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Entries - Entry Category: White

Bald Knob (White County)

Located on the southern edge of the Ozarks, White County’s Bald Knob was named for a large outcropping of layered stone that was a natural landmark, especially if approached from the White River and Little Red River floodplains east and south of town. The completion of the St. Louis, Iron Mountain, and Southern Railroad in 1872 triggered economic development in the region. Liberty Valley, south of Bald Knob, is the site of prehistoric salt extraction. Some scholars hypothesize that this is the site of Palisima, a Native American village mentioned in documents from the Hernando de Soto expedition. During the Civil War, workers extracted about two bushels of salt a day by boiling the water in large kettles. In the …

Beebe (White County)

Beebe started out as the intersection of the railroad and Des Arc Road (now Highway 31). As of 2010, Beebe’s official population stands at 7,315, a significant growth since 2000. Beebe is also the home of Arkansas State University–Beebe. Reconstruction through the Gilded Age Roswell Beebe was president of the Cairo and Fulton Railroad Company, which became part of the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad Company. This was the company that built the railroad through White County. In 1872, the first train stopped at Des Arc Road. This intersection was designated Beebe Station in honor of Roswell Beebe. The train stopped there to take on wood and water to power the steam engine. Many of the new residents …

Bradford (White County)

  Bradford is the northernmost incorporated community in White County, located to the west of U.S. Highway 67, just south of the border with Jackson County. Bradford coalesced around a train depot, named Bradford Allen Station, when the Cairo and Fulton Railroad built its line to the White River in Newport (Jackson County) in 1872. The railroad enabled commerce in early Bradford to expand beyond subsistence farming and opened distant markets to its agricultural bounty. White settlers began coming to the Bradford area about sixty years before the construction of the railroad; the community during that time was on the White River at Old Grand Glaise, located in Jackson County about six miles northeast of present-day Bradford. River access provided …

El Paso (White County)

El Paso is a small community located on the southern slope of Cadron Ridge in the southwestern corner of White County near the intersection of U.S. Highway 64 and State Highway 5. It is one of the county’s early settlements and entertained hopes of being chosen as the county seat in 1835. Settlers began arriving at the valley created by two parallel ridges, Cadron Ridge and Bull Mountain, in the 1830s. Attracted by area springs and fertile lands, they first established themselves on the southern slope of Bull Mountain at a place called Peach Orchard Gap. The name was chosen due to the peach trees growing there. Over time, settlers passed through the gap to the southern slope of Cadron …

Garner (White County)

Garner is a town in southern White County on Highway 367, not far from Highway 67. Though the area was first settled around 1850 and became a stop on the Cairo and Fulton Railroad in the nineteenth century, the town did not incorporate until 1971. William Brown Walker received legal title to land in White County in 1841, and by 1850, he had built a house and established a cotton farm on that land. His homestead, with several houses added over the years, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. Walker and his family owned slaves until the Civil War; after the war, some of the freed slaves remained on the land as tenant farmers. The …

Georgetown (White County)

  Georgetown is a small town located on the White River in the extreme southeastern corner of White County, about seventeen miles southeast of Searcy (White County). White County historians claim it to be the oldest existing town in Arkansas and only the second settlement established in the state, after Arkansas Post. Georgetown traces its establishment as a town to the arrival of its first permanent settler in 1789. Georgetown received its current name in 1909 in honor of three men from Clarendon (Monroe County) surnamed George who, a few years earlier, had purchased, sold, and developed land in the town. The town was previously called Francure Township, as well as Negro Hill or Nigger Hill, probably indicative of the …

Griffithville (White County)

  Griffithville is a town in southeastern White County. It is located at the intersection of State Highways 11 and 385. The first settler in the area that became Griffithville is recorded in census records only as C. Brewer. He owned about 1,500 acres, most of which was forested, but he cultivated about 100 acres and owned about 100 slaves. About a dozen families came from Tennessee in the 1850s to clear land and farm near Brewer’s land. Ten men from the area enlisted at Searcy (White County) in the Confederate army during the Civil War; all ten returned home at the end of the war. The first school was built in the area around 1867. The teacher was Joshua …

Higginson (White County)

  Born as a railroad depot, Higginson is a second-class city in White County, a few miles south of Searcy (White County). Searcy was created as the county seat because of its central location in White County, but before the Civil War, most residents of the county lived in the northwestern half, as southern White County was still dominated by swampland. Although the Military Road ran through the location that would become Higginson, no settlement is reported there prior to construction of the railroad. The Cairo and Fulton Railroad was incorporated in Arkansas in 1853, with a plan to link southern Illinois with Texas for freight and passenger service. The Civil War delayed construction, and tracks were not laid across White County …

Judsonia (White County)

Judsonia is a historic community in White County on the lower Little Red River. The town’s history includes the settlement of immigrants from the North after the Civil War, the growing importance of strawberries, and the 1952 tornado. Some scholars hypothesize that this is the site of the Mississippian Palisima, a Native American village mentioned in documents from the Hernando de Soto expedition. Late prehistoric pottery has been found in the area, created either by ancestors of the Quapaw or by other groups who lived in the area before the Quapaw arrived. Early Statehood through the Civil War Judsonia is on the first highland on the north bank of the White River. The south half of the modern town of …

