Entry Category: Cities and Towns - Starting with M

Mabelvale (Pulaski County)

Mabelvale is a neighborhood in the southern part of Little Rock (Pulaski County). Beginning as a nineteenth-century railroad town, the community gradually grew along with Little Rock. It was annexed in the 1970s after considering incorporation as an independent city in the 1960s. Mabelvale is located in the transportation corridor that today includes the Union Pacific Railroad and Interstate 30. Shortly after the establishment of Little Rock as the territorial capital, farmers and investors began purchasing land in the Mabelvale area. Purchasers included Allen Martin, Thomas Blair, and future governor James Sevier Conway. The military road known as the Southwest Trail improved transportation through the area in the 1830s. Surveyors for the Cairo and Fulton Railroad assessed the trail in …

Maberry (Woodruff County)

The town of Maberry in Woodruff County was founded around 1842 by early settlers George and Elizabeth Maberry and by Richard and Rachel Jones, who settled in the area before surveys were completed and bought land when land sales began. The town, located six miles west of Cotton Plant (Woodruff County), stood along the banks of the Cache River in a grove of century-old walnut and oak trees and was the center of many social events. George Maberry established a boat landing and conducted a trade up and down the river. The town began to grow rapidly soon after it was founded. It had a post office, sawmill, cotton gin, and a still. It also had a furnishing store, planning mill, and …

Macks (Jackson County)

The community of Macks lies in western Jackson County near the Independence County line, approximately halfway between Oil Trough (Independence County) and Newport (Jackson County) in the Oil Trough Bottoms on Highway 14. Young Gering Milton Mack Sr. was born in Wayne County, Tennessee, in 1838. In 1854, at age sixteen, he moved to Arkansas with his family. His father, Aquilla Wilson Mack, settled the family on 280 acres located in Section 12, Township 13, between Batesville (Independence County) and Moorefield (Independence County), along Blue Creek. This property is still known as Mack Farm and is owned by Mack family descendants. In July 1861, Young Mack enlisted in the Confederate army in Jacksonport (Jackson County), becoming a captain in Company …

Madison (St. Francis County)

Madison, named for President James Madison, is located on the western bank of the St. Francis River at the foot of Crowley’s Ridge in eastern Arkansas. Reconstructing the history of Madison is difficult because multiple floods and fires destroyed local records of this once bustling river town. Madison, which was mostly an agricultural community by the twentieth century, was home to the first African-American millionaire in Arkansas, Scott Bond. Louisiana Purchase through Early StatehoodIn the early 1800s, Madison was a busy shipping point for steamboats and ferries. It flourished because of its location on the St. Francis River, which at the time was large enough to accommodate riverboats. Some of the larger steamboats had ballrooms and orchestras, and when the …

Magazine (Logan County)

  The city of Magazine is named for the tallest mountain of Arkansas, Mount Magazine, as it is located about seven miles west of that peak, at the intersection of State Highways 10 and 109. Established shortly after the end of the Civil War, Magazine was once a significant stop on the Rock Island Railroad and continues to flourish in the twenty-first century. Eli D. Hooper, a merchant from Illinois, moved to Arkansas in 1867 and chose the site of the present-day city of Magazine to establish a store around 1870. By 1883, the Arkansas Gazette was describing Magazine as a city of 200 residents with five successful stores and a Methodist Episcopal church then under construction. The newspaper correspondent noted that …

Magness (Independence County)

The community of Magness is located on Highway 69 roughly between Batesville (Independence County) and Newport (Jackson County). Magness started out around 1882 as a depot for the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad (a.k.a. Iron Mountain). A community emerged along the tracks by the depot, and the citizens decided to name it Magness in honor of Colonel Morgan Magness and his son, William Denton Magness, early settlers to the area who were instrumental in securing the right-of-way for the railroad. Colonel Morgan Magness and his family lived on Miller’s Creek northwest of Batesville, having moved from Tennessee in 1812, the year the Missouri Territory (of which present-day Arkansas was a part) was carved out of the Louisiana Territory. …

Magnet Cove (Hot Spring County)

Located on Arkansas Highway 51 approximately twelve miles southeast of Hot Springs (Garland County), Magnet Cove of Hot Spring County has been a mecca for mineralogists, geologists, and rock hounds. Until recently, the available data indicated that there were more distinct minerals found in the five-square-mile radius of the cove than were found anywhere else on the planet; a small location in Russia is now believed to be comparable to Magnet Cove’s mineral deposits, many of which are microscopic. General features and the external appearance suggest that “the cove” is an ancient volcanic crater. However, the current general consensus of opinion is that it was formed of intrusive (below the ground) igneous rock. Minerals formed in thin veins as a …

