Crows (Saline County)
Crows, often referred to as Crows Station, is an unincorporated rural community in Dyer Township of Saline County, located at the intersection of Arkansas State Highways 9 and 5, approximately thirteen miles west of Benton (Saline County) and twenty-one miles east of Hot Springs (Garland County). The community takes its name from Jehu Crow, a notable Saline County sheriff, county, and probate judge.
Early settlers to the area farmed and hunted the rich lands along the Saline River and eastern Ouachita Mountains. One of the earliest families to arrive in the area was the Dyer family, in whose honor the township was named. Charles Dyer and sons Given, Hassary, John, and Charles came to Saline County from Kentucky in 1835. They purchased lands along the Middle and Alum Forks of the Saline River and began farming. The elder Dyer served during the 1836 Indian Wars in Company B, First Arkansas Mounted Gunmen, Arkansas Militia, a Saline County company in that regiment. It saw service along Arkansas’s western border with the Indian Territory and at Forts Towson and Gibson. During the Civil War, many of the sons of these men served primarily in Confederate forces, with a few serving in Union units.
Early economic efforts centered on farming, hunting, and trapping. By 1860, Dyer Township had three doctors, two school teachers, two blacksmith shops, two grist mills, a stone turner, and a wagon maker. After the destruction of the Civil War, the area returned to its agricultural pursuits but, with the growing demands for lumber, soon began taking advantage of the vast amounts of timber available.
For most of its early years, the community received its mail from either the Bland (Saline County), Benton, or Owensville (Saline County) post offices. Growing population resulted in the establishment of the first local post office in 1891, Rubicon Post Office, with Charles Ewell as postmaster. Mail arrived three times a week, but following improvement in roads and transportation, it closed in 1929, with mail service out of Benton.
In 1900, the population of the Crows and nearby Rubicon community was fifty inhabitants. There were two general stores in operation, a blacksmith shop, and a railway/express agent who provided transportation of goods to and from the nearest railway depot at Lonsdale (Garland County) twelve miles away. Rubicon Lodge Number 627 was chartered on November 18, 1908, with ten members.
Jehu Crow, the community namesake, is most widely known for the manhunt he conducted to capture notorious outlaw Tom Slaughter, who was killed by another of his fellow escaped convicts in December 1921. Crow served as Saline County sheriff from 1919 to 1923 and, at the termination of his service, purchased a farm from Matthew Dyer, building a store, café, and gas station. The business, located at the intersection of Highways 9 and 5, came to be known as Crow’s Station. This name, as well as that of “Crows,” are commonly used today by most natives of Saline County and local vicinity. Crow served Saline County again as county and probate judge from 1929 to 1932. He sold the store and station in 1944 to Dyer descendants, who continued to operate the business until 1976. While still owned by that family, it continued operation through a number of proprietors who rented and ran various business ventures. In 2016, the building reopened under new proprietors as Olde Crow General Store. The store features a sandwich menu composed of organic and local produce and livestock, as well as local produce and meats. Another business, Carden’s Grocery, operated for a number of years across the street from Crow’s Station selling gas and livestock feed.
In the twenty-first century, the community known as Crows remains rural, with timber as the only major industry in the area. Many residents continue farming pursuits or obtain employment in nearby Benton, Little Rock (Pulaski County), or Hot Springs.
For additional information:
“Rubicon, Arkansas.” The Saline 3 (December 1988): 181.
Torvestad, Ginny. “Where in the World is Rubicon, Arkansas.” Benton Courier, August 5, 1980, p. 2.
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