Greenville (Clark County)
The town of Greenville served as the Clark County seat from 1830 to 1842. The only physical remnants of Greenville’s existence are some foundation logs from a grist, saw, and cotton gin mill, which are visible beneath the water’s surface in Terre Noir Creek.
A historical marker one mile west of Hollywood (Clark County) describes the location of Greenville as “1 & ½ miles south of this point.” The site sat on the Southwest Trail (later called the Military Road), and Greenville was one of the earliest towns in Clark County.
The origin of Greenville’s name is unknown, though a store operated by Green Hughes in 1824 was in existence before it became the county seat. The town became Clark County’s seat of justice in 1830 after Moses Collins, who served as legislator, postmaster, and later coroner, offered thirty acres of land near his home for the town where a jail and a courthouse were to be built, relocating the county seat from Adam Stroud’s home, which was approximately one mile east of Hollywood.
Approximately 1,300 people lived in Clark County in 1830, and only a very small portion of those citizens lived in Greenville. No figures exist to describe the town’s population. However, it is known that the community was crowded during court sessions and had the air of a business center.
Pioneer citizens of the area included Adam Stroud, Abner Hignight, Abram Wells, and Archibald H. Rutherford. Rutherford served as a clerk, representative, and postmaster of Clark County in 1834. Though no records indicate that he worked beyond that, the next mention of a postmaster is that Stroud assumed the position when the post office was moved to Crittenden (Clark County) after Greenville discontinued operations in 1843.
Greenville lost its county seat status because of lobbying efforts by a group of Arkadelphians. In 1842, Arkadelphia (Clark County) citizens hosted a picnic for a large number of people from surrounding areas. A spokesman boasted about Arkadelphia and its population of 250 residents, the town’s central location in the county, and its position on the Ouachita River. The orator asked that the county seat be moved to Arkadelphia. Acceding with the public’s excitement, the Quorum Court officially moved the county seat from Greenville to Arkadelphia.
Shortly after the county seat relocated to Arkadelphia, the Military Road was re-routed, bypassing Greenville, and the town ceased to exist.
For additional information:
May, Joe. “Clark County, Arkansas: A History of Past and Present.” Clark County Historical Journal 17 (1990): 1–32.
Richter, Wendy, ed. Clark County, Arkansas: Past and Present. Arkadelphia: Clark County Historical Association, 1992.
Syler, Allen B., et al. Through the Eyes of Farrar Newberry: Clark County, Arkansas. Arkadelphia, AR: Clark County Historical Association, 2002.
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