Sebastian

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Entries - Entry Category: Sebastian

Barling (Sebastian County)

Barling (Sebastian County) is located between one of Arkansas’s major cities, Fort Smith (Sebastian County), and an important twentieth-century army post, Fort Chaffee. The town, originally named Spring Hill, saw its greatest growth to date occur largely because of the founding of Fort Chaffee in 1941. Barling was established by Aaron Barling, a former soldier stationed at Fort Smith in 1817. He purchased land about eight miles east of Fort Smith on Little Rock Road in November 1830. His farm—and the surrounding area—became known as Spring Hill because of some springs located on his farm at the foot of a hill travelers used as a campsite. The town experienced little growth early on, with only one log structure used for …

Bonanza (Sebastian County)

The city of Bonanza was a major center of the coal industry in Sebastian County during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Since the decline of that industry, it has become a small bedroom community for the nearby city of Fort Smith (Sebastian County). According to historian Jim Hartness, the first mine in the Bonanza area, Mine No. 10, was started in 1896 but proved to be very poor. However, other mines were soon established, and around them grew a typical mining city dubbed Bonanza, reflecting hopes for great wealth. Mine superintendent C. C. Woodson filed a petition to incorporate the city, and it was incorporated on November 26, 1898. From the beginning, the city was a company city, …

Central City (Sebastian County)

Located at the crossroads of Arkansas Highways 22 and 255 in Sebastian County, Central City is a suburb of nearby Fort Smith (Sebastian County), the second-largest city in Arkansas. The community borders the city of Lavaca (Sebastian County) to its east. Central City is bordered to its south by Fort Chaffee. In an effort to connect Fort Gibson with the early settlement of Fort Smith (on the edge of Indian Territory), the U.S. Congress made provisions to build a military road. This transportation route followed former Native American trails almost paralleling the Arkansas River and went directly through what became Central City. All of the “Five Civilized Tribes” (Seminole, Muscogee Creek, Choctaw, Cherokee, and Chickasaw) traveled through the area in the …

Fort Smith (Sebastian County)

Fort Smith is the second-largest city in Arkansas after Little Rock (Pulaski County) and shares status with Greenwood as the county seat of Sebastian County. Early in the history of Arkansas and the city, Fort Smith was an important point of contact to the American West. It is now home to large manufacturing plants; St. Edward Mercy Medical Center and Sparks Regional Medical Center, which provide healthcare to residents beyond the confines of the city; and the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. Pre-European Exploration No indigenous peoples appear to have had permanent settlements at the time of European contact in what became Fort Smith. In southern Fort Smith, a platform mound commonly called the Cavanaugh Mound exists in isolation …

Frog Town (Sebastian County)

Frog Town (sometimes rendered Frogtown) is an unincorporated community in southern Sebastian County. It is on State Highway 45 northeast of Hartford (Sebastian County). Frog Town is most noted for violent acts during the Sebastian County Union War of 1914. The Arkansas River Valley and northern Ouachita Mountains have been inhabited for thousands of years. White settlement in the region after Arkansas became a state was sparse, although roughly seventeen families were living between Sugar Loaf Mountain and the Poteau Mountains when Sebastian County was created in 1851. John Tumblin and Thomas Lewis both acquired land patents in the vicinity of Frog Town in 1860. Population increased rapidly beginning in the 1870s with the development of coal mining in the …

Greenwood (Sebastian County)

Greenwood was founded in 1851, when its location was selected for the first county seat of Sebastian County. Greenwood grew slowly, but it attained some importance as a business center by 1860. Finally, with the advent of World War II and the establishment of Camp Chaffee, Greenwood’s population and business district grew again to help Greenwood become a flourishing city of western Arkansas. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood In January 1851, Sebastian County commissioners met to discuss the building of a new town on the banks of the Vache Grasse Creek. In March, the commissioners met and named the new town Greenwood in honor of Judge Burton Greenwood. Greenwood was also named as the seat for Sebastian County, but in …