Magnolia (Columbia County)

Magnolia is the county seat of Columbia County and home of Southern Arkansas University (SAU). It is also an important industrial center in southern Arkansas as a locus of the oil and bromine industries. Early Statehood through the Civil War In March 1853, after Columbia County was created, the first county court met at a store in a low, swampy place called Frog Level. Three commissioners were appointed to locate the geographical center of the county for purposes of establishing a county seat. However, the geographical center ended up being in the bottoms of Big Creek, even lower than Frog Level, and so the site for the county seat was moved one mile to the east. On June 21, 1853, …

Maguiretown (Washington County)

The historic community referred to as Maguiretown or Maguire’s Store was established in the 1840s and existed until the early twentieth century near present-day Elkins (Washington County). In 1836, Owen Maguire purchased land in Richland Township at the site of a ford crossing the White River. Prior to 1840, he built a one and a half–story single-pen log house fronting on the Huntsville Road. The general store, a log school that doubled as a church, and the blacksmith shop he established at this site were referred to as Maguire’s Store. Thomas Towler manufactured plug tobacco here in the 1840s and 1850s. After Maguire’s death in 1846, his sons, Green and Hosea, were proprietors of the store. On October 8, 1853, …

Malvern (Hot Spring County)

Established in the 1870s as a railway station, Malvern benefited greatly when it became the seat of Hot Spring County just a few years following the city’s incorporation. A diversity of agricultural and mineral resources in the region provided the foundation for Malvern’s long-term economic development, with brick production eventually playing a truly significant role. As a result of that critical industry, the city has come to be known as the “Brick Capital of the World.” Reconstruction through the Gilded Age The Cairo and Fulton Railroad line established Malvern as a station in 1873. Tradition holds that the hilly terrain reminded one railway official of his native Virginia near Malvern Hill, and at his urging, the company gave the name …

Mammoth Spring (Fulton County)

Located at the head of the Spring River on the Arkansas-Missouri border, the city of Mammoth Spring (Fulton County) has always depended upon the large, naturally flowing spring of the same name for its existence. The town started as a railroad stop, bringing visitors and much needed goods to Fulton County during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Mammoth Spring residents also harnessed the strong current of the Spring River to bring electricity and industrialization to the Ozark foothills. Although the factories are gone and the train depot is now a museum, Mammoth Spring continues to attract new citizens and tourists. Pre-European Exploration through the Civil War Despite the attempts of modern researchers to dive into the waters, little has …

Manila (Mississippi County)

In many ways, Manila is like other small towns of northeast Arkansas. During the 1950s, such towns were vital to the development of the area and provided essential goods and services to farmers and their families, but the mechanization of agriculture led people to migrate to urban areas. In that respect, Manila has not experienced the population decrease of its Mississippi County contemporaries, primarily because “white flight” from the nearby towns of Blytheville and Osceola has led people to relocate to Manila. John U. Needham came to the Manila area in 1868 to establish a permanent camp for his grazing stock. He selected the highest, driest spot of the land that was once a part of the “Great Swamp.” Manila …

Mansfield (Sebastian and Scott Counties)

Mansfield is located in west-central Arkansas, twenty-five miles south of Fort Smith (Sebastian County) on U.S. Highway 71 and ten miles east of the Oklahoma state line. A portion of the city lies in Scott County. Mansfield is an economic and educational center serving the region between Greenwood (Sebastian County) and Waldron (Scott County). Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Mansfield represents the combining of two local communities on the Sebastian/Scott county line: Coop Prairie and Chocoville. Overlooking a small valley south of the county line and north of the Poteau Mountain range, Coop Prairie was formed in 1849 on land given by Martin T. Taylor, a settler from Tennessee. A trading post, the Coop Prairie Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and Coop …

Marcella (Stone County)

Marcella is located on Highway 14 about halfway between Batesville (Independence County) and Mountain View (Stone County). Marcella lies across the White River from the historic community of O’Neal (Independence County). The community of Marcella has its origins in a settlement called Hess Town, one of the first settlements in the Missouri Territory. Samuel and Sarah Hess married in 1810 in Kentucky (some sources say Tennessee). Following the birth of their first child, they traversed the wilderness trails to the White River bottoms near Polk (a.k.a. Poke) Bayou in 1812, in the newly created Missouri Territory. They were among the first to settle across the White River in an area eventually called Hess Town. Only a few scattered members of …

