Randolph

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Entries - Entry Category: Randolph

Biggers (Randolph County)

  Located on the Current River near the Cherokee Bay in the southeastern Randolph County lowlands, the town of Biggers developed around 1900. While scattered settlements may have been present in the region from 1815 to 1830, the first major development near the modern site of Biggers was the plantation of Thomas Drew, who later served as the governor of Arkansas. Drew received the land from Dr. Ransom Bettis upon Drew’s marriage to Bettis’s daughter Cinderella; he developed the land and had amassed around twenty slaves by 1832. Bettis also continued to own land near the future Biggers site. In 1889, B. F. Bigger, the namesake for the town, bought land, established a ferry crossing over the Current River, and built …

Columbia (Randolph County)

The town of Columbia, cited by many as the second-oldest settlement in northeast Arkansas, was located on the banks of the Fourche Creek in present-day Randolph County. Originally known as Fourche de Thomas, it was established by some of the area’s earliest settlers in the early 1800s and is documented as the site of the first Baptist church in Arkansas. By 1811, a road later known as the Southwest Trail or Military Road, originating in Missouri and extending into the area, crossed the Fourche Creek near a small settlement. This roadway contributed to a steady stream of additional settlers, including the Fletcher, Lindsey, Jarrett, and Hoover families. Some believe that French trappers, who referred to the stream as Fourche de …

Davidsonville (Randolph County)

Davidsonville, founded in 1815, was perhaps the most important frontier settlement in northeast Arkansas. Though abandoned by the 1830s, it was the site of several Arkansas “firsts.” While a part of Missouri Territory’s Lawrence County, it was the location of the first post office in what would become Arkansas. In 1820, Arkansas Territory’s first federal land office was also established there, and the first Arkansas courthouse was built in 1822. For approximately fifteen years, the town was an important gathering place for local politics and commerce. The area was first occupied during the Archaic Period (9500–650 BC) and as late as the early 1700s by the Osage, Shawnee, Delaware, and others. Modern archaeological evidence confirms that the town was built …

Maynard (Randolph County)

Maynard is in northern Randolph County, located at the intersection of State Highways 328 and 115. The town is known for its academic heritage and for preserving the history of the area with the Maynard Pioneer Park and Museum. Three freshwater springs have long made the area of Maynard desirable for brief refreshment or for more permanent settlement. When the United States acquired the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, Osage hunters and travelers frequented the area, although their homes were farther north in Missouri. Early highways crossed near the springs—the Old Military Road (also known as the Southwest Trail) that connected St. Louis, Missouri, to parts of the Red River valley and Texas, passed near the springs, where it intersected the …

O’Kean (Randolph County)

The town of O’Kean (Randolph County) first developed in the Black River bottoms, the area to the south and east of the Black River in Randolph County, shortly after the Civil War. Attracted by plentiful game and productive ground, most pre-war settlers in the area lived near the road from Pocahontas (Randolph County) to old Greensboro (Craighead County) and Gainesville (Greene County), or along the Cache River. The history of the actual settlement and naming of O’Kean remains clouded. There were settlers near the junction of the track and road, but the name of that settlement, if it had one, is unknown. The name O’Kean came from Father James O’Kean, the former priest of St. Paul’s Catholic Church. He stopped …

Pocahontas (Randolph County)

Begun as a river port significant to commerce, Pocahontas joins alluvial Delta bottom with the Ozark foothills. The town has served as Randolph County’s only county seat and continues as a strategic educational and agricultural center in the state. European Exploration and Settlement The first residents of the area arrived roughly 12,000 years ago. During the time of European exploration, what would become Randolph County was part of the hunting territory of the Osage, who lived in southern Missouri. French hunters probably crossed the area in the eighteenth century and established temporary camps, but no permanent settlements were developed until after the Osage surrendered their rights to the land in 1808. The earliest documented settler was Ransom S. Bettis, who …

Ravenden Springs (Randolph County)

The town of Ravenden Springs is located in the easternmost extension of the Ozark Mountains in western Randolph County, an area that is among the oldest settled areas of Arkansas. In 1809, John Janes, a Revolutionary War veteran, settled on the large creek that now bears his name just south of present-day Ravenden Springs and established a trading post there. One of the earliest mail routes in Arkansas ran from Dry Springs on the Missouri border to Lanes’s Store (successor to Janes’ Trading Post) to Batesville (Independence County). Two villages grew up around Lanes’s Store—Walnut Hill and Kingsville—both of which disappeared in time. In 1820, Caleb Lindsey started what has been documented as the first school in Arkansas. “School Cave” …

Reyno (Randolph County)

  The city of Reyno is located in Randolph County on U.S. Highway 67, some sections of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. About halfway between Pocahontas (Randolph County) and Corning (Clay County), Reyno is situated near the Current River. The city moved about two miles early in the twentieth century to take advantage of the newly built rail line through the area. Reyno was once called Cherokee Bay, but it came to be known as Reyno, a shortening of the name of one of the first settlers at that location, Dennis W. Reynolds, who built a home and a hotel at that site in 1857. Several other families joined Reynolds in the area, including Stephen McCrary, who …