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Entries - Entry Category: Jackson

Amagon (Jackson County)

Amagon is a town in southern Jackson County on Highway 14. It is best known as the birthplace of Mike Beebe, Arkansas’s forty-fifth governor. About 600 archaeological sites in Jackson County indicate that the land has been populated for around 10,000 years. However, the area around Amagon was only sparsely populated until the twentieth century. In 1900, Will Pennington owned the land where Amagon stands. He granted some land to the Bonnerville and Southwestern Railroad (also called at one time the Bonnerville and Southern), which was built in 1905 to link Bonnerville—now Bono (Craighead County)—to Estico (Jackson County). The line was later extended through Amagon to Algoa (Jackson County). The railroad, which soon became part of the St. Louis–San Francisco …

Auvergne (Jackson County)

Auvergne of Jackson County is a small unincorporated community located about ten miles southeast of Newport (Jackson County) on land that was home to some of the area’s first settlers. Though occupied by the 1830s, no settlement began to emerge until the 1870s. During its heyday in the late nineteenth century, the community, positioned on a ridge between the White and Cache river bottoms, was home to a thriving timber trade and ample farming. James T. Henderson, sometimes called the “father of Auvergne,” moved from Tennessee and settled in the area with twenty-five slaves in 1860. Establishing a large farm and orchard, he built his house just west of where the settlement would be. Local history records that it was …

Beedeville (Jackson County)

Beedeville is a town in southeastern Jackson County. It is located on State Highway 37 near the Cache River. Sawmills built in Beedeville early in the twentieth century attracted the interest of railroad investors, but the line that included Beedeville in its name was never completed to the town. The Cache River served as a transportation corridor both before and after European explorers entered Arkansas. The actual river valley, prone to flooding, remained sparsely settled even after Arkansas became a state. William H. Beede, who arrived around 1866, was probably the first settler to occupy the current site of Beedeville. He helped to organize the first public school in the area in 1880. A Church of Christ was established near …

Campbell Station (Jackson County)

Campbell Station—originally known only as Campbell—is a city in Jackson County located along the Union Pacific Railroad tracks and U.S. Highway 367. It is adjacent to the city of Diaz (Jackson County) and is between Newport (Jackson County) and Tuckerman (Jackson County). Campbell Station claims a portion of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Highway 67.  The earliest settlements in Jackson County, such as Jacksonport (Jackson County) and Newport, were stops along the transportation corridor of the White River between the Mississippi River and Batesville (Independence County). The rest of the county was dominated by hardwood forests and farmland. Jacksonport was significant as a crossroads, as well as a common White River stop, as the Southwest Trail connecting southeastern Missouri to northwestern Texas …

Diaz (Jackson County)

  The city of Diaz, created by the railroad industry in the late nineteenth century, is just north of Newport (Jackson County) about halfway between Jacksonport State Park and the Newport Municipal Airport. It is bypassed by Highway 67 (the Rock ’n’ Roll Highway) but connects with Highway 367 as well as several state highways. Jacksonport (Jackson County), and later Newport, were important cities built along the White River, but the area that became Diaz was first cleared for farmland. Some residents referred to the incipient community of farmers as Shiloh. Elijah Blansett and George Sink were the first landowners to settle there, shortly before the Civil War began. They were soon joined by several other families, including that of William F. …

Elgin (Jackson County)

Elgin is located on Jackson County Road 64 about six miles west-southwest of Tuckerman (Jackson County) and about three miles east-southeast of Cord (Independence County). Elgin lies in the Black River bottoms, excellent terrain for large productive farms, although devastating floods sometimes occur. The bridge on Highway 37 occasionally closes because of high water. The bottoms once grew mainly cotton, but today soybeans and other crops dominate. Historically, Elgin was an important riverboat town, with its ferry being on the main road between Batesville (Independence County) and Jacksonport (Jackson County), about eight and a half miles south of the confluence of the Black and White rivers. Elgin was the name of a 3,000-acre plantation in the Black River bottoms owned …

