boughton.” Nevada News, February 9, 1907, p. 1.

“Boughton Briefs.” Prescott Daily Picayune, April 21, 1886, p. 2.

“Boughton School Building Burns.” Prescott Daily News, October 25, 1909, p. 1.

“Boughton School Burned.” Nevada County Picayune, January 24, 1918, p.1.

“Boughton School Building Completed.” Nevada County Picayune, August 5, 1910, p. 1.

Hesterly, Helen. “Prescott News.” Hope Star, May 23, 1942, p. 6.

Nevada County Depot and Museum. (accessed January 7, 2021).

David Sesser
Henderson State University


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