Marche (Pulaski County)

Marche, a community located in Pulaski County twelve miles north of Little Rock (Pulaski County), was settled by Polish immigrants wishing to escape the struggles of life in the northern United States. The settlement of Marche is one of the most successful efforts to resettle immigrants in Arkansas history. In 1872, Judge Liberty Bartlett attempted to establish a town in the area now known as Marche. The town of Bartlett never took hold, and the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad gained control of the area and renamed it Warren Station. The railroad company attempted to turn Warren Station into a recreation center for the people of Little Rock. By 1877, however, this project had failed, and the railroad land …

Marianna (Lee County)

Marianna, the county seat of Lee County, is situated along the L’Anguille River in eastern Arkansas. It has long been primarily an agricultural community, a center especially for cotton production, and also has a history that highlights many of the troubles of the Arkansas Delta region, both in economy and in race relations. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Marianna was founded as the village of Walnut Ridge in 1848 by Colonel Walter H. Otey. Its name was changed to Marianna four years later, and, by 1858, the city was relocated three miles downstream on higher ground and where the L’Anguille River was navigable throughout the year. Steamboats connected the young city to important Mississippi River ports such as Memphis, Tennessee, …

Marie (Mississippi County)

Named for the youngest daughter of Robert E. Lee Wilson, Marie is one of several towns founded by Lee Wilson & Company early in the twentieth century. It is located on State Highway 14 about two miles east of Interstate 55. Periodically flooded by the Mississippi River, eastern Mississippi County was long a wooded swampland unattractive to early settlers of the state. Late in the nineteenth century, Lee Wilson began investing in this unwanted land, seeing its potential for production of wealth, first in timber and then in cotton. After funding a railroad, Wilson began harvesting the timber with his own lumber company. Clearing the land of trees, he exposed rich soil that had been frequently replenished by Mississippi River floods. …

Marion (Crittenden County)

Marion is located in eastern Crittenden County, along the Mississippi River. Marion became the county seat in 1825 thanks largely to better accessibility than the original county seat of Greenock, combined with a donation of land by the Talbott family for the purpose of building a courthouse. The fourth Crittenden County Courthouse, completed in 1911, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Pre-European Exploration through European Exploration and Settlement Marion’s history can be traced back to its settlement by Native American tribes, including the Quapaw. Spanish exploration of the region occurred in the 1500s, and Spanish land grants in the area that is now Marion were later granted to Francis Gragen and Justo Mecham. Fort Esperanza, established in …

Marked Tree (Poinsett County)

Marked Tree is a small town in Poinsett County in the northeastern part of Arkansas. It is possibly the only town in the world with the name Marked Tree. It is also unique because it is located between two rivers, the St. Francis River and the Little River, which, in some places, are only a quarter of a mile away from each other yet flow in opposite directions. Marked Tree is perhaps best known for the Marked Tree Lock and Siphons, just a few miles out of the city limits, which were constructed for flood control and are on the National Register of Historic Places. Post Reconstruction through the Gilded Age Poinsett County was formed on February 28, 1838, but …

Marmaduke (Greene County)

Marmaduke played a big role in the history of Greene County. A booming lumber, cotton, and railroad town in its early heyday, Marmaduke is located twelve miles northeast of Paragould, the county seat, in the northeast corner of Greene County. Civil War through Reconstruction One theory holds that the town was named for Confederate General John Sappington Marmaduke. Marmaduke was said to have established a camp for his soldiers near the site of the present town. After crossing the St. Francis River at Chalk Bluff (Clay County) in 1863, Marmaduke and his troops marched south into Greene County to find a place to camp. They occupied the site for several weeks, and the general used it as his headquarters while …

Marshall (Searcy County)

Marshall is the county seat and market town for poor and rural Searcy County, which contains 23,372 acres of the Buffalo National River and its surrounding lands, and 31,286 acres of the Ozark National Forest. Its only sustained industry has been timber processing. Beyond that, it is dependant upon cattle and the tourism brought in by the Buffalo National River. Mostly destroyed during the Civil War, Marshall grew slowly during the nineteenth century. The Missouri & North Arkansas Railroad sped Marshall’s growth from 1905 to 1910, but the post–World War I slump hit Searcy County’s and Marshall’s industries hard. Between spurts of economic activity and a series of celebrations, such as the Strawberry Festival from the late 1940s to mid-1980s …