Elizabeth (Jackson County)

Elizabeth (sometimes called Elizabethtown) thrived as a port on the White River and became the seat of Jackson County in 1839. However, the river later shifted course and eroded away what remained of the community. Native Americans were the first to take advantage of the Black and White rivers for transportation and trade, followed by French hunters, trappers, and fur traders, many of them from Canada, who plied the area’s rivers during the eighteenth century and continued after the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 until about 1815. Keelboats were an early mode of transportation for the early settlers, who could use them on the upper White River to maneuver the sharp bends, rapids, and low water levels along the river during …

Grand Glaise (Jackson County)

aka: Grand Glaize (Jackson County)
During its heyday in the 1850s, the river port town of Grand Glaise (Jackson County), located on one of the highest points on the banks of the White River, was one of the largest towns in the area. Before the Civil War, the town, located about ten miles downriver from present-day Newport (Jackson County), served as an area commercial hub. The first white settler, Stith Tucker, arrived in the area in about 1817. By the late 1820s, a thriving river port named Grand Glaize had begun to develop. The first steamboat in the port, the Laurel, docked there in 1829. Further growth was prompted by the construction of a road in 1847 connecting the town to Searcy (White County). Several …

Grubbs (Jackson County)

  The city of Grubbs is in eastern Jackson County, near the Cache River. Founded as an agricultural center, the city—with the help of the railroad—became a lumber town for a time. In the twenty-first century, the focus of Grubbs is again agricultural. A Church of Christ congregation was established in eastern Jackson County in 1877. The congregation was first known as Robinson’s Chapel. Citizens of the area appealed to the county government to create Grubbs Township, and the county did so in 1884. The name of the township and the developing community came from farmer and politician James C. Grubbs, whose home was used as the first voting precinct of the township. A post office, established in 1888, was also named for …

Jacksonport (Jackson County)

Jacksonport is a town in central Jackson County, located about one-half mile from the confluence of the Black and White rivers and three miles northwest of the county seat of Newport (Jackson County). Its location at the convergence of two navigable waterways enabled Jacksonport to thrive in a time when river transport was the most reliable method of transportation in Arkansas. Its twenty-first-century circumstance as a remote community on the White River belies the true history of Jacksonport; in the mid-nineteenth century, much of the trade throughout northern Arkansas and southern Missouri was facilitated via this once-bustling river town. Its importance as a trade center began to diminish when Jacksonport was bypassed by a railroad built through Jackson County in …

Macks (Jackson County)

The community of Macks lies in western Jackson County near the Independence County line, approximately halfway between Oil Trough (Independence County) and Newport (Jackson County) in the Oil Trough Bottoms on Highway 14. Young Gering Milton Mack Sr. was born in Wayne County, Tennessee, in 1838. In 1854, at age sixteen, he moved to Arkansas with his family. His father, Aquilla Wilson Mack, settled the family on 280 acres located in Section 12, Township 13, between Batesville (Independence County) and Moorefield (Independence County), along Blue Creek. This property is still known as Mack Farm and is owned by Mack family descendants. In July 1861, Young Mack enlisted in the Confederate army in Jacksonport (Jackson County), becoming a captain in Company …

Newport (Jackson County)

Newport is a rural community with deep agricultural ties. Its location on the White River at the transition from the Ozark foothills to the Delta flatland is ideal as a northeast Arkansas crossroads for road, river, and rail traffic. Newport’s economy, based upon natural resources, had strong growth through the first half of the twentieth century and the postwar era. Pre-European Exploration through Early European Exploration Newport is located on a wide bend in the White River where it leaves the Ozark hill country and enters the Mississippi Delta flatlands.  It was an ideal crossing point for animals (including deer, bear, and occasionally bison) and for the tribal hunters that followed them.  Native people, likely ancestors of the Quapaw, resided …

