Entry Category: Cities and Towns - Starting with J

Jacksonport (Jackson County)

Jacksonport is a town in central Jackson County, located about one-half mile from the confluence of the Black and White rivers and three miles northwest of the county seat of Newport (Jackson County). Its location at the convergence of two navigable waterways enabled Jacksonport to thrive in a time when river transport was the most reliable method of transportation in Arkansas. Its twenty-first-century circumstance as a remote community on the White River belies the true history of Jacksonport; in the mid-nineteenth century, much of the trade throughout northern Arkansas and southern Missouri was facilitated via this once-bustling river town. Its importance as a trade center began to diminish when Jacksonport was bypassed by a railroad built through Jackson County in …

Jacksonville (Pulaski County)

Jacksonville is located twelve miles northeast of Little Rock (Pulaski County) in the central part of the state. Little Rock Air Force Base (LRAFB) is located within the city limits of Jacksonville. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The first known settlers to move into the area were two Revolutionary War veterans, Jacob Gray Sr. and his brother Shared. The brothers had come from Williamson County, Tennessee, and settled in an area northeast of where the Daniels Ferry Road crossed Bayou Meto, about twelve miles northeast of Little Rock. Some of the men of the family with some of their slaves arrived the winter of 1820–21 and were followed by the rest of the family members and the remaining slaves by …

Jamestown (Independence County)

Jamestown of Independence County is a small community located approximately eight miles southwest of Batesville (Independence County) at the foot of Jamestown Mountain near Jamestown Creek. During its heyday in the late nineteenth century, it was a thriving area commercial center respected for its educational opportunities. A settlement began to develop near Jamestown Creek as early as 1844 when Daniel James, an early settler, promoted the area through land speculation. Still, no real town existed until after the Civil War. In 1869, the local Methodist congregation constructed a meeting house that also served as a Masonic hall at what was then called Alderbrook. Because the building was described as “an ornament to the village,” it was decided that a more …

Jasper (Newton County)

  Jasper was established as a village along the Little Buffalo River by 1840. Today, it is the hub for outdoor enthusiasts enjoying the Buffalo National River, one of the last free-flowing waterways in the United States, and the Ozark Highland Trail. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood At least three different stories are told about the origin of the name Jasper. One oft-repeated legend says that Cherokee Indians traveling west on the torturous Trail of Tears gave the town its name after being surprised by the village’s warm hospitality. A second version of this same story tells of a precious ring, containing a jasper stone, given to the postmaster in gratitude for care given to the Cherokee travelers. Yet another …

Jennette (Crittenden County)

Jennette is a largely African-American town in western Crittenden County, located north of the Shearerville (Crittenden County) exit on Interstate 40. Jennette is variously spelled Jeanette, Jennettee, and Jenette. The location of what is now Jennette was swampy hardwood forest until early in the twentieth century, when the Edwards Fair Lumber Company, based in Crawfordsville (Crittenden County), cleared the land. Various drainage ditches were dug to make the cleared land suitable for farming. The origin of the name Jennette is unknown. Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church was established in Jennette around 1900. A post office opened in Jennette in February 1904 and continued operating until May 1927. A school was organized on the Baptist church property in 1908. The school …

Jericho (Crittenden County)

Jericho is a town in Crittenden County. It is located on State Highway 77 a few miles north of Marion (Crittenden County) between Interstate 55 and the Mississippi River. Jericho’s population is largely African American. Jericho was settled in the 1840s by riverboat captain Stephen Stonewall James and his brother John C. James, who built the first gin and sawmill in Jericho. They named the settlement for the city mentioned several times in the Bible. Other settlers joined the James brothers, establishing sawmills and planting orchards on their farms. One settler reportedly also operated a wine press. During the 1880s, the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway (often called the Frisco) built rail lines through Crittenden County toward West Memphis (Crittenden County) …

Jerome (Drew County)

The town of Jerome is located in southeastern Drew County, although its residents are more tied to Dermott (Chicot County) than to any city in Drew County. The location of a Japanese American relocation camp during World War II, the town of Jerome has been a transportation crossroads for most of its history. Jerome is located near Bayou Bartholomew, which was the main route used by travelers during the territorial time of Arkansas. In 1835, Moses Upshard Payne of New Orleans, Louisiana, purchased several tracts of land near the bayou as an investment; some cotton was grown on the clearer patches of land, but much of the land was swampland filled with hardwood trees. The land was frequently rented or …

