Independence

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Akron (Independence County)

Drivers heading south from Newark (Independence County) on Highway 122 will see an isolated cemetery marker at the dividing line between a wooded area and a farm field. The sign reads “Akron Cemetery” and marks the only remains of a once vibrant community. The community was at one time called Big Bottom for the rich and extensive bottom land on the north side of White River and the west side of Black River. The stage route from Batesville (Independence County) to Jacksonport (Jackson County) ran through Big Bottom/Akron. The Akron Cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 4, 2002. The oldest recorded grave in the cemetery is from 1829, making this perhaps the oldest cemetery …

Allen Chapel (Independence County)

Allen Chapel is a small community in Independence County on Highway 14 between Ramsey Mountain and Salado (Independence County). Once located upon a spur called the Allen Chapel Road, it is now on the main road from the county seat of Batesville (Independence County) to Oil Trough (Independence County). Today, the Allen Chapel Free Will Baptist Church (and the associated cemetery) is the only landmark for the community. At one time, a country general store, the Dewey Lusk Grocery, was located near the church. In the early twenty-first century, the only remaining business is the Time Bandit, which sells electric cargo-strap winders. Several businesses, including  two banks and a motel, are located nearby on Ramsey Mountain. In 1827, at age …

Aydelott (Independence County)

Aydelott is a historic community in Independence County located on Highway 14 between Oil Trough (Independence County) and Macks (Jackson County) in Oil Trough Township. The name derives from the Aydelott family from Cleveland County, North Carolina. The White River bottoms in what became known as Pleasant Island, and later Oil Trough, first became a popular area for bear hunting by the French before the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The rich alluvial soil beckoned farmers who grew cotton and corn in the early days of settlement, tolerating the frequent floods. The corn was also used to make moonshine, which proved almost as profitable as trading bear oil down the river. Alfred Paisley Aydelott first journeyed to Little Rock (Pulaski County) …

Batesville (Independence County)

Geographically, Batesville was destined to exist. It stands at the point where waters of the White River exit from the sedimentary stone of the Ozarks. River traffic was forced to stop at the shoals to offload cargo, regardless of the direction of travel. Warehouses, supply stores, and buyers of furs and produce naturally congregated there. The town became one of the major cultural centers of the region. In the nineteenth century, its leaders, many of whom moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County), exercised influence on the political development of Arkansas far beyond what its modest size promised. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The first Euro-American settlers, French fur-traders who were in the valley possibly as early as the mid-eighteenth century, left …

Bethesda (Independence County)

Although there were settlers in what became Bethesda (it was originally called Washington) in the early days of statehood, the community was officially established with the opening of a post office in 1888. The name of the community is believed to have been derived from the biblical Bethesda healing pool in Jerusalem, the word meaning “house of grace” or “house of mercy.” Bethesda is located along Highway 106, about three miles south-southeast of Cushman (Independence County) and about eight miles west-northwest of the county seat of Batesville (Independence County). The White River is about four miles to the south, where Lock and Dam No. 2 is located. The Union Pacific Railroad follows the White River bank south of Bethesda. The …

Caney (Independence County)

Caney Creek begins as a spring in the hills of the Ed Taylor Holler at McHue (Independence County), moves east through Southside (Independence County), and empties into Salado Creek near the Old Rock Bridge between Salado (Independence County) and Rosie (Independence County). Caney, a pioneer community, emerged along its banks in the early 1800s on what is today Kyler Road, where it intersects with Highway 167 South (Batesville Boulevard). Pioneer farmers found the alluvial land along the banks of Caney Creek to be ideal for the growing of grain crops, including corn (which could be used in the profitable moonshine business). One of the first to make his home in Caney was John Kyler from Tennessee, who appeared on the …

Cave City (Sharp and Independence Counties)

