St. Francis

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Entries - Entry Category: St. Francis

Caldwell (St. Francis County)

  Caldwell is a city on Crowley’s Ridge, a few miles north of Forrest City (St. Francis County). Located on the Union Pacific Railroad and on State Highway 1, Caldwell has long been an agricultural center for the region but is now predominately a bedroom community for Forrest City. Many early settlers of Arkansas gravitated to Crowley’s Ridge, especially with the improvement of the Military Road in 1830s. St. Francis County had already been established in 1827, populated with settlers who had moved west from Tennessee and Kentucky. The settlement of Caldwell did not appear on maps until after the Civil War, when railroad construction increased in Arkansas. The St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway was incorporated in June 1874 with plans …

Colt (St. Francis County)

Colt (St. Francis County), located at the intersection of Arkansas Highway 1 and Highway 306 between the L’Anguille River and Crowley’s Ridge, was an agricultural town that became a stop on several of the main routes through the state. It was a stopping place for many settlers moving out west on Military Road and became the home of Colt Station, a stop on the Iron Mountain Railroad from Memphis, Tennessee, to Fort Smith (Sebastian County). In the twenty-first century, it is used as a research area for agricultural sustainability for the Arkansas Delta. Louisiana Purchase through Early StatehoodIn 1826, William Mitchell Taylor settled near a creek one mile southeast of present-day Colt, where he built a large log house on …

Forrest City (St. Francis County)

Forrest City, located on the western slope of Crowley’s Ridge near the center of St. Francis County, has been a center of commerce and trade since its incorporation in 1870. Serving as the county seat since 1874, the city is named in honor of Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest. It is the only such named city in the world spelled with two Rs. Pre-European Exploration through Early Statehood The many Native American artifacts found along the St. Francis River and a number of identified Indian mounds within the county provide evidence that the area was inhabited long before the expedition of Hernando de Soto visited the surrounding area in 1541.White settlers began to be attracted to the high ground on …

Hughes (St. Francis County)

Hughes is the second-largest town in St. Francis County. Located halfway between Mud Lake (St. Francis County) and Greasy Corner (St. Francis County), Hughes is part of Arkansas’s Delta region, near the Mississippi River, and a center of agricultural production. Like most of the Arkansas Delta, the area that is now Hughes was populated by Native American tribes long before it was seen by European explorers and settlers. While St. Francis County does not have Indian Mounds as impressive as those at Parkin (Cross County) or the Toltec Mounds, archaeologists have studied significant structures and remains in the area since the nineteenth century. In 1836, with the earlier opening of the Military Road in east Arkansas, white people settled the area. …

Madison (St. Francis County)

Madison, named for President James Madison, is located on the western bank of the St. Francis River at the foot of Crowley’s Ridge in eastern Arkansas. Reconstructing the history of Madison is difficult because multiple floods and fires destroyed local records of this once bustling river town. Madison, which was mostly an agricultural community by the twentieth century, was home to the first African-American millionaire in Arkansas, Scott Bond. Louisiana Purchase through Early StatehoodIn the early 1800s, Madison was a busy shipping point for steamboats and ferries. It flourished because of its location on the St. Francis River, which at the time was large enough to accommodate riverboats. Some of the larger steamboats had ballrooms and orchestras, and when the …

Palestine (St. Francis County)

  Palestine is located in northeastern Arkansas on Interstate 40 and State Highway 70, with the L’Anguille River on its east side. It is one of the oldest towns in St. Francis County and was also the site of the first county school. Civil War through Reconstruction In 1840, what is now Palestine was part of the much larger L’Anguille Township, which had only nine recorded households. The Prairie Township was formed from part of the L’Anguille Township in the 1870s, and the Palestine area, located centrally within the Prairie Township, grew in population. Palestine was named in 1870, when the first post office was established there. One story about the naming holds that it was named after a fatally injured …

Wheatley (St. Francis County)

Wheatley is a town in the southwestern corner of St. Francis County. Its northern portion is crossed by Interstate 40, and its southern portion is crossed by U.S. Highway 70 and by the tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad. During the time between the Louisiana Purchase and the Civil War, the area was not attractive to American settlers. Surveyors passed through the area planning a railroad to connect Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Memphis, Tennessee. Although work was done on the eastern and western portion of the railroad before the Civil War, the central portion of the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad was not built until after the war was over; it was completed in 1871. Nineteenth-century trains required stops …

Widener (St. Francis County)

Widener is a town in St. Francis County between Crowley’s Ridge and the St. Francis River. It is on State Highways 38 and 50 and is crossed by the Union Pacific Railroad. Widener was the birthplace of blues legend Luther Allison. Between the Louisiana Purchase and the Civil War, the area around present-day Widener was not attractive to American settlers, being swampy lowlands. Surveyors passed through the area while planning a railroad to connect Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Memphis, Tennessee. Although work was done on the eastern and western portion of the railroad before the Civil War, the central portion of the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad was not built until after the war was over; it was completed …