Kensett (White County)

Kensett is a small town in central White County whose early history relates to several railroads that crossed the area. During the first half of the twentieth century, the railroads and the nearby lumber mill provided much employment in the town. Today, Kensett is a bedroom community to nearby Searcy (White County), and most of Kensett’s citizens are employed there. Civil War through Reconstruction Kensett became a town after the Cairo and Fulton Railroad (later the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad) was built through White County in 1872. The small settlement was named for Thomas Kensett, a member of the rail line’s board of directors. The post office opened on October 4, 1872, under postmaster John A. Barnett. …

Letona (White County)

  Letona is a town in White County, nearly ten miles north of Searcy (White County) on Highway 310. First rising to prosperity as a stop on the Missouri and North Arkansas (M&NA) Railroad, Letona became a center of the timber industry and of agriculture, primarily fruit. The first white settlers in White County, John and Nancy Magness, arrived in the area of what would become Letona in 1815. The area remained sparsely settled, with some farms separated by large wooded areas, throughout the nineteenth century. A Civil War skirmish, known as the Skirmish at Big Indian Creek, was fought in the area on May 27, 1862. Company A of the Thirty-second Arkansas Infantry (CS) attacked a forage train that was …

McRae (White County)

McRae is an incorporated city in southern White County, located about nine miles southwest of Searcy (White County). McRae has its origins in the construction of the Cairo and Fulton Railroad through White County in 1872, which entailed the use of abundant virgin timber and arable lands in the area, but McRae did not exist as a defined community until the establishment of its first post office in 1889. The construction of McRae’s own rail depot in 1897 enabled further development and robust growth, which allowed it to emerge as a local contender in timber and strawberry production. The community was named in honor of Searcy attorney and Confederate brigadier general Dandridge McRae. Two men instrumental in shaping McRae during …

Pangburn (White County)

Pangburn is an incorporated second class city in extreme northwestern White County, located on Arkansas Highway 16 about halfway between Searcy (White County) and Heber Springs (Cleburne County). The city is located a quarter-mile south of the Little Red River, which made possible the arrival of the first white settlers in the 1850s, decades before any railroad was built through the isolated, hilly terrain. Pangburn once served boats on the Little Red back when the river was commercially navigable. It incorporated in 1911, shortly after the Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad (M&NA) built a line through the city. At one time, Native Americans had inhabited the area, as the first white settlers to the area reportedly discovered the remnants of an …

Rose Bud (White County)

  Rose Bud is a town in western White County, located at the intersection of State Highways 5 and 36. Settled before the Civil War, it has long been a center for agriculture and education, but the town did not incorporate until 1969. Several families from western Kentucky moved to Arkansas around 1851. They chose to settle in the lowlands of western White County because of the natural springs that watered the area. Cotton was their chief cash crop, although they dedicated much of their land to subsistence farming. A post office was established for the area in 1858. The name of the post office, Rose Bud, was reportedly supplied by Louise Hill, younger sister of the first postmaster, William “Jimmy” …

Russell (White County)

  Russell sits along U.S. Highway 67 and Arkansas Highway 367 in White County. In the late 1880s, Russell Kaufman, an employee of the St. Louis and Iron Mountain Railroad Company, was in the area locating sites for the railroad company to store supplies at five-mile increments, and he platted the town that would eventually bear his name. In 1875, a post office in the area opened named Russell, but the name was changed to Plants 1878 and back to Russell in 1884. In 1922, a house bought from the Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalog was built in Russell for the Klotz family on what is now Highway 367. The building still stands in the twenty-first century. Also around this …

Searcy (White County)

Searcy has been the White County seat since the county’s organization in 1835. Located on the Little Red River near the county’s geographic center, the city continues to be the county’s commercial, educational, and healthcare center. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The Little Red River and the White Sulphur Springs figure in Searcy’s founding. On the west bank of the Little Red, below the mouth of Gin Creek, a Spanish land grant was surveyed for Frenchman Jean LaFayac (LaBass) and patented to him in 1805. By 1834, the White Sulphur Springs, developed by Samson Gray, were attracting visitors with their healing properties. The home of David Crise, about halfway between the springs and the river, was the site of the …

West Point (White County)

  The incorporated town of West Point is located in central White County, about five miles southeast of Searcy (White County). West Point thrived in its early days as a bustling river port and overcame the ravages of the Civil War, but the arrival of local railroads in the 1870s overshadowed the supremacy of trade via steamboats and diminished its importance as the commercial hub of White County. The earliest evidence of human habitation around West Point is a burial mound constructed sometime after AD 1300. From the mid-seventeenth century onward, the West Point area was part of a hunting ground under the dominion of the Osage until the arrival of white settlers to White County, beginning in 1789. The foundation for a …