Crittenden

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Entries - Entry Category: Crittenden

Anthonyville (Crittenden County)

Anthonyville is a town located on State Highway 147 in southern Crittenden County. The town has never had a post office, a school, or a railroad depot; it exists largely as a bedroom community for the greater Memphis, Tennessee, area. The population is largely African-American. The rich soil of Crittenden County, replenished by Mississippi River flooding, has long drawn people to the area. Ancient artifacts have been unearthed in the county as reminders of its long history of human habitation. Both Spain and France held ownership of the land for a time, and some Spanish settlers had already established plantations in the county before the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 made the land part of the United States. Afterward, American settlers …

Clarkedale (Crittenden County)

Although it remained unincorporated until the twenty-first century, Clarkedale is one of the oldest settlements in Crittenden County. Clarkedale is situated near Interstate 55 north of West Memphis (Crittenden County) and very close to Jericho (Crittenden County). Wapanocca Bayou once flowed into the Mississippi River in this vicinity, and several communities have existed in this area since the Archaic Period. During the time the land was claimed by Spain, land grants were issued to Benjamin Fooy, Mundford Perryman, John Grace, and Cathy Gallowhorn. The New Madrid earthquakes of 1811–1812 changed the landscape and waterways of northeastern Arkansas. When Crittenden County was established in 1825, the county seat was first placed at Greenock, a settlement located within the current boundaries of …

Crawfordsville (Crittenden County)

Crawfordsville is a second-class city located on U.S. Highway 64 in central Crittenden County, about halfway between Earle (Crittenden County) and Marion (Crittenden County). Crawfordsville benefits from a slightly higher elevation (ten to fifteen feet) in comparison to its immediate neighbors, and its history is largely unblemished by the devastation that floods have exacted on nearby communities. City establishment began as an outgrowth of the timber industry in eastern Arkansas during the post–Civil War era, and the opening of a railroad line through the community sustained city growth as its economy transitioned from timber to farming during the early twentieth century. Unlike other communities in Crittenden County that diminished or disappeared once the timber-rich acreage had been cleared, Crawfordsville continued …

Earle (Crittenden County)

Earle is an incorporated city in western Crittenden County located on U.S. Highway 64 near the border with neighboring Cross County. The history of Earle is really that of two towns—Earle and Norvell—which grew alongside each other for decades and were separated only by a boundary line running down present-day Ruth Street in Earle. Both towns arose as a result of the timber industry boom following the Civil War and shared most of the same civic and business leaders. In 1888, a railroad line through the southern part of Earle was established, which benefited Earle more than its smaller neighbor, as the route of the railroad bypassed Norvell entirely. Talks of merging the two towns lingered for more than sixty …

Edmondson (Crittenden County)

Edmondson is a town on State Highway 131 about three miles south of Interstate 40. As of the 2010 census, two-thirds of the population of Edmondson is African American. Much of Crittenden County was forested swampland when the county was established in 1825. Fifty years later, the Edmondson area was described as a “terrible canebrake full of bear, panther, wolves, possum, and squirrel.” Land was being cleared before the Civil War for cotton plantations, and a settlement was named for Andrew Edmondson, who arrived from Virginia in the 1840s and died in 1852. His family remained, and a post office bearing their name was established in 1859. A Methodist church for white citizens was built in Edmondson before the war. …

Gilmore (Crittenden County)

  Gilmore is a small incorporated community in northern Crittenden County, situated along U.S. Highway 63, about two miles south of the Poinsett–Mississippi county line. Gilmore attracted interests in the timber industry during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and later became an agricultural community after the land was cleared. The first white settlers began immigrating to the Gilmore area in the 1850s, about thirty years before construction of the first nearby railroad. Virginia-born John Gilmore, for whom the community and later rail station were named, moved to the area with his family by way of Missouri in the late 1850s. As a young man, he distinguished himself as a hunter and outdoorsman and made his fortune as one …

Hopefield (Crittenden County)

