Counties, Cities, and Towns

Entry Category: Counties, Cities, and Towns

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 1836 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 …

Marion County

Marion County is located in north-central Arkansas on the Missouri border, within the Ozark Mountain range. The White River, the Buffalo River, Crooked Creek, and the Little North Fork of White River are the county’s principal streams. The county’s topography ranges from Kings Prairie in the southwestern portion of the county to the mountainous regions in the north. Chief agricultural products through the years have included cotton, tomatoes, and beef and dairy cattle. Lumber, including pine, cedar, and hardwoods, has also been exported from Marion County. Pre-European Exploration through European Exploration and Settlement Spear point finds indicate that early humans hunted animals native to the Ozark Plateau, including what is now Marion County, as early as 12,000 years ago, although …

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 there …

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 …

McNeil (Columbia County)

The community of McNeil in Columbia County emerged as a railroad depot in the 1880s. Just to the east of the community is Logoly State Park. One of the earliest families of European descent to settle the area was that of Ananias Godbold in 1845. Milton G. Kelso purchased two lots of Columbia County land on March 1, 1855, adding three additional lots five years later. Around 1855, William B. McNeill—a graduate of the University of North Carolina—arrived in the area and opened a school. McNeill married Mary Jane Kelso on December 21, 1859, and other families settled around the school, so that by the time of the Civil War, the area could be described as “thickly settled.” Because of …

McRae (White County)

McRae is an incorporated city in southern White County, located about nine miles southwest of Searcy (White County). McRae has its origins in the construction of the Cairo and Fulton Railroad through White County in 1872, which entailed the use of abundant virgin timber and arable lands in the area, but McRae did not exist as a defined community until the establishment of its first post office in 1889. The construction of McRae’s own rail depot in 1897 enabled further development and robust growth, which allowed it to emerge as a local contender in timber and strawberry production. The community was named in honor of Searcy attorney and Confederate brigadier general Dandridge McRae. Two men instrumental in shaping McRae during …

Melbourne (Izard County)

Melbourne is Izard County’s second-largest city and has served as the county seat since 1875. Located near the county’s center, it serves as a governmental and commercial center. The home of Ozarka College, it is also a regional educational center. Louisiana Purchase through the Gilded Age The first settlers to the area near the present town arrived before 1820. A post office, named Mill Creek, was established about one mile east of the present town on January 14, 1854. William Sublett was the postmaster. With the creation of Stone County and Baxter County in 1873, county boundary lines were redrawn, and there was a push to locate the county seat more centrally. A special election in 1875 relocated the county …

Mena (Polk County)

  Mena was founded in the late nineteenth century as a railroad town in western Arkansas. Situated amid the Ouachita National Forest and surrounded by noteworthy state parks and trails, the city is now something of a tourist destination, though it also has a diversified economy based upon agriculture and manufacturing. Post Reconstruction through the Gilded Age Mena was one of many towns founded along the route of Arthur E. Stilwell’s Kansas City, Pittsburg & Gulf Railroad (later the Kansas City Southern), stretching from Kansas City, Missouri, to Port Arthur, Texas. The town of Mena takes its name from the nickname of Folmina Margaretha Janssen deGeoijen, the wife of one of Stilwell’s financiers (Janssen Park is also named after her). …

Menifee (Conway County)

The town of Menifee has its origins in the 1820s when Dr. Nimrod P. Menifee bought property west of Cadron Creek and along the Arkansas River. The location was adjacent to the Cadron Settlement, once considered as the site for the capital of the new Arkansas Territory and for the seat of Pulaski County. After Little Rock (Pulaski County) was designated the territorial capital, Cadron declined in importance. However, the settlement on the western side of Cadron Creek developed and prospered as the Menifee plantation. The post–Civil War era created the community that continues into the twenty-first century as an incorporated city. Menifee and his son, Dr. Lewis Menifee, organized a large plantation in addition to a river crossing known …

Midland (Sebastian County)

Midland is a town in southern Sebastian County; in a journal article in the 1970s, it was described as “a small place in the middle of the road.” In the early years of the twentieth century, however, Midland was a prosperous community of coal miners and supporting industries. The area that would become Midland was sparsely settled in the early history of Arkansas. William Moore obtained a land grant in the vicinity in 1848. He was joined by Francis Daniels in 1855, and Edward Moore and John Moore became their neighbors in 1860. (These Moores are not sons of William; they may have been brothers or cousins.) A school was built in the area in 1866. In 1878, it was …

Midway (Hot Spring County)

Midway is a town in southern Hot Spring County. Situated on U.S. Highway 67, it lies between Interstate 30 and the Ouachita River. Although several other communities in Arkansas are also called Midway, the town in Hot Spring County is the only incorporated community in Arkansas with that name. Caddo Indians inhabited the Hot Spring County area until 1700. In a treaty in 1818, the Quapaw ceded control of the area to the U.S. government. Over the following years, a network of routes known as the Southwest Trail extended across the state from Jackson (Randolph County) through Little Rock (Pulaski County) and south to Fulton (Hempstead County) on the Red River. One of those highways passed through the Midway area, …