Hackett (Sebastian County)

Hackett is the second-oldest city in Sebastian County, and at one time it was also the second-largest city in the county. Located at the intersection of State Highways 10 and 45, Hackett is several miles south of Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and is near the state border with Oklahoma. Hackett is named for Jeremiah Hackett, who established a homestead in western Arkansas Territory in 1834. Hackett—who came from Pomeroy, Ohio—named the community he founded Hickory Grove. As one historian wrote, “It was Mr. Hackett’s custom and delight to give everyone a lot who would build a residence.” Among those who accepted the offer of free land was Ammi Baston Merrill, who came from Ohio with his father, brother, wife, and …

Hartford (Sebastian County)

  The city of Hartford, in southern Sebastian County, is most famous for its role in the history of gospel music publishing. A city that flourished during the peak of coal mining in western Arkansas early in the twentieth century, Hartford has diminished in population but remains an anchor of the region. The history of Hartford is actually an account of two communities. The older settlement to take the name Hartford dates to before the Civil War. About seventeen families were homesteading in southern Sebastian County, between the Sugar Loaf and Poteau mountains. Their settlement was known to some residents as the Old Sugarloaf Valley Community, but most called the settlement Hart’s Ford, honoring Betsy Hart, the widow of James Hart, who …

Huntington (Sebastian County)

Huntington is a second-class city located in the coal-rich Arkansas River Valley of southern Sebastian County. Its fortunes rose and fell with the coal industry, but the city has revived in the twenty-first century, billing itself as a location with “quiet, comfortable, and affordable living.” Situated about twenty-five miles south of Fort Smith (Sebastian County), the land that would become the city of Huntington was purchased around 1888 by Levi Barrett, who almost immediately sold the land to the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Coal Company. Samuel Fellows had already begun a coal mine at nearby Cherokee Creek in June 1887 and had built a house on the hillside claimed by Barrett that same month. In time, three large coal mines …

Lavaca (Sebastian County)

  Located near Arkansas Highways 22 and 96 in Sebastian County, Lavaca can trace its beginnings to the need for a stop for soldiers traveling along the Arkansas River. From its start as a landing in new and undiscovered territory, Lavaca has become a bedroom community of Fort Smith (Sebastian County), the second-largest city in Arkansas. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood In 1817, Fort Smith became the first U.S. military installation in the Southwest. Soldiers would travel from Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Fort Smith when they could, but shallow water and jutting bedrock halted boat travel at points, forcing them to travel by land. In 1821, Major Benjamin Moore, a former Virginia resident, and William and Ben Moore Jr. …

Mansfield (Sebastian and Scott Counties)

Mansfield is located in west-central Arkansas, twenty-five miles south of Fort Smith (Sebastian County) on U.S. Highway 71 and ten miles east of the Oklahoma state line. A portion of the city lies in Scott County. Mansfield is an economic and educational center serving the region between Greenwood (Sebastian County) and Waldron (Scott County). Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Mansfield represents the combining of two local communities on the Sebastian/Scott county line: Coop Prairie and Chocoville. Overlooking a small valley south of the county line and north of the Poteau Mountain range, Coop Prairie was formed in 1849 on land given by Martin T. Taylor, a settler from Tennessee. A trading post, the Coop Prairie Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and Coop …

Midland (Sebastian County)

Midland is a town in southern Sebastian County; in a journal article in the 1970s, it was described as “a small place in the middle of the road.” In the early years of the twentieth century, however, Midland was a prosperous community of coal miners and supporting industries. The area that would become Midland was sparsely settled in the early history of Arkansas. William Moore obtained a land grant in the vicinity in 1848. He was joined by Francis Daniels in 1855, and Edward Moore and John Moore became their neighbors in 1860. (These Moores are not sons of William; they may have been brothers or cousins.) A school was built in the area in 1866. In 1878, it was …