Ashley

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Entries - Entry Category: Ashley

Crossett (Ashley County)

  In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the demand for wood fiber for a growing country led lumbermen, investors, and speculators into the vast forest that stretches from east Texas across the lower Mississippi River Valley to the Florida panhandle. Demand having outstripped the forest resources of the Great Lakes region, other sources for timber were sought. One result of the interest in the forestland of the South was the founding of Crossett (Ashley County). Crossett was founded in the late 1890s by three investors from Davenport, Iowa— Edward Savage Crossett, Austria native Dr. John Wenzel Watzek, and Charles Warner Gates. Today, Crossett is one of the state’s leading manufacturing centers, billing itself as the “Forestry Capital of …

Fountain Hill (Ashley County)

Fountain Hill is a town on U.S. Highway 425 in northern Ashley County. The town has been a center for agriculture and the timber industry and remains supportive of both industries in the twenty-first century. The region that would become Ashley County has been inhabited for thousands of years. When the region first became part of the United States, it was considered Quapaw land, although the Quapaw villages were farther to the north. Quapaw ceded their right to the land in 1818, and settlers began to arrive from Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. James Norris farmed the land between the two springs for which the town was named. He established a cotton gin and a grist mill on the …

Hamburg (Ashley County)

As a small town, Hamburg is typical in the economic challenges facing it but is atypical in that it has become the educational center for most of Ashley County’s geographic area, as well as small parts of Chicot and Drew counties. Early Statehood through Reconstruction Hamburg was laid out in October 1849, two months after Ashley County was formed from part of Drew County in the area earlier known as the Great Wilderness. With the town’s designation as the county seat, two of the first public buildings were the courthouse and the county jail, erected in 1850. The site was chosen at least in part because the legislation organizing the county required that the county seat be within five miles …

Montrose (Ashley County)

  Located at an important railroad junction, the city of Montrose in eastern Ashley County is at the intersection of U.S. Highways 165 and 82. Always an agriculturally based city, Montrose is best known today as the home of the Sassy Jones Sauce & Spice Company. Montrose is also the birthplace of Helen Corrothers, who served with the Arkansas Department of Correction before going on to serve on the United States Parole Board. Although western Ashley County is noted for the timber industry, which was centered in Crossett (Ashley County), the eastern part of the county belongs to the Mississippi Delta region, which was home to numerous cotton plantations before and after the Civil War. Dugald McMillan was the first landowner who …

Parkdale (Ashley County)

  One of the oldest incorporated communities in Ashley County, Parkdale (formerly known as Poplar Bluff) has benefited from its location on Bayou Bartholomew and on the Missouri Pacific railroad (now the Union Pacific railroad). Once a busy, prosperous, and even violent city, Parkdale has become a relatively quiet community in the twenty-first century. John Tillman Hughes built a store at the present location of Parkdale in 1857. Some farmers were already working the land near the bayou at that time, including William Morris, John Harris, and William Butler. Morris’s son, John William Morris, worked as a clerk in Hughes’s store and later opened his own store. A Methodist church had also been built in the area sometime in the 1850s. …

Portland (Ashley County)

Portland is a small Delta town in Ashley County. It began as a settlement on Bayou Bartholomew and became a steamboat port, an agricultural center, and a railroad town. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The earliest known settlers were John P. Fisher and William Brady, who were there in the 1830s. Fisher arrived by 1833, established a plantation, and constructed a two-story house on the west side of the bayou. A short distance down the bayou from Fisher’s house, a small settlement emerged on the opposite side. Steamboat captains called this stopping place “the port,” and upon establishment of a post office in 1857, it was named Portland. The bayou village consisted largely of mercantile stores that received their goods …

Wilmot (Ashley County)

  Although it was not incorporated until 1898, Wilmot is one of the older settlements in eastern Ashley County. Situated just east of Lake Enterprise, which was once part of Bayou Bartholomew, Wilmot was a steamboat stop long before the railroad came through, built a depot, and renamed the community. Twenty-first-century Wilmot is located on Highway 165 between Parkdale (Ashley County) and the Louisiana state line. Evidence of prehistoric habitation of the area includes a mound north of Lake Enterprise that was excavated by the Arkansas Archeological Survey in 1997. The mound is thought to have been built around 1500 BC, possibly making it the oldest mound in Arkansas. Much of the dirt and many of the stone tool fragments found by the …