Independence County

Historical Society

Independence County Historical Society

P. O. Box 2722

Batesville, AR 72503

The Independence County Historical Society was organized in 1959 in Batesville, Arkansas.
Vol. I, No. 1 of the Independence County Historical Society Chronicle was published in October of 1959.  
Paul T. Wayland was the first president of the ICHS.
Regular membership dues are $25.00 annually.
Contributing membership dues are $50.00 annually.

Back issues of the Independence County Chronicle are available at $6.00 per issue; please add
$1.25 for postage.  Write to: 
	Kenny  Gerhardt, Treasurer
	P. O. Box 2722
	Batesville, AR  72503
Checks may be made payable to the Independence County Historical Society (ICHS).

A History of Independence County, Ark. By A. C. McGinnis Batesville, Arkansas 1976


A commitment to undertake the writing of Independence County history in brief form was 
made to the County Bicentennial Committee late in 1975 as a Bicentennial project and 
because there had been a request from many sources for a general outline of the county's 
development from early days.  The last attempt to present a narrative of local history in 
one booklet was "A History of Batesville" published by the senior class of Batesville High 
School in 1919. This useful publication of thirty-eight pages, edited by Willie Sensabaugh, 
Homer Whitener, Homer Lindsey, Lewis Gardner, Mary Parsons, Lorraine Hardister, 
Thelma Creager, and Carter Campbell under direction of J. R. Bullington, a teacher, and 
dedicated to Mrs. Mary A. Neill, Mrs. Susan Alexander, Theodore Maxfield, and 
Col. V. Y. Cook, has long ago become practically unobtainable, although it was reprinted.    
 A History of Batesville, 1919

The task of writing even a short history of the 156 years since the county was created in 
1820 has been no easy matter and problems have been presented.  What were the really 
significant events which have affected the generations of people who have lived in 
Independence County?   A more difficult question is who were the men and women most 
responsible in shaping the course of the county's history? People made the history and 
it is disturbing that more is not known and more could not be included in these brief 
pages concerning the county's families in all periods.   It is hoped that a larger volume 
of wider scope, now beyond the resources at hand, may someday be undertaken which 
will include all communities, describe in great detail the steps and setbacks of the past, 
chronicle the professions, businesses and institutions, and above all, record more of the 
families than has been possible here.  In the writer's view, Independence County is seldom 
duplicated among the counties of Arkansas in depth of historical wealth.

This history is made possible by the membership of the Independence County Historical 
Society; without this support it could not have been published.  To our present president, 
Leo Rainey, and our president-elect, W. M. Harkey, and to all members, scattered in many 
states and including those who have never seen Batesville, Salado Creek, Oil Trough, or 
other places in the county, a word of appreciation is expressed.

In the following pages, credit has been given to numerous individuals quoted as sources 
of information and writings. John P. Morrow, Wilson Powell, and Malcolm Moore of Batesville; 
Robert Stroud and Betty Stroud of Desha; and Duane Huddleston of North Little Rock have 
been generous in sharing priceless resource materials. Without their encouragement and 
patience, the effort would not have been completed.   C. W. "Tark" Maxfield has taken time 
from his business, the C. W. Maxfield Company, on numerous occasions to share his 
knowledge of Batesville and its people, for which gratitude is expressed.  Probably fifty 
residents of Batesville and Independence County have been interviewed for information 
for this number.  The cover was designed by Craig Ogilvie, a commercial artist, writer, 
former editor of the Batesville Guard, and a past president of the Society, who has given 
the Chronicle valuable help over a long period.   And without the help of my wife, Marian 
McGinnis, the whole idea would have perished long ago.

This number will be printed in 1000 copies; 619 will be sent to Society members and the 
others will be offered for sale.

Batesville, Arkansas 
A. C. McGinnis
April 1, 1976


Independence County, Arkansas, was created by the Arkansas Territorial Legislature meeting at Arkansas Post, then the capitol of the Territory, October 20, 1820. The post office at Batesville was opened the following November 7. These two events, of course, mean that there was some activity by white men on the scene before the creation of the county and Poke Creek post office and the history of the county should include some information of years before 1820. The history of Arkansas as far as the white man is concerned begins with the crossing of the Mississippi River by the Spanish explorer, Hernando De Soto, and his expedition of about 400 men in the year 1541. De Soto spent about ten months in aimless wandering over what is now Arkansas in search of gold and silver, neither of which, so far as known records show, was found. The route of De Soto is not altogether clear; most historians believe he crossed the Mississippi in the vicinity of Helena, and various claims have been made that his search for treasure led him into Southeast Missouri, Northwest Arkansas, and other places in the unexplored land populated only by Indians. It is, of course, possible that De Soto or some of his men may have come into what is now Independence County and if so, they were the first white men to set foot on the land; however; no clear evidence has been offered to verify as historical fact that the party came here. De Soto lost his life, a victim of fever, and was buried in the Mississippi, according to history, and his expedition was fruitless. His government made no effort to claim the territory as a result of his explorations, and the next white men to come to Arkansas were French--not Spanish. It was 132 years after De Soto's crossing of the Mississippi when the next known explorers reached Arkansas. In 1673 a Jesuit priest, Father Jacques Marquette and a trader, Louis Joilet, came down the Great River as far as the mouth of the Arkansas, and in 1682 another French explorer, La Salle, claimed all the land drained by the river and named it Louisiana for his King Louis XIV. This period of French ownership was marked by numerous attempts through various plans to get colonies started in Louisiana and provides an interesting chapter in the history of the country, although only a few events which affected what is now Arkansas can be mentioned here. Arkansas Post, on the lower Arkansas River, was established in 1686. Bernard de la Harpe in 1722 explored the Arkansas River, ascending to about where Muskogee, Oklahoma now stands. The most notable example of the effort of the French government to get a colony started in Arkansas was the grant of about 80,000 acres made in 1719 to John Law on the lower Arkansas River. Law had agreed to settle 1500 colonists on the grant and to maintain some soldiers as protection for the settlers. Under this ambitious undertaking, sometimes called the Western Company, Law sent a number of men and slaves to the grant, but the effort was doomed to failure. Law, whose activities are a story within themselves, was heavily involved in financial circles in France, and when his financial empire collapsed, the settlers on the Arkansas became discouraged and left. La Harp noted when he came up the river in 1722 that forty-seven persons were still on the grant, but these had disappeared when he passed the site again in 1723. Two developments during the period of French ownership should be mentioned, the introduction of cotton and slavery. It is probable that during the period of 1682-1763, white men first visited the territory now embraced by Independence County as explorers of the White River, but this is speculation and there are no records to confirm this assertion as historical fact. The ownership of Louisiana by France came to an end in 1763; the end of French rule was part of a larger picture, the realignment of colonies in North America under terms concluding the French and Indian War. The war was ended by the Treaty of Fountainbleau in 1762 and the Treaty of Paris in 1763, and Louisiana became a possession of Spain. Spain, at first desiring friendly relations with the American colonies, recognized the Independence of the United States in 1778, but this friendship cooled with the admission of Kentucky as a state in 1794 and as Spain saw the westward movement of settlers of the young United States. Spain fell upon the plan of offering large grants of lands as inducements to increase the population of Louisiana, and as a further measure of meeting the threat of the United States, an intriguing scheme aimed at creating a revolt in Kentucky and Tennessee was recommended by one Spanish governor. Although the United States and Great Britain had been granted free use of the Mississippi River by treaties, Spain harassed American shippers by requiring them to land at various ports and pay revenue duties. The Treaty of Madrid, negotiated in 1795, reaffirmed free and unrestricted use of the Mississippi by the citizens of the United States and granted a right of deposit in the city of New Orleans in order that shippers could store their goods at the port while awaiting export. As we shall see later, this right was vital to shippers east of the Mississippi. Emerging difficulties with the United States may have had some influence upon Spain in ceding Louisiana to France in 1800, although it is doubtful. Napoleon Bonaparte dreamed of a colonial empire for his country with a vision of regaining Louisiana and entered into bargaining with the Spanish rulers to this end. The involved details of the terms of the Treaty of San Ildefonso under which Louisiana was retroceded to France cannot be examined here, although some historians have used coercion in explanation of the action of Napoleon in the negotiations. The secret Treaty of San Ildefonso was agreed upon October 1, 1800, and thus what is now Arkansas and all the rest of Louisiana belonged to France. Retrocession of Louisiana to France was a top secret transfer, and the United States did not know of the action for about eight months. The Spanish officials had been continued in office in New Orleans on a business-as-usual basis. News that the flag of France was to fly over Louisiana created fears and unrest among the people of the United States, particularly those living on tributaries of the Mississippi and who recognized the importance of the river. President Thomas Jefferson, keeping close watch on the situation to see how commerce on the Mississippi might be affected, was uncertain of official position this country should take and was slow to announce the nation's policy. While Spain might be troublesome at times, she was a relatively weak nation and did not present the potential problems foreseen in dealings with the ambitious Napoleon. Swift developments put an end to uncertainty and embarked the United States on a definite course which brought about one of the nation's most significant milestones-- the Louisiana Purchase. In October of 1802 Spanish officials who were still in authority withdrew the right of deposit in New Orleans, an act which precipitated storms of protest in the Ohio and Mississippi valleys. So strong was the opposition to the order that it was rescinded early in 1803, but revocation did not altogether calm the fears which the action had aroused. The value of New Orleans in hands of the proper government was not underestimated by President Jefferson and early in 1803 he instructed the United States minister to France, Robert R. Livingston, to undertake negotiations with French officials for purchase of the Island of Orleans, which included the city, as the prime object, but if France was unwilling to consider this proposal Livingston was to seek a secondary goal, the right of deposit and free use of the Mississippi. The President sent James Monroe to France to assist in the talks. The negotiations concluded with the United States acquiring not only New Orleans but also the entire Louisiana Territory, which embraced the present states of Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, nearly all of Kansas, parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Minnesota. Different figures have been cited as the cost of Louisiana to the United States, although the highest was $27, 267, 621, which included interest. By any standard the Louisiana Purchase must be considered as one of the most momentous developments in the life of the United States, and the wisdom of the country's leadership at that time must be recognized. Perhaps the most notable act on the part of the Spanish government in the period of 1763-1800 as far as what is now Arkansas is concerned was the land grants--the Valliere Grant, Villemont Grant, and others. Independence County has been credited with three of these--the Angel Lagercenier Grant at Earnhart's south of Bethesda; the August Friend-Furnash Grant at Rutherford; and the McFarland Grant in Greenbrier Bottom west of Desha, although titles to the property have not been traced to grantees during the time of Spanish rule. We have seen that what is now Independence County, as a part of Louisiana, belonged to France, 1682-1763; to Spain, 1763-1800; and again to France, 1800-1803. In the seventeen years between the Louisiana Purchase and the creation of Independence County in 1820 there were many notable events which should be mentioned here. In fact, a fascinating period of this country's history extends from 1803 to 1836 and much is known of these years through the publication of the Territorial Papers of the United States by the Governments Printing Office. The Territorial Papers are a collection of letters, orders, reports, and records found in the National Archives and other departments of the government. Three volumes deal with the period from 1803 to 1819 and three volumes with the territorial period in Arkansas. The Louisiana Purchase more than doubled the size of the United States and virtually all the new territory was unexplored and inhabited only by Indians. Before it could be opened for settlement by white men, treaties had to be negotiated with the Indians, land surveys made, and units of government established for maintenance of law and order. These requirements could not become realities overnight. The government divided Louisiana into two parts, the Territory of Orleans, which is now the state of Louisiana, and the District of Louisiana, in 1804, and in 1805 the District of Louisiana became the Territory of Louisiana. The capitol of the Territory was in St. Louis and for administrative purposes the Territory was divided into various districts, one of which was the District of New Madrid, created March 3, 1805, which included Arkansas. The following year, June 27, 1806, the District of Arkansas was formed "from the Southern part of the District of New Madrid." The boundary between the two districts was not clearly defined, but if the later New Madrid County's southern boundaries were the same as the District of New Madrid, what is now Independence County was not part of the District of Arkansas. November 10, 1808 is an important date in the unfolding picture of the developments in the Territory of Louisiana as that is the date of the Osage Treaty which extinguished the Indian claims to a large part of North Arkansas and Southern Missouri. The Osages released all lands east of a line extending from Fort Clark or Fire Prairie east of the present site of Kansas City on the Missouri River south to the mouth of Frog Bayou on the Arkansas. Frog Bayou empties into the Arkansas River at a point south of the present town of Alma in Crawford County. Much could be written of this treaty and later dealings with the Osages, but this treaty officially removed the tribe from ownership of most of North Arkansas. The name of the Territory of Louisiana was changed again in 1812. The Territory of Orleans sought to be admitted as a state and it was felt that the first state to be carved from the Louisiana Purchase should have the honor of the name, and thus the name was applied to the present state of Louisiana. The old Territory of Louisiana became the Territory of Missouri, which explains at least the beginning of the connection of Arkansas with Missouri which is sometimes not clearly understood. The government of the Territory of Missouri began to function late in 1812. Some of the former districts were divided into counties, although the District of Arkansas remained with Arkansas Post as the seat of justice. On July 5, 1813, the Missouri General Assembly convened in St. Louis for the first time, and at an adjourned session which began in December, the District of Arkansas became Arkansas County, which embraced all of Missouri Territory south of New Madrid County. A census had been ordered by the general assembly in 1813 and the male population of New Madrid County was 1548 and of Arkansas County 827. Another county in Missouri, Lawrence County, was created by the general assembly on January 15, 1815. The boundaries of Lawrence County, which is sometimes called the "Mother of Counties: in Arkansas, appear to show that the lands embraced were in New Madrid County, and since Independence County was later formed of territory in Lawrence there is support of the contention that our county was not a part of the original Arkansas County. The first boundaries of Lawrence County, which included a vast territory in North Arkansas and Southern Missouri, were: "Beginning at the mouth of the Little Red River on the line dividing said (New Madrid) County from the County of Arkansas; thence with said line to the River St. Francis; thence up the River St. Francis to the division between the counties of Cape Girardeau and New Madrid; thence with the said last