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Entries - 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, …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Gum Springs (Clark County)

Gum Springs is located five miles south-southwest of the Clark County seat of Arkadelphia. It is thought to have received its name due to a spring located near a gum tree on the original plot of land. In the mid-twentieth century, the town rose from a farming community to become an industrial center in Clark County. Today, Gum Springs has dwindled to a small rural town, as have many of the neighboring towns. Little is known about the origins of the town, other than the fact that the Clark County poor farm was established near the eventual town site in 1887, and a post office was established in February 1889 under the direction of postmaster Henry Gerrell. In the early …

Gurdon (Clark County)

Gurdon is a second-class city located in southern Clark County. Incorporated in 1880, Gurdon has served as an important railroad stop and center for the timber industry in southern Arkansas. The first settlers arrived in the area around 1819. Captain Robert Tate, his siblings, and other family members were the first group to travel up the Ouachita River and arrive in the area. Each purchased several hundred acres of land from the government land office located in Washington (Hempstead County). This initial purchase included the land where Gurdon now stands. The population grew slowly, and in 1836, Meriwether Lewis Randolph, grandson of Thomas Jefferson, arrived in the area. He bought several thousand acres of land near the present-day location of …

Halfway (Clark County)

Halfway was a community in Clark County located about seven miles north of Okolona (Clark County) and seven miles northeast of Antoine (Pike County) on State Highway 26. The community was located roughly halfway between Antoine and Hollywood (Clark County). Halfway was never a large settlement, but records reflect the operation of a post office for several years. The office opened in 1884 and closed in 1886. It reopened in 1900 and remained in operation until it was permanently closed in 1916. The operations of the office were moved to Okolona.   Early settlers to the area farmed and worked in the timber industry. Samuel Dawson obtained the first land in the area with his patent filed on November 1, …

Hollywood (Clark County)

Hollywood (Clark County) is a small community located thirteen miles southwest of Arkadelphia (Clark County). Originally a farming village along the Terre Noire Creek, the area served as the county seat of Clark County until 1842. Notable Arkansans Albert Pike, Robert Crittenden, and Chester Ashley frequented the area to further their law practices. Today, the once vibrant town has dwindled to an unincorporated status and is heavily reliant on nearby Arkadelphia. As early as 1811, people began settling along the Terre Noire Creek—also known as Wolf Creek—in the area that would become Hollywood; most of these early settlers were farmers searching for fertile soil in which to plant their crops. This small settlement quickly grew into a village along the …

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 …

Kansas (Clark County)

Kansas is a community located in southeastern Clark County. It is located about twelve miles southeast of Gurdon (Clark County) and ten miles east of Whelen Springs (Clark County). The earliest settler in the area was Meriwether Lewis Randolph, who obtained thousands of acres of land in 1836 and 1837. He died in 1837 and is buried near the community. William Brown obtained a total of 160 acres in the area in 1860. He lived in the area with his wife, Rebecca, four children, and nine slaves. Other families moved into the area over the next several decades, but the community was never very large. The community was served by the Bee Post Office, which opened in 1902 and consolidated …

Lenox (Clark County)

Lenox (sometimes spelled Lennox) was a small community in Clark County, located about four miles northeast of Fendley (Clark County), near DeGray Lake. The origin of the community’s name is unknown—while a Lenox family did reside in Clark County at the beginning of the twentieth century, they did not reside near the community. The earliest settlers in the area arrived in 1860 when Benjamin Easley obtained 280 acres of land from the Federal Land Patent Office. Boley Matlock obtained eighty acres in the area the same year. After the Civil War, more families slowly moved into the area. Asa Holcomb and his family arrived in 1871. In 1913, his grandson obtained forty acres of land in the Lenox area. John …

Okolona (Clark County)