Hopefield was a small town on the Mississippi River in eastern Crittenden County near West Memphis (Crittenden County) and across from present-day Mud Island in Memphis, Tennessee. As a railroad terminal and river landing, the town was pivotal in the development of transportation and commerce between Tennessee and Arkansas during the nineteenth century, but devastation from war, disease, commercial setbacks, and the geological power of the Mississippi itself ultimately destroyed Hopefield in the early twentieth century. Hopefield traces its origin to a Dutch immigrant named Benjamin Fooy (also spelled “Foy”), who established a Spanish encampment (Foy’s Point) in 1795, which was built to regulate river traffic and discourage American encroachment past the Mississippi River. He had been appointed by the Spanish …

Horseshoe Lake (Crittenden County)

  The town of Horseshoe Lake is located on the old Seyppel area in Crittenden County at the east end of the lake from which it takes its name. Horseshoe Lake is predominately a bedroom community, with the surrounding area consisting of farmland where cotton, feed corn, soybeans, and milo are grown. Some cattle are also raised on the high ground of the levee. The Great River Road encircles the lake. Several legendary blues musicians, including B. B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, and Hurbert Sumlin, once played in juke joints on the plantations. Pre-European Exploration The remnants of Native American civilizations surround Horseshoe Lake. The oldest recorded Indian mounds in the area are believed to be pre-Mississippian, as evidenced from artifacts found dating back to …

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) …

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 …

Neuhardt (Crittenden County)

Neuhardt is an unincorporated community in south-central Crittenden County, located on Arkansas Highway 147 between Anthonyville and Edmondson. The town grew up around 1900 as a result of the timber industry and was named for lumber tycoon George Neuhardt, who purchased thousands of timbered acres in the area. Information regarding George Neuhardt is scarce, but it is known that he suffered tremendous commercial losses due to flooding and eventually committed suicide when forced into bankruptcy. Following the Civil War, a statewide timber industry expanded in earnest due to the construction of railroads and availability of powered machinery. Cutting of timber in the Arkansas Delta (including Crittenden County) and the “sunken lands” of northeast Arkansas played a pivotal role in encouraging …

Norvell (Crittenden County)

  Norvell was an incorporated town in western Crittenden County located just southeast of the Tyronza River, about one mile east of the Cross County line. In 1862, Dr. James Throgmorton arrived in what would become Norvell. In later years, he described the landscape as “a dense forest inhabited by bears, wolves and panthers,” adding that “it remained so until 1888.” The raw wilderness with abundant virgin timber invited settlement and commercial growth during the timber boom that swept Arkansas following the Civil War. This growth gave rise to Norvell and its larger neighbor Earle (Crittenden County), which were settled simultaneously and shared many of the same business and civic leaders. Population in the area was sparse until the 1880s, when …

Sunset (Crittenden County)

Sunset is a largely African-American town north of Marion (Crittenden County) and adjacent to Interstate 55. A school building in Sunset is on the National Register of Historic Places. Quapaw lived in the area before European explorers first visited. Two Spanish land grants were bestowed before 1800 for the land where Sunset would be built. The land became part of the United States with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Cotton was grown on the land both before and after the Civil War. Many former slaves continued to live as tenant farmers in Crittenden County after the Civil War. Friendship Lodge No. 39, a Masonic association for African Americans, was organized in 1873. A school for African-American children was built in …

Turrell (Crittenden County)

  Turrell is an incorporated city located along Interstate 55 in northern Crittenden County, about five miles south of the border with neighboring Mississippi County. The town first coalesced in the 1880s around timber-cutting operations owned by Wisconsin native Fletcher E. Turrell, for whom the town is named. Turrell ran the Turrell-Lily Lumber Company, among other local business ventures, and also served as the first postmaster. Aided by the presence of a railroad constructed in 1883, other timber-related businesses thrived at Turrell throughout its history until the cleared forest acreage was utilized as farmland, as it is today. Well before the construction of the railroad, Native Americans once had an established village and built several mounds at what is now …

West Memphis (Crittenden County)

West Memphis is the largest town in Crittenden County. Located on the west bank of the Mississippi River where I-55 and I-40 meet, West Memphis has been referred to as the crossroads or mid-point of the United States and is one of the largest trucking centers in the nation. Memphis, Tennessee, is located just across the Mississippi River. Pre-European Exploration through European Exploration and Settlement Native Americans lived in the Mississippi River Valley for at least 10,000 years, although much of the evidence of their presence has been buried or destroyed. The Indians of the Mississippian Period were the last native inhabitants of the West Memphis area. Mound City Road, located within the eastern portion of the West Memphis city …