Cave City is a small community that straddles the northern Independence and southern Sharp County border in north-central Arkansas, having ended up there when a three-mile strip of Independence County was transferred to Sharp County in 1879. For administrative purposes, the town belongs to Sharp County, but it hosts voting stations for townships in both Independence and Sharp counties. The town takes its name from the large multi-room Crystal River Cave, which is located directly beneath the city. The cave has played a pivotal role in the history of the entire community. For thousands of years, it has served as a temporary shelter, source of water, and a fascinating place to visit. Settlers in the nineteenth century also used the …

Cedar Grove (Independence County) [Northeast]

There are two communities named Cedar Grove in Independence County, one south of the White River between Floral and Pleasant Plains, and the other north of the White River near Charlotte and Cave City (Sharp and Independence counties); the two communities are often confused. Both are historical communities dating back to before the Civil War. Both are said to take their names from clusters of cedar trees found in the areas where log homes were built by the first settlers. Each one has a Cedar Grove Cemetery. Cedar Grove in the northeastern part of the county is located in Dota Township on Curia Creek seven miles southeast of Cave City and about fourteen miles east-northeast of Batesville (Independence County). It …

Cedar Grove (Independence County) [Southwest]

There are two communities named Cedar Grove in Independence County—one south of the White River near Floral (Independence County) and Pleasant Plains (Independence County), and the other north of the White River near Charlotte (Independence County) and Cave City (Sharp and Independence counties). This has led to much confusion, as each one has a Cedar Grove Cemetery. The two locations are often confused on the Internet as well. Both are historical communities dating back to before the Civil War, and both are said to take their names from clusters of cedar trees found in the areas where log homes were built by early settlers. Cedar Grove in the southwestern part of the county lies on Highway 87 (Floral Road) between …

Charlotte (Independence County)

Charlotte is located just off Highway 25 (a.k.a. White Drive) on Old School Road near the banks of Dota Creek, twelve miles east-northeast of the county seat of Batesville (Independence County) and about five miles west of Cord (Independence County). Rich farmland lies to the south of Charlotte in the Big Bottom alluvial lands along the Black and White rivers. There is also high-quality grazing land for cattle in the Charlotte region. Charlotte is in the township of Dota, which includes three churches—Cedar Grove Church, Center Grove Church, and Pleasant Hill Church. In 1852, seventeen-year-old James Northcroft Churchill crossed the Mississippi River from Tennessee with his family, which settled in Walnut Grove (Independence County). A few years later, he opened …

Chinn Spring (Independence County)

A popular place for church and social picnics in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Chinn Spring is located on Cave Creek in Ashley Township on Chinn Spring Lane just east of Polk (or Poke) Bayou. The community of Chinn Spring emerged near the spring. The Will Chinn Cave is located in this vicinity. Batesville (Independence County), the county seat, is located about five miles south of Chinn Spring. Today, the spring is located on private property owned by a Batesville businessman. John French Chinn was born in 1810 in Fauquier County, Virginia, where, in 1832, he married Lydia Elizabeth Byrne. Following the death of Chinn’s parents, the two moved to Ruddell (Independence County) around 1847. On the 1860 census, …

Chinquapin (Independence County)

Chinquapin is an unincorporated community in Washington Township of Independence County on Chinquapin Loop near its intersection with Earnheart Road. It is about two and a half miles south-southeast of Bethesda (Independence County) and about two miles from White River and Lock and Dam No. 2. It is approximately eight miles from Batesville (Independence County), the county seat. Chinquapin receives its name from the abundant Ozark chinquapin trees, sometimes called Ozark chinkapin and Ozark chestnut, that grew there. People ate the nuts, fed them to livestock, and sold them. The rot-resistant wood made excellent railroad ties and fence posts. Local folk artists even made musical instruments from the wood. Logging practices and a chestnut blight that struck the Ozarks in …

Convenience (Independence County)

