Independence

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Entries - Entry Category: Independence

Ruddell Hill (Independence County)

aka: Ruddell (Independence County)
Ruddell Mill, one of the first water-powered mills in the White River valley, was built in Independence County by John Francis Ruddell and his uncle, Abraham (Abram) Ruddell, shortly after their arrival in Arkansas in 1814. Brothers Abraham and George Ruddell from Kentucky founded a settlement at a place called Dry Run Creek, near Polk Bayou (a.k.a. Poke Bayou), around 1817. The city of Batesville (Independence County) annexed the community of Ruddell Hill in 1947. The still-visible ruins of the old mill, with their notable stonework, are a main historical site for Independence County. According to local history, Abraham and George Ruddell were taken captive by the Shawnee and brought to the Dry Run Creek region during a Revolutionary War …

Rutherford (Independence County)

Rutherford is a historic community that was located in the White River Township. It grew out of the Rutherford Landing on the White River across from the Goodie Creek Valley, along the Jackson Military Road. The landing was originally part of the August Friend-Furnash Spanish grants from 1763 to 1800. The landing was at Russell’s Ferry (a.k.a. Wyatt’s Ferry), today Russell Ferry Road. Wyatt Ferry was licensed in 1817 to John Wyatt, who operated it for about a year, and licensed in November 1818 to John L. Lafferty. The Jackson Military Road, established in 1831 to parallel the old Southwest Trail, entered Independence County in the Hazel Grove community, continued through Walnut Grove, crossing Dota Creek at Pleasant Hill, traversed …

Salado (Independence County)

Salado is one of the oldest communities in Arkansas, with history going back to territorial days. Salado is located in the Ozark foothills about seven miles southeast of Batesville (Independence County) on Highway 14 (also called Newport Road) and about a mile southwest of the White River. The most colorful account of town’s name stems from the oft-told tale of how a young woman named Sally was washing clothes in a creek when a deer suddenly appeared. She attacked the deer with a battling stick and brought home a doe for supper, hence “Sally killed a doe,” or “Sallydoe.” Most likely, however, the name is of Spanish or French origin. The French term “sal d’eau,” roughly translated as “salty water,” …

Sandtown (Independence County)

Sandtown is an unincorporated community of about twenty families located on Sandtown Road in Jefferson Township about five and a half miles west-southwest of Cave City (Sharp and Independence counties) and about nine and a half miles north of Batesville (Independence County). Local historian Charles Prier believes the settlement’s name comes from the white sand (or silica) found on the sandbar at the confluence of Sullivan Creek and Dry Creek in Sandtown. By 1849, a large range of manganese ore deposits had been discovered in northwestern Independence County with a spillover into Sharp, Izard, and Stone counties. This discovery came to be labeled the Batesville District, with Cushman (Independence County) at its center; the district also contained Sandtown. William Einstein …

Southside (Independence County)

Southside is a second-class city in Independence County, south of Batesville (Independence County). It incorporated in 2014 to prevent Batesville from annexing the community. Batesville, on the White River, was one of the earliest settlements in Arkansas Territory. According to the Goodspeed history of Independence County, the Trimble family moved from Kentucky to a settlement five miles southwest of Batesville in 1817. They were most likely the first white settlers in what now is Southside. Batesville flourished, while the population south of the river remained sparse. Neighbors of Jackson Trimble in 1860 included Benjamin Taylor, Elijah Harvey, Mary Prichard, and Thomas Crouch.  Around the beginning of the twentieth century, T. J. Walbert started the Walbert Oil Company to drill for …

Starnes Spring (Independence County)

Isolated in the middle of a wooded area in Relief Township in Independence County, Starnes Spring lies between Floral (Independence County), which is four and a half miles to the south, and Concord (Cleburne County), about four miles to the west. At one time, there was a road that cut across to Jamestown Mountain from the spring, but it later closed. The water from the spring flows into nearby Caney Creek. Picturesque Bailey’s Falls (a.k.a. Bailey’s Pour Off) and an unusual geological rock formation called the Devil’s Tea Table (both currently restricted areas on private land) are within a few miles of Starnes Spring, as is Camp Tahkodah, a ten-acre Church of Christ camp on the banks of Salado Creek …

Sulphur Rock (Independence County)

Sulphur Rock, so named because there are two large sulphur springs in the area, is located approximately six miles east of Batesville (Independence County). In 1903, a writer referred to these springs as “living springs of pure, cold, sparkling water which contains [sic] valuable medical properties.” Although Sulphur Rock’s population has never exceeded 500, it was influential in the county for the decades around the end of the nineteenth century. Sulphur Rock was settled fairly early as compared to other communities because the area was located on the Old Military Road, which was widely used for travel to the Southwest during the early nineteenth century, continuing on through Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Washington (Hempstead County). The earliest post office …

Thida (Independence County)

Thida of Independence County is located about four miles from Oil Trough (Independence County), where Thida Road intersects with Departee Lane. Union Hill (Independence County) is three miles southwest of Thida, which was originally known as Liberty Hill. As early as 1800, French frontiersmen were in the White River bottoms hunting bear and smaller game, including deer. The lucrative trade in bear oil proved to be an incentive for settlement. Pioneer Hardin Hulsey arrived in 1817, and others soon followed. One of the bear hunters, John Jenkins Wyatt, gained a larger-than-life reputation in Thida folklore. Wyatt would make a commotion to lure a bear out of its den and then lie down and let the bear run over him as …

Union Hill (Independence County)

Union Hill of Independence County is located on Union Hill Road, which connects with Highway 167 (Batesville Boulevard) at Pleasant Plains (Independence County) and Thida Road. Union Hill has historically had close ties with Jackson and White counties and to Pleasant Plains and Oil Trough (Independence County). Most of the land in Thida (Independence County) and Union Hill was owned by Roswell Beebe, his wife, and their lawyer, a Mr. Turner. Beebe was born in 1795 in Hinsdale, New York, to a wealthy English family; he later settled in Arkansas. In pre–Civil War Arkansas, Beebe was one of the most influential businessmen and politicians in the state. Union Hill was placed on the map in 1904 when a post office …

Walnut Grove (Independence County)

The Walnut Grove Cemetery on Walden Road just north of Cord (Independence County) is all that is left of the historically important community of Walnut Grove, located on the Jackson Military Road (named for President Andrew Jackson) built parallel to the old Southwest Trail in the early 1830s. A main road ran nearby from the county seat of Batesville (Independence County) to Elgin (Jackson County), seven miles southeast, where a ferry crossed Black River. Before it was called Walnut Grove, the area was referred to on the census reports as Black River Township. The Military Road then ran through Hazel Grove (Independence County) to Walnut Grove along Curia Creek, where the marker is located today at the entrance to the …