Clark

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Entry Category: Clark

Alpine (Clark County)

Alpine, one of the oldest settlements in Clark County, is an unincorporated community located in the northwestern part of the county. The community is located twenty-two miles northwest of the county seat, Arkadelphia, and is best known as the childhood home of noted actor and director Billy Bob Thornton. William Glover and his family, the first settlers of the area, arrived in 1848 in what would become Alpine, followed by several other families. It is most commonly thought that the settlement received its name due to its location on the highest point of the county. However, several folktales also relay the origin of the name. The original settlement was located a mile east of the present community and comprised little …

Amity (Clark County)

Amity traces its beginnings to the arrival of a group of pioneer families, under the leadership of Deacon William F. Browning, Clark County surveyor (1846–1850, 1852–1854), who settled along the old Caddo Cove Road just north of the Caddo River late in 1847. An abundance of water and rich bottomland drew them to the area. Soon after his arrival, Browning built a large two-story log house just west of Caney Creek. It soon became the center of an expanding community. According to Laura Scott, an early Clark County historian, Browning named his settlement “Amity” because he hoped to find in it “peace and brotherhood.” In August 1848, Browning and a group of local citizens formed what would become the Bethel …

Arkadelphia (Clark County)

Serving as Clark County’s seat of government since 1842, Arkadelphia has served as a farm market and trading center thanks to reliable water-, then rail-, then automotive-borne transportation from its perch adjacent to the Ouachita River at the edge of the Ouachita Mountains. It has a history of light industry, covering the gamut from salt extraction to lumber and aluminum, as well as recreational opportunities afforded by the nearby Ouachita and Caddo rivers and the Caddo’s impoundment, DeGray Lake. Arkadelphia’s greatest asset has been an enduring commitment to education that began with general private and denominational efforts, as well as the Arkansas School for the Blind prior to the Civil War, and blossomed with public education, a business college, and …

Barringer (Clark County)

Barringer is a community located in southern Clark County about one mile northwest of Whelen Springs (Clark County) and about four miles south of Gurdon (Clark County). The community is located along Arkansas Highway 53 north of the intersection with Arkansas Highway 51. The earliest mention of the settlement appears in 1885 when John A. Barringer opened a sawmill in the area. The opening of the Gurdon and Camden Branch Railroad from Camden (Ouachita County) to Gurdon made the shipment of timber in the area lucrative. In 1888, the company cut and shipped 2,000,000 board feet of timber. By the 1920s, the mill annually produced between eight and ten million board feet. During this period, the mill employed between forty-five …

Beirne (Clark County)

The small community of Beirne is located twenty-one miles southwest of the Clark County seat of Arkadelphia. It was founded by Illinois native and steamboat captain James Lewis Beirne in 1880. Originally named York, the community was later renamed for Beirne. The community, like many surrounding it, grew out of the timber industry, and it was once considered one of the premier shipping locations along the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad. Like many of its neighboring communities, it too fell victim to waning timber production in the early 1900s. Today, Beirne is home to one of the largest producers of hardwood material in the world. Quickly after the community’s establishment, Captain Beirne built a sawmill and Methodist church, …

Bethel (Clark County)

Bethel was a community in Clark County northeast of Okolona (Clark County). It was never a large settlement, and all that remains in the twenty-first century is a cemetery. Located near the community of Dobyville, Bethel was situated at the intersection of State Highway 51 and the Dobyville Road. The Smart family obtained the land where the community existed in 1854. The land was part of a land warrant issued to the heirs of William Smart, who served in the Second Seminole War. Smart moved to Clark County around 1844 and died in 1848. His wife, Polly, died the same year the family moved to Arkansas, and after William’s death, their children lived with William’s brother and sister, Thomas and …

Boswell (Clark County)

Boswell is a community in Clark County that was most active in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Located about five miles northeast of Okolona (Clark County), the area was first settled in the 1830s. The Southwest Trail passed through the community, bringing travelers and settlers. Around 1845, Hawes Coleman moved into the area and built a plantation called “Will-Be-Do.” Coleman was a lawyer and farmer who originally lived south of Arkadelphia (Clark County) along the Ouachita River but moved his family west in an effort to escape malaria. The area was in the South Fork Township during this period. The land was sparsely settled during the Civil War. A Federal army under the command of Major General Frederick …

Britt (Clark County)

Also known as Britts and Britt’s Switch, Britt is an unincorporated community located in southern Clark County. Situated about three miles west of Beirne (Clark County), the community lies about three miles east of the Little Missouri River. The community lies near the railroad tracks constructed by the Cairo and Fulton Railroad in 1873, continuing to be used today by the Union Pacific Railroad. Few records exist on the history of Britt. A post office opened in the community on July 6, 1901, under the direction of postmaster Phillip H. Gleaves. He was replaced by Frank Skinner on June 12, 1902. The post office ceased operations on March 31, 1903, with the office in Beirne taking over the service. Neither …

Burtsell (Clark County)

