January 10, 1876
The name Ola was first used for a township in Yell County that was formerly known as Petit Jean. The name Ola was officially adopted in 1880. One post–Civil War entrepreneur in Ola was James Matthias (J. M.) Harkey, who came from Texas in 1851. He served as a Confederate army captain, and, on returning to his farm in 1865, he erected a sawmill, a flour and grist mill, and a cotton gin. He opened a mercantile store in 1870. He was such a prominent citizen that in 1880 his proposal to rename the town after his first child, Ola, was readily accepted.