Harp (Hot Spring County)
Two of the earliest settlers in the area were Emanuel and Marguerite Harp. The family name also appears as Harps in some records. Originally from Georgia, the family moved to Arkansas in the 1850s. Emanuel received forty-two acres from the federal government in 1860, and over the next twenty years, the family acquired more than 200 additional acres. The couple had at least seven children, including eldest son Emanuel. The elder Emanuel donated three acres of land for a cemetery in 1862, and many members of the family are buried in it. The elder Emanuel Harp died in 1878 and is buried in the Harp Cemetery; his wife, who died in 1903, is buried alongside him.
The Harp family owned a number of enterprises in the area, including a cotton gin, a grist mill, and a facility to make shingles. These businesses appear in business directories published in 1888 and 1892. Harp did not have a post office, with the facility in nearby Rockport (Hot Spring County) serving the community until a post office opened in Malvern. The close proximity of the community to the county seat allowed the residents of Harp to use many of the services located in Malvern. The road connecting the two settlements, what is now Arkansas Highway 9, becomes South Main Street when it enters the Malvern city limits, taking travelers directly to the heart of the city’s original business district.
A school operated in Harp. A 1924 newspaper article mentions a meeting of the Harp Boys and Girls Club held at the school. After the regular business meeting, the boys received a lesson on soil fertility, while the girls viewed a sewing demonstration. It is unclear what years the school operated, although the children in the community later began attending schools in the Malvern School District.
In the twenty-first century, the community includes one church and the cemetery, which is still active. Most residents work in nearby Malvern.
For additional information:
Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Central Arkansas. Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1889.
“Emanuel M. Harp.” The Heritage 5 (1978): 43–44.
Henderson State University
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