Native (Clark County)

Native was a short-lived community in Clark County. Established to support a lumber mill, the settlement existed for several years in the late nineteenth century. No evidence of the community exists in the twenty-first century, and few references to the community appear in historical resources. Located in the same section as Burtsell (Clark County), the community was about five miles southeast of Okolona (Clark County) 

Early landowners in the section include William Nelson, who acquired 160 acres in 1856. Another early landowner was Edward Trimble, who obtained a federal land patent for more than forty-six acres in 1859. Other landowners arrived in the area after the Civil War. These included Joshua Stewart, who obtained forty-seven acres in 1872, and John Ruffin, who acquired forty acres three years later. Stewart owned hundreds of acres in the county, with several plots of land to the southwest of Native. He acquired his first land patent in 1826 and received additional acreage in 1837 and 1854, with the plot in Native being the final land patent he received. David Bunn received the last patent issued for the section in 1906, when he received forty acres.  

The major industry in the area was large-scale row crop farming, which shifted to timber cultivation by the end of the nineteenth century. Later owners of the property where Native was located believe that a sawmill was located on the site, but little evidence remains.  

The Native Post Office opened on October 18, 1897, with Felix Hughes serving as postmaster. He was replaced by his brother, Frederick Hughes, in 1899. The men were natives of the area, and both practiced medicine. Felix Hughes attended what is now the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and worked as a physician in Curtis (Clark County) and Okolona. He resided in Okolona for many years, operating a several businesses, including a gas station.  

The post office discontinued operations on March 15, 1900, and service for the area became the responsibility of the office in Okolona. Frederick Hughes later served as the postmaster in Okolona from 1910 to 1913. With the closure of the post office, no further information on the community exists.  

The area around Native is heavily forested and still used for timber production in the twenty-first century. Poultry farming is another major industry in the area. Few residences are located in the area, with most people commuting to jobs in nearby cities.  

For additional information:
Medley, Willie, and Joe May. “Clark County Postmasters: 1832–1871.” Clark County Historical Journal (1990): 139–160. 

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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