Marvell (Phillips County)

  The city of Marvell began as a railroad town in the 1870s. Best known as the hometown of musician Levon Helm, Marvell is one of the largest communities in Phillips County. Rich soil deposited by Mississippi River floods over the years made Phillips County attractive to cotton farmers, who created large plantations throughout the area in the early nineteenth century. In 1835, John Sanford acquired ownership of the land where Marvell would be built. Slaves worked the plantations until the Civil War, and many of the former slaves remained as tenant farmers after the war. Several railroads had been planned before the war, but their construction did not take place until Reconstruction. The Arkansas Central Railroad, planned to link Helena (Phillips County) and Little Rock …

Mauldin (Montgomery County)

The former town of Mauldin, in Montgomery County, is located between Pencil Bluff (Montgomery County) and the county seat, Mount Ida. Fueled by the logging industry, Mauldin was once the largest town in the county, although twenty-first-century Mauldin is a ghost town, with little physical evidence remaining. The Caddo River Lumber Company established Mauldin around 1922 where company logging railroads in Montgomery County crossed land purchased from William Mauldin, a local homesteader. The easily accessible landscape and proximity to vast reserves of timber in the northern portion of the county created an ideal location for a logging town. Timber was easily transported by rail to the large mills at Glenwood (Pike County) or Rosboro (Pike County). There, on William Mauldin’s …

Maumelle (Pulaski County)

Maumelle is a city five miles west of Little Rock (Pulaski County) on Interstate 40. A fast-growing, affluent suburb of Little Rock, it has the highest median household income in the state of Arkansas, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It is one of the planned communities that arose in central Arkansas during the 1970s. The area that is now Maumelle was visited by European explorers prior to the Louisiana Purchase and American settlement. Maumelle derives its name from the French word mamelle, or “breast,” probably due to the conical shape of nearby Maumelle Mountain (now Pinnacle Mountain). Identifying the early settlers of Maumelle is difficult, as they left few written records. Although a few had obtained land grants from …

Mayflower (Faulkner County)

Mayflower is a small town eleven miles south of Conway (Faulkner County) and twenty-five miles northwest of Little Rock (Pulaski County) on Interstate 40. Located on the southwestern edge of Lake Conway, Mayflower is known for its fishing. Like many of the smaller towns of Faulkner County, such as Vilonia and Greenbrier, Mayflower offers a rural lifestyle within a short drive of Conway and Little Rock, where many of its residents commute to work. European Exploration and Settlement The area’s earliest European settlers were Loyalists, or Tories, who moved west to escape the Revolutionary War. Families such as the Flannagins and Massengills arrived around 1778 and settled near the mouth of Palarm Creek, where they found good soil, ample amounts …

Maynard (Randolph County)

Maynard is in northern Randolph County, located at the intersection of State Highways 328 and 115. The town is known for its academic heritage and for preserving the history of the area with the Maynard Pioneer Park and Museum. Three freshwater springs have long made the area of Maynard desirable for brief refreshment or for more permanent settlement. When the United States acquired the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, Osage hunters and travelers frequented the area, although their homes were farther north in Missouri. Early highways crossed near the springs—the Old Military Road (also known as the Southwest Trail) that connected St. Louis, Missouri, to parts of the Red River valley and Texas, passed near the springs, where it intersected the …

Maysville (Benton County)

Although it is unincorporated, Maysville is one of the oldest settlements in Benton County. Located on Arkansas Highway 43 near the Oklahoma state line, Maysville is the westernmost community in Arkansas. The Osage hunted and fished in northern Arkansas until they were removed farther west by a series of treaties. The first white resident of the land that would become Maysville was Adam Beatie, who arrived in 1828. The area became known as Beatie’s Prairie, which was the name of the post office from 1840 to 1850. John Martin May arrived in 1831. The community was named for him, and the post office changed its name to Maysville in 1850. A merchant named Hugh Tigret arrived in 1838; he is …

McAlmont (Pulaski County)

McAlmont is an unincorporated community in Pulaski County, just to the east of North Little Rock (Pulaski County). Its southern boundary is Interstate 40, and the community is divided by tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad. After Little Rock had become established as the capital of Arkansas, farmers began to cultivate land north of the Arkansas River from the capital city, establishing plantations to grow cotton and subsistence crops. Among the early landowners in the region that would be McAlmont were Charles Robinson, who first acquired a land patent in 1837 and added more land in 1842; David Spence (1838); Ephraim Beasley (1838); Edward Cook (1839); Lucy Beasley (1839); Kindred Delk (1842); and Littleberry M. Robinson (1842). The Southwest Trail ran through …