mentioned line to the Western boundary line of the Osage purchase; thence with the last mentioned line to the northern boundary of the County of Arkansas; thence with the last mentioned line to the place of beginning." While records of this period are scarce, it appears that Lawrence was represented in the Missouri general assembly of 1816 by a Col. Alexander S. Walker and in the fourth and last session by John Davidson, Joseph Hardin, and Perry G. Magness. It should be noted that in this last session three more counties, Clark, Hempstead, and Pulaski, were created from territory of Arkansas County. Thus, five of the counties of Arkansas -- Arkansas, Clark, Hempstead, Lawrence, and Pulaski -- were established while the state was still a part of Missouri. Approaching a fact of which there is some curiosity, residents of the Territory of Missouri circulated petitions for presentation to the national Congress asking for admission as a state with the southern boundary to be latitude thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes. If these petitions were to be honored, the lands south of that line, almost all of the present state of Arkansas, would be left a no-man's land as far as civil government was concerned. Why the petitioners pushing for admission of Missouri moved to leave out Arkansas is not altogether clear and cannot be explained here. The movement to seek admission of Missouri was strong in the vicinity of the territorial capitol of St. Louis, which in those days was a long distance from Arkansas. It is possible that because of the distance and sparse population of the Arkansas country the Missouri petitioners saw no advantage in including a vast and thinly settled area in the state. It is estimated that there were ten to twelve thousand persons living in what is now Arkansas in 1817 when the drive for admission of Missouri as a state began. Various historians have claimed that many of these were adventurers, hunters, trappers, fugitives from justice, and others who were not concerned if there was a civil government or not, but there were also honest settlers who had come to make homes and who were troubled at the prospect of begin left out. There were also land speculators and politicians who could foresee opportunities for nefarious schemes in a new territory, and these groups were eager to furnish some leadership in beginning a movement to ask Congress to admit Arkansas as a separate territory. In the spring of 1818, a meeting was held at Arkansas Post for the purpose of organizing a campaign for circulating petitions. The petitions cited grievances created by the indifferences of the governor of Missouri, Governor William Clark, to the people of Arkansas and asked that it be admitted as a separate territory. Some changes were made in describing the northern boundary. The petition asking for admittance of Arkansas as a territory was received by Congress on January 30, 1819. The law creating the territory was passed by both houses and was signed by President James Monroe on March 2, with July 4 as the date for the beginning of the territorial government. Growth in the White River country and elsewhere in Arkansas did not wait for creation of the Territorial government and some developments of this period are important to our record here. Records of the white man in the vicinity of what was to become Independence County before 1820 are extremely scarce, but there are enough to create great excitement and enough to stimulate the imagination. On April 20, 1814, one William Russell in writing to William Rector, deputy land surveyor for the Missouri Territory in St. Louis, referred to settlements on the White River. Speaking of Poke Bayou, his letter, which is reproduced in the Territorial Papers of the United States, states: "There are scattered settlements on the White River from the mouth of Big Creek nearly or quite up to the Big North Fork, quite a promising young settlement on the Poke Bayou and on various parts of White River. A small portion of the good lands are held by private claim. If the public lands along this river were offered for sale, they would sell immediately. This is a very beautiful little river, about 300 yards wide, navigable at all seasons for boats of any size to the mouth of Black River and at most seasons to the North Fork and further up." Although it is very regrettable that Mr. Russell did not tell us more of the "promising young settlement" on Poke Bayou, there is evidence of businesses which meant settlers were here. The first business of which there is any record on the site of Poke Bayou, the forerunner of Batesville, was a store selling whiskey and notions operated by John Reed, who came from elsewhere in the Missouri Territory in 1812. [SEE PIONEERS AND MAKERS OF ARKANSAS by JOSIAH SHINN] The account of Reed, or at least one account was in a narrative of the county's history written by Robert Neill, prominent Batesville attorney, and published in Publications of the Arkansas Historical Association in 1911. Neill was the son of Henry Neill, who came to Independence County in 1832. Robert was born here in 1838 which means that during his lifetime he had access to knowledge of early settlers, which in addition to his profession as a lawyer, his service as a land surveyor, soldier, and prominence in political life give his writings some authority. There was another merchant here in 1814 whose volume of business outstripped all other traders of his day in Arkansas, as records show. The facts concerning this enterprising merchant, one John C. Luttig, were carefully ferreted out by Duane Huddleston, a native of Marion County, teacher and principal of the Batesville High School and in 1976 a resident of North Little Rock where he is assistant principal of the High School. Luttig came to Poke Bayou from St. Louis in the spring of 1814 with a stock of goods values in excess of $2300 and later in the year the house inventoried over $5000, mostly in pelts. Luttig died, from causes which are now unknown, in July of 1815. He had a partner, one Christian Wilt of St. Louis, who claimed the post's assets upon learning of Luttig's death. There was considerable litigation in settlement of Luttig's estate, which resulted in some detailed records which Huddleston discovered and researched for an article which was published in the Independence County Chronicle, quarterly of the County Historical Society, Vol. XIII, No. 1, October 1971. Huddleston's research produced another bit of fascinating information concerning the history of Poke Bayou which is of interest here. Luttig's partner, Christian Wilt, wrote Luttig from St. Louis June 1, 1815, making some comments on the business at Poke Bayou and offering some suggestions for Luttig's guidance the letter states, in part: "I send you Levantine should get $4 the yard for it." Who can explain stocking $4 per yard silk in a frontier trading post in 1814? Wilt was a businessman of some experience who could have been expected to know demand for goods in the wilderness outposts where beaver skins were valued at $1.75 each, bear skins $1, and bear oil at $1 per gallon. Silk is hardly compatible with the picture of trappers and hunters, mountain cabins, and austerely dressed child-bearing wives, and the variety and quantity of the stock in Luttig's trading post suggest the possibility of a comparatively large pioneer population and that not all of the people lived in crude huts. The letter is found in the book: Luttig, John C., "Journal of a Fur Trading Expedition on the Upper Missouri 1812-1813," edited by Stella M. Drum, reprinted by Argosy-Antiquarian LTD, New York, 1964, page 129. Huddleston's writings of John C. Luttig and Christian Wilt, which were published for the first time in the Chronicle, also tell of numerous early settlers on the Bayou, on White River, and in Lawrence County. The news of Luttig's death in July of 1815 was taken to Christian Wilt in St. Louis by James Moore, Jr. who carried a letter from James Moore, Sr., a justice of the peace and apparently well-established pioneer, who offered to care for the trading post until other arrangements could be made. A man named Moses Graham, who was a son-in-law of Abraham Ruddell and who owned a farm at Bell Point on the White River opposite the mouth of Salado Creek, was appointed, along with Luttig's widow, as administrator of the Luttig estate. Persons mentioned as witnesses, court officials, and otherwise include among others, Robert Bean, Stephen Jones, David Magness, Asa Musick, John Lafferty, Joab Hardin, Abraham Ruddell, John Ruddell, George Gill, John Wyatt, Simon Miller, Charles Kelly, and David Hackerton. Perhaps another reason for early settlement of this area was the Arkansas road, also called the National Road and Old Military Road, which extended from St. Louis to Arkansas Post and was a general route of travel from St. Louis to the Southwest in the early 1800's. This road came into Independence County in the Hazel Grove community, passed Walnut Grove, crossed Dota Creek at Pleasant Hill and entered the present locality of Sulphur Rock and thence to Rutherford where White River was crossed. On the south side of the river the road followed the Goodie Creek valley to the hills and thence to Pleasant Plains and White County. John P. Morrow of Batesville, a foremost authority on Arkansas and local history, land surveyor, city engineer, and landowner, in writing an article for the Chronicle on the road, Vol. IV, No. 4, July 1963 stated: "Over that road civilization came to Arkansas and to keep it civilized James Woodson Bates, Robert Crittenden, and Andrew Scott traveled that route to their new homes and destinies. Located between the Ozarks and the river delta, this had long been a famous trail for Indian travel and was a natural route when wagons began to move southwestward." Another notable event which took place in the period 1803-1820 and which has had an important bearing on the history of the area is the beginning of the land surveys in Arkansas. In 1815 the government authorized establishment of the Fifth Principal Meridian and the Base Line in Arkansas; the Fifth Principal Meridian was surveyed north from the mouth of the Arkansas River and the Base Line west from the mouth of the St. Francis River. The lines intersect at the point where Lee. Phillips, and Monroe Counties connect and this junction forms the zero point for land surveys in fourteen states, according to Morrow who wrote an article in considerable detail on the beginning of the surveys and which was published in the Chronicle, Vol. X, No. 4, July 1969. The surveyors reached Independence County in 1817, although the survey was not complete in the entire county for several years. Post offices were introduced into Arkansas with the establishment of Arkansas' first office at Davidsonville, the county seat of Lawrence County, in June of 1817, and another at Arkansas Post on July 1. The first post office opened in what is now Independence County was White Run at the mouth of Salado Creek on the White River December 29, 1819, with Peyton Tucker as the first postmaster. White Run was established after Arkansas became a territory, although apparently by a clerical error records showed it to be in Missouri, and it escaped attention as an Arkansas office which was misleading in the belief that the first post office was Poke Creek, the forerunner of Batesville, which was opened November 7, 1820, about ten months later. The Cherokee Indians had a reservation west of Batesville which included a small part of land which is today included in Independence County from 1817 to 1828. The eastern boundary of the Cherokee lands extended from Point Remove above Morrilton on the Arkansas River to Chataunga Mountain near Shields' ferry on the White River. Chataunga Mountain is known today generally by the name of Dean Mountain; it is the first hill seen west of Desha, and although the boundary line was surveyed and marked in some manner, no original physical traces of the survey in this county are known. The western boundary of the Cherokee claim began on White River near Norfork and extended to the Arkansas about two miles above Fort Smith. This vast area of land had been given to the Indians by the government in exchange for a tract east of the Mississippi. since the area of primary activity of the Cherokees was along the Arkansas River in Pope County and above, it is doubtful if the reservation had much effect upon growth of the country here. The Indians were not pleased with their real estate, claiming that much of the land was so poor, scarcely a deer would inhabit it, and they demanded an outlet to the West. When the county was formed in 1820, the boundaries did not include the Cherokee lands. Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, a remarkable interesting writer and a man of some education, came down the White River in 1819 and among the writings in his journal is the account of settlers having to move from their cabins on the west side of White River on account of the ownership of the land by the Indians. Schoolcraft's journal provides a highly readable account of the White River country which is unparalleled in contemporary writings. He describes, for example, the Calico Rock as it was colored by nature through centuries of seeping water, weather, and whatever other forces were brought together in the face of this bluff which was blasted away when the White River Division of the railroad was built. Schoolcraft also mentions the "widow Lafferty," which establishes presence of this family on the White River at an early date. Another widely known pioneer family of the White River country mentioned by Schoolcraft was Jeffery; members of this family reside in Batesville and Independence County in 1976, and Carter Jeffery is a past president of the Independence County Historical Society. On Sunday, January 17, 1819, Schoolcraft records stopping at a Mr. Williams' for breakfast and that a group of hunters had gathered to hear a pioneer preacher. This record is among the first contemporary reports of a religious service in this area. On January 18, 1819, Schoolcraft reached Poke Bayou which he described as a "village of a dozen houses situated on the north bank of the river, where we arrived about four o'clock in the afternoon and were entertained with great hospitality by Mr. Robert Bean, merchant of that place." "The situation at Poke Bayou," Schoolcraft recorded, "is pleasant and advantageous as a commercial and agricultural depot." At Poke Bayou he decided to quit the river and started out on foot to return to Potosi, Missouri. His writings are one authority that White River was named by the French who called it La Riviere Blanche because of the purity of the water. There was one other development in the latter part of this [period which probably ;had some effect upon the growth of Poke Bayou as an important center in the early days of the Arkansas Territory. This development should be mentioned here because of its importance and because in it there is some explanation of the name of Napoleon, which legend to this day says was an early name of the settlement which became Batesville. In 1818 the national Congress authorized two land offices for Arkansas, one at Davidsonville for the Lawrence County District and the other at Arkansas post of the Arkansas County District. Hartwell Boswell, whose name was to become prominent in Batesville, was appointed register and John Trimble receiver for the Davidsonville office. The office at Davidsonville was opened for a brief period, July 23 to October 16, 1820. After the closing Boswell visited Washington and recommended that the office be moved to a more central location, and the place he had in mind was Napoleon. Trimble strongly objected, claiming that Napoleon was nothing more that a residence in the woods and there were no accommodations for an office or for the protection of land office money. Trimble triumphed in his position and Boswell wrote, as recorded in the Territorial Papers, "It was expected that Napoleon would be the county seat, but two sets of speculators got to work and the Batesville party succeeded in getting their town established as the Seat of Justice for Independence County." Napoleon was about a mile down the river from Batesville and was the home of Charles Kelly, the county's first sheriff and the first postmaster of Poke Creek. In the creation of the county the territorial legislature provided for the seat of justice to be located at Kelly's residence until a permanent site could be chosen. Not many references to the Napoleon site at Batesville have been found outside the controversy in relocation of the land office, and there are no known records supporting assertion that the name was officially applied to Batesville. It should be noted that there was a Napoleon on the Mississippi River at the mouth of the Arkansas. There are other indications of the settlement of the area before the formation of the county. The first water mill of which there is a record was Hadly's Mill which was on Spring Creek at or very near the site of the Ruddell Mill of a later date. According to the research of Duane Huddleston, Hadly's Mill was in existence in 1813 and he sold it to Asa Musick in 1814. It is also of interest to note that Huddleston found a record of an election, probably the first in the newly formed county of New Madrid, held early in 1814 at the house of a Captain Harrison on Spring River and Asa Musick, George Ruddell, and a Captain Hines officiated as judges. It is of course a regrettable fact that there is no information available of the families who were here before 1820. A census was taken of Lawrence County in that year, but it has been lost. However, other pioneer families of which there is some record include the Hess, O'Neal, Peel, Trimble, Hulsey, Benjamin Hardin, Joab Hardin, Morgan Magness, Craig, Sherrill, Saffold, Kyler, Meacham, Searcy, and Ivey. A territorial tax list of 1824 which will appear later in this narrative included a large number, many of which were doubtless here before 1820.