Convenience is a historical community located on Dota Creek on Cedar Grove Road just off Highway 25 about four miles north-northwest of Charlotte (Independence County) and about seven miles southeast of Cave City (Sharp and Independence counties). It is about three and a half miles southwest of Cedar Grove (Independence County). Batesville, the county seat, is located approximately fourteen miles south-southwest. Those who live in the area in the twenty-first century have a Sulphur Rock (Independence County) address. Native Americans made the Black and White rivers area their home in pre-Columbian times. At the beginning of the twentieth century, archaeologist Clarence Bloomfield Moore excavated several sites, including Little Turkey Hill, near what is today Dowdy (Independence County), about eight and …

Cord (Independence County)

Cord is located at the junction of Cord Road (Highway 122) and West Hopewell Road (Highway 37, a.k.a. Elgin Road) near Charlotte (Independence County) and Dota (Independence County). Cord grew out of the Hopewell community, and the name Hopewell is used for the main cemetery for Cord and for one of the main roads running through Cord. The Hopewell area was good for growing crops and grazing animals, becoming noted for its prosperous farmers. The early settlers of Hopewell were attracted by the nearby farmland of Big Bottom on the banks of the White and Black rivers approximately ten miles to the southwest. Eventually, a ferry across the Black River at Elgin (Jackson County), four miles to the southeast, made …

Curia (Independence County)

The historic community of Curia (pronounced Curie) was located near Curia Creek, a tributary of the Black River, east of Highway 25 between Saffell (Lawrence County) and Cord (Independence County). The remains of this community, like Hazel Grove (Independence County), are on private land with restricted public access. It was located in Barren Township. Curia Lake is a popular fishing spot noted for its perch and crappie. The place name of Curia (a.k.a. Bayou Cura, Bayou Cure, and Cura Creek) is mentioned in a written description of the boundaries of the new Independence County on October 23, 1820, which included, “All that portion of the county of Lawrence bounded as follows, to wit: Beginning at a point in Big Black …

Cushman (Independence County)

Cushman, established in 1886 as the result of an accident, was an important shipping and trade center for the next seventy-two years. The center of the tremendously valuable manganese mining industry, Cushman also served as a shipping point for businesses and farmers in northern Independence County and most of Izard County. William Einstein of St. Louis established a mining operation on what is now known as Polk Southard Mine, near what is now Sandtown Road, in about 1866. At the time, this was just a wild wooded area. In 1885, the Keystone Mining Company, an Andrew Carnegie company, began operations on Southard Hill. Shortly thereafter, the St. Louis Mining Company came to the area and began operations near Polk Southard. …

Denieville (Independence County)

The historic community of Denieville was located on Spring Creek less than a mile from Limedale (Independence County) on Limedale Road. It was about five miles west-northwest of the county seat, Batesville (Independence County). The White River and the Missouri Pacific railroad tracks run about two miles south of Denieville. Following the Civil War, mining interests in the eastern United States attempted to develop the white lime deposits of Independence County for commercial use, establishing kilns near Batesville. (Quick lime is used for a number of purposes, including mortar, plaster, and the manufacture of paper.) The production of lime in Independence County began in earnest in 1887, emerging on a small scale at Denieville on the Cushman (Independence County) branch …

Dennison Heights (Independence County)

Dennison Heights of Independence County began as a housing development in the 1950s and 1960s on the bluffs overlooking the White River. It was named for the Dennison/Denison family (different branches of the family spelled the name differently) who had a large farm south of the White River and across the river from Eagle Mountain. Dennison Heights is located three miles south of Batesville (Independence County), the county seat. It sits atop Ramsey Mountain (a.k.a. Ramsey Hill), just off Highway 167, also called Batesville Boulevard. At the time of Dennison Heights’ formation, three roads made a triangle at the “top of the hill,” as the Dennison Heights area is commonly called: Highways 14 and 25 led to Desha (Independence County) …

Departee (Independence County)