Burtsell is a community in Clark County located about five miles southeast of Okolona (Clark County). An alternate spelling of the community’s name is Burtsel. The first settlers to the area arrived in the mid-nineteenth century, attracted by the virgin timber and prime farming land near the Little Missouri River. The population of the area was never very large, and only a few families called Burtsell home at any one time. Robert Welch obtained eighty acres of land in the area in 1837, and Elijah Franklin purchased forty acres nearby in 1848. A Federal army under the command of Major General Frederick Steele passed through the area during the Camden Expedition of 1864. Burtsell was linked with Smithton (Clark County) …

Caddo Valley (Clark County)

Located near the junction of the Caddo and Ouachita rivers, the city of Caddo Valley is a relatively new but economically important town in Clark County. With an economy based on service industries and a prime location on three highways and near DeGray Lake Resort State Park, Caddo Valley quickly became an important stop between Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Texarkana (Miller County). Settlement in the area began in the early 1800s with the arrival of the first white farmers. The area had previously been occupied by members of the Caddo tribe. Jacob Barkman, an 1811 arrival to the area, constructed a house on the south bank of the Caddo River. The Caddo Valley area proved to be a prime …

Center Point (Clark County)

Center Point is a small community in Clark County located about four miles northwest of Gurdon (Clark County). The community is centered at the intersection of Center Point Road and Arkansas Highway 53. The first landowner in the area was Lewis Randolph, who received a land patent of just under 600 acres on December 1, 1838. The issuance of the patent took more than a year to process, as Randolph died on September 24, 1837, more than a year before the patent received approval. The population in the area grew slowly before the Civil War. After the end of the war, the population began to grow and small-scale farming began. With the opening of the Cairo and Fulton Railroad in …

Clear Spring (Clark County)

Clear Spring was a community that existed in western Clark County in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It was located about four miles east of Antoine (Pike County). It is often referred to as Clear Springs. One of the earliest families in the area was the Meeks family, who arrived from Tennessee via Independence County in 1840. Other settlers soon arrived, and a school opened in the area. The Clear Springs Post Office operated from 1856 to 1911, when operations were taken over by the post office at Okolona (Clark County). A rural community, Clear Spring consisted of several homes, a store, and a few churches. The store belonged to the Meeks family and was opened by Robert Lee Meeks …

Curtis (Clark County)

Curtis is an unincorporated community located along State Highway 67, nine miles south-southwest of the Clark County seat of Arkadelphia. Originally used as a refueling stop for trains along the Iron Mountain Railroad, it became a timber community heavily dependent on the surrounding forests. During the mid-1900s, the community became home to a successful semi-professional baseball team. Today, like many of its neighbors, the community has dwindled due to the decline in the area’s timber industry. The community was established in the 1870s, largely due to promotional brochures distributed by the railroad, advertising the area and encouraging people to settle there. It was originally established as a fuel chute along the Iron Mountain Railroad. At first, the fuel chute only …

Daleville (Clark County)

Located on the east bank of the Ouachita River directly across from Arkadelphia (Clark County), Daleville was a community in Clark County. Formerly a populated location, it recorded no residents by the twenty-first century. The area around Daleville was used by Native Americans to make salt. The Hunter-Dunbar Expedition visited the salt-making site during their expedition up the Ouachita River in 1804. Early white settlers also made salt in the area, including John Hemphill and his family. The Hemphills arrived in the area in 1811. Settling across the river from the small community of Blakelytown (now Arkadelphia), the family operated the saltworks and farmed. Hemphill purchased salt kettles in New Orleans around 1815 and operated the business until his death …

Fendley (Clark County)

Fendley is a community in Clark County located about three miles east of Alpine (Clark County). Early settlers in Clark County visited the Fendley area due to the presence of a chalybeate spring nearby. Visitors used the waters to bathe, claiming that the iron-enriched water helped treat ailments. The name of the community comes from the Fendley family that settled in the area. Elisha and Martha Fendley arrived in the area in the late 1870s and were accompanied by their son Thomas and daughter-in-law Mary. The younger Fendleys had two children by 1880, and both families farmed. The Fendley Post Office opened in 1901. Thomas Fendley, the son of early settler Thomas, served as the first postmaster. The post office …

Graysonia (Clark County)

Graysonia of Clark County was one of numerous mill towns that sprang up in southern Arkansas during the twentieth century as a result of Arkansas’s growing timber industry. At its peak, Graysonia had one of the largest mills in the South and a thriving community. Today, few visible remainders of the town exist. In 1902, William Grayson and Nelson McLeod became principal stockholders in Arkadelphia Lumber Company. The company moved to a site near the Antoine River in 1907 because there were not enough resources in the area to continue at their former location. The new town was named Graysonia, in honor of the company’s president. The mill at Graysonia became one of the South’s largest due to the high …

Greenville (Clark County)

The town of Greenville served as the Clark County seat from 1830 to 1842. The only physical remnants of Greenville’s existence are some foundation logs from a grist, saw, and cotton gin mill, which are visible beneath the water’s surface in Terre Noir Creek. A historical marker one mile west of Hollywood (Clark County) describes the location of Greenville as “1 & ½ miles south of this point.” The site sat on the Southwest Trail (later called the Military Road), and Greenville was one of the earliest towns in Clark County. The origin of Greenville’s name is unknown, though a store operated by Green Hughes in 1824 was in existence before it became the county seat. The town became Clark …