Johnson

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Entries - Entry Category: Johnson

Clarksville (Johnson County)

Clarksville is located on Spadra Creek, north of the Arkansas River. Although not on the banks of the river, and without the initial economic importance of the river communities, it grew steadily as the county seat. When stagecoach and train transportation became more common, land routes from Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Fort Smith (Sebastian County) were directed through Clarksville, which evolved as an important stop. Development of important educational opportunities began with the organization of the town and continue to the present day. A broad mix of agriculture, mining, and manufacturing has supported the town’s growth. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood A Native American presence is evidenced by the “Rock House,” a red limestone cave in which many early …

Coal Hill (Johnson County)

    For a short time in the late nineteenth century, Coal Hill, located on U.S. Highway 64 in western Johnson County, was unofficially the largest incorporated city in the county. By the 1880s, it was a major coal-producing area, leading the state in tons mined. In 1888, it became the center of a state investigation into the mistreatment of convict labor employed in the mines. The investigation helped lead to the abolition of the much abused system. Post Reconstruction through the Gilded AgeWestern Arkansas is home to large coal deposits; however, until the construction of the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad into the area in the late 1800s, there was no reliable way to get the extracted coal …

Hartman (Johnson County)

  The city of Hartman, eleven miles west of Clarksville (Johnson County) on U.S. Highway 64, was settled by German immigrants in the 1880s after railroad service was established. A center of cotton and peach farming, as well as coal production, the city prospered until the Great Depression but has struggled since that time. The first owner of the land on which Hartman was built was Oren Davis Hogins, who purchased several tracts of Johnson County land beginning in 1837. Other settlers also bought land in the area and established farms that grew cotton and various fruits and vegetables, as well as raising livestock. When the Civil War began, many of the men from the area enlisted with the Confederate …

Knoxville (Johnson County)

  Knoxville is a city in southeastern Johnson County, close to Lake Dardanelle. Originally developed as a railroad town, Knoxville is crossed by both U.S. Highway 64 and Interstate 40. The Arkansas River Valley has long been inhabited, as can be seen by rock art that still exists in Johnson County. The Osage claimed the area as hunting territory at the time of the Louisiana Purchase, and a treaty later gave the land to the Cherokee for a few years, until a subsequent treaty moved them farther west. The first white man to own the land on which Knoxville would be established was Thomas May, who has been described as Arkansas’s first millionaire. May owned nearly 800 acres of bottomland in …

Lamar (Johnson County)

  Lamar is a second-class city in the Arkansas River Valley and the Interstate 40 corridor. Located a few miles east of Clarksville (Johnson County), Lamar is notable for its schools and for being the home of two acting governors of Arkansas. The region that would become Lamar first entered recorded history during the Trail of Tears, when Lieutenant Joseph Whipple Harris led a party of 125 Cherokee across Arkansas to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). Harris led the group on a trail that passed through Johnson County, camping on a ridge near the present site of Lamar on May 2, 1834. Later parties traveling to Indian Territory followed the same route. A segment of road believed to be the route used …

Spadra (Johnson County)

When discussing Spadra, it is important to note that there are actually two locations to which the name applies: Spadra and New Spadra. Spadra, which was the earlier of the two towns, was the location of an Indian trading factory (a government-authorized trading post) and was the trading point for many settlers who moved into the area. It is the current location of the Spadra Marina, located on the Arkansas River. New Spadra was the location of the boom town that emerged many years later due to coal mining and the arrival of the railroad. The two can be difficult to separate in the historical record. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The U.S. government established the Indian trading factory program in 1796 …