The act to create Independence County was reported by a committee of the territorial legislature on October 18, 1820, and on October 20 Joab Hardin introduced a resolution to fix the seat of government for the new county which was read for the first and second time. On October 23 the act creating the county and fixing the seat of justice at Charles Kelly's was approved and signed by Territorial Governor James Miller. Were there speeches made in the legislature to arouse the representatives to the importance of creating the new county? Where did the movement to create the county begin and who were the leaders. There are no records known which will give us complete answers. The boundaries of the new county are of interest, although they are impossible to trace in 1976. The territory embraced was: "All that portion of the county of Lawrence bounded as follows, to wit: Beginning at point in Big Black River halfway between the mouth of Strawberry and Bayou Cure and running from thence in a direct line to the dividing ridge aforesaid to the headwaters of Bayou Cure aforesaid, then along the dividing ridge between Strawberry River and White River to the northern line of the territory and then with said boundary line to the southeast bank of the main branch of White River, then down the said river to the northeast corner of the Cherokee claim, thence southwestwardly with said claim to the Little Red River, thence down same to the mouth, then along the northern boundary of the county of Arkansas to a point southeast of the beginning to be laid off and erected into a separate and distinct county to be called and known by the name of Independence County." While much attention has been focused on this description, it has not been possible to portray the county as it was created. The county remained as it was formed for only a brief period and no map has been found which shows original boundary lines. Izard County was created from land in Independence in 1825. Independence County was the ninth county created and the fourth after Arkansas became a territory. Governor James Miller appointed John Read, Perry G. Magness, Robert Bean, Stephen Jones, and Matthews Adams as commissioners to "point out and fix upon the most suitable place in said county for erecting a courthouse and jail." Ownership of the land where Batesville began is a matter of public record from February 23, 1821, the date a deed was executed by Robert Bean to the commissioners appointed by the governor to locate the county seat. The property was described as: "Beginning at the Mouth of Poke Bayou, thence running down White River 60 rods, thence running out from White River Parallel with Poke Bayou to the back boundary of said Bean's claim, thence down the Bayou to the place of beginning, warranted to contain 75 acres, but should such bounds not claim 75 acres, then to run down the river for quantity." On February 24, 1821, the commissioners executed a deed describing the same property to Joseph Hardin of Lawrence County. Richard Searcy, Charles Kelley, and Samuel S. Hall as trustees for the city of Batesville. The blocks, lots, and streets were marked out between February 24, 1821, and March 23, 1822, the date of the deed of partition, which bears signatures of the original trustees with the exception of Thomas Curran who had replaced Samuel S. Hall. The first private ownership of this property is not altogether clear, as a patent certificate was issued t Richard Searcy, as assignee of Robert Bean January 23, 1827. Bean may have held the land under a preemption right, but this is not verified by local real estate records. It would appear that the land was legally under ownership of the government until the patent was issued to Searcy. The chain of title is further clouded by a record of a preemption right made to Richard Searcy August 26, 1822, on the East fractional half of Section 17, Township 13 North, Range 6 West, which included the Batesville site. The heirs of Richard Searcy in 1835 dedicated the East Half of Block 19 in Batesville for use as a cemetery for time immemorial. The action was restated in a deed to the mayor and councilmen of Batesville April 5, 1856. The instrument recites that "the grantors being desirous to confirm the original grant and to have said land set apart forever for the purpose of a Burial Place. . . and is to be used for no other purpose." Joseph Hardin, one of the trustees, had been sheriff of Lawrence County, and was a member of the commission appointed to select a site for the county seat of that county when it was formed in 1815. His father was Benjamin Hardin, one of a small number of Revolutionary War soldiers known to have lived in Independence County. Benjamin Hardin was living in the Goodie Creek valley east of Rosie at the time of his death April 2, 1848, and is buried in the Wyatt cemetery. His grave was marked with a Revolutionary War headstone in 1974. The Hardins were among the earliest permanent settlers of what is now Arkansas, and an excellent account of the family, which contains much early history of Lawrence and Independence Counties, was published by Dr. Marion Stark Craig of Little Rock in 1972. The Searcys are also well known in Arkansas, as Searcy County and the town of Searcy are named for this family. Richard Searcy was living at Davidsonville and was clerk of Lawrence County before coming to Batesville. According to Territorial papers, he resigned as clerk of Lawrence County October 30, 1821, and was appointed clerk of Independence County October 15, 1832, at the age of 36, according to his headstone in the old cemetery in downtown Batesville. His two brothers, James and Jesse, also came to Batesville, and Elizabeth Jett Searcy, a daughter of James, married Franklin W. Desha November 18, 1847. Their daughter, Elizabeth Jett Desha, married W. H. Lester, the father of the late Desha Lester. Betty Lester Stroud, a daughter of Desha Lester, is a past president of the Independence County Historical Society. The cemetery, or at least the remaining part of it, and the gift land is on College Avenue and Third Street. The site of the county's first courthouse was on lower Main Street in a public square at the approximate site of the Missouri Pacific Railroad main line and the spur track in 1976. Although the post office was apparently established as Poke Creek and was known by that name until 1824, the name of Batesville was used early. In August of 1821 John Trimble, receiver of the land office, wrote the secretary of the Treasury concerning a land sale at Batesville which would indicate the name was in general use, and numerous other papers using the Batesville name before 1824 have been seen. Robert Neill wrote in his Reminiscences of Independence County that the city was named for James Woodson Bates and this is also stated by John Hallum in his "Biographical and Pictorial History of Arkansas" published in 1887. Bates was born in Virginia, attended Yale, and was graduated from Princeton about 1810, according to Hallum. His brother, Frederick Bates, was appointed Secretary of the Territory o Missouri and was a prominent figure in the territorial government, serving as acting governor in the absence of Governor Clark. James Woodson Bates is said to have come to St. Louis about 1816 where he established a law office. He was elected the first territorial delegate to Congress in 1821 and was a candidate for re-election in 1823 but was defeated by Henry W. Conway. He came to Batesville in late 1823 or early 1824 and opened a law office, practicing law and serving as a territorial judge until 1830. His appointment as a judge expired and he moved to Crawford County. He was a delegate to the first constitutional convention of Arkansas in 1835 and his last known position of public trust was as land office register at Clarksville. He died in 1846 and is said to have been buried on the Moore farm, although efforts to locate his grave have been unsuccessful. Charles Kelly was the first postmaster at Poke Creek, serving until Hartwell Boswell was appointed in 1824. The name of the office was changed to Batesville January 7, of that year. Charles Kelly (also spelled Kelley) was the county's first sheriff and his office was in charge of tax collections. Through the 1824 tax list, we have the first known compilation of citizens, or at least those who paid taxes, of the county. The list, assembled by Duane Huddleston, is as follows: Adams, James Adams, Jesse Adams, John Adams, Matthew Adams, Richard Adams, Robert, Jr. Adams, Robert, Sr. Aden, John Aiken, Eli Aikens, James Alford, Matthew Allen, Christopher Allen, Hugh Allen, Jason Allen, Samuel Atkinson, John Ausborn, John Bagley, James Bailey, Alexander Barber, William Barnett, Elijah Barnett, John Barnett, William Bates, James W. Bates, Robert Bates, Russell Bean, Jesse Bean, Jesse E. Bend, Richard Birchman, Isaac Bird, John Bloid, Eli Boatwright, Powhatan Boles, John Boswell, Hartwell Boswell, James Boswell, William Boyd, Andrew Brannon, John Brannon, Moses Brickey, John Brickey, Samuel Bridgman, Martin Bridgman, Robert Brigham, Robert Brown, Gyan L. Brown, Hosiah Brown, John Brown, Rodah Bruce, Robert Bumback, Christian Burkett, James Caldwell, Robert Caldwell, William Capshaw, Essex Carpenter, Peter Carter, John Carter, Morgan Carter, Randolph Chandler, William Chapman, William Chism, Benjamin Clark, John Clifton, William Coats, Alexander Coilsey, Vincent Colby, John Coker, Edward Coker, William Condry, Bird Cook, William Copeland, Martin Copeland, Nicholas Cornwall, Dexter Cornwall, Jeremiah Cornwall, John Cornwall, Silas Cornwall, Thomas Cotrill, Gilbert Counce, John Crabaugh, Charles Craig, John B. Criswell, Ambrose Criswell, Jane Crittenden, Robert Culling, Mayo Curran, Thomas Curzine, Susannah Daniels, John L. Darnell, James Daugherty, John Davis, Edward Davis, Henry Davis, John Davis, John Deal, Hastings Dearman, John Dickinson, Townsend Dodd, John Dodd, Thomas Drowyer, Alexander Dugan, John Duggin, Stephen Dunn, John Egner, Joseph Elms, Samuel Elms, Thomas Ervine, Ananias Fellows, David F. Finley, Wes Finnicum, Mark Flora, Elijah Flora, Isaac Fortenberry, Henry Foster, Gabriel Foster, Isaac Foster, Jacob Foster, Thomas Francis, Absalom Freeman, Benjamin French, William Friend, Andrew Friend, Augustine W. Friend, Gabriel Friend, William Fuget, Andrew Fulbright, Jacob Fulkerson, Lebrat Gardner, Nathan Gibbins, James Gilbreath, James Gill, George Goswell, Emerian Goswell, Morris Graham, John Graham, Moses Greenlee, Ephram Griffith, Aaron Griffith, Christopher Griffith, Joseph Griffith, Thomas Griffith, William Hale, David Harber, Joseph Hardin, Benjamin, Sr. Hardin, Joseph Hardin, William C. Hargrave, John Harris, James Harris, John Harrison, Samuel Harrow, Evans Henderson, William Hess, Samuel Hess, Solomon Hicklin, William Hightower, Henry Hightower, Joshua Hightower, Oldham Hill, John Hively, Daniel H. Holderby, Richard Hubble, Jonathan Hudson, John, Sr. Hudson, John W. Hudson, Samuel Hudson, William Hughes, William Hulsey, Charles C. Hulsey, Hardin Hulsey, Riley Hulsey, Wiley Hutchison, Richard C. Ingles, Henry A. Irby, George Irvin, Alphus Ison, Jonathan Ivy, Joseph Ivy, William Jackson, James Jeffery, Jehoida John, Pleasant H. Johnson, William Johnson, William H. Jones, John John, William John, William, Jr. John, William, Sr. Judson, Joshua Kelly, Charles Kennedy, Elijah Kuyler, John Lafferty, Austin Lafferty, Binks Lafferty, Henderson Langston, Absolom Langston, Jesse Langston, John Langston, Samuel Lantz, Moses Lantz, Randall Lawrence, James Leggitt, Whitmill Lindsey, John Litchfield, David Livingston, Robert Magness, David M. Magness, Jonathan Magness, Morgan Magness, Perry G. Marks, Ewel H. Martin, Hugh Martin, John Martin, Joshua Martin, William Masters, Jesse Masters, John Matney, William McArthur, Charles McCubbin, William McKenny, William McKnight, John McClendon, Henry McMahan, Benjamin Meeks, John Miller, James Miller, John Miller, Simon Milsaps, Reuben Minyard, Betsey Minyard, John Molder, Abraham Moore, Thomas Moore, William Morgan, William Morris, James Morris, William P. Morse, Joseph Morton, Elijah Morton, George Music, Alfred Music, Elizabeth Music, John Nelson, Charles Nelson, Jacob Nelson, William Norman, Barney Northard, William O'Neal, Abijah O'Neal, Jesse O'Neal, John Painter, John Palmer, John Palmer, Thomas Patterson, Thomas Peel, Richard Peel, Thomas Pelham, Charles H. Pertee, Lewis Pierce, Francis Pierson, Jeremiah Pierson, Lewis Pool, Jeremiah Price, Thomas Ragsdale, Briton Ragsdale, Ellis Ramsey, Thomas Ramsey, William Ranney, William Randell, Daniel Redmon, John Reed, Albuers Reed, John Reed, William Renfro, Joshua Reynolds, James Roberts, Alexander Roberts, Brown C. Robins, Aaron Robins, Harry Robinson, Isaac Rollins, Robert Rose, Nathan Ross, Charles T. Ross, William Ruddell, Abraham Ruddell, George Ruddell, John Russell, George Russell, John R_______, Hardin Saffold, John Saint Clair, John Saint Clair, Thomas Saint Clair, William Saylors, John Saylors, Nancy Saylors, Phillip Searcy, Richard Settle, William Sessnoms, John Sherrill, Eli Siddons, Marshall Simpson, John Slater, Thomas Smalley, Joseph Smith, Douglas Smith, Gabriel Smith, Jesse Smith, Lion Smith, William Sneed, Charles Sneed, William Spears, Jacob Stanby, Langston Stephens, Reuben Stephenson, James Stephenson, John Stephenson, Samuel Stephenson, William Stinnett, Abner Stinnett, David Stinnett, William Storey, John Stuart, Moses Sullens, Edward Talbert, Frederick, Jr. Talbert, Simeon Talbot, Walker Tankserby, Charles Taylor, Edward Taylor, Joseph Taylor, Richard Terrell, _________ Terry, Jesse Thompson, George Thompson, William Tidwell, Absolom Tidwell, David Tidwell, Edward Tidwell, John Tidwell, Nolan Tidwell, Peter Tidwell, Sanders Tinnon, Hugh Tipton, Benjamin Tosh, William Trimble, George Trimble, James Trimble, John Trimble, Joseph Tucker, Peyton Turpen, Polly Vaughn, Nathan Wadkin, Isaac Waganon, John Walker, John Walker, Thomas L. Walker, William B. Ware, Elijah [WARD] Weatherford, William Weldon, John Well, John Wells, William West, Hiram West, John West, Samuel Whetstone, Peter Wideman, Thomas Williams, Elijah Williams, John Williams, Thomas S. Wilson, Jonas Wilson, Reuben Wilson, William Witbirn, John Wolf, Charles Wolf, Michael Wood, Abraham, Jr. Wood, Abraham, Sr. Wood, Thomas Wood, William, Jr. Wood, William, Sr. Wormac, David Wright, David Wyatt, Abraham Wyatt, Reuben Wyatt, Thomas Yarbrough, Grigs Yarbrough, John Yarbrough, Owen Yokum, Allen * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * FROM Independence County Chronicle, October 1991-January 1992, page 43 "Early Batesville Citizens" The following, clipped from the Batesville Republican of September 10, 1873, was shared by Mrs. Wilbur Ferguson. Old citizens residing in Batesville, and the number of years they have resided here: Mrs. John Ruddell 59 years Mrs. Crow 57 Mrs. Ed. R. McGuire 57 Whitmill Leggett 55 John Miller 54 Allen D. Ramsey 50 William Read Miller 48 John Adams 45 Joseph H. Egner 45 Mrs. M. F. Neeley 45 Charles O'Neal 45 Aaron W. Lyon 44 Rev. Burwell Lee 40 Mrs. Sarah Case 39 Mrs. E. Erwin 39 Mrs. L. D. Folsom 39 Henry Neill 39 S. B. Wycough 39 M. A. Wycough 38 E. R. McGuire 37 William Byers 36 Davis S. Fraley 36 William W. Glenn 35 F. M. Milliken 35 William Milliken 35 Mrs. Nancy H. Newland 35 Franklin Desha Denton 34 Robert Neill 34 R. H. Lee 33 George Maxfield 32 Theodore Maxfield 32 W. E. Maxfield 32 Thomas Womac 30 John F. Allen 26 William M. Lawrence 26 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * One of the state's best-known characters of pioneer days was Charles Fenton Mercer Noland who arrived in Batesville in 1826. Noland, a Virginian who had been a cadet in West Point, came to Batesville to join his father, William Noland, who had been appointed receiver of the federal land office in 1824. Young Noland found a home in Batesville, an outpost on the frontier at the time. He was a writer of some note and wrote articles for the Spirit of the Times in New York of bear hunting, Arkansas politics, and horse racing. Much could be written of Noland's career in this state, as he was on the scene of history making. Two years before his death in 1858, he wrote a description of Batesville as it was in 1826 for the Washington, Arkansas, Telegraph, as follows: "It was in the fall of 1826 that I reached the town of Batesville in the county of Independence. It was just after the great September freshet of that year which had been so disastrous to the settlers on White River. It was the county seat of Independence County, and one of the two land offices to which the Territory was entitled was located there. Hartwell Boswell was Register and Major William Noland Receiver. At that time there were no towns or villages on the White River from Batesville to its mouth. The points of note were the mouth of Black River, Chickasaw Crossing, Nigger Hill, and the Mouth of the Cache. "Montgomery's Point on the Mississippi River was the great trading point for all Arkansas north and a great portion south of the Arkansas River. "At that early date there were shipped from Batesville annually one hundred bales of cotton and upwards. Hartwell Boswell was the great merchant of the region and people came from hundreds of miles to trade with him -- two pounds of coffee for a dollar. I remember when a newcomer arrived with a keelboat of goods and sold coffee three pounds for a dollar. There was great rejoicing among the old women. Old Uncle Johnny Walker's wife that weighed two hundred pounds and large odd downweight scorned to take more than eight yards of calico to make her a loose wrapper. There were no crinolines or hoops in those days. "At that period there was considerable business done in peltries. The Delawares and Shawnees, some of whom lived on Crooked Creek, now in Marion County, came to Batesville with their peltries and white hunters were quite numerous. There were but two practicing lawyers in the place, Richard Searcy and Townsend Dickinson, and Judge Dickinson, though having his office in town, lived on a farm in the country. There were two physicians, Dr. Jonathan Isom, a good honest man but with but little education, and Dr. Caleb S. Manley, one of _____, and it requires a great effort not to finish the sentence. "Charles Kelly was sheriff, John Redmon, clerk; Robert Bates was the only tailor, Marshal Seddons the only hatter, Eli Sherrill the only blacksmith, Kelly kept a tavern. No preacher, one schoolmaster, the same who advertised a two year old yearling. Such was Batesville in 1826." Another prominent citizen of Batesville, John Ringgold, arrived in Batesville in the late 1820's and in 1828 built his brick home on lower Main Street which stood until recent years. Noland, who married Ringgold's daughter, Lucretia, n 1841, died in 1858 in Little Rock and is buried in Mt. Holly Cemetery. Although the county had been reduced in size by creation of Jackson County in 1829, the population of Independence had reached 2,031 in the census of 1830.


