Galloway (Independence County)

Galloway is a historic community shown on an 1860 map of Independence County. It was located southeast of Sulphur Rock (Independence County) in the alluvial bottoms of the Black and White rivers and north of historic Akron (Independence County) near the Magness Ferry, lying between Newark (Independence County) and Cord (Independence County) on what is today Galloway Road. The road crosses Dota Creek.

The community received its name from Robert M. (Bob) Galloway, who was appointed its postmaster on November 9, 1858. Robert Galloway married Harriet Robbins in Shelby County, Tennessee, in 1843 and moved the family to the Big Bottom region in the 1850s shortly after his father’s death. The 1860 census shows Galloway to be a slave owner with a plantation in the White River bottoms. The post office barely survived the Civil War and closed in 1866.

Along with the post office, Bob Galloway had a water-powered cotton gin and grist mill, the only one in the area. He built a dam across Stillhouse Branch, a tributary of Dota Creek, a drain from the direction of what is today Newark. Henry Galloway, Bob’s son, ran the gin and mill following his father’s death. Bob Galloway’s grandson, R. M. Galloway, operated a hotel in Newark for several years.

Galloway’s most prominent citizen was Samuel R. Fetzer from Alabama, who moved to Big Bottom in the 1850s and first appeared with his family on the 1860 census for White River Township. In the summer of 1862, Fetzer joined the Confederate army, Company K, Thirty-eighth Arkansas Infantry, Shaver’s Regiment, Price’s Division. He worked his way up the ranks to became captain at age twenty-five; he was wounded in the Battle of Prairie Grove.

In June 1864, at a secret rendezvous at Elixir Springs near Galloway, Fetzer organized Company E of the Forty-fifth Arkansas Infantry (Mounted), its members coming primarily from the Black River, Gainsboro, White River, and Ruddell townships. His company became part of a brigade moving into Missouri under the command of General Sterling Price, later known as Price’s Raid. At the end of the war, Captain Fetzer surrendered at Chalk Bluff (Clay County) on May 11, 1865, and was paroled with General Jeff Thompson at Jacksonport (Jackson County) on June 5, 1865.

Shortly after coming home from the war, the captain married Mary Tabitha Jernigan, daughter of the Reverend William Henry Jernigan and Leodicia “Dicy” Moore Jernigan, prominent citizens of the historic Walnut Grove (Independence County) community. Mary’s sister, Martha Jane Jernigan, married David Tunstall, son of Thomas Todd Tunstall, prominent landowner in Big Bottom and riverboat captain credited with founding Jacksonport; he was also an entrepreneur and racehorse enthusiast with a large track at Dota. David’s mother was Elizabeth Magness Tunstall of the prominent Magness family for whom Magness (Independence County) is named.

For the rest of his life, Fetzer farmed and worked part-time at a store in the Galloway community until his death in 1885 of “cramp colic,” most likely appendicitis. Captain Fetzer is buried in the now abandoned Fetzer Cemetery near Newark, in the middle of a cow pasture, but the Job Neill Camp No. 286 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and Albert Sidney Johnston Chapter No. 135 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy placed a tombstone at his grave to preserve his memory. A group of citizens is continuing an effort to restore the forgotten graveyard. Fetzer’s name is on the Confederate monument in the courthouse square in Batesville (Independence County).

Galloway declined as a result of the devastating effects of the Civil War in the Big Bottom region. Union troops camped at the Galloway mill, and the entire area was a hotbed of Union support for the war, so the community was more divided than most in the county. During Reconstruction, the Galloway mill was burned by arsonists in February 1880, marking the end for Galloway as a distinct community. John N. Tomlinson laid out the new town of Newark in 1883, when the post office opened, and Galloway was superseded by the new town. All that is left of the once vibrant community of Galloway in the twenty-first century is the Fetzer Cemetery and the Galloway Road.

For additional information:
Bruner, Andrea. “Confederate Captain Honored.” Batesville Guard, February 19, 2016, pp. 1, 3.

“Historic Cemetery Vandalized.” Batesville Guard, August 3, 2016, pp. 1, 3.

Jernigan, E. L. “On Dota—From ‘Lick Skillet’ to Galloway.” Independence County Chronicle 2 (January 1961): 42–45.

McGinnis, A. C. “A History of Independence County, Ark.” Special issue. Independence County Chronicle 17 (April 1976).

Morrow, John P., Jr. “Captain Fetzer’s Company, CSA.” Independence County Chronicle 6 (January 1965): 34–44.

Kenneth Rorie
Van Buren, Arkansas


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