The historic community of Departee in Christian Township of Independence County is located on Blackland Road (Highway 157) near Departee Creek, about three and a half miles southwest of Oil Trough (Independence County) and two miles northwest of Thida (Independence County). Departee is close to Major Harris Mountain in the Oil Trough Bottoms near the Blackland community. The White River bottomland is a fertile area for farming, although cotton has been largely replaced by other crops such as soybeans and rice. Flooding, often disastrous, frequently occurs in the bottoms. The community was named for Departee Creek, a small bottomland creek that most likely received its name from the French who were in the area by the beginning of the nineteenth …

Desha (Independence County)

Desha is located on State Highways 14 and 25 (a.k.a. Heber Springs Road) in Independence County about six miles southwest of Batesville, the county seat. Desha is closely associated with nearby Locust Grove (Independence County), Jamestown (Independence County), McHue (Independence County), and Southside (Independence County). The White River is about one mile to the north, and Ramsey Mountain (a.k.a. Ramsey Hill) lies about two miles to the east. There is evidence that Hernando de Soto and his men journeyed through the Greenbrier Bottoms (named for Greenbrier Creek—originally spelled Greenbriar) in October and November 1541. Dr. Julie Morrow of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro (Craighead County) began the process of archaeological study and research into the Native American city of Coliqua …

Dota (Independence County)

Dota (pronounced Doe-dee or Doe-tee) is a historic community near Dota Creek, which runs into the Black River. Dota is located just off the WPA Road between Cord (Independence County), which is two and half miles to the north-northeast, and Charlotte (Independence County), which is about four miles to the north-northwest. Dota Old River is a lake near where Dota Creek empties into the Black River. Dota is a corruption of the French word d’eau, meaning water. D’eau became Doty and then Dota. The old military road ran through D’eau Bayou (which later became known as Dota Creek). The Jackson Military Road was laid out in 1831 from St. Louis, Missouri. It roughly parallels the old Southwest Trail as it …

Dowdy (Independence County)

Dowdy is located on Highway 25 near the intersection with Upper Lockhart Road about three miles northeast of Cord (Independence County) and about five miles south of Saffell (Lawrence County). Dowdy is about three miles west of where the Lockhart Ferry crossed the Black River and about a mile south of Curia Creek. The Black River bottoms area has rich alluvial soil, and Native Americans made it their home in pre-Columbian times. Prehistoric sites are numerous. At the beginning of the twentieth century, archaeologist Clarence Bloomfield Moore excavated several sites, including Little Turkey Hill, near what is today Dowdy. By 1818, John Milligan II had settled along Reeds Creek in Lawrence County. He became a minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian …

Dunnington (Independence County)

The historic community of Dunnington of Independence County was located on Highway 14, about two miles east-southeast of Oil Trough (Independence County). It was about five miles south across the White River bridge from Newark (Independence County) and approximately eight and a half miles from Newport (Jackson County). Being close to the White River, floods were common, at times even devastating. Dunnington was in a two-mile radius of Hulsey Bend (Independence County), Elmo (Independence County), Macks (Jackson County), Meadow Lake (Independence County), and Oil Trough. As early as 1800, French frontiersmen were in the White River bottoms hunting bears and smaller game animals, including deer. Traffic in bear oil was lucrative and proved to be an incentive for settlement, and …

Earnheart (Independence County)

Earnheart is a community on the north bank of the White River about three miles southeast of Bethesda (Independence County) and about four miles southwest of Limedale (Independence County). Across the White River from Earnheart is Earnheart Island near Lock and Dam No. 2. Created by the River and Harbors Act of March 1899, Lock and Dam No. 2 is presently own by Independence County; the old lock is being converted into a hydro-electric generating station. The Missouri Pacific Railroad runs through Earnheart. The Mitchell family from Alabama was among the first to settle in the Earnheart area of Washington Township. Shortly after the Civil War, Charles Pierce Mitchell homesteaded 140 acres along Rock Branch (a.k.a. Rocky Branch), a stream …

Elmo (Independence County)