McArthur (Desha County)

  McArthur (Desha County) is a historic community five miles north of McGehee (Desha County) on Arkansas Highway 1. It was first named McArthur Station in honor of Zack McArthur, an early settler in the area. A post office operated at McArthur from 1907 to 1918, but the settlement was never incorporated. Because McArthur is located near Macon and Coon bayous, once navigable waterways, it was already somewhat populated when the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad (later called the Missouri Pacific Railroad, then Union Pacific) completed a railroad bridge over the Arkansas River at Yancopin (Desha County) in 1904. The railroad allowed timber to be harvested, processed, and shipped out. Several stores opened, and a one-room school was constructed …

McCaskill (Hempstead County)

McCaskill is a town in northern Hempstead County on U.S. Highway 371. It developed early in the twentieth century after construction of the Prescott and Northwestern Railroad. Although some of Arkansas’s oldest cities and towns emerged in Hempstead County along the Southwest Trail (an early military road), the northern part of the county remained remote until the start of the twentieth century. Some settlers acquired land and established farms and plantations, including Hezekiah Askew, who came from North Carolina to Pike County around 1848 before going the land office in Washington (Hempstead County) in 1860 and acquiring land around what one day would be McCaskill. His sons James and John purchased adjoining lots around the same time. The Skirmish at …

McCrory (Woodruff County)

McCrory is one of the many towns in northeast Arkansas that sprang up around a railroad, but the area was settled many years before its incorporation in 1890. Early Statehood through Civil War There are several versions of how the early settlement was named. As one story goes, in about 1840, a traveler riding through what is now Woodruff County stopped at a cabin in the woods to ask for directions. A woman named Jennie came to the door, surrounded by children of all sizes. Later, the traveler jokingly said he had stopped at Jennie’s Colony, referring to the multitude of children. The name stuck, and for many years the area was known as Jennie’s Colony. Another source said the …

McDougal (Clay County)

McDougal is a city in Clay County on U.S. Highway 62 about halfway between Piggott (Clay County) and Corning (Clay County), the two county seats. Established as a railroad depot early in the twentieth century, McDougal did not incorporate as a city until 1954. Because of its location on the highway, it has survived into the twenty-first century while similar railroad towns have disappeared. Northeastern Arkansas is part of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain (commonly called the Delta). As such, the land was covered with swamps and hardwood forests when it was acquired by the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811–1812 changed the contour of the area, diminishing the interest of settlers in …

McGehee (Desha County)

McGehee (Desha County) is a small town located in southeast Arkansas. It had its beginnings as a hub of transportation—the railroad branched from it in four directions. Its progress has mirrored that of the railroads, growing during the railroad boom and declining as the railroad declined. Transportation is once again bringing hopes of prosperity, with the Yellow Bend Port on the Mississippi River and the possibility of the Interstate 69 corridor—a highway connector between Quebec, Canada, and Mexico City, Mexico—becoming a reality. Louisiana Purchase through the Gilded Age Benjamin McGehee came from Alabama in 1857 and settled in southeast Arkansas in what was then Chicot County. Benjamin brought with him his wife, Sarah, and his three children. The McGehees, like …

McHue (Independence County)

The community of McHue in Independence County is located about four miles away from Hutchinson Mountain and the community of Hutchinson (Independence County), or about six miles south of the White River. Before McHue was founded in 1896, the Alderbrook (or Alder Brook) post office, located just south of what is today Desha (Independence County) on the Jamestown Road, served the entire area—as did, for a short time, a post office which opened in Jamestown (Independence County) in 1881—and the settlement was often referred to as Alderbrook. The small community was once a commercial hub for the region, but, in the twenty-first century, agriculture is the chief vocation for residents. In the vicinity of where McHue now sits was a Native American town …

McNab (Hempstead County)

McNab is a town on State Highway 355 in western Hempstead County. Created as a railroad depot, McNab is known in the twenty-first century for its Twin Rivers Festival, held every April. Caddo Indians inhabited the Red River valley when French and Spanish explorers first arrived in the region. Shortly after the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, a boat landing and settlement named Fulton (Hempstead County) arose on the Red River. Settlers came to the town by boat or by land using the Southwest Trail, a military road that ended at Fulton. Some settlers cleared land a few miles north of Fulton, where the town of McNab would later appear. William McElroy and Thomas Reed both acquired land patents in the …