Lonoke

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Entries - Entry Category: Lonoke

Allport (Lonoke County)

Allport is a town on Highway 165 in southern Lonoke County located two miles west of Humnoke (Lonoke County). Allport is largely populated by African Americans, although Lonoke County’s population is nearly ninety percent white. Southern Lonoke County has rich alluvial soil that attracted cotton farmers who created large plantations operated with slave labor. When the Civil War ended the practice of slavery in Arkansas and other Southern states, many freed slaves became tenant farmers. Others were able to purchase land; African Americans often were sold the lower land, more prone to flooding, while white farmers retained possession of the higher agricultural land. An African-American community developed along Crooked Creek in southern Lonoke County; by 1878, the community had a …

Austin (Lonoke County)

Austin is a second-class city situated in northern Lonoke County. The railroad was responsible for moving the settlement of Old Austin (Lonoke County) a mile to the northwest of its original location; in the twenty-first century, many of Austin’s residents work in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Old Austin had been established before the Civil War and included a wool carding factory, a hotel, three doctors’ offices, three saloons, and a number of stores. No major Civil War confrontations took place in the area, but Camp Nelson was established as a Confederate winter camp and became also a Confederate cemetery during the war. The community revived after the war but was bypassed by the building of the St. Louis, Iron Mountain …

Brownsville (Lonoke County)

Brownsville served as the county seat of Prairie County for approximately twenty-two years. Located on the Memphis to Little Rock Road, commonly known as the Military Road, it became an important trade center and was the site of a Civil War skirmish in 1863. Many settlers lived in the area by the early 1820s, but when the federal government authorized the construction of the road connecting Memphis, Tennessee, to Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1824, more settlers were attracted to the area. Early area settler and local contractor Samson Gray was given the contract to construct the road from the White River to the north shore of the Arkansas River. The road was a major avenue of trade being used …

Cabot (Lonoke County)

In 2009, BusinessWeek designated the northern Lonoke County city of Cabot as an “Arkansas boomtown” and listed it as the state’s third-fastest-growing city per capita. Incorporated on November 9, 1891, the city—best known for its school system—is home to 23,776 people (as of the 2010 census), making it the largest community in the county. Post Reconstruction through the Gilded Age The development of the area began in the early 1800s about three miles east of the present city at a small town called Austin (Lonoke County). A stretch of the Butterfield Overland Mail Company stage route passed through the area, and, during the Civil War, a large Confederate camp named Camp Nelson was established nearby. Troops moved in and out …

Carlisle (Lonoke County)

  Carlisle, a bedroom community outside the metropolitan area of Little Rock (Pulaski County), lays claim to being the birthplace of rice growing on the Grand Prairie. Historians agree that W. H. Fuller introduced rice to the Grand Prairie. Civil War through the Gilded AgeRice remains the cornerstone of Carlisle’s economy. The tall natural grasses of the state’s Grand Prairie and good soil and water drew farmers from other states to settle this area, including the founders of Carlisle, Samuel McCormick and his wife, L. J. McCormick. According to legend, there are two stories referring to the naming of Carlisle. The first holds that Samuel McCormick had lived in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and named the town after his former home. The …

Coy (Lonoke County)

The story of Coy is the same as that of many rural Arkansas communities that have almost disappeared since the inception of the automobile and mechanized farming. It was the hub of the cotton growing and ginning industry in south Lonoke County from 1900 until the early 1960s. On November 3, 1896, Abby M. Coy—wife of “Colonel” Lucien W. Coy, who established the town—purchased the land that would become Coy from one F. Gates. Lucien Coy had been a first lieutenant with the Union in Missouri’s First Engineering Regiment, Company B, and he came south after the Civil War and engaged in lending money and land speculation in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The exact date of the town’s establishment is …

England (Lonoke County)

England is a small farming community located in the southeastern part of Lonoke County. While England has a rich history as a center of agriculture, in the late twentieth century, it became a bedroom community for Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), though many local farmers still reside in the area. England lies in the alluvial flood plains of the Arkansas River. It was originally covered by hardwoods such as oak and red gum, but most of this natural vegetation has been removed for commercial farm crops. The soil surrounding England has been classified as some of the most productive in the country, supporting cotton, rice, soybeans, and corn. Post Reconstruction through the Gilded Age In the …

Humnoke (Lonoke County)