Elmo is a historic community located in a wooded area, with plowed fields on each side, between Highway 14 (Newport Road) and the White River, which is about a half mile away. Elmo is about four miles east of Oil Trough (Independence County) and about six miles west of Newport (Jackson County). Nearby are Dunnington (Independence County), Aydelott (Independence County), and Macks (Jackson County). The White River bottoms in what became known as Pleasant Island and later Oil Trough first became a popular area for bear hunting by the French before the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The rich alluvial soil beckoned farmers, who began growing cotton and corn in the early days of American settlement, even though the area was …

Floral (Independence County)

Floral is a community in Independence County located south-southwest of the county seat of Batesville (Independence County). Floral is believed to have received its name from the beautiful flowers that grow in the area, but may have been named for the Floral family who lived in the area at one time. An early pioneer in the region was John (Johnny) Thomas, who was born in 1814 in Alabama. He and his family crossed the Mississippi River and settled in Arkansas by the 1840s; the 1860 census reported him living at Round Pond in Independence County. The same census also listed the area’s first doctor, Sterling Wesley Allen, who had come from Tennessee. During the Civil War, lawless bands roamed the …

Gainsboro (Independence County)

Gainsboro is located between Pfeiffer (Independence County) and Moorefield (Independence County), about seven miles east-northeast of Batesville, the county seat. The community, which never had a post office, grew out of Sharp’s Cross Roads, located about one and a half miles north-northwest of Gainsboro; Sharp’s Cross Roads was earlier called Rust’s. The historic community of Gainsboro is located on Watson Road just south of its junction with Highway 25 (White Drive). Gainsboro likely received its name from the Gaines family, which was farming in the area before the Civil War. A short-lived post office was at Rust’s (1856–1859), with John David McKinney postmaster, but it was replaced by the Sharp’s Cross Roads post office established in 1859, with Samuel Y. …

Graham (Independence County)

The historic community of Graham was located in Washington Township near where Lock and Dam No. 3 on the White River is today. It is on the Lock 3/Webber Chapel Road near Pilgrim Holler, about two miles north-northwest of Bethesda (Independence County). The University of Arkansas Livestock and Forestry Station is located on land that was once part of Graham. Moses Graham was a son-in-law of Abraham Ruddell, who helped establish Ruddell Mill, one of the first water-powered mills in the White River valley. Graham owned a farm at Bell Point on the White River opposite the mouth of Salado Creek. In 1815, he was appointed, along with the widow of John C. Luttig, as administrator of the Luttig estate. …

Gray (Independence County)

Gray is a historical community in Barren Township that is somewhat an offshoot of Hickory Valley (Independence County). All that is left of the community today is Gray’s Chapel Cemetery located north of Sandtown Road on Arrowhead Lane between Highway 167 (North St. Louis Street) and Cold Creek Lane. Barnett Creek and Barnett Cemetery are close by, as is Basket Creek. The first white settlers in the area were members of the Barnett family of North Carolina. John Barnett and his two sons—Elijah Barnett and a brother who went by A. Barnett—were living in the Arkansas Territory by the early 1820s. The area was first known as Jefferson after President Thomas Jefferson, who had made the Louisiana Purchase possible. By …

Harmontown (Independence County)

Harmontown (a.k.a. Harmon Town) is a farming community in Washington Township, located on Harmontown Road between Bethesda (Independence County) and O’Neal (Independence County). Willow and Pine Tree lanes circle the community near Harmon and Betsey Gill creeks. Harmontown is in the White River bottoms about a mile north of the river. The White River bottoms are noted for floods, often severe. About ten miles west of the county seat of Batesville (Independence County), Harmontown is about two and a half miles from Bethesda and about three miles from O’Neal. The Harmon family from Tennessee founded the community. Stephen William (Step) Harmon and his wife, Sarah Mary Luster Harmon, along with four of their five sons (Moses, Peter, Trent, and Bill), …

Hazel Grove (Independence County)

