Union Hill (Independence County)

Union Hill of Independence County is located on Union Hill Road, which connects with Highway 167 (Batesville Boulevard) at Pleasant Plains (Independence County) and Thida Road. Union Hill has historically had close ties with Jackson and White counties and to Pleasant Plains and Oil Trough (Independence County).

Most of the land in Thida (Independence County) and Union Hill was owned by Roswell Beebe, his wife, and their lawyer, a Mr. Turner. Beebe was born in 1795 in Hinsdale, New York, to a wealthy English family; he later settled in Arkansas. In pre–Civil War Arkansas, Beebe was one of the most influential businessmen and politicians in the state.

Union Hill was placed on the map in 1904 when a post office opened, with James William Pollard as the first postmaster. Before that, the community was often referred to as Hill. The origins of the community’s name are uncertain. Older residents say it stems from the time the Union troops of General Samuel Ryan Curtis occupied Batesville, Jacksonport (Jackson County), and Searcy (White County) during the Civil War.

The Union Hill post office was kept in the Pollard family. When it closed in 1964, the last Union Hill postmaster was John Thomas Pollard, son of the first postmaster. The nearby post office of Thida, established in 1922, continued to operate.

Midwives often delivered the babies of relatively isolated Union Hill. By 1950, a building called the Stork Inn in Pleasant Plains was used for birthing, with two highly respected midwives serving the communities of Union Hill, Thida, and Pleasant Plains.

The Union Hill Missionary Baptist Church and Browns Memorial Cemetery, located behind the church, are important landmarks. Bailey Creek is near the church, and baptisms often take place there. There are stores close by in Thida, Pleasant Plains, and Bradford.

By 1912, two country schools, Union Hill and Shadden Springs, served the educational needs of the school-age population. By 1936, Burrow had become the main school for the area, replacing the schools of Union Hill and Shadden Springs. Consolidation with the Oil Trough and Bradford schools took place in the late 1940s. In 1990, Oil Trough High School consolidated with Newark (Independence County), located across the White River. In July 2004, a major consolidation occurred when a new school system with three campuses—Cord-Charlotte, Newark, and Oil Trough—was created, called the Cedar Ridge School District.

Odell
Pollard
, an Arkansas lawyer credited with playing a major role in the
development of the two-party political system in Arkansas, was born in Union
Hill.

For additional information:
Cook, Weaver Bruce. “Emperor without an Empire: The Story of Roswell Beebe and the Cairo and Fulton Railroad.” Pulaski County Historical Review 33 (Fall 1985): 50–62.

McGinnis, A. C. “A History of Independence County, Ark.” Special issue. Independence County Chronicle 17 (April 1976).

Roswell Beebe Materials, 1795–1925. Butler Center for Arkansas Studies. Central Arkansas Library System, Little Rock, Arkansas.

Kenneth Rorie
Van Buren, Arkansas

Last Updated: 08/08/2017

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