Humnoke is a city in southern Lonoke County, situated upon the Grand Prairie. It is located on Highway 165 between Stuttgart (Arkansas County) and England (Lonoke County); however, its unique name derives from the city’s place between Humphrey (Arkansas and Jefferson counties) to the south and Lonoke (Lonoke County) to the north. The Grand Prairie was not inviting to nineteenth-century settlers, especially southern Lonoke County, covered as it is with wetlands, brakes, and oxbow lakes. Early in the twentieth century, however, new arrivals to the area discovered that the climate and terrain were ideal for rice farming. Stuttgart became a center of the rice industry, and towns and cities like Humnoke began to dot the landscape. Local historians credit Dee …

Keo (Lonoke County)

Keo is a town in southern Lonoke County. It is located on U.S. Highway 165 between Scott (Pulaski and Lonoke counties) and England (Lonoke County). The region around Keo has long been inhabited, as is demonstrated by the town’s proximity to the Toltec Mounds. White settlers gradually moved into the area during territorial times and early statehood. The Dunham family and Cobb family were two of the region’s main property owners following the Civil War. Lafayette Cobb, who moved to the area in 1873, owned a general store. Established in his store in 1880, the post office was variously called Cobb Settlement and Cobbs. Cobb was also justice of the peace in that part of Lonoke County. Six cotton gins …

Lonoke (Lonoke County)

The town of Lonoke is the only county seat in Arkansas that shares its name with the county it serves. It is located near the geographical center of the state, twenty-two miles east of Little Rock (Pulaski County) on the western edge of the Grand Prairie. Primarily supported by agriculture and aquaculture, Lonoke is a major source of the state’s rice, soybeans, and aquatic exports and serves as home for many businesses and the residents who are employed there. Civil War through Reconstruction In 1858, the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad was building its tracks through Brownsville, then the county seat of Prairie County, located three miles north of the future town of Lonoke. Five years later, during the Civil …

Old Austin (Lonoke County)

Settled in the early 1820s, what is now called Old Austin, located about thirty miles northeast of Little Rock (Pulaski County), was one of central Arkansas’s early settlements. Local folklore holds that Old Austin narrowly missed being the state capital. Once a thriving town, it experienced a decline after being bypassed by the railroad in the late 1800s. Today, it serves as a bedroom community of Cabot (Lonoke County) and nearby towns. The first settlers, among them James Erwin, came to the area in 1822. Before the founding of a town, the settlement at various times was called Oakland Grove, Oakland, Saundersville, and Atlanta. In 1848, Isaac Dunaway and Colbert Moore built the settlement’s first store. Growth was enhanced by …

Scott (Pulaski and Lonoke Counties)

Scott is a small community on the line between Pulaski County and Lonoke County, north of the Arkansas River. Surrounded by farmland and by oxbow lakes, Scott is also near two state parks and several historic properties. Over the centuries, events such as floods, droughts, and—most recently—human construction have altered the path of the Arkansas River. Remnants of former sections of the river remain near Scott as oxbow lakes, particularly Bearskin Lake, Horseshoe Lake, and Willow Beach Lake. More than 1,000 years ago, a complex formation of mounds was created near what is now called Mound Pond. The site was farmed in the nineteenth century but was later preserved as Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park. Not only did the river …

Tomberlin (Lonoke County)

aka: Tomberlins
The community of Tomberlin (a.k.a. Tomberlins) is the southernmost settlement in Lonoke County. It is on the edge of the prairie near the Delta’s origin, where the land is fertile and cotton was king in the early years. Tomberlin is twenty-two miles south of Lonoke (Lonoke County) and about the same distance from Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). The community was named for James E. Tomberlin, who arrived there after the Civil War. Nothing is known of Tomberlin’s family history. Records show that in 1869 Tomberlin paid taxes on 701 acres in Prairie County, some of which became Lonoke County. He rented land there and employed sharecroppers. He established a commissary to supply his tenants, and this store became known as …

Ward (Lonoke County)

The town of Ward is a farming community located in northern Lonoke County on the western edge of Arkansas’s Grand Prairie along the old Southwest Trail, today known as U.S. Highway 67. It is bisected by the Missouri-Pacific Railroad tracks. The railroad first reached the town in the 1870s as the Cairo and Fulton Railroad Company, and it was the main reason for the town to prosper as a prime shipping point for the area’s corn, wheat, cotton, strawberries, and other crops. The lush hardwood forests, rich alluvial soil, abundant game, and ample water supplies found here in this part of the state drew settlers to this area. Ward is believed to have been named for W. D. (probably William) …