The historic community of Hazel Grove is in Dota Township on Walden Road about four miles north-northeast of Cord (Independence County). It was once located on a main thoroughfare built in the early 1830s, the Military Road, which paralleled the Southwest Trail. Curia Creek is nearby, and the Black River lies a few miles to the east. Batesville, the county seat, is sixteen miles to the west-southwest. Hazel Grove is just south of the point at which Independence, Lawrence, and Sharp counties meet. The French LaBass family played a leading role in establishing Hazel Grove. The deed records at Powhatan (Lawrence County) show that five French settlers claimed lands along the Black River: Joseph Janis, son of Anthony Janis; John …

Hickory Valley (Independence County)

Hickory Valley is an unincorporated community in Barren Township in Independence County. The historic Hickory Valley Methodist Church stood across Highway 167 North from the Hickory Valley Cemetery, once called the Brewer Cemetery; the old building, in a state of disrepair, burned in June 2016. Hickory Valley is three miles south of Cave City (Sharp and Independence counties) and ten miles north-northeast of Batesville (Independence County). John W. Meacham, born in North Carolina, brought his wife and family from the Cumberland River country of Tennessee to the sparsely settled area he named Hickory Valley around 1827, building a log cabin in the woods. He operated a trading post by his cabin. His youngest son, Thornberry Anderson Meacham, born in 1831, …

Huff (Independence County)

Huff of Independence County is located seven miles south of Batesville (Independence County) on Highway 167, a roadway designated today as Batesville Boulevard. Huff is about two miles north of Salado Creek, the location of a rest stop and of the swimming hole used by residents of the region. Fishing in the creek is a popular recreational activity in the area. Huff gets its name from the Huff family, who were pioneers in the region. Many of their descendants still live in Salado (Independence County) and Batesville. William Henry Harrison Huff, a Primitive Baptist preacher and constable, was elected mayor of Ironton, Missouri, during the Civil War. According to family tradition, he almost single-handedly started one of the bloodiest battles …

Hulsey Bend (Independence County)

Historic Hulsey Bend was a farming community located in a bend of the White River in the Oil Trough Bottoms. Hardin Hulsey began farming there with his parents, Charles and Sarah Hulsey, in about 1815. Hulsey is considered a pioneer of Oil Trough (Independence County), which was originally called Pleasant Island. Hulsey Bend is located near where Highway 122 crosses the bridge from Newark (Independence County), four miles north-northwest, and merges with Highway 14 from Oil Trough, three miles west-southwest. Freeze Bend Country Road leaves Highway 14 going north toward the river and leads to Hulsey Bend, less than a mile away. Surrounding Hulsey Bend is alluvial farmland on which cash crops are grown—at one time, cotton, but today mainly …

Hutchinson (Independence County)

The community of Hutchinson is located atop Hutchinson Mountain in Independence County, about eight miles from the county seat of Batesville. Families that settled in the area have remained there for generation after generation. Two of the first settlers on the mountain were William Goodman and Ziba Danual Barber from Tennessee. The families united when Ziba Barber married Permelia “Permiba” Goodman, William Goodman’s daughter. Family lore has it that Ziba was killed by jayhawkers during the Civil War in 1864. One of the couple’s sons, Andrew Jackson Barber, married Cynthia Ann “Sinthy” Graddy, the only child of another mountain pioneer, Lewis Graddy (or Grady). Lewis Graddy and his older brother, John Graddy, stopped in Independence County on their way to …

Jamestown (Independence County)

Jamestown of Independence County is a small community located approximately eight miles southwest of Batesville (Independence County) at the foot of Jamestown Mountain near Jamestown Creek. During its heyday in the late nineteenth century, it was a thriving area commercial center respected for its educational opportunities. A settlement began to develop near Jamestown Creek as early as 1844 when Daniel James, an early settler, promoted the area through land speculation. Still, no real town existed until after the Civil War. In 1869, the local Methodist congregation constructed a meeting house that also served as a Masonic hall at what was then called Alderbrook. Because the building was described as “an ornament to the village,” it was decided that a more …

Limedale (Independence County)