Olyphant (Jackson County)

The community of Olyphant is most noted for being the site of the last train robbery in Arkansas. On November 3, 1893, eight men hijacked Iron Mountain passenger train No. 51, robbed the passengers, and murdered the conductor, William P. McNally. The robbers were tracked down, tried, and found guilty, and three were hanged in Newport (Jackson County) in the only known multiple execution in Jackson County history. Olyphant is located on Highway 367 halfway between Newport, eight miles to the north-northeast, and Bradford (White County), eight miles to the south-southwest. Before the Civil War, Grand Glaise (Jackson County), a river port on White River, was the dominant community in the area and the second-largest town in the county. The …

Possum Grape (Jackson County)

Possum Grape is an unincorporated community in Glaize Township located in the western panhandle of Jackson County near Highway 367, about eleven and a half miles southwest of Newport, the county seat, and about four and a half miles northeast of Bradford (White County). Possum Grape lies just west of the White River where the flat land meets the Ozark Mountains. Possum Grape is near the historic riverboat town of Grand Glaise (Jackson County). The community most likely received its unusual name from the wild grape called the possum grape, popular in the area for making jam and wine. A few locals say Possum Grape was named in 1954 following a disagreement on whether to call it “Possum” or “Grape.” …

Swifton (Jackson County)

  Swifton is one of several Jackson County cities that were founded along the tracks of the Iron Mountain Railroad. Home to three notable names in baseball, including Baseball Hall of Fame third baseman George Kell, Swifton is also a landmark on Arkansas’s Rock ’n’ Roll Highway 67. Henry Hileman received a patent to the land on which Swifton would be built on November 27, 1820. Hileman obtained that patent with a scrip recognizing his service to the United States in the War of 1812. Other settlers joined Hileman in the area, and a Methodist church was established in 1860. Until construction of the railroad, however, settlement remained sparse in northern Jackson County. The Cairo and Fulton Railroad built a line through …

Tuckerman (Jackson County)

Situated on higher land several miles east of the Black River, Tuckerman was bypassed by the construction of the four-lane Highway 67 in 2009. Charming, well-preserved older houses still line the old highway, which was designated “Rock ’n’ Roll Highway” by the Arkansas state legislature that same year because of the many star performers who honed their skills in the small towns up and down this road—performers including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Sonny Burgess, Conway Twitty, and many more. When European explorers and settlers first came to Arkansas, the north shore of the White River was included in land claimed by the Osage as hunting grounds, although they lived farther north in what would become the state of Missouri. When …

Tupelo (Jackson County)

  Tupelo is an incorporated town located in the southern tip of Jackson County along a sandy ridge that runs along the edge of the White River bottoms from Augusta (Woodruff County) north to Jacksonport (Jackson County). Located about eighteen miles south of Newport (Jackson County), the town was at one time a station on the narrow gauge Batesville and Brinkley Railroad (B&B). The railroad allowed local crops, especially cotton and timber, to be shipped to market. Micajah B. McCoy came to the area from South Carolina in the early 1840s. Acquiring both land and influence, McCoy represented Jackson County in the Arkansas House of Representatives in 1844 and 1845, and his plantation was called “Tupelo.” McCoy obtained land patents granted under …

Weldon (Jackson County)

Weldon is a town in Jackson County, south of the county seat, Newport (Jackson County). It is on State Highway 17 between Auvergne (Jackson County) and Tupelo (Jackson County); the White River valley lies to the west of Weldon, and the Cache River plains lie to the east. Archaeological evidence indicates that Jackson County has been inhabited for up to 10,000 years. The first white explorers and settlers entered the county by way of the White River, creating such settlements as Newport and Jacksonport (Jackson County). In 1831, Alvin McDonald moved from Tennessee to Jackson County, first purchasing land northeast of Newport but later farming near the present site of Weldon. McDonald raised cattle and hogs, and grew corn, potatoes, …