Kansas (Clark County)
The earliest settler in the area was Meriwether Lewis Randolph, who obtained thousands of acres of land in 1836 and 1837. He died in 1837 and is buried near the community.
William Brown obtained a total of 160 acres in the area in 1860. He lived in the area with his wife, Rebecca, four children, and nine slaves. Other families moved into the area over the next several decades, but the community was never very large. The community was served by the Bee Post Office, which opened in 1902 and consolidated with Whelen Springs in 1906. The name of the community is of unknown origin.
Several churches served the members of the community. The earliest recorded church was organized in 1869 as Providence African Methodist Episcopal Church. A new building was constructed for the church in 1966. In the twenty-first century, it continues to hold services on selected Sundays. Two cemeteries are associated with the church. In 1881, a Methodist preacher arrived in Gurdon and, after establishing a church in that town, organized churches in Kansas and other nearby communities. In 1920, the Kansas church consolidated with the Whelen Springs church to create New Harmony Church. It was closed in 1932, and the building burned in 1937.
Several schools served the community over the years. Early records are incomplete, but by 1912, a school was in operation in the area. It was referred to as the Cypress school due to its location along Cypress Creek. It closed at an unknown date and consolidated with Gurdon. Pole Key School served African-American students until 1920, when a new building was constructed. The new school was named Kansas Public School and operated until 1941, when it burned. The school was then consolidated with Whelen Springs. In 1947, Whelen Springs consolidated with Gurdon, and students who reside in the area began attending schools in that town.
The community consists of a few homes, Providence AME Church, and several cemeteries. Residents work in nearby Gurdon or Arkadelphia (Clark County), and most of the surrounding countryside is used for timberland.
For additional information:
Richter, Wendy, et al. Clark County Arkansas: Past and Present. Arkadelphia, AR: Clark County Historical Association, 1992.
Henderson State University
Last Updated: 11/14/2017