Limedale is located on Limedale Road just before it connects to the north with Highway 69 (a.k.a. North Central Avenue). Limedale is approximately five miles northwest of Batesville, the county seat for Independence County, and about six miles southeast of Cushman (Independence County). Limedale is near Dry Run Creek (a.k.a. Spring Creek). Though the land around Cushman and Bethesda (Independence County) was noted for its white limestone rocks, the first mining company of importance to exploit this resource was located at Denieville (Independence County), which today is a ghost town. Denieville was named for the Denie Lime Company and was located on Spring Creek on what is today Limedale Road. The Arkansas Lime Company began in Ruddells (Izard County) in …

Locust Grove (Independence County)

Locust Grove is one of the oldest towns in Independence County, having been founded in 1838, two years after Arkansas became a state. Its name derives from a grove of locust trees that pioneers found growing there. Locust Grove is on Heber Springs Road (Highway 25) just before Highway 14 splits off to become Mountain View Road. Locust Grove has traditionally had close ties with the two communities of Almond (Cleburne County) and Desha (Independence County), and with Marcella, Pleasant Grove (a.k.a. Red Stripe), and St. James (a.k.a. Buck Horn, Buckhorn) in Stone County. Locust Grove is ten miles southwest of Batesville, the county seat of Independence County, and two miles south of Lock and Dam No. 2 on the …

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. …

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 …

Moorefield (Independence County)

Moorefield is an incorporated town located on Highway 69 midway between Sulphur Rock (Independence County) and Batesville (Independence County). A railroad and farming town, it is named for Jesse Alison Moore, the most prominent landowner in the community at the time the post office was established in the 1880s. Jesse A. Moore was born in Jefferson County, Tennessee, in 1840. He came to Ruddell Hill (Independence County) shortly after the Civil War and married Elizabeth Jane Moore, who may have been a distant cousin. They moved to Gainsboro (Independence County), where she lived. He became a prominent farmer in Big Bottom along the banks of the Black and White rivers. Moore was a member of the Masonic fraternity and held …

Newark (Independence County)

Throughout much of its history, Newark has been one of Independence County’s larger towns. Called by the local newspaper the “Queen City of South Independence” in the early 1900s, the town held great promise to be a significant part of the history of the county. Like most small towns in early twentieth-century Arkansas, its early years were full of hope and prosperity, but it later suffered the loss of its business community and a significant part of its populace. Post-Reconstruction through the Gilded AgeNewark was founded as an alternate site to an older town plagued with a major drawback. The pre–Civil War community of Akron (also known as Big Bottom) was subject to the destructive overflows of the White River. …

O’Neal (Independence County)

The O’Neal Cemetery is all that remains of a once vibrant river and railroad community located across the White River from Marcella (Stone County). Going west on Highway 106 through Bethesda (Independence County), the O’Neal Road leads to O’Neal, which is about four miles from Bethesda. In territorial days, O’Neal was in Ruddell Township, but it later became part of Washington Township. O’Neal lies on both the Union Pacific Railroad tracks and the White River, south of Lock and Dam No. 3. The rich bottomland around O’Neal is still farmed on both sides of the river. O’Neal is about twelve miles west of Batesville (Independence County), the county seat. O’Neal was founded and first settled during territorial days by John …

Oil Trough (Independence County)

The town of Oil Trough is located twelve miles southeast of Batesville (Independence County) in the southeastern part of Independence County. It is located southwest of the White River, in a rich area of bottomlands known as the Oil Trough Bottoms. Above the bottoms is the Oil Trough Ridge, composed of black limestone that the Goodspeed history of the area (1889) described as “capable of a superior polish.” Beginning around 1800, the area was a favorite hunting ground for French frontiersmen. The large stands of cane along the river were a perfect hiding place for game, including bear; the limestone cliffs nearby provided the bears with a perfect place for their dens. Indeed, legend has it that the area was …