Joan (Clark County)

aka: Bethlehem (Clark County)
Joan, pronounced Jo-Ann, is a community located in Clark County about six miles east of Arkadelphia at the intersection of State Highways 51 and 128. The community was originally known as Bethlehem. The earliest settlers to the area arrived in 1834, and Bethlehem Methodist Church was organized between 1837 and 1848. The land for the church and cemetery was donated in 1855, and the church would serve as the center of the community for decades to come. The church still operates in the twenty-first century. Pleasant Hill African Methodist Episcopal Church was founded in the community in 1867 and continues to operate. With the formation of Dallas County in 1845, the portion of Clark County east of the Ouachita River …

Johnson (Washington County)

Johnson is a bedroom community situated between Fayetteville (Washington County) and Springdale (Washington County). Though Johnson was incorporated in 1961, its history spans a much longer time. The known history of Johnson begins in 1830–1834 when John Trusdale purchased a mill site west of present-day Johnson from a “widow Sutton.” In 1835, he built a gristmill utilizing the water flow from a number of springs north of the property. The mill was burned during the Civil War in 1864. Following the Civil War, Jacob Queener (J. Q.) Johnson and William Mays purchased the site and rebuilt the mill in 1865. In about 1884, Mayes sold his share of the mill to B. F. Johnson, brother of J. Q. Johnson. The …

Joiner (Mississippi County)

The city of Joiner (Mississippi County) is located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 61 and State Highway 118, within an area widely recognized for its fertile farmland and its proximity to the Mississippi River and the city of Memphis, Tennessee. There are varying accounts regarding Joiner’s beginnings. One story states that the locale was first associated with a hotel of the same name that was established by Rufus L. Joiner. This account also asserts that the spelling was originally Joyner and somehow evolved into Joiner over the years. However, Rufus L. Joiner’s biography, as published by Goodspeed’s history of the area, makes no mention of his association with a hotel, describing him only as a prominent farmer. On the …

Jones Mills (Hot Spring County)

Jones Mills is a northern Hot Spring County community named after an aluminum reduction plant that located there in the 1940s. It is sometimes incorrectly known as Jones Mill. Ancestors of the Caddo Indians inhabited the Jones Mills area between 6000 BC and AD 1450. Archaeological explorations of Jones Mills in 2007 and 2008 provided evidence that helps archaeologists understand how life transitioned from the Archaic through the Mississippian periods. Radiocarbon testing of burned hickory nutshells dates the area back to the Middle Archaic period and also indicates the importance of nuts to the Native American diet. While the archaeological digs have not yet determined whether Indians lived in the area year-round, it does establish that people were in the Jones Mills community …

Jonesboro (Craighead County)

Jonesboro is the largest community in northeast Arkansas and the fifth largest in the state. It is the Craighead County seat (though Act 61 of 1883 created the “Eastern District of Craighead County,” providing for the establishment of another county courthouse at Lake City due to early difficulties in travel). Jonesboro is a regional center in education, retail, healthcare, and industry; its largest employers are Arkansas State University (ASU) and St. Bernards Medical Center. Jonesboro is also an agricultural center in processing rice, cotton, and soybeans, and it is a regional hub for the food-processing industry, being home to Riceland Foods and plants for Frito-Lay, ConAgra Foods, Kraft Foods/Post Division, and Nestle. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The Jonesboro area is …

Judsonia (White County)

Judsonia is a historic community in White County on the lower Little Red River. The town’s history includes the settlement of immigrants from the North after the Civil War, the growing importance of strawberries, and the 1952 tornado. Some scholars hypothesize that this is the site of the Mississippian Palisima, a Native American village mentioned in documents from the Hernando de Soto expedition. Late prehistoric pottery has been found in the area, created either by ancestors of the Quapaw or by other groups who lived in the area before the Quapaw arrived. Early Statehood through the Civil War Judsonia is on the first highland on the north bank of the White River. The south half of the modern town of …

Junction City (Union County)

Junction City is the southernmost city in Arkansas. Straddling the state line with Louisiana, Junction City has two city governments and exists in Union County, Arkansas; Union Parish, Louisiana; and Claiborne Parish, Louisiana. Junction City was created by the Arkansas Southern Railway Company, which was formed by the directors of the South Arkansas Lumber Company. Both businesses were incorporated in August 1892, and the railroad began building a line from El Dorado (Union County) south to the state line. It reached the state line in 1894, and Junction City was platted at that time. Lots were auctioned at a public barbecue. Many of the successful bidders were from the town of Blanchard Springs in Union County; when their homes and …