Midway (Clark County)

Midway is an unincorporated community located in Clark County about one mile northeast of Curtis (Clark County) and three miles southwest of Gum Springs (Clark County). The community is centered on the east side of U.S. Highway 67.

Early settlers include Mary Rountree, who obtained a federal land patent for eighty acres in 1848. In the 1850 federal census, she appears along with her four sons. (The name of the family appears in some records as Roundtree.) Mary’s oldest son, Robert, obtained forty acres in 1855. In the 1860 census, Robert appears with his wife, son, and daughter. He worked as a farmer on the land and owned $350 of personal property.

Robert enlisted in the Thirty-Seventh Arkansas Infantry Regiment in 1862 during the Civil War. Captured at the Battle of Helena on July 4, 1863, he spent time in prison in Illinois and Delaware before being exchanged in March 1865. He returned home but died four years later due to ill health from his time in prison. He and his wife, Sarah, who died in 1877, are buried near Midway in an unknown location. They have cenotaphs at the Easley Cemetery in Gurdon (Clark County).

The road that eventually became U.S. Highway 67 began as part of the Southwest Trail. It became part of Arkansas’s highway system in 1923 and was paved in 1931. Initially named Arkansas Highway 51, it became U.S. Highway 67 after it was paved. The original paved section was replaced in 1965 by the current Highway 67, which is located just to the east. The original section continued to be used for local traffic.

Midway never had a post office, and the citizens in the area are served by the office in Gurdon in the twenty-first century, although the office in Curtis is closer to the community, being just one mile to the southwest. Founded in the 1870s on the Iron Mountain Railroad, Curtis grew from a simple fuel stop to a small town with a depot by the 1880s.

While the first settlers in the area focused on row crops, by the late nineteenth century, timber had become the major agricultural product around Midway. The area remains heavily forested. The community includes residences and the Curtis Cemetery, which is located on the western edge of the settlement. Mount Friendship Baptist Church is located in the community. Students in Midway attended school in Curtis but later came to be served by the Arkadelphia (Clark County) school district.

The Old Highway 67 Rest Area, constructed by the National Youth Administration (NYA) in 1936 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006, is located just north of the community on the west side of the highway. The former portion of Arkansas Highway 51 on which the rest stop is located was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.

For additional information:
Richter, Wendy, et al. Clark County, Arkansas: Past and Present. Arkadelphia, AR: Clark County Historical Association, 1992.

David Sesser
Southeastern Louisiana University


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