Padgett Island

Padgett Island is bottomland along the White River across from the Oil Trough (Independence County) bottoms and about four miles from Magness (Independence County). To the north and east lies the backwater Big Bottom Slough (a.k.a. Island Sough), forming the “island” surrounded by the White River and the slough. Padgett Island is named for William Benjamin Padgett from Fairfax, Virginia, who farmed the area before the Civil War and married Phoebe Engles, member of a prominent Independence County pioneer family. By 1876, the Padgett Island area was called Big Bottom and appeared on Frank A. Gray’s map of Arkansas. The Sulphur Rock (Independence County) post office served Big Bottom before it had its own post office. A post office was …

Paroquet (Independence County)

Paroquet, located near Newark (Independence County) and the Black River, was named for a now extinct American bird, the Carolina parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis), which had been found in dense forests, along rivers, and in swamps in North America and especially in Florida and the Carolinas. (Paroquet is an older spelling of “parakeet.”) The Carolina parakeet was also plentiful in parts of Arkansas in the early 1800s and most likely inhabited the swampy regions along Black River. The species was declared extinct in 1939. Paroquet is located at the intersection of Paroquet Road (Sandman Lane) and Duck Puddle Road approximately five miles east-southeast of Newark and about three miles north-northwest of Jacksonport (Jackson County), the location of the confluence of the …

Pfeiffer (Independence County)

Pfeiffer in Independence County is located just east of Highway 167 (North St. Louis Street) on Pfeiffer Road about five miles north-northeast of the county seat, Batesville (Independence County), and about eight miles south-southwest of Cave City (Sharp and Independence counties). Pfeiffer Creek is nearby. A marker at Pfeiffer reads, in part, “A light-colored crystalline limestone known as Batesville marble has been mined in this area since 1836. Pfeiffer was also a railhead with wagons coming from many points to pick up freight.” Charles Anton Pfeiffer from Baden, Sigmaringen, Germany, and his father, Joseph Pfeiffer, started the Pfeiffer Stone Company—dealers in stone, marble, and granite—on a moderate scale in 1860 in St. Joseph, Missouri. Joseph Pfeiffer and his family had …

Pleasant Plains (Independence County)

Pleasant Plains is a town located on U.S. Highway 167 between Bald Knob (White County) and Batesville (Independence County). Although it is not as old as Batesville, Pleasant Plains is one of the oldest settlements in Arkansas, with origins in the territorial period. Families traveling in covered wagons came into Missouri and Arkansas, following the Southwest Trail until they found promising land that was unclaimed. The earliest settlement, which called itself Fairview, was located about two miles north of the present Pleasant Plains. The first settlers wrote to their relatives about the bounty of their new home, with prairie chickens and eggs, wild berries (particularly strawberries), and good timber for firewood and for construction. When the settlers applied for a …

Rocky Point (Independence County)

aka: Rock Point (Independence County)
Rocky Point, originally called Rock Point, is located on Highway 167 (Batesville Boulevard), about seven miles south of Batesville (Independence County), the county seat. Once a thriving community, twenty-first-century Rocky Point consists of a rock quarry called Rocky Point Materials. Rocky Point represents the dividing line between the Southside School District and the Midland School District of Pleasant Plains (Independence County). Rock Point is the rock formation at the southern point of where the Caney Creek bottoms end. In the early days of settlement, the bottomland provided suitable soil for small-scale farming, and the hill area was good for hunting small game, deer, and bears. Ample pasture land allowed for the running of cattle. Initially a part of the Round …

Rosie (Independence County)

The community of Rosie is located in Independence County on Highway 14 (Newport Road), almost halfway between Batesville (Independence County) and Newport (Jackson County). Because of the typography and family ties, the Rosie community is more closely associated with Newport than with Batesville. The “bottoms” of Oil Trough (Independence County) are only six miles away. Rosie lies in the transitional area from flat lands to Ozark hills. The White River is only a mile and half to the east, so Rosie has traditionally been part of the White River valley culture with its riverboats and adventurers. The Rosie community was initially called White Run, with the first post office located at the confluence of Salado Creek and the White River …