Okolona is a small town located in southwestern Clark County, near the Little Missouri River. Okolona served as a regional agricultural and transportation hub in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries before slowly fading into obscurity. The earliest known inhabitants of the area were Caddo Indians, who constructed a mound that is today located near Main Street. The first white settlers arrived in the Okolona area in the early 1830s. They named their new community after their hometown in Mississippi. In 1858, a post office was established in the town, and by the 1860s several general stores had been opened in the area. The earliest settlers founded schools in the area, and education would continue to play an important …

Red Springs (Clark County)

Red Springs is a community in southeastern Clark County. It is located about five miles east of Gurdon (Clark County). An early name of the community was Bethel Springs.   The earliest landowners in the area were William Gwin and Samuel Davis, who obtained 1,040 acres on April 8, 1846. The two were business partners who owned thousands of acres in Clark and Hempstead counties. Jacob Wingfield Jr. obtained 320 acres in the area in 1859. He owned land in several other locations across Clark County but lived in the Red Springs community with his wife Mary, their seven children, and two slaves in 1860. Other families moved to the community over the next several decades. All were small-scale farmers. …

Richwoods (Clark County)

Richwoods is a community in Clark County located three miles south of Gum Springs (Clark County) and four miles north of Curtis (Clark County). The earliest settler in the area was Benjamin Dickinson, who purchased land in 1836. Dickinson moved to Clark County the previous year and was a native of North Carolina. Over the next decade, Dickinson acquired hundreds of additional acres of land to become one of the largest planters in the county. He owned two steamboats that transported his cotton down the Ouachita River, and according to the 1840 census, he owned forty-eight slaves. Upon his death in 1845, his estate was valued at approximately $40,000. The same day that Dickinson obtained his first parcels of property …

Rome (Clark County)

The small community of Rome was once located six miles south of Okolona (Clark County) in western Clark County along the Old Military Road and the Little Missouri River. Today, the only remaining evidence of the once vibrant community is two cemeteries. The community was located in Section 19, Township 9 South, Range 21 West, along present-day state Highway 51. Rome was founded in the 1850s by a man known as Mr. Dickey, who originated from Corinth, Mississippi. Several families followed Dickey to Rome, drawn by the fertile soil in the area. Among those early settlers were Dickey, Joshua Stewart, and Newt Noland. The first store was established by Noland and was supplied by goods shipped by wagon from Camden …

Smyrna (Clark County)

Smyrna is a community located in western Clark County. It is about five miles north of Okolona (Clark County) and two miles east of the Clear Spring (Clark County) community. The land where Smyrna is located was obtained by land speculators Samuel Doresy and Henry Dawson on August 10, 1837, when they received a federal land patent at the office in Washington (Hempstead County). This plot was part of more than 4,000 acres that the pair obtained in Clark County that month. The area remained sparsely settled for decades. Located in the former Terre Noire Township, the community is centered on the Smyrna United Methodist Church and nearby cemetery. The land for the church and cemetery was donated by James …

Vaden (Clark County)

Vaden is a community located in the southeastern corner of Clark County. Located near the Ouachita River, the community was established by several families in the late nineteenth century. Woodson Vaden, a former resident of North Carolina, purchased eighty acres in the area in 1849 and an additional 160 acres in 1861. The community that grew in the area adopted his name and eventually consisted of several homes, churches, a school, and a store. Families in the area farmed, raised cattle, and worked in the timber industry. The Vaden Post Office opened in 1888. When it closed in 1905, mail service was given to the nearby settlement of Hebron (Clark County). The post office was reestablished in 1908, but it …

Whelen Springs (Clark County)

Whelen Springs is a small town located along state Highway 53 twenty-two miles south-southeast of the Clark County seat of Arkadelphia. It was once a main hub for powerful lumber companies. The initial settlement of Whelen Springs began in September 1881 as a result of lumber companies coming to the area. The town’s proximity to the Camden (Ouachita County) line of the Iron Mountain Railroad also played a role in its origin. The name of the town can be traced to Henry Whelen, the owner of the land that would become Whelen Springs. In 1882, Southern Lumber Company began construction of a sawmill, under the direction of a Mr. Thompson. In February 1882, a post office was established, with Francis …