While the population of the county increased by only 1, 638 in the ten years from 1830 to 1840, there were significant developments during the decade. Perhaps the most notable was the beginning of the Steamboat era on the White River which was ushered in by the arrival of the Waverly in January of 1831 under Capt. Phillip Pennywit with Capt. Thomas Todd Tunstall as pilot. A story in the Arkansas Gazette January 16 noted the arrival of the Waverly in Batesville, "where she was received with great manifestation of joy by the citizens of that place and the surrounding country." The next month another steamer, the Laurel, reached Batesville, and for over fifty years the steamboats were relied upon as the major transportation of passengers, merchandise, farm products and other freight for Batesville, and even after the coming of the railroad in 1883 the steamers were the principal commercial carriers between Batesville and the upper counties. The steamboat period of the White and Black Rivers has been very carefully researched by two members of the Independence County Historical Society, Capt. Charles H. Warner (1905-1971) and Duane Huddleston (now deceased). Both men have written numerous articles on the steamers, their owners and pilots. The first steamboats ere greeted probably not unlike the first trains of a later date. Doubtless the beginning of the steamboat traffic on the White River had a highly significant effect upon the agriculture of the county and the area, as faster transportation of cotton was provided. Noland mentioned that upwards of 100 bales of cotton were shipped from Batesville in 1826 and there are references to the production of the crop here in earlier years. No record has been seen on the transportation of cotton from Batesville before the steamboats, although the crop was probably shipped by keelboat. The Waverly's pilot, Captain Thomas Todd Tunstall, decided to remain in Independence County, and he became a prominent North Arkansas pioneer, establishing headquarters on his farm on Dota Creek east of Sulphur Rock. In addition to steamboat ownership and mercantile business, he was a lover of horse racing and entered good horses in races in Batesville, Little Rock, Fort Smith, Van Buren, and in out-of-state cities. He had a track on his Dota Creek farm where he bred champion horses. He became a close friend of Noland, who wrote of his racing interests, and Duane Huddleston has researched various newspapers and other records in writing a history of the captain and horse racing in Arkansas of the pre-Civil War era. This account, "Of Race Horses and Steamboats, the Pride of Captain Thomas Todd Tunstall," was published in a 144-page special issue of the Chronicle, Vol. XIV, No. 2, January 1973. Captain Tunstall also started the historic town of Jacksonport in Jackson County. Captain Tunstall was a contemporary of Col. Morgan Magness, and although the captain was successful in a number of enterprises and doubtless was considered a wealthy man for the period, Colonel Magness was the legendary richest man of Independence County before the Civil War. In 1860 Magness was owner of nearly 4,000 acres of land and the largest slaveholder of the county, according to property assessment records. Magness, born in 1796 in Davidson County, Tennessee, was the son of Jonathan Magness who came to Independence County and settled on Miller's Creek when the land was still a part of Missouri. The Magnesses were certainly among the earliest settlers, although the exact year of their arrival is uncertain. The biography of Colonel Magness in Goodspeed's Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Northeast Arkansas" state that he was sixteen years of age when his father reached Arkansas, which would have been 1812. The secretary of war appointed Colonel Magness one of three men to survey a route form Little Rock to Fort Gibson in 1825 and in 1829 he was appointed a magistrate from Black River Township. About 1834 he settled on White River south of the present Magness post office, and although he served in both territorial and state legislature, he apparently devoted his time primarily to farming and becoming wealthy. His name is mentioned frequently in county court records in the pre-Civil War years, indicating prominence in local leadership. He died in 1871 and is buried in the Magness cemetery at Magness. His great-grandson, Joe Waldrip, and a great-great-grandson, William J. Waldrip III, reside in the county 1976, and another great-grandson, Bob Magness, the last direct descendant bearing the surname residing in the county, died in 1973. Henry Neill, first of the family which became well known in Independence County, rode into Batesville and stopped at Bobby Bates tavern in 1832. Neill, born in Mason County, Kentucky, in 1808, worked for a year in the Lacefield tanyard located near the present intersection of St. Louis and Neeley Streets in Batesville for about a year and then moved to Alderbrook, which is now the Desha community, and began his own tannery. While he devoted his time primarily to his tannery and farming, he served in the state legislature in 1846 and was county judge in 1874-76. He was also the first postmaster of Alderbrook. Henry Neill married Dorcas Stark and they were parents of six children. Job Neill was a member of Independence County's first company recruited for the Confederate Army and was killed in the Battle of Wilson's Creek, and another son, Henry, died at an early age. Robert Neill was a successful lawyer and served as congressman from his district in 1893-97. The three daughters married into prominent county families: Elizabeth married Dr. L. A. Dickson, one of the county's first trained physicians and a Confederate Army surgeon who returned to Alderbrook for a long and useful medical practice after the war; Florence married George W. Rutherford, a Confederate Army captain; and Delia married Marion D. Hulsey, an Oil Trough farmer. An important event of the decade was the first military organization recruited in the area for service outside the territory, Captain Jesse Bean's Arkansas Mounted Rangers of the Army of the United States. Lewis Cass, Secretary of War, commissioned Bean to raise a company for the military force at Fort Gibson on the Arkansas River above Fort Smith. The Company was recruited in 1832 and was in service for about a year. Paul Wayland, charter president of the Independence County Historical Society, wrote an article concerning the Rangers which appeared in the Chronicle, Vol. 1, No. 3, April 1960. Washington Irving mentioned the Arkansas Company in his book, "A Tour on the Prairies," published in 1835. The muster roll of the company includes names well known in Independence County in 1976: Aikin, Allen, Caldwell, Elms, Gill, Wayland, Hulsey, Meacham, O'Neal, Peel, Wilson, and Young, among others. It is perhaps notable that Noland in describing Batesville as he found it in 1826 stated that there was a schoolmaster in the town. What teaching he did is not known, but there was an effort to get a school established in Batesville in 1836 -- the Batesville Academy. The academy was chartered, but the extent of its operation is not clear. One of the trustees was Dr. A. W. Lyon who had come to Arkansas as a teacher of the Cherokees at Dwight Mission on the Illinois Bayou in what is now Pope County. Lyon later became a trustee on the Arkansas College Board. There were two other events of note in 1836, the admission of Arkansas to the United States as a state and the first conference of Methodists in Arkansas, which took place in Batesville. It is well known that Arkansas became the twenty-fifth state to be admitted to the union, passing from territory to statehood status in 1836. The people of the state were not altogether united in the movement to advance as a state; there were advantages in remaining a territory. The federal government paid administration expenses in a territory, or a large part of them, and there were those who opposed statehood on the grounds that it would be better to wait until Arkansas had more people and more prospects of revenue. A census of the territory was made in 1835 and it was found that Arkansas had a population of 52,240 which included 9,838 slaves and "persons of color." The population requirement for statehood was met. Mass meetings to encourage the statehood movement were held at various places, including one at Batesville on July 6, 1835, and in the end the pro-statehood group was successful. Late in 1835 the territorial legislature passed a bill providing for election of delegates to a constitutional convention. John Ringgold and Townsend Dickinson were elected from Independence County. The constitutional convention met in Little Rock on January 4, 1836, and framed the state's first constitution, which was completed January 30. Noland of Independence County was chosen to carry a copy to Washington. Noland did not reach the national capitol until March 8, and there are some records indicating fears that he may have met with some misfortune which caused the delay. However, he did reach Washington safely to present the constitution to the secretary of state, and legislation to admit Arkansas as a state was passed by Congress and was signed by President Andrew Jackson June 15, 1836. Noland mentioned that there was no preacher in Batesville in 1826, although there are some contemporary records of religious services in the area before that date. Schoolcraft noted in his journal the gathering of a group of hunters to hear an itinerant preacher on White River in 1819. The Methodists were active here as early as 1815. According to James A. Anderson's "Centennial History of Arkansas Methodism," Eli Lindsey preached in a wide circuit between the Little Red River and the Missouri line, and he was most likely the first minister to preach in Batesville. Since the organizing conference took place in Batesville, it might be assumed that there was a Methodist church to act as host to the conference, but no record supporting such an assumption is known. The First United Methodist Church in Batesville, located at Sixth and Main Streets, dates its history from 1836. The first conference took place in a building on the corner of Main and Broad Streets. A stone marker embedded in the wall of the present building on the site was placed there by the Maxfield family. Duane Huddleston has done research on the early churches and preachers of the Independence County area and his article on early religious activity is published in the Chronicle, Vol. XI, No. 4, July 1970. While the first preaching known was done by Lindsey, the oldest church in Independence County is the Rehobeth Baptist Church at Moorefield, which dates from the 1820's. Cumberland Presbyterian ministers were also active in the area in the 1820's, and two congregations were organized, at Mt. Olive and Strawberry, according to Paul Wayland. Batesville was affected in 1838 by an action of the state legislature to remedy the shortage of money in Arkansas. The constitution of 1836 empowered the general assembly to obligate the state to raise funds for a State Bank and a Real Estate Bank. The central banking house of the State Bank was in Little Rock and branches were established in Batesville, Fayetteville, and Arkansas Post. John Ringgold was cashier of the Batesville branch; D. W. Lowe, president; and Dr. Chapman, William Byers, Thomas S. Drew, and A. W. Lyon, directors. A two-story brick building, forty by fifty feet, possibly the first brick business house in town, was constructed at the corner of Main Street and Central Avenue to house the Batesville branch, which began business in 1838. The bank was in trouble from the beginning; officials were not experienced in banking operations, at least in the collection of loans, security taken was often of doubtful value and those conditions coupled with other poor management forced a closing in 1843. Few assets were found and the course of the banking venture cast a shadow on the state government's credit which was to plague Arkansas for forty years. A record of the experience of the Batesville branch was written for the Chronicle by John P. Morrow and published in Vol. VI, No. 2, January 1965. The last significant development of the 1830's mentioned here is the beginning of newspaper publishing in Batesville in 1838. The newspaper era was ushered in by the Batesville News published by Byers and Jordan. Only scattered copies of the News have been seen and it cannot be stated with accuracy when the publication ceased. Fred W. Allsopp states in his "History of Arkansas Press for a Hundred Years or More" that another newspaper, the North Arkansian, was started by W. J. Locke and W. Jasper Blackburn in 1843 and that this paper supplanted the News. In the ten years from 1840 to 1850 some additional milestones were recorded for Batesville and Independence County. In 1842 the First Presbyterian Church was organized, although Presbyterians had lived in Batesville for several years and had started a Sunday School before their church was established. There were twelve charter members of the church -- John McGuire, his wife Cynthia McGuire; Elam S. McGuire, Mary P. Agnew, Jane Burkholder, Dorcas Feimster, Elon Feimster, D. C. Montgomery, Aaron W. Lyon, William Temple, and Elizabeth Temple. After meeting in homes for several years the congregation built a church at Main and Fourth Street in 1848. The fact that the First Presbyterian Church of Batesville is the second oldest in the Arkansas Presbytery is further evidence of the prominence of Batesville in pioneer days and attests character of the city's founders. A history of the church in the early days was written by Mary Rutherford of Batesville and was published in the Chronicle, Vol. I, No. 3, April 1960. Batesville has a long history of prominence in Masonic circles and Mt. Zion Lodge No. 10 Free and Accepted Masons, was chartered in 1842. The first of three men from Independence County to serve as governor of Arkansas was Thomas S. Drew, who was elected in 1844 and again in 1848, but he resigned in 1849, claiming that the salary of the office was too small. Doubtless there was considerable excitement in Batesville and the county in 1846 when two companies of men answered the call of the President for volunteers to fight in the War with Mexico. It is significant to note that there were about eighteen companies raised in the state and two of them came from Independence County. Company D was commanded by Capt. Andrew R. Porter, who lost his life in action, and was succeeded by Capt. Franklin W. Desha. Company E was under the command of Capt. Charles H. Pelham. Personnel of both companies are given in an account in the Chronicle, Vol. V, No. 4, July 1960. A further record of Captain Porter's death is told by Duane Huddleston in Vol. X, No. 2, January 1969. Captain Porter's body was returned to Batesville and rests today in Oaklawn Cemetery. He was first buried in a cemetery at Main and St. Louis Streets and was later moved to Oaklawn. One of Batesville's notable homes, known in its latter years as the Ewing house, was built on Main Street on the corner of the block east of the present site of the First United Methodist Church by James H. Patterson in 1845. Patterson suffered some financial reverses and moved to Woodruff County, selling his Batesville home to Thomas Cox, a Batesville lawyer and landowner. Cox, who had 2,650 acres of land in 1860, was behind only two other owners, Col. Morgan Magness and the W. W. Tunstall estate in amount of land assessed under a single ownership. Cox was married in 1859 to Laura Erwin, a sister of William J. Erwin, who acquired considerable wealth and became president of the Citizens Bank of Batesville. The Erwins came from Maury County, Tennessee, in 1840. Cox died in 1871 and his widow married Dr. Ewing in 1874. As we shall see later, use of the three-story brick home was appropriated by both Union and Confederate officers during the Civil War. After the unsettled conditions of war time, the house was the scene of parties and entertainments, for which the Ewings became well known. The age of other older homes of Batesville is established by the writings of a visitor in 1849, James Rutherford. Some fifty years after his arrival in Batesville he wrote of riding down Main Street for the first time: "I rode down Main Street of Batesville, near the lower end of said street, and put up at the hotel run by Robert Bates. I was at my journey's end. "The hotel stood opposite the residence of the now Mrs. Sophia Lawrence, but then the residence of John Ringgold. C. F. M. Noland, his son-in-law, lived with him. Mr. Noland was a writer of ability, writing under the name of Pete Whetstone. He has long since died but I have always remembered him kindly for he took an interest in me when I was a young man. "Mrs. Miniken's residence, John W. Ferrill's residence, then occupied by E. T. Burr, the Reed storehouse, the Folsom residence now occupied by Mr. Wiggins; the W. E. Maxfield and I. N. Reed residence improved so much that you would hardly know them. Theo. Maxfield's residence was just finished. Mrs. Case's residence and the residence of Harvey Miniken, Uriah Maxfield, now occupied by Mr. Fitzhugh, all improved so much they would not be known, and another I recollect and the first house I ever saw in Batesville is the old stone house on the Bayou." Four of the dwellings mentioned by Colonel Rutherford are standing in 1976 -- the Theodore Maxfield house at Seventh and Main, the W. E. Maxfield house at Sixth and Main, in 1976 generally known as the Garrot house and used by Mr. and Mrs. Carl Johnston for an antique shop; the I. N. Reed house directly across Main from the W. E. Maxfield home; and the Uriah Maxfield dwelling at 410 Harrison which is now the home of Mrs. John Spragins, a great-granddaughter of the 1849 owner. The Ferrill family, mentioned by Colonel Rutherford as the occupant of E. T. Burr's former residence, came to Batesville from North Carolina in 1854. The Ferrills have been one of the county's prominent families for decades. Edwin Burr, born in Massachusetts in 1816, came to Batesville in 1839, married a daughter of Dr. Phillip P. Burton, and by 1860 had built up the largest mercantile business assessed in Batesville or in the county. He died in 1876 at Engleside, his country home which has been described as a place of beauty, on the north bank of White River just below Riverside Park. The First Baptist is another of Batesville's churches which dates form the 1840's. The exact year the church was organized is uncertain, although records indicate that it was in October of 1847 when a group of Baptists met in the classroom of one John C. Briekey, a school teacher who had emigrated from Missouri to Batesville. Elder Henry McElmurry assisted the group in the formation of the church and became the first pastor. The second minister to serve the church was P. S. G. Watson and under his ministry the Baptists had their first building, on Main Street near the Marvin Hotel. This building served the congregation until the 1880's when another church was built at Sixth and Main, the site of the present First Baptist. At least one other newspaper was started in Batesville in the 1840's, the Batesville Eagle. Allsopp says in his history of the Arkansas Press the Eagle was published in the early 1840's; however, one copy of this weekly, Vol. 1, No. 9, is known in Batesville and it bears the date of June 27, 1848. The indefatigable Noland was the editor and W. T. Cochran was listed as publisher and proprietor. The year 1849 marks the most ambitious undertaking in the field of education known in Batesville to that date, the Soulesbury Institute, which has also been known as Soulesbury College. Soulesbury was at Sixth and Water Streets, the site of the Glenn home in 1976. In fact, the school was rebuilt into the present residence. Soulesbury was a Methodist school which apparently operated until the Civil War and for a brief period afterward. An article on the school appears in the Chronicle, Vol. V, No. 3, April 1964. The decade beginning in 1850 included glorious years for the county. In the ten years, 1850 to 1860, the population of Independence County rose from 7,767 to 14,307, an increase of 6,540. In no other ten years of the county's history has a gain of this number been recorded. The population of the entire state showed a sharp rise, increasing 209,897 to 435,450. There was a great migration of people from other Southern states into Arkansas, and particularly the state of Tennessee furnished many new citizens to Independence County. Since the county was, of course, primarily a county of smaller farmers, the rural areas became of more significance. Fifteen new post offices were established in the county from 1850 to 1860. Lawyers came to Batesville early; Richard Searcy was in the town not later than 1821 and James Woodson Bates by 1823. Noland recorded the presence of two lawyers, Searcy and Townsend Dickinson, in 1826, and it is probably that every period of the county's history has been served by capable lawyers. In 1853 or shortly afterward there came another lawyer to Batesville who became a notable member of the bar, Judge U. M. Rose. Rose was born in Lebanon, Kentucky. He was admitted to the bar in 1853. His residence in Batesville apparently was not lengthy, as he was appointed chancellor of the Pulaski chancery court by Governor Elias N. Conway in 1860 and moved to Little Rock. He accompanied the state administration when it moved to Washington during the War and returned to Little Rock to practice law when the War ended. Characterized as an essayist and jurist of national distinction, Rose was elected president of the American Bar Association in 1901 and in 1907 President Roosevelt appointed him a United States commissioner to the International Peace Conference in The Hague. As one of the state's great men, his statue is in the Hall of Fame at Washington. D. C. Rose died in 1913. By 1850 Batesville was well past the stage of a frontier town; the number of lawyers, doctors, and businesses increased in the decade. The county's second courthouse, a brick building, was constructed in 1857 on a new site on Main Street, the location of the courthouse in 1976. Progress was highlighted by the construction of the Batesville Institute, a three-story brick structure on Main Street, between State Street and Central Avenue, to house the city offices, a library, lodge halls, and public entertainment. The General Assembly of the State of Arkansas approved a charter in 1853 "to establish in the town of Batesville an institution for the promotion of the Fine Arts, Mechanism, Science Education, Commerce, and the diffusion of knowledge." The cost of the undertaking, $23,000, all raised locally, was no small sum for the times. Major stockholders included W. Byers, $1,000; John Ruddell, $1,000; Thomas Cox, $1,000; Mt. Zion Lodge, $1,000; Batesville Chapter, $500; R. A. Childress, $250; B. H. Neeley, $100; G. W. Daugherty, $150; and Hirsch and Adler, $100. W. Byers was president of the first board of directors; B. H. Neeley, secretary; and Henry Neill, treasurer. The Institute was the first three-story structure in the town and is said to be the first three-story brick building in the state, although there has been no verification of this claim. Unfortunately, the life of the Institute was measured by months. It was completed and ready for occupancy September 1, 1858, and an elaborate dedication program was held on September 29. In the early morning hours of January 16, 1859, fire broke out in a nearby building, spreading to the Institute, and all efforts to control the flames were fruitless. The destruction was complete; the loss was estimated at $25,000 and there was no insurance. The story of the Institute is told in an article written for the Chronicle, Vol. II, No. 3, April 1961, by the late Mrs. George Terry.


While actual fighting in this county during the Civil War was limited to no more than skirmishes, it would be a mistake to assume that the county was not seriously affected. Population growth practically ceased during the ten years from 1860 to 1870, and in terms of county men serving in the armies, privations of homefolk, financial disasters, and disruptions of the lives of the people the war was no minor catastrophe. Who can pinpoint the beginning of the collision course between the North and South, unless one goes back to 1619 when slavery was introduced into the American colonies? George Washington in his will provided for the emancipation of his slaves and spoke against slavery. Other early leaders -- Franklin, Madison, Jefferson, and others -- declared their opposition to the institution, and the abolitionist movement had an early beginning in the North, although much of the effort was a transfer of the slaves to the Southern states. The resentment against slavery became so entrenched that the fires of bitterness between slaveholding and free states burned freely in the national congress, in churches, and when a new state asked for admission. History books by the score have documented the intense feeling which existed on slavery in the years immediately preceding the war, and the outlook of the people of Independence County on this issue has been a subject of research. No evidence has been found to support belief that the county's leadership was made up of uncompromising slaveowners harboring hatred for the North. There are some complete yearly files of the Independent Balance of the late 1850's extant and very little publicity was given to slavery locally and less to divisions of the people of the issue. Slavery had existed in Independence County at least since 1815, as correspondence between John C. Luttig and Christian Wilt mentioned a slave girl. However, slaves of all ages in the county in 1860 numbered only 1,309, slightly less that ten percent of the total population. Census statistics on slavery in the county were researched by Morgan A. Powell, a native of the county, graduate of Annapolis Naval Academy, and retired admiral, and were published in his article on the subject in the Chronicle, Vol. III, No. 2, January 1962. County tax records show that 918 slaves between the ages of five and sixty years were the property of 221 owners in 1860. Nine men -- Col. Morgan Magness, Abraham Allen, W. M. Byers, Robert Calaway, John Miller, Sr., John Ruddell, J. Stone, R. Stone, and Robert Smith -- owned twenty-two percent of the slaves. Probably no more than ten to twelve percent of the households in the county had slaves. The value of the slaves, however, was significant. The assessed value of all slaves on the tax books in 1860 amounted to $614,536. Col. Morgan Magness assessed his 39 slaves between the ages of five and sixty years at $19,500, while his landholdings, which included 3,813 acres, were assessed for $15,167. While the records do not show that the people of Independence County were in 1860 stirred to the same depth of anti-union feeling as existed elsewhere in the South, it would be a mistake to assume that there was no division of the people on the issue. In May of 1861 Alfred Matthews, who was making a trip on foot from Louisiana to St. Louis, was in Independence County and he reported a fear among the people of the federal government based upon rumors of cruelties of Northern troops. He also reported he was told while spending the night in a farmhouse ten miles north of Batesville that secessionist leaders in the town had arrested a neighbor for outspoken Union feelings and were going to hang him. Friends had intervened and saved the man's life. There was some caution on the part of the people in Arkansas to leave the Union and join the Confederacy. The state legislature was in session from November 5, 1860, to January 21, 1861, and an act was passed providing for the governor to issue a proclamation ordering an election for all counties to vote for or against holding a state convention and to vote for delegates to the convention if one was to be held. This convention would decide what Arkansas was to do. An election was held February 18 and the voters decided in favor of the convention. Urban E. Fort, a former county sheriff; M. Shelby Kennard, editor of the Independent Balance; and Franklin W. Desha, landowner, lawyer, slaveowner, and veteran of the Mexican War, were elected as delegates from Independence County. The convention met in Little Rock March 4 and was in session until March 21 without making a decision to leave the Union. The majority of the delegates apparently favored remaining in the Union, as resolutions to secede were made and failed to pass. The convention adjourned with plans to meet again August 19 or on call of the president, David Walker of Fayetteville. Sentiment in the state apparently underwent a drastic change very quickly. Fort Sumter fell on April 13 and President Lincoln issued his call for troops. The convention met again May 6 and a definite decision was made for Arkansas to join other Southern states in seceding. Only one vote was cast against the Ordinance of Secession -- that of Isaac Murphy of Madison County. Once the decision was made for Arkansas to leave the Union, Independence County lost no time in mobilizing for war. One company of men commanded by Capt. William E. Gibbs, a Batesville lawyer, was mustered into service June 9, 1861. James W. Butler, grandfather of Virgil Butler of Batesville, was first lieutenant and Robert Neill was first sergeant. The military experience of Captain Gibbs is unknown, and the training of his company is also a question, as they were committed in combat August in the Battle of Wilson's Creek near Springfield, Missouri. Job Neill, a brother of the first sergeant, was killed and Captain Gibbs was missing and was never heard of again in Batesville. Ernest Neill, a son of Robert Neill, said he believed the captain was so humiliated in the battle that he deserted. In all, twenty-three companies of troops were enlisted in Independence County for the Confederate Army. Four captains -- John H. Dye, Ganum Brightwell, J. W. Cullins, and E. N. Floyd -- organized two companies each, and fifteen captains -- William E. Gibbs, Thomas J. Morgan, Winfred S. Smalley, J. T. Tracey, George W. McCauley, Simeon Cason, A. T. Jones, E. Houser, E. W. Echols, L. E. Knight, Thomas West, Samuel Jordan McGuffin, C. S. Washburn, Samuel R. Fetzer, and George W. Rutherford -- organized one each. The names of the captains and their units are inscribed on the Confederate monument on the courthouse lawn in Batesville. An excellent account of the Civil War in Independence County was written by Nola James in 1967 as a thesis when she was in the graduate school of Memphis State University. Muster rolls, information of the number of men serving in the Union and Confederate Armies, together with troop activity in the area are included. The first federal occupation of Batesville occurred May 3, 1862, with the arrival of Gen. Samuel R. Curtis, who had been victorious over the Confederated at Pea Ridge on March 7-8. Curtis found Batesville occupied by Confederate forces, although they moved across the river when he arrived. Curtis' men were not engaged in combat here and he moved his Army to Jacksonport early in July. It perhaps should be noted that evidence of strong Union sentiment surfaced while General Curtis was in Batesville as 365 men and 14 officers were recruited for the federal Army and left with him. According to Mrs. James, the men served for six months. Another organization for the federal forces, the Fourth Arkansas Mounted Infantry Volunteers which included about 450 men, was recruited by Col. Elisha Baxter, a Batesville lawyer, late in 1863. It is possible that the people of Batesville may have had some warning of the likelihood of a visit by General Curtis, as on April 18, 1862, less than seven weeks after the Battle of Pea Ridge and slightly more than two weeks before Curtis' army reached Batesville, the county court entered an order for the County Clerk M. A. Wycough to remove the county records from the courthouse to such place as he might consider secure as a safeguard against their destruction. Where the records were placed for safekeeping is unknown. The order for the safety precaution was signed by County Judge Nicholas Peed, Jas. M. Shepherd, and A. G. Goodwin. Because of the geographical position of Batesville in North Arkansas, it could have been expected that the county would be visited by both Union and Confederate Armies, although the occupations of the various commands during the four years cannot be included here. General Sterling Price and his army crossed the county and were at Jacksonport in April of 1862. After Curtis left, there were Confederate troops of smaller commands here until January of 1863 when Gen. John S. Marmaduke and Col. J. O. Shelby arrived. Marmaduke made his headquarters in the Ewing house on Main Street, which was also headquarters of Curtis. Marmaduke's soldiers were camped for the remainder of the winter near Oil Trough Bottom. Shelby at first had his headquarters in the F. W. Desha house, which is standing and well-preserved in 1976. Marmaduke and Shelby remained here until June of 1863. The Ewing House was again headquarters for a Union command in late December of 1863, as Col. R. R. Livingston and about a thousand federal troops arrived in Batesville on Christmas Day. Livingston's men were engaged in the skirmish at Waugh's farm north of Bethesda in Independence County February 18, 1864, in which a few men, including Captain Castle of the Union Army were killed. Castle was in command of a wagon train escorted by soldiers sent out to gather forage for horses, and the train was attacked at daybreak by Capt. George Rutherford and his company. The federal soldiers were taken by surprise and Rutherford escaped across White River with some 200 head of government horses and mules. Livingston left Batesville in May and shortly afterward Shelby and Marmaduke returned with their commands. Apparently these soldiers remained in the Batesville area until joining Price's Confederate Army for his "Missouri Raid." Price took with him practically all the Confederate soldiers of the area. "Pap" Price's raid into Missouri signaled an end to organized combat between Union and Confederate soldiers in North Arkansas. The expedition into Missouri was a failure, and the remnants of Price's army came back into the state in Northwest Arkansas in the late fall of 1864 and most of the soldiers came home on foot. There were two other important concerns of the people here during the Civil War which should be mentioned. One is that North Arkansas was plagued by large numbers of lawless men called bushwhackers by Southerners. Bushwhackers belonged to neither army; they preyed upon defenseless farmsteads and were feared more than the federal soldiers, at least in some quarters. There was perhaps some distinction, at least in early months of the war, between bushwhackers and guerrillas. Gen. Thomas C. Hindman, an Arkansas general, sanctioned guerrilla warfare in which soldiers in small bands fought and harassed the Federals. Some of these small groups of soldiers, or civilians following the pattern, degenerated into the bushwhacker-type characters, robbing, plundering, and committing other vile acts of lawlessness. It was the general policy of the federal army to consider both guerrillas and bushwhackers outside the protection of rules of warfare and numerous commands issued orders for them to be shot. The Official Records of the War of the Rebellion disclose numerous instances in which these men were killed in the hills of North Arkansas. Certainly they were a menace in the Independence County area. Another problem which the local citizens had was the supply of provisions to the armies. While it was the stated intention of both Confederate and Union commands to issue vouchers as a guarantee of payment for forage and other provisions taken from local persons, actual payment was another matter. The Official Records contain a report of 2nd Lt. A. N. Harris of Company K, 11th Missouri Cavalry, which was stationed in Batesville in January of 1864, who set out in charge of a company of forty federal soldiers to the Black River bottoms in search of a herd of beef cattle said to be grazing in the canebrakes. Harris was successful in finding twenty-one head of cattle and four "secesh" prisoners which he brought to Batesville. While the lieutenant included no information on ownership of the cattle, as he probably did not know and made no effort to find out, it is highly unlikely that the animals were without owners. The Confederate soldiers also had to have food for themselves and forage for their horses and much of these necessities had to come from the land as they passed through. As the War progressed, Confederate money decreased in value which made it virtually impossible to pay for supplies. A contemporary record of the uncertainties the people faces, the hardships endured, the losses suffered, and the clouds of violence which broke open in the war years in Independence County in found in a letter written by Emeline McGuire, wife of Edwin Ruthvin McGuire, to her son, James Clinton McGuire in California in August of 1864. Edwin R. McGuire was the son of John and Cynthia Sharpe McGuire, who were charter members of the First Presbyterian Church of Batesville. Edwin became a prosperous farmer in Oil Trough Bottom and the Oil Trough Masonic Lodge, which was moved to Thida some years ago, was named for him. Edwin, who owned considerable land, was residing in Oil Trough during the war, or at least until the misfortunes described by his wife, which left them homeless, and they went to Kentucky for a temporary period. The letter states, in part:
Oldham County, Kentucky August, 1864
My Dear Son, How to commence this letter to you I do not know. I have so much melancholy things to tell you about. In the first place, I know you will think it strange, when you look at the heading of my letter, that your Ma is in Kentucky. Well, I will tell you how it was that we came here. We have had first the Confederate soldiers and then the Federals changing first one and then the other ever since the war commenced, and last winter a band of Jayhawking thieves came into Independence and all the adjoining counties, going to the people's houses of nights and demanding all their money and threatening to kill them if they did not and they did kill some. One night three men rode up to our gate and hallowed and your Pa went out thinking it was some of our neighbors wanted something, when to his surprise they took hold of him and said he was their prisoner. They were all armed and he had only an old pocket knife. They took him nearly a mile into the woods and asked him for a large sum of money. I do not recollect how much and they said they would kill him if he did not give it to them. Your Pa told them they would have to kill him then for he had not near much money. They told him he had to give all he had. They then searched his pockets and then brought him back to the house and told me to bring out all the money or they would burn the house. I took the money out and they released your Pa. About three weeks after that a gang of those thieves came to our house about eleven o'clock at night. We had our doors locked and Pa had his guns and pistols loaded. They did not say a word but commenced trying to burst the doors open. Finding the doors too strong, one of them came to the window and burst the shutter off. Just as he did so your Pa shot and killed him. He loaded his gun again and went into the cellar with the intention of trying to get out. Knowing that they had got all the money before, your Pa believed they had come with the intention of killing him, and he said he was determined to sell his life as dear as he could. As soon as this man was killed, they made the negroes carry him to Lamburtons and they set the house on fire. They put the fire at the end of the old store room and the house was all in flames before I knew it. Your Pa managed to get out of the cellar but not until he was wounded in the left arm above the elbow and he killed another one of those thieves. He then had to run through the open lot and them following him and shooting at him all the time. Just as he jumped the lot fence by the negro cabin, they shot him the second time in the same arm which I fear will make him a cripple for life. But he succeeded in getting away with life for which I am thankful to my blessed Savior, for I know it was nothing but his interposition that saved him. Our dwelling houses, kitchen, smokehouse with everything that was in them burned up with the exception of a few things Auntie and myself carried out. A few days afterward our mill and gin was burned and all our negroes left us and went to the Federals except Jo. . . Our house was burned the fifth night of December (1863). We left Arkansas in March.
Your mother, Emeline McGuire
How many times the robbery, shooting, and burning were duplicated is, of course, unknown, but there is no evidence that the McGuires were reserved for special treatment. James Clinton McGuire was the father of Elizabeth Ewing McGuire, the mother of Eleanor Gray of Batesville, whose courtesy has added to the Civil War record in this county through use of the letter, which is in her possession. It is well known, of course, that many items quickly became scarce in Batesville, adding to the discomfort and inconvenience of the people. For example, newsprint became unobtainable quickly and the Independent Balance, the last known local newspaper printed here during the War, ceased publication in July of 1862. Salt quickly became scarce and could be obtained only at an extremely high price if at all. According to Mrs. James, known muster rolls show 1,525 men from the county served in the Confederate Army and 815 in the Union, and there were others who joined units of both sides outside the county. The soldiers went far afield from home fighting for their convictions and it is not possible her to chronicle the battles in which local men took part. Thomas Jefferson Morgan was the highest ranking officer from this county, reaching rank of full colonel. His grandson, Admiral Morgan Powell, recorded known facts of his life both as a soldier and a civilian and presented them for publication in the Chronicle, Vol. VII, No. 2, January 1966. Admiral Powell's article includes battles in which Colonel Morgan took part, including Price's raid into Missouri. Franklin W. Desha's commission as a lieutenant colonel is in the papers of the Desha Lester family, and another Independence County native, Sam Peel, reached rank of colonel, although he had removed from the county before the Civil War. Colonel Peel practiced law at Bentonville after the War and served as congressman from Northwest Arkansas. He is buried in the Bentonville Cemetery. Even before General Lee's surrender at Appomattox on April 9, 1865, many Confederate units had disintegrated and the men walked away, without formal discharge. These men as well as organized units met at Jacksonport on July 5, 1865, and were given parole certificates containing agreement that they would not bear arms against the United States. An estimated 6,000 Confederate soldiers went to Jacksonport for their paroles, according to an account of the surrender written by Mrs. Lady Elizabeth Luker of Newport and published in the Chronicle, Vol. VI, No. 4, July 1965. Nobody knows how many soldiers never went to Jacksonport or elsewhere for their parole, as it was nothing uncommon to hear old soldiers in later years comment that they had never surrendered. During the Civil War a newspaper, the Batesville Bazoo, was published in Batesville by troops of Col. Robert R. Livingston. One copy, Vol. I, No. 2, dated February 6, 1864, was discovered for the County Historical Society by Admiral Powell and facsimile copies were published during the Civil War Centennial for Society members. Copies of No. 1 are unknown, and the original of No. 2, which is in the collection of the Missouri Historical Society, may be a unique item. It is not known if later numbers were printed. Another reference to Civil War in Batesville and its effects upon the local populace is a narrative of the ordeal of Emily Weaver, a true spy story of the War, written by W. J. Crowley of Homewood, Illinois, and published in the Chronicle, Vol. XVII, No. 1, October 1975. In 1864 Miss Weaver was traveling via St. Louis to Memphis to visit her father, and while she was in St. Louis, federal authorities arrested her as a spy. In a subsequent trial she was found guilty and sentenced to death, although the sentence was never carried out. Companies were formed in adjacent counties with volunteers of names well known in Independence County. In 1861 Capt. William G. Matheny recruited a company at Evening Shade, which was then in Lawrence County. Captain Matheny, promoted to rank of lieutenant colonel, was captured in the Battle of Vicksburg and after the war returned to Sharp County. One of his sons, I. J. Matheny (incidentally, his brothers were named A.B., C.D., E.F., and G.H.) was an attorney in Batesville who served four terms in the state legislature and William A. Oldfield, a grandson of Captain Matheny, was a lawyer and congressman from this district. An excellent general reference to the Civil War in the Batesville area is "Fight and Survive!" by Lady Elizabeth Luker of Newport. This 203-page book, published in 1974, is primarily an account of Jackson County units and includes records of army movements, both Confederate and Union, affecting Independence County. The surrender of General Lee and the Confederate forces was not the end of perilous times for the South, Arkansas, or Independence County. A constitutional convention met in Little Rock January 4, 1864, and declared the Confederate constitution of March 1861 null and void and returned the state to the 1836 convention with some slight changes. Calvin C. Bliss is listed as the delegate from Independence County to this constitutional convention. The people of Arkansas approved the 1864 constitution by a vote of 12,177 to 266. Isaac Murphy of Madison County was elected governor in 1864 and Calvin C. Bliss was elected lieutenant governor. A biography of Bliss has not been found, but his representation of the county in the constitutional convention would indicate he was a resident of the county. President Lincoln was interested in the constitutional action in Arkansas and sent messages of support to the Murphy administration. It is, of course, well known that Lincoln intended to pursue a liberal policy in returning the former Confederate states to the Union and he encouraged the citizens to form loyal state governments. The plans of President Lincoln, however, were thwarted. After his assassination, the power of radicals in the national congress ascended. They refused to seat the representatives sent to Congress by the former Confederate states and pursued policies calculated to punish the South, with the resulting carpetbag state governments and destructive reconstruction. Arkansas' carpetbag constitution was adopted in another constitutional convention in 1868. Peter G. Misner and George W. Dale were the delegates from Independence County to this convention. Efforts to find out where these men lived in Independence County, their prominence in politics, and how they made their living have been fruitless. The power of Powell Clayton, the carpetbag governor of Arkansas, was on the rise with the movement to call the constitutional convention in 1868. Clayton, commissioned a captain when the war began, was a native of Pennsylvania, was educated in a military school, and in 1855 became a resident of Kansas. He spent most of the war years in Arkansas and held the rank of brigadier general when the war ended. Deciding to remain in Arkansas after the war, he married a Helena girl and purchased a plantation near Pine Bluff. He was inaugurated as governor July 2, 1868. The Powell administration is characterized by influence of voting laws to control elections, primarily by use of Negroes, raids on the state treasury, as large sums of money were appropriated for levees and railroads which were not built, and for use of the state militia. Arkansas was divided into military districts, and companies of militiamen rode over the country to control the civilian population. Once again security in the hills was threatened. The militia was well known in Batesville and elsewhere in North Arkansas. Early in 1871 there was a vacancy in the U. S. Senate from Arkansas and the state legislature elected Powell Clayton to the office, an act that immediately precipitated a fight in the governor's office. W. B. Padgett of Independence County presented a motion that Clayton be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors while he was still governor. The Republican party split into two factions, one of which was led by Joseph Brooks, who opposed Clayton, and the other by Ozra Hadley, who came to Arkansas in 1865 from Minnesota, a Clayton man who was chosen acting governor. Clayton continued to have influence in the state administration from his senate office in Washington. The trouble in the state administration reached a boiling point in 1872, beginning when both groups of Republicans held conventions to nominate candidates for state offices. The liberal faction nominated Brooks, while the regular Republicans nominated four candidates for governor: Hadley, Gen. A. W. Bishop, Alexander McDonald, and Elisha Baxter of Batesville. Baxter won, but Brooks and some of the men claimed votes had been improperly counted and that he was the actual winner. The details of the claims of both men to the office of governor are somewhat complex and cannot be examined here, but after court battles, the well-known Brooks-Baxter War of Arkansas erupted. Both men were supported by bodies of armed men and a small number was killed and wounded. The affair was ended by recognition of Baxter as the lawful governor by President Grant. The effect of this state of affairs when there was need of rehabilitation and rebuilding was to prolong recovery of the state from the effects of the War. While Independence County is not directly concerned with return of Powell Clayton to Arkansas after expiration of his term in the senate, it is of interest that he settled in Eureka Springs and built the Crescent Hotel, which is standing in 1976. He was also prominent in the beginning of the railroad from Seligman, Missouri to Eureka Springs, a line which later became a part of the Missouri and North Arkansas and still later the Missouri and Arkansas Railroad, which was extended from Joplin, Missouri to Helena in Arkansas. From 1899 to 1903 Clayton was United States minister to Mexico. He did not return to Arkansas to live and spent his last years in Washington where he wrote a book, "The Aftermath of the Civil War in Arkansas," published after his death in 1914. Elisha Baxter was the second governor of Arkansas from Independence County. A native of North Carolina, he came to Batesville in 1852 and with his brother, Taylor, established a mercantile business. Elisha was elected to the state legislature in 1854 and his interest in politics is said to have been the cause of failure of the business. He worked for the Independent Balance, the Batesville weekly newspaper, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1856. When the War began, he opposed secession and left Batesville but was captured in Missouri. He was released and ordered to go to Little Rock where he was arrested again and charged with treason but escaped before trial. He sought protection of the federal troops and was authorized with a commission as a colonel to recruit a regiment, which was the aforesaidmentioned Fourth Arkansas Mounted Infantry Volunteers. Under the Murphy administration he was chief justice of the state supreme court and was later elected to the U. S. Senate, but was not allowed to take his seat. After leaving the governors' office in 1874, he returned to Batesville to practice law and farm. He died here in 1899 and is buried in Oaklawn Cemetery in Batesville.


In 1874 Arkansas adopted another constitution which is in effect in 1976. Independence County delegates to this constitutional convention were James W. Butler and James Rutherford. Although growth of Independence County was almost stopped in the ten years from 1860 to 1870, when the war ended the people began to make adjustments to the post-war conditions and turn their attention to normal pursuits. At least two newspapers, The North Arkansas Times and the Batesville Republican began publication in the late 1860's. The Times, which listed Charles Maxfield as publisher, began on March 10, 1866, and the Republican started in 1867. As far as is now known, the Independent Balance, the last newspaper to suspend during the War, did not resume publication, as no post-war copies have been found. The Soulesbury Institute re-opened, after the War, although length of its post-war life is not known. The property passed into private owners, the Glenn family in 1872. The house is still under ownership of Glenn heirs in 1976. S. A. Hail, a former Confederate soldier, arrived in Batesville from Lawrence County in 1867 and a few years later started Hail's Book Store. With his son, Conway Hail, he started the Hail Dry Goods Company in 1911, and the enterprise is still in business and operated by members of this family. The Maxfield store, another business which is still in operation in 1976, was started in 1869 by Theodore Maxfield, son of Uriah Maxfield, who came to Batesville in 1842. The Maxfields have long been engaged in general stores, hardware, furniture, drygoods, banking, and other businesses. Another Confederate soldier, V. Y. Cook, of whom more will be said later, emigrated to Arkansas and settled at Grand Glaize in Jackson County in 1867. St. Paul's Episcopal Church was organized in Batesville in 1866 by Henry C. Lay, Episcopal Bishop to Arkansas, although the town had had a number of Episcopalians for many years, including Charles Fenton Mercer Noland. Before 1866, Batesville had been considered an Episcopal station. Two other events of this period are indicative of a desire and effort of the people to put the war behind them and return to peach-time pursuits. Spring Mill, last of the nineteenth century water mills to operate in Arkansas, was built in 1867 by the Confederate Veteran Col. J. A. Schnozzle of Jacksonport for A. N. Simmons. The mill passed through various owners until 1917 when it was purchased by J. A. Lytle, Jr., and the mill is in 1976 owned by the Lytle family. Mrs. John A. Lytle, Jr. operated the mill to grind meal in 1976 for distribution by the Bicentennial wagon train on its trip from Arkansas to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Colonel Schnable was also a major figure in the second of two events mentioned here, the construction of the stone bridge across Salado Creek west of Rosie. The contract for construction was awarded to Schnable and James Moore in 1867, although the work was not completed until early 1870. The bridge, financed by the county, was unique for the area and perhaps for Arkansas, as it was a spandrel-arch type structure with twin arches. After World War II, the bridge attracted considerable attention and an effort was made to preserve it. Legislation was passed to include the bridge and access road into the state highway system, although nothing was done to reinforce the weakened spans, which collapsed in a flood in January 1958. There were at least three notable developments in the county's history which took place in the period 1870-1880, two of them concerning education and two which might well be considered milestones. The awakening interest in education in the early 1870's was remarkable. The 1868 constitution of the State of Arkansas contained a provision for creation of a state university when funds were available, and the legislature of 1871 authorized establishment of such an educational institution. Cities and counties were given a chance to make offers for location of the school and Batesville and Independence County made a strong effort to bring the University of Arkansas to Batesville. According to Dr. Robert A. Leflar's history of the University, published in 1972, Batesville offered $50,000 which was increased by an additional $19,000 in cash and lands from private hands and the county voted on a bond issue of $100,000. The proposal in the town of Batesville was overwhelmingly approved by a vote of 90 to 0, but the bond issue in the county lost by a vote of 590 to 428 and the University went to Fayetteville. According to Dr. Leflar, the committee deciding the location came to Batesville for an inspection and was impressed by the offer and the enthusiasm of the people for the school. When the committee voted on a location, Batesville received two votes. The efforts of the town and county to bring the University of Arkansas to Batesville, which came very near success, must be viewed in light of the economic conditions at the time. The population of Batesville in 1870 included only 647 white persons. The town's businesses were owned by small merchants and most of the county's population was made up of families of small farmers. the Civil War had been ended only six years and the county still faced uncertainties of reconstruction. In face of these considerations, the efforts of the local leadership to get the location of the state school can be judged as altogether laudable, and it is of interest to note that only three places in the state -- Batesville, Little Rock, and Fayetteville -- mustered serious bids. However, Batesville was to have an institution of higher learning -- Arkansas College, which in 1972 celebrated its one hundredth birthday anniversary. Arkansas College was started in 1872 by Dr. Isaac Jasper Long, a Presbyterian minister whose first visit to Batesville was in 1866. Dr. Long, a native of South Carolina, was sent to Arkansas by the Presbyterian Church Committee on Domestic Missions to gather information on churches of the Synod of Arkansas, and the North Arkansas Times reported August 18, 1866, that he was in Batesville, holding a revival with Rev. Silliman. His preaching here must have had a profound effect upon the people, as after he left he was asked to return as pastor of the local Presbyterian congregation. The letter asking him to return is said to have been signed by twelve Presbyterians, several Methodists, Baptists, and others who were members of no church. Dr. Long apparently was impressed by the people of Batesville, as he resigned his pastorate at Concord Church, South Carolina, and came to Batesville beginning his service as pastor here April 14, 1867. He was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church here until 1883. At the urging of Dr. Long, the Presbytery, meeting in Searcy on April 15, 1872, accepted the idea of creating a college in Batesville and appointed a provisional board of trustees which included Dr. Long, J. F. Allen, M. A. Wycough, W. L. McGuire, D. C. Boggs, W. W. Kerr, W. K. Patterson, W. J. Burt, and E. Mount. The school opened September 2, 1872, with an enrollment of sixty-five students. A charter for the college was signed by Acting Governor Hadley, James Johnston, Secretary of State, and Thomas Smith, superintendent of education. The first campus of the college was between College Avenue and Boswell Street and between Seventh and Eighth Streets. The first permanent building, which is in regular use by the First Presbyterian Church in 1976, is now known as Morrow Hall, honoring the family of the late John P. Morrow, Sr., a member of the college board of trustees for thirty-eight years at the time of his death in 1965. Two facts concerning the college should be mentioned here. Although it was under Presbyterian auspices, it was a non-sectarian school and has remained so. When the school began, it had both elementary and high school departments in addition to a four-year college course, which made it possible for students to enroll in the primary department and attend until graduation with a bachelor of arts degree. One such graduate was Mrs. Agnes Maxfield Ball of Batesville, and another student, the late Fred Fitzhugh of Batesville received all his formal education at Arkansas College, although he withdrew from school before graduation to enter the Navy in World War I. In 1876 the college graduated its first class with seven students receiving degrees. They were T. J. Horne, J. L. D. Houston, C. W. Maxfield, Mary V. Maxfield, W. K. Patterson, Cynthia J. Scherer, and Will H. Wycough. A summary of college history was published in the Chronicle, Vol. XIV, No. 1, October 1972. The interest in education which surfaced so soon after the Civil War was by no means limited to efforts to get the state university located in Batesville and the creation of Arkansas College. By 1872 the Washington High School Association was formed at Bethesda with A. B. Bennick, William J. Bell, Hugh P. Montgomery, Charles P. Grigsby, Jacob F. Martin, Fordice Simmons, and Ephraim R. Brown as directors and trustees. A two-story school which became the Bethesda Academy was built. The next year another academy was started at Sulphur Rock and well into the twentieth century the town had a wide reputation for good schools. The Sulphur Rock school had its beginning as the Sulphur Rock Male and Female Academy and a list of contributors to the initial building fund in 1872 includes many prominent names of the county, including H. W. Vaughn, W. D. Meriwether, W. Gibbs, John J. Palmer, W. D. Magness, M. K. Crow, John G. Martin, M. W. Gibbs, H. C. Dye, Jesse Futrell, C. C. Kirkland, N. D. Nail, W. P. Hoover, Thomas M. Gibbs, A. Pritchard, J. O. Tuggle, J. G. Ashley, Dick Riddle, E. Jennings, Joseph Wright, E. M. Dunnington, J. M. McArthur, Austin Boulware, James Rutherford, Joe Edgar, J. T. Harper, W. C. Ashley, W. H. Jernigan, Thomas B. Carpenter, Jabe Prater, J. M. Sanders, J. J. Waldrip, W. C. Riddle, Bryant Bass, W. H. Suits, Rufus Harbison, Ed Carter, and Hugh Wright. An account of the Sulphur Rock school was written for the Chronicle, Vol. VII, No. 1, October 1965, by Linda Matthews. There were other academies in the county -- Oil Trough, Pleasant Plains, Jamestown, and perhaps others -- whose history is unknown. The public school system in Batesville has been traced to the early 1870's, although public education here is probably of earlier origin. The complete history of the public schools in Batesville has not been written. [See Chronicle, Vol. XXI, No. 2, January 1980, "The History of Black Education in Batesville, 1867-1875," pp. 1-24, by Lawson, Curtislene. See Chronicle, Vol. XXVII, Nos. 1-2, October 1985-January 1986, "The History of White Public Education in Batesville 1869-1889," by Roger D. Ried.] In 1876 Franklin Desha Denton began assembly of type and equipment to publish a newspaper, and on January 11, 1877, the Batesville Guard issued Vol. 1, No. 1. The county has had probably close to two dozen newspapers which were founded before 1900, but the Guard alone has survived and will observe its one hundredth birthday anniversary in January of 1977. Denton was born in Batesville in 1841. His mother was Mrs. Margaret F. Desha Denton, a sister of F. W. Denton, the veteran of the Mexican and Civil Wars, attorney, and landowner. According to Goodspeed's History, Denton was attending Center College at Danville, Kentucky, when the Civil War broke out, and he came home to enlist in the Confederate Army. He was twice wounded, captured by the Federals, and exchanged to fight again. After the War he tried his hand at farming, was elected county sheriff and, according to Goodspeed's, was unsuccessful as a merchant, before engaging in the newspaper business. The third man from Independence County to become Governor of Arkansas was William Read Miller, born on Miller's Creek in 1823. He served as clerk of Independence County, and several terms as state auditor before being admitted to the bar in Little Rock and returning to Batesville to practice. The state capitol beckoned again, however, and he went back to Little Rock to serve another term as state auditor after which he successfully sought the governor's office, serving two terms, 1877 to 1881. He died in Little Rock in 1887 and is buried in Mt. Holly Cemetery. Miller's headstone notes that he was the first native-born governor to serve the state. The population of the county increased from 14,566 in 1870 to 18,086, a gain of 3,520, in 1880. Noland wrote that there were two physicians in Batesville in 1828 in 1826, although he casts some doubt upon their medical training. However, doctors educated in medical schools have served the sick and injured in Independence County from early pioneer days. Dr. Isaac Folsom, Sr., was in Batesville in 1828 and Dr. William M. Lawrence, prominent in medical circles of his time, came in 1847. Dr. Sterling W. Allen, a Tennesseean, was a graduate of Memphis Medical College in 1848 and he practiced at Floral before the Civil War. The Independence County Medical Society was organized in 1880 and Dr. L. A. Dickson of Desha was the first president. Another milestone was reached by the county in 1883 -- the coming of the railroad, which brought significant changes to the White River valley. Known first as the Batesville branch of the St. Louis, Iron Mountain, and Southern Railroad, the tracks extended into the county from Diaz in Jackson County. The Batesville Guard reported December 13, 1882 that the first train of cars passed over the Black River bridge east of Newark on December 7. Apparently, much work had been done on the track construction west of Black River by that date as the Guard reported the first passenger coach to arrive in Batesville was on March 26, 1883, and a story in the newspaper on April 11 said that passenger trains would begin running on regular schedule the following Sunday, which was April 15. The railroad was not built up White River for another 22 years, which meant that Batesville was the rail shipping terminal for a wide area, and this, of course, increased the importance of Batesville as a trading point. Newark, the county's second largest municipality, began to grow after the railroad came through. John N. Tomlinson, called the father of Newark, because he once owned all the land of the original town, was postmaster of the post office there which opened June 5, 1883. There was one store on the site earlier, however, owned by J. H. Murphy, the father of the late W. D. Murphy, Sr., of Batesville. The growth of Newark signaled the end of the settlement of Akron, which was about two miles south on the road to the Oil Trough ferry. Akron was an old village of the county whose first post office, established in 1854, was known as Big Bottom. For reasons unknown the name was changed to Akron May 17, 1890, only a few days more than three months before the post office was discontinued September 4. Paroquet was the name of another post office which sprang up on the railroad between Newark and the Black River bridge. Joseph H. Anshutz was the first postmaster when the office opened October 2, 1884. Still another, Moorefield, just east of Batesville, with Jesse A. Moore as postmaster was established October 31, 1883. Batesville's first passenger depot was a frame building constructed on the main line at the foot of Seventh Street. A later passenger depot was built at an unknown date near the corner of State and Lawrence Streets in Batesville. This depot, a frame building, was replaced by a brick structure in 1914 and the old passenger station at the site became the freight depot. Both of these stations were about three blocks off the main line and for years passenger trains either backed into or out on the spur track to reach the depot. There was a reason for the location of the depot at the State and Lawrence site; when the Batesville branch was constructed, the tract was built on the Sulphur Rock hill, a steep grade for steam locomotives, and for years there was talk of building a new track closer to the river which would eliminate the troublesome grade, and if the tracks had been relocated the passenger depot would have been on the main line. Why the plans for the relocation were dropped is not known. An example of the railroad benefits was the Handford Cedar Yard, which began in Batesville in 1884 by two brothers, Charles Robertson and James Stanley Handford. There were many fine stands of cedar timber in the hills north and west of Batesville and in the era of railroad construction there was a ready market for crossties, piling, poles, and posts. The business was on the north bank of the river on a site which is at the mouth of the Bayou in 1976; while rail transportation made the river business possible, there was a heavy dependence upon the river. On April 23, 1893, the Weekly Bee, a Batesville newspaper, reported the arrival of the steamer Ralph E. Warner from McBee's, in Marion County, the landing, at the mouth of Fallen Ash Creek, for Flippin and Yellville, and passengers on the boat said they had passed twenty-seven rafts of cedar logs. Goodspeed's history says the Handford brothers shipped 834 carloads of cedar products from Batesville in 1888, thirty-four percent of the freight shipped out that year, and their products were second only to cotton in number of carloads. The Handford brothers branched out into banking, the lime, stone, and other businesses. The brothers are also known for the handsome homes they constructed at 658 and 659 Boswell Street in Batesville. The unique feature of the homes, which face each other, is that they are identical. They are said to be the first homes built in Batesville with indoor plumbing and to have concrete sidewalks. J. S. Handford became the first president of the Bank of Batesville, which was chartered and opened on Main Street opposite the courthouse in 1889. The claim that the Bank of Batesville was the beginning of modern banking in the town has been challenged, and advertisements of banking services have been found in Batesville newspapers of an earlier day. In 1887 Simon Adler advertised as a "Banker and Broker" and invited country merchants "wanting to send money abroad or to get funds remitted" to call him. On March 29, 1889, Hinkle and Wolf also advertised draft sale and cashing in their firm, Banking and Insurance, listing correspondents as the Boatmen's Saving Bank of St. Louis and the Bank of America in New York. There may have been others. While these houses engaged in some banking serviced, no evidence has been found so far to establish them as banks in the general sense of chartered institutions, and the Batesville Guard in 1905 stated the Hinkle and Wolf business was reorganized as the Bank of Batesville. John Q. Wolf has been called the "Father of Banking" in Batesville. In an advertisement of the Bank of Batesville in The Progress, a Batesville daily paper, December 20, 1889, H. H. Hinkle was listed as the cashier and John Q. Wolf as assistant cashier. D. C. Ewing was vice-president. Correspondent banks were the Boatmen's Savings Bank of St. Louis, the Bank of America in New York, and the First National of Little Rock. The Bank of Batesville did not remain long in the site "opposite the courthouse" as in 1891, a three-story banking building was started at the corner of Main Street and Central Avenue. This new building became the home of the bank and was for years a Batesville landmark before being removed by the Batesville Insurance and Abstract Company in 1974. Through the years the building housed other banks, and rented offices and the third floor was occupied by the Masonic Lodge. John Q. Wolf, Sr. was born in 1864 in a one-room log house in the part of Izard County south of White River which later became Stone County. His boyhood was spent in the hills in the vicinity of Calico Rock, and he came to Batesville as a young man to keep books in the store of H. H. Hinkle. He became a prominent church, civic, and Masonic leader in the town and was elected grand master of the Arkansas Masonic Lodge. In his later years he wrote frequent articles for Batesville and Little Rock newspapers on the history of the White River valley and its people, and after his death in 1949 his son, John Quincy Wolf, Jr., began collecting and editing his writings, both published and unpublished, which were brought together in a book, "Life in the Leatherwoods," released by Memphis State University Press in 1974. The book records primarily the elder Wolf's boyhood days and tells much of the customs in the hills and of the steamboats on the upper White River from 1870 to 1890. Dr. John Quincy Wolf, Jr., died in 1972, and his widow, Mrs. Bess Wolf, and his sister, Miss Cleo Wolf, in 1976 occupy the two-story house built by the elder Wolf at 845 East Boswell Street in Batesville. [See Chronicle, Vol. XXIII, Nos. 1-4, October 1981-July 1982 - two issues - for "My Fifty Years in Batesville, Arkansas," a collection of newspaper articles written by John Quincy Wolf, Sr., which were originally published in the Batesville News-Review in 1937.] The second banking house in Batesville was the People's Savings Bank, which opened July 21, 1891, according to the Guard. The railroad was also of significant importance in the development of the manganese mines of the Batesville-Cushman field. While the history of the manganese mining in the Batesville area has not been written, the late C. C. Sims of Batesville, who was a merchant for many years in Cushman, in an article published in the Chronicle, Vol. II, No. 3, April 1961, says the Keystone Mining Company, organized in the late 1870's, was the pioneer company in commercial manganese mining and their first mine was at Southard Hill in the Cushman community. Ore was later hauled to Batesville in wagons for shipment by rail. The railroad was extended to Cushman from Batesville in 1886, primarily on account of the manganese business. In 1884 Walter H. Denison began work for Keystone and the Denison name was identified with the manganese industry in this county until 1950. According to Sims, Cushman was named for a Keystone stockholder who came to Cushman in the company's initial mining venture. The coming of the railroad did not put the steamboats on the White River out of business. In fact, the steamers probably had a larger business up the river from Batesville, although the traffic below the town was greatly diminished but not entirely eliminated. The late Capt. Charles H. Warner of Batesville, whose grandfather settled in the town in 1858, discussed the steamboats and their captains in an article in the Chronicle, Vol. III, No. 4, July 1962. Members of the Warner family have been owners and pilots of river boats on the White, Arkansas, Mississippi, and other rivers. Duane Huddleston has also researched numerous boats and their owners in the upper White River trade and has written numerous articles which have appeared in various issues of the Chronicle, including what today appears impossible, the navigation of the Buffalo River by the steamer Dauntless by Captain Will Warner in 1896 (Chronicle, Vol. X, No. 1, October 1968). The Batesville Daily Enterprise, which proclaimed itself to be the first daily newspaper of the town, began publication August 27, 1888, with Dr. M. McClure as publisher. Dr. McClure, a Kentuckian and a Confederate soldier, was a Batesville dentist who engaged in a number of enterprises in addition to newspaper publishing. He had previously had an interest in the North Arkansas Times and was owner of the Batesville Flouring Mill and a hotel. No complete files of the Daily Enterprise are known and it has not been determined when the newspaper ceased. It was not, however, alone in the field of Batesville dailies for long, as another small daily, the Progress, began in 1889 with M. Y. Todison as publisher. It would appear unlikely that there were two daily newspapers published in Batesville at the time for a lengthy period. Newspapers flourished in Independence County in the period from 1880 to 1900. There was one at Sulphur Rock, the Sulphur Rock Enterprise published by T. L. Allison in 1890. Another Sulphur Rock newspaper, the Sulphur Rock Wheel, moved to Batesville in 1888. The Wheel was published by two deaf mutes, Martin and Bradly, who had in the 1880's at least three other newspapers, the Farmers and Laborer's Union Journal, the Independence County Wheel, and the Batesville Journal. A few copies of each of these newspapers have been seen. The Wheel began as a farmers' organization in this state in Prairie County in 1882 and the popularity of the Wheel spread rapidly, reaching 2,109 local chapters in Arkansas. At least two Wheels, one at Batesville and one at Sulphur Rock, were organized in this county, and the Batesville body established a Wheel store on Broad Street in 1887. The building is standing at the corner of Broad and River Streets in 1976, although the Wheelers sold it in 1894. No complete history of the Arkansas Wheel is known, but the organization became a political body which sponsored candidates in both county and state races. In 18890 the Wheel candidate for governor, N. B. Fizer, a Methodist preacher who had served the Methodist Church in Batesville in 1886-1887, waged a strong campaign against the Democratic incumbent, James P. Eagle. The Sulphur Rock Wheel was influential in Independence County and fostered an unsuccessful movement to relocate the county seat at Sulphur Rock. The strength of the Wheel here was apparently the source of support for the Martin and Bradley newspapers. There was a newspaper, The Courier, started at Jamestown in this period and one at Newark, The People's Party Advocate, in 1895. The Weekly Bee began in Batesville in the 1890's and there were probably others. Sulphur Rock perhaps reached its peak in prominence in the county while the Wheel organization was a power in politics. William P. Huddleston of Sulphur Rock, a member of a widely-known Independence County family, was elected to the state legislature on the Wheel ticket, according to Goodspeed's history. The same history says that in 1888 Sulphur Rock had eight general stores, three drug stores, two groceries, a pottery works, several mechanic's shops, livery stable, two churches, lodges of several secret societies, a complement of professional men, and two schools -- an academy and a free school. Batesville by comparison was credited with fourteen general stores in the same year. In February of 1891 the Batesville Guard reported that seven Sulphur Rock merchants -- James & Co., Nesbett, Bullington, Churchill, Nunn, Ward, and Dorr and Wright & Co. -- had shipped 2,603 bales of cotton from the 1890 crop. The town population in 1890 was 387. Sulphur Rock had a claim to fame which became known far and wide -- its mule drawn street car. The town was a mile off the railroad, and the Sulphur Rock Railway was constructed to connect the depot with downtown. The right of way for the street car line was purchased in 1889 and service was faithfully provided for both passengers and freight until 1926. At least one source says the line was the last mule power street car to operate in the nation. Sulphur Rock is an old town in the county, as the post office there was established in 1834 with Thomas Todd Tunstall as postmaster. Community centers had become well-established in Independence County by 1890. Goodspeed's history says Jamestown had a population of 200 and a business district of four general stores, post office, blacksmith shop, cotton gin, grist mill, a public school, and an academy. Pleasant Plains likewise had a population of about 200 with three general stores as a nucleus of the business district. Other community centers at Hickory Valley, Bethesda, Oil Trough, and Salado, in addition to others previously mentioned, were growing. About 1887 R. W. Earnheart established his distillery at Earnhearts, south of Bethesda. Earnheart became a prominent and wealthy citizen, owning among other property the Earnheart Hotel in Batesville. Among the small number of firms in Batesville in business in 1976 and which began before the turn of the century is Fitzhugh's Clothing Store on the corner of Broad and Main Streets. J. B. Fitzhugh came to Batesville from Woodruff County about 1881 and began business in 1884. The business was known for years as J. B. Fitzhugh and Brother, the brother being Carter Fitzhugh. Five of ten Fitzhugh children eventually came to live in Batesville: Hettie Ellen who became the wife of W. W. Byers; Lula who married Judge S. A. Hail; the John Conway who was associated with Hail's Dry Goods Company and who was in the real estate business. The Fitzhugh name has been prominent in religious, business, and civic circles in Batesville for years, and Fitzhugh's Clothing store is owned in 1976 by Carter Jeffery, the grandson of J. B. Fitzhugh. The year 1885 marked the beginning of business in Batesville by Barnett Brothers, a firm which is in business in 1976. Ira N. Barnett II, born in Sharp County in 1866, came to Batesville in 1885 to work in the store of Hinkle Brothers at Main and Third Streets. In 1887 his uncle, R. D. Williams, who was in business in Evening Shade sold out there and established a store also at Third and Main opposite Hinkle Brothers. The same year James F. Barnett and Charles A. Barnett, brothers of Ira N., who had been teaching school in Sharp County, joined him and the three men began work for their uncle. The brothers purchased an interest in the Williams store about 1890 and in 1901 acquired full ownership. They incorporated as Barnett Brothers in 1903. Under the original three brothers and the two sons and daughter of Ira N. Barnett - Ira N. Barnett III, Charles W. Barnett, and Mary Louise Hathcock - the business flourished and was extended into farming, timber lands, banking, wholesale, and other enterprises. Barnett Brothers store in Batesville in 1976 is continued by Ira N. Barnett IV, Charles R. Barnett, and James F. Barnett, sons of Ira N. Barnett III. Three corners of Third and Main Streets in Batesville have been sites of businesses employing or owned by Barnetts since 1885. The first congregation of the Church of Christ began in Batesville about 1887. A minister named J. B. Lashley held services in the Wheel Hall at Broad and River Streets before a building was constructed for worship at Baker Street and Central Avenue. This church, a frame structure, was used, according to members of the congregation, until the brick building was constructed in 1931. The population of Independence County increased to 21,961 in 1890, which was a gain of 3,875 from the census of 1880. Residents of the city of Batesville numbered 2,150. Development of public utilities in Batesville apparently began in the latter 1880's. It appears that the first public utility in Batesville was the Batesville Telephone Company whose articles of incorporation were filed May 2, 1887. The capital stock of $5,000 was purchased by a number of Batesville's prominent business men. In 1900 the company, which had about eighty phones, sold the exchange to E. H. Glenn, who made many improvements and increased the subscribers to about 300 before selling the business to the Southwestern Telephone and Telegraph Company. On July 23, 1890, the Batesville Progress reported that the contract for the stone foundation of the water tower, which was to be built of steel and seventy-five feet high, had been let to J. M. Bartlett, a Batesville contractor. "The tower will be located in the east part of town on the lots owned by the 'old water company' near the pool of Siloam." Reference to the old water company suggests an effort to supply water for the town from a central system had been made in previous years, but no information has been found establishing the fact. The site of the pool of Siloam in Batesville is also unknown. Another progressive step toward a municipal improvement was taken in 1890 -- the construction of a horse-drawn street car line by the Batesville Street Railway. A company of local businessmen was organized and the track was constructed from the Batesville railroad depot at State and Lawrence Streets to Main Street and then east on Main to Eleventh Street, thence to Boswell and from there southeast to Sidney Street and the fairgrounds. A part of the company's plans was the development of an amusement park on the block between Sidney and Fifteenth Streets and Lyon and Case. The street car was not a profitable venture, and, although the life of the line is unknown, it probably did not finish the decade. Another of Batesville's older businesses, the Crouch Funeral Home, had its beginning in 1891. It began as a furniture store with a stock of casket and funeral supplies as a part of the business. The funeral home, located at Fifth Street and College Avenue, continues under ownership of James P. (Jim) Crouch and Allen L. Crouch III. Construction of the county's third courthouse was started in 1892, replacing its predecessor on the same site at Broad and Main Streets. Independence County men have rallied to the colors in all national emergencies, and men from this county were prominent in the Spanish-American War of 1898. One company of local men, the V. Y. Cook Rifles, was mustered in as Company B, Second Regiment, Arkansas Infantry of U. S. Volunteers. Dr. J. W. Case was captain and commanding officer when the company was recruited. Robert H. Reed was first lieutenant, Ernest Neill second lieutenant, and E. R. Butler junior second lieutenant. Reed replaced Dr. Case as company commander before the company left Batesville in early April of 1898 for Camp Dodge in Little Rock. A crowd of about 2,000 turned out at the depot to hear patriotic speeches by Judge J. W. Butler, General Robert Neill, and Attorney J. C. Yancey as the Batesville men boarded the train. Company A went with the Second Regiment from Camp Dodge to Camp Thomas, Chickamauga, Georgia, and later to Camp Shipp, Anniston, Alabama, where the regiment was mustered out February 25, 1899. The commander of the Second Regiment was Col. V. Y. Cook of Independence County. Colonel Cook, who had served as a private in Company H, Seventh Kentucky Cavalry of General Forrest's Corps, had moved from Grand Glaize to Olyphant and then to Elmo, east of Oil Trough on the Newport road, where he was a landowner, merchant, and ginner. He had been commissioned a brigadier general in the Arkansas Militia in 1897 by Governor Dan Jones and placed in command of the Northern Military District of Arkansas. He was promoted to major general in the State Guard, and was commissioned a colonel in the United States Army as commander of the Second Regiment. Colonel Cook moved to Batesville in 1907 and built the large brick house at 875 East Main Street in which he lived until his death in 1922. While continuing to manage his farm lands at Elmo and elsewhere in the Oil Trough bottom, he took an active part in creation of interest in the state's history and was president of the Arkansas Historical Association in 1907. He was also prominent in leadership in the Confederate Veterans organizations and was widely read in Civil War History. Colonel Cook was the first of three generations of history-oriented families to occupy the house at 875 East Main Street. John P. Morrow, Sr., married May Cook, the colonel's daughter, and both Mr. and Mrs. Morrow were active in preservation of local history, an interest passed to their son, John P. Morrow, Jr., who with his wife, Wanda Matthews Morrow, live in the house in 1976. LOCKS AND DAMS TO THE RIVER BRIDGE Another major event occurring around the turn of the century was the beginning of construction of the locks and dams to make White River navigable above Batesville. According to the U. S. Corps of Engineers, the River and Harbors Act of March 1899, authorized ten fixed dams with concrete locks between Batesville and Buffalo Shoals. Three of these locks and dams were completed; No. 1 at Batesville and Nos. 2 and 3 up the river from the town. Lock and dam No. 1 was placed into operation October 16, 1903, and the other two were not far behind, but while construction was going on, the railroad began building the White River Division which paralleled the river to Cotter. The railroad with through connections offered better service and the lock and dam project was dropped after No. 3 was finished. However, the government maintained the three which were built until 1951. In the census of 1900 Independence counted 22,557 persons and Batesville's population was 2,337. In 1901 the upper White River valley suffered an extreme drought. While no actual figures on the amount of rainfall are known and likely none was ever made, oral accounts of the severity of the drought have been recorded. One report is known of a farmer near Calico Rock who picked 300 pounds of seed cotton from six acres. There was, however, a work project which gave the farmers employment and some relief -- the construction of the railroad from Batesville north along White River. The railroad was built with men, mules, and horses and the work was spread over many months as it was 1905 before the track was open for through traffic. Among the major signs of growth in the years immediately following the turn of the century in addition to the railroad extension was the beginning of operations in the marble quarries north of Batesville by the Pfeiffer family. A railroad spur was constructed to the quarries in 1903, and stone quarrying and cutting machinery was installed. Batesville marble is well known and has been used in a number of well known buildings, including the Arkansas Capitol Building in Little Rock. Pfeiffer stone was also used in the construction of the Batesville Post Office and Court Building which began in April of 1904. The Newark Journal, a weekly newspaper which had a life of 58 years, began publication in 1901 by O. F. Craig. Following his death, his son, Roy M. Craig, was publisher and still later his grandson, Roy R. Craig, continued the Journal until it was consolidated with the Jackson County Democrat and moved to Newport in 1959 . The Independence County Bank and Trust Company, Batesville's third bank, opened in 1904 with T. B. Padgett as president; C. F. Cole, vice-president; J. W. Fletcher, vice-president; C. H. Hogan, cashier; and J. W. Wynne, James F. Huddleston, Dr. H. L. Woodyard, Dr. G. W. Reynolds, W. R. Rice, W. P. Blair, and J. M. Watkins as directors. It appears that this bank may have been opened under another name, as the Batesville Guard in 1905 said the bank's articles of incorporation had been amended, changing the name to Independence County Bank and Trust Company. This bank closed by voluntary liquidation in 1907, according to recollections of Batesville residents. The First National Bank was organized January 16, 1905, as successor to the People's Savings Bank. Officers serving in March of 1905, as reported by the Guard, were Theodore Maxfield, president; N. A. Adler, vice-president; James P. Coffin, cashier; Robert Neill, Jr., teller; V. V. Bates, bookkeeper; and Maxfield, Adler, Coffin, J. B. Fitzhugh, E. R. Long, J. W. Martin, and W. A. Rutherford, directors. The building occupied in 1905 by the First National is standing in 1976 on lower Main Street. March 1, 1906 the Theodore Maxfield Bank and Trust Company began business. In 1907 three banks, the Maxfield Bank and Trust Company, the Bank of Batesville, and the First National, advertised regularly in the Guard. On September 16, the Theodore Maxfield Bank and Trust Company received a national charter and became the Maxfield National Bank. Maxfield was president, Paxton Thomas, cashier, and E. L. Givens, F. D. Fulkerson, Allen A. Maxfield, A. J. Craig, Chas. F. Cole, and T. Sidney Maxfield, directors. Still another change was made in the Maxfield National Bank March 9, 1908; the name was changed to the National Bank of Batesville. I. N. Barnett was listed as president, and he, W. J. Edwin, and John Q. Wolf were among members of the board. Construction of a Batesville landmark, the post office and federal building which was to house the Batesville Division of the Eastern District of Arkansas Federal Court, the post office, and numerous other government agencies for 70 years, was started in 1904. The federal court had been established a few years earlier. Joseph Willard Parse, a New Jersey native who had settled first in Pine Bluff, as court clerk had assisted in establishing the Batesville Division. Parse married Lula Goodwin, daughter of the pioneer druggist, Eugene R. Goodwin, and known for years in Batesville and Independence County as a friend of the needy through her service as secretary of United Charities. One of the old J. W. Parse sons, Buford, and his wife occupied the old Goodwin home at the corner of Boswell and Third Streets until it was removed to make way for commercial buildings. The Charles F. Cole family also came to Batesville around the turn of the century. Cole, a leader in the Republican party local and state politics, became a law partner of Congressman W. A. Oldfield and was Unites States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas from 1922 to 1930. His son, Charles F. Cole, Jr., was born in Batesville in 1902, was also an attorney, and with Bee Vanemburg, Little Watson, Victor Wade, and Remmel Baxter provided Republican party leadership on both the county and state level for years. Charles F. Cole, Jr., served as mayor of Batesville, municipal judge, and clerk of the federal court at Little Rock, although he continued to live in Batesville in his tenure as court clerk. Construction of the railroad above Batesville brought into prominence the towns of Mt. Olive, Guion, Sylamore, and Calico Rock. Guion, well known for the Silica Sand Plant, purchased by Damon D. Dunkin in 1921, once had a bank, stores, and other businesses. It was the home of the Williamson family whose members were prominent as land owners, farmers, and bankers. What is said to be Independence County's first million dollar business was the Mt. Olive Stave Company which was founded at Mt. Olive in 1903. The company moved its headquarters to Batesville in 1905 and for years it was a major employer of men, cutting, hauling, and manufacturing barrel staves. Major stockholders of the Mt. Olive Stave Company were members of the Walbert family. There were fine stands of white oak timber in the hills of North Arkansas, and the stave business flourished. The Batesville White Lime Company had its beginning at Sylamore in Izard County in 1906 by Edgar Young, who had been in the employ of the Denieville lime plant on the Cushman branch of the railroad. George R. Case and his sons purchased Young's interests and developed the business. The story of the Batesville White Lime Company has been told in remarkable detail by James R. Fair in the Chronicle, Vol. XVI, No. 2, January 1975. Batesville had two orphan homes for years. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows established a home for widows and orphans in 1898 on the site of the present West Batesville School, and the Masonic Lodge opened their home for orphans in 1907 on the 1976 site of the Arkansas College campus. The Masonic Home closed in 1947 and three of the original buildings were used by the college as administration offices and classrooms until 1973. The buildings were damaged in a tornado and were torn down. The exact year of the closing of the Odd Fellows Home is unknown, although it was in operation as late as 1929, according to records left by George H. Robinson, who once served as superintendent of the home. The I.O.O.F. Lodge No. 4 in Batesville was chartered in 1848. In 1910 the population of the county was 24,776 and Batesville had an enumeration of 3,339. The population of other municipalities was: Newark, 595; Sulphur Rock, 252; Cushman, 244; Magness, 216; Pleasant Plains 151, and Jamestown, 151. Another Batesville bank, the Citizens Bank and Trust Company, emerged in 1910. Chartered March 30, the Citizens' officers were W. J. Erwin, president; Paxton Thomas, cashier; and C. F. Rosenthal, W. F Ball, I. N. Barnett, John Q. Wolf, R. C. Dorr, R. A. Dowdy, and Charles F. Cole, directors. H. M. Kennerly, one of the original Citizens Bank stockholders and a bank official in Batesville until his retirement in 1962, became known as the "Dean of Batesville Bankers" and was the source of much information on banking in the county from 1910. Still another bank was formed March 11, 1911, the Union Bank and Trust Company. J. E. Roseborough was the president; D. D. Adams, vice-president; E. H. Glenn, also a vice-president; C. D. Metcalf, cashier; Albert Sims, assistant cashier; and J. B. Baker, Wm. Ramsey, J. C. Hail, Samuel M. Casey, W. A. Rutherford, Jeffery Dixon, and J. C. Fitzhugh, directors. The banking business in Batesville was not able to be stabilized until 1912. On July 20 of that year the National Bank of Batesville consolidated with First National Bank under the First National name. According to Kennerly, the Bank of Batesville had consolidated with the National Bank of Batesville, although no record of the consolidation has been found and the date is unknown. The First National occupied the former Bank of Batesville building at Main Street and Central Avenue. From 1912 to 1927 Batesville was served by three banks, the Union Bank and Trust Company, the First National, and Citizens. Two banks were in business in Newark, the Farmers and Merchants; and the First National, the latter formed in 1908, and also two in Sulphur Rock at different periods. The Roman Catholic Church began its first building in Batesville in October of 1909 on a site near Maple and 18th Street. Enrolled under the patronage of St. Fidelis, the church which served initially sixty members, was completed in April of 1910. The Reverend Francis Stroebel was the first priest. Dr. R. C. Dorr and Dr. J. H. Kennerly donated the site for St. Fidelis. The building, on the edge of town at that time, was desecrated and ordered closed by the bishop. From 1921 to 1935 Holy Mass was offered in homes; a second church, Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, was constructed on Church Street between College Avenue and Boswell Street. The congregation increased and the Church of Christ building at Fifth and Boswell Streets was purchased in 1965 and as St. Mary's is in use in 1976. It appears that the year 1910 reflected much that was favorable in Independence County. The county was well supplied with banking services, newspapers, merchants, a railroad, lawyers, physicians, and schools. The one-room district schools were increasing and at one time numbered approximately one hundred. The 1910 census reported illiteracy in the county declined from 15.2 percent in 1900 to 9.2 percent in 1910. While there was some employment to be found in the Pfeiffer stone quarries, the Handford Cedar Yard, Mt. Olive stave mills, manganese mines, and elsewhere, Independence was primarily a county of small farmers. Only 3,390 persons of a population of 24,776 lived in Batesville, and some of those were farmers. The Negro population in 1910 was 1,264 and had declined from 1,568 in 1890. The total number of farms in 1910 was 3,683 and 1,353 of those included 20 to 49 acres. The census reports credited Independence County with only two farms with more than 1,000 acres. Cotton was planted on 36,798 acres which produced 12,681 bales in 1910. A trend was started in the decade 1910-1920 which was to result in no small change in Independence County. A small number of automobiles was introduced in the early years of the decade and the number reached 152 in 1916. As automobiles increased, there was a demand for roads and bridges. While the cry for better roads did not reach its peak until the 1920's, it did exist and demanded attention. In 1913 the Batesville Guard reported meetings in the courthouse to discuss various proposals for building a bridge across White River at Batesville, a development which was not to take place for another fourteen years. In 1917 the first real effort was made to create a major state road through the county from Mammoth Spring to Little Rock. Also, in 1917 contributions were solicited to build the "Dollar Way," an improved road south of the river in the direction of Pleasant Plains. The county court heard pleas for county roads and bridges. The improved road system and the mobility of the people diminished the importance of the big general stores in the county and resulted in a decline of rural post offices and decreasing interest in rural community centers. While the number of automobiles was growing slowly in Independence County, farm tractors were also introduced. The first farmer to purchase a tractor is not known for certain, although Oil Trough farmers have stated that the Mack brothers, Jeff, Leonidas, and Sidney, were the pioneer tractor-power farmers there. The three men, with another brother, Milton, and a sister, Mrs. Luther Masses, were reared on Blue Creek east of Batesville. Jeff, Leonidas, and Sidney moved to Macks in Jackson County, near the Independence-Jackson County line, in 1909 and became prominent farmers, ginners, and political and business leaders. Milton, who served in the state senate, owned a store and gin at Moorefield for many years. The Massey family established the Mack Farm Dairy in 1928 and the business is in operation in 1976. Independence County farmers along White River were accustomed to periodic flooding of their lands, but there was a flood in 1915 which may still hold a record for devastation of crops. A great tropical storm was centered over North Arkansas in the month of August and August 21, 1915, the river at Batesville reached 42.8 feet. This stage is not the highest on record, but the flood came in August and swept away cotton and corn crops which could not be replanted. Farmers, landlords, merchants, and bankers suffered losses; V. Y. Cook had numerous tenants on his plantation in Oil Trough bottom and his ledgers show he shared the misfortune of his renters. The flood introduced something new in Oil Trough bottom -- relief foodstuffs. Alpha Burrow, a farmer living in Thida in an interview in 1963, said relief measures above community effort were unknown until the flood. Food and supplies were sent in for free distribution. The highest stage of the river known at Batesville was recorded February 1, 1916, but coming in the winter the damage was not great. There is no known record of the number of men from this county serving in various branches of military and naval forces in World War I. Old newspapers indicate a tide of patriotism swept the county with the United States' entry into the war, and mobilization efforts were supported with only a trade of dissent. The Batesville Guard reported 2,046 men registered under the selective service law June 5, 1917. A company recruited in Batesville was showered with ceremonies and gifts as they left for Camp Pike at North Little Rock, and there were, of course, more men who were drafted or volunteered. Liberty Loan Bond campaigns were oversubscribed and cotton acreage was reduced as farmers were encouraged to grow more food. The war brought prosperity to the county, as farm prices rose to previously unknown levels, the manganese mining boomed, and wages were high. All of these earmarks of good times required adjustments, frequently painful, after the war ended and prices declined greatly. For the first time in history Independence County lost population when the census of 1920 was taken, declining to 23,976 from 24,776 in 1910, a loss of 800. There were probably several reasons for the loss, although it is likely that smaller farmers, sharecroppers, and farm hands found employment outside the county during the war and did not return. Batesville's great fire occurred April 21, 1920. Beginning in the home of H. Carpenter on Vine Street between Seventh and Eighth, the flames were fanned by a high wind and were quickly beyond control of the volunteer fire department. From the Carpenter home the fire speed northeast, sweeping through houses on Boswell, College, and Main Streets. Downtown businesses closed and men rushed to help some owners remove and protect household goods. The Guard, estimating property losses at $250,000, said that thirty large homes of wealthy residents and fifty smaller dwellings were destroyed and 300 persons were homeless. The town of Jamestown suffered a major fire August 21, 1922, which destroyed the Masonic Lodge hall and several business houses. Numerous improvements marked the 1920's, both in Batesville and in the county. The water and light system in Batesville made some badly needed changed, as the municipally owned power plant, which had provided electricity for lights only and much of the time for "night current" alone, was unreliable because of inoperative generators. For an extended period in the 1920's the generators were run by a gasoline engine on loan from the Mt. Olive Stave Company. The Arkansas Power and Light Company purchased the municipal plant in the 1920's. The first hard-surfaced streets in Batesville were constructed in 1925, but perhaps the outstanding development of the ten years from 1920 to 1930 was construction of the bridge across White River at Batesville in 1927. Construction of the bridge, which was hailed by Batesville business men as the most progressive step in the county for years, was started early in 1927, the year of Arkansas' most notable flood. White River at Batesville reached 42.8 feet April 15, and the high water caused delays and near disaster to the contractor. Theodore Maxfield of Batesville was credited with strong leadership in getting the bridge project started. He had been appointed a member of Arkansas Highway Commission in 1923, and he successfully sought a commitment from the highway department and federal officials to build the bridge if half the cost could be raised locally. The White River Improvement District was organized and $180,000 in bonds was sold to raise the county's $270,000 share. The bridge cost $330,083, but there was another $270,000 spent on the south approach. The bridge at Batesville, dedicated July 4, 1928, was the only one on White River between Devall's Bluff and Branson, Missouri, for highway traffic. Arkansas College embarked on an expansion program in the early 1920's with the purchase of approximately 70 acres of land at that time on the eastern edge of the city. A new dormitory, Independence Hall, was built, although uncertain of financial support in the difficult adjustment years following World War I, the college abandoned plans for other major construction at the time. The Nazarene Church in Batesville was organized August 16, 1925, by the Rev. John W. Oliver, district superintendent, with twenty-six members. A revival had been held at the fairgrounds on Harrison Street preceding formal organization of the church of which Miss Maria Stewart was the first pastor. The church held services in a rented dwelling on Gray Avenue and then purchased a house at Fifteenth and Bates Street which was used as a place of worship until the church at the present site, Harrison and Sidney Streets, was occupied October 21, 1928. The population of Independence County in 1930 was 24,225. The census of 1920 had reported a loss of 800 since 1910 and by 1930 about a third of this loss, 259, had been regained. The Batesville Guard came under new ownership in 1932. O. E. Jones (1905-1949) and his wife, Josephine Carroll Jones of Newport purchased the Batesville Weekly Record, a Batesville newspaper started in 1911 by H. D. Routzong and Son, in 1929, and three years later they purchased the Guard from the Trevathan family which had been the majority stockholder or outright owner during most of the period from 1910. Jones, who served as state senator from Independence County, guided the newspapers through the depression years, and following his death at the age of 44 in 1949, his family continued ownership. Mrs. O. E. Jones, Sr., is president of the Guard-Record Company in 1976; Mrs. James P. Cargill, Dr. Oscar E. Jones, and Mrs. Terry Losee are vice-presidents, and Wilson Powell is secretary-treasurer. THE GREAT DEPRESSION Difficulties began with the Union Bank and Trust Company in 1927 and its assets were purchased by A. B. Banks, a banker of Fordyce, Arkansas, who formed the North Arkansas Bank in Batesville. Banks was president, J. C. Hail, vice-president; F. H. Hunter, vice-president and cashier; and D. E. Wiles and H. W. Fox, assistant cashiers. The town still had three banks, the First National, the Citizens Bank and Trust Company, and The North Arkansas. The next development of significance in local banking business occurred in June of 1930 when the First National and the North Arkansas Bank consolidated. The First National building was occupied, although the name was dropped, as the consolidation was under the name of the North Arkansas Bank, and Hunter was cashier. Less than five months later, November 17, 1930 the North Arkansas failed to open its doors. November 17 was on Monday which meant that the North Arkansas closed on November 15. The Guard reported that the bank in Batesville and fifty-one others in the A. B. Banks chain closed at the same time. Collapse of the bank created great hardship at once, as $892,295 in deposits as reported by the Guard, were no longer subject to withdrawal. An example of the immediate, although not major, problems encountered was that the Arkansas College Panthers which had a football game scheduled with Ouachita College at Arkadelphia had to cancel the game as the team's funds for travel were deposited in the North Arkansas. It would appear that imminent failure of the North Arkansas was known on November 15, as on that date the Citizens Bank and Trust Company issued a financial statement showing resources of $920,137.07 and deposits of $820,068.04. The statement, signed by W. P. Jones, President, and H. M. Kennerly, cashier, stated: "This Bank is HOME OWNED, HOME MANAGED, and has no connection directly or indirectly with any other Bank, Chain, or Group of Banks." Directors were Jones, Kennerly, I. N. Barnett, C. F. Cole, C. W. Wasson, Charles W. Barnett, Joe M. Gray, and L. B. Poindexter. H. M. Kennerly, who spent over 50 years in the banking business in Batesville when he retired in 1962, said the board of the Citizens Bank and Trust Company, at the suggestion of Charles Barnett, decided to open the doors of the bank from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in a gesture to allay any fears depositors might have concerning solvency of the institution. Frank Grammer was appointed as liquidating agent for the North Arkansas Bank and in a six-year period depositors were paid dividends amounting to approximately thirty-five percent of their deposits. W. R. Carpenter made a bid of $7,525 for final assets, chiefly the building at Main Street and Central Avenue, which was approved by court action in 1936. The depression was, of course, a disaster to Batesville and Independence County as it was to other places in the nation. Farm prices collapsed along with numerous businesses both large and small and jobs became scarce. Those who suffered the least were those who were able to eke out an income from some source and who owed no debts. Programs of the Roosevelt administration, the Rural Rehabilitation, Agricultural Adjustment Administration, Works Progress Administration, National Youth Administration, and others -- offered some relief and provided the county with some lasting improvements in the form of roads and buildings. The present county courthouse, whose cornerstone bears the date of 1940, was a WPA project. A stone building at Charlotte now in use by the Cord-Charlotte school and the Moorefield community building were likewise built with WPA-financed labor. A detail account of the depression in Independence County, including the businesses that failed, the farmers' experience with the Henry A. Wallace corn and hog programs, the cotton acreage limitation, the government purchase of cattle, the popularity of the Townsend old age pension plan, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the difficulties which faced those avoiding farm and home foreclosures, employment under the WPA and NYA and a general adjustment to living without cash in hand, would fill a good size book. Arkansas College was rescued from the brink of disaster by a second vote of the Arkansas Synod after the first was for closing the institution. The city and the county wrestled with difficulties in maintaining minimum services. In 1935 the county's share of the county agent's and home demonstration agent's salaries were paid by popular subscription and school districts were asked to pay the salary of the county health nurse's by contributing ten cents for each school child. Although times were hard, the county reached its greatest population in 1940 -- 25,643. It was useless for the younger persons to leave to search for work in other states and probably many who had gone to the cities of other states for work and lost their jobs when the depression began returned. The depression years were not entirely fruitless outside whatever benefits resulted from the government programs. The broiler industry, which has become big business in the Batesville area, was started in 1935 by J. K. Southerland, who was operating a sixty-acre hill farm in the Floral community. In fact, the Batesville- Floral area was soon recognized as the second major broiler producing section of the state, following Benton and Washington Counties of Northwest Arkansas. The importance of broilers to the small farmers in the hill counties of the Batesville area has been of the greatest significance, as no other farm enterprise has been found which fits into the operation of the small acreages better than poultry and which will provide the income necessary for the farmer and his family to remain on the farm. The poultry business has brought to Batesville important industries in hatcheries, feed mills, and processing plants. The Banquet Foods Corporation which packs frozen chicken is a major employer in Batesville in 1976. Another development which attracted attention in 1937 was the establishment of the University of Arkansas Livestock and Forestry Branch Experiment Station northwest of Batesville. The station includes approximately 3,000 acres of forest, farm, and pasture lands. W. C. Wilbanks was the station's first superintendent. The first building erected in Batesville exclusively for a hospital was built by Dr. Frank A. Gray in 1939 and is known today as Gray's Hospital. Dr. Gray was reared in Hickory Valley and the Gray family has been widely known in Independence County for many years. Dr. R. C. Dorr, son of Dr. James P. Dorr who was a physician on Dota Creek and served communities in Eastern Independence County for years, is credited as the first doctor to open a clinic and sanitarium in Batesville, and Dr. J. H. Kennerly was associated with him at one time. Dr. Gray was associated with Dr. O. J. T. Johnson, Dr. Dorr and Dr. M. S. Craig in the operation of the sanitarium, which was on Main Street. Four doctors from the county, Dr. Dorr, Dr. O. J. T. Johnson, Dr. L. T. Evans, and Dr. J. J. Monfort, have served as presidents of the Arkansas Medical Society. An account of the physicians of the past was written for the Chronicle, Vol. I, No. 4, July 1960, by Mrs. C. G. Hinkle of Batesville. KING COTTON DEPARTS The ten years from 1940 to 1950 are a very significant period in the history of the county. Once again Independence County men responded to the call to arms and served in World War II. Company L of the 153rd Infantry, Batesville unit of the Arkansas National Guard, commanded by Col. Lucien Abraham, was mobilized for federal service and sent to Alaska. The number of men drafted under Selective Service and who volunteered is unknown, and no complete list has been compiled of those who lost their lives. There was wide support for the war effort, however, and volunteers and draftees went into training to serve in theaters of war around the world. Following World War II changes in the county came quickly. While tractors were by no means new on Independence County farms, only a limited number of farmers could afford them in the pre-war years and during the war they were very scarce, but in the latter 1940's and early 1950's tractors became a wanted piece of machinery on farms of all sizes. As machinery replaced the horses and mules, the family type farm grew larger and more specialized. This development was a necessity as larger farm incomes were required to meet the operating expenses and a higher standard of living. The lines of the Arkansas Power and Light Company reached into all communities, telephone service was extended, better roads were constructed, and the beginning of new industries was seen. The Batesville plant of the International Shoe Company was constructed in 1947. The county lost population in the census of 1950, declining from the all-time high of 25,643 in 1940 to 23,488. This trend was continued through the 1950's. In 1952, 1953, and 1954 the county experienced a succession of extremely severe droughts and a drastic reduction in livestock prices which forced many small farmers to sell out and seek employment out of state. In 1960 the population was reduced to 19,832, the lowest since 1880. Other new factories were introduced, including the Seiberling Rubber Company, which is now Arkansas Technical Industries; the Batesville Manufacturing Company, now General Tire and Rubber Company; the White Rodgers Company; and the Westport Casuals Company; and North Arkansas became known to some extent as a good place for a retirement home. The downward trend in the population was reversed and in 1970 the county had 22,723 persons. There were many other changes following World War II which have had an important bearing on the county. The one-room schools have all disappeared. While the trend toward school consolidation was started in the 1930's, it was accelerated in the late 1940's, and in 1976 there are only ten districts: Batesville, Cord-Charlotte, Cushman, Desha, Floral, Newark, Oil Trough, Pleasant Plains, Southside, and Sulphur Rock. The Citizens Bank and Trust Company, which had served the people as the town's only bank since the collapse of the North Arkansas Bank in 1930, received a national charter in 1944 and was renamed the First National Bank, thus for the second time Batesville was to have a bank by that name. In 1957 the First National modernized its quarters in the building at Third and Main Streets and in 1966 moved into an entirely new building on Broad Street between College Avenue and Boswell. A new bank, the Citizens Bank, was chartered in 1953 with E. C. Rider, Batesville Ford dealer, as chairman of the board. Fred M. Holt was president; S. M. Bone, vice-president; M. A. Conyers, cashier; and Austin Leeds and Marean Pearson, assistant cashiers. The new Citizens, which opened on the north side of Main at Third Street, constructed a banking building at the corner of Third Street and College Avenue in 1965. When the First National occupied the new Broad Street quarters in 1966, for the first time since 1889 there was no bank on Batesville's Main Street. In 1951 a movement was started to consolidate Arkansas College with the College of the Ozarks of Clarksville, also a Presbyterian school. The effort failed and Arkansas College embarked upon a new course under the direction of Dr. John D. Spragins, who was the college president in a critical period. Dr. Spragins had earlier acquired the property of the Masonic Home which had discontinued its orphans care program in Batesville in 1947. Although Dr. Spragins resigned in 1952 after ten years as president, his administration in acquiring the Masonic Home made it possible for the college to move from the cramped quarters it had occupied since beginning in 1872 to a new campus where a new building program could be undertaken. In 1968 Batesville High School students moved to new buildings overlooking White River in southeast Batesville. The following year the Pioneers for the first time in history had their own football field on the new grounds The high school football games had been played for years on Daffin Field, which belonged to Arkansas College, and before that high school games were fought on a fairgrounds and Southside Park. It was Sidney Pickens, a superintendent of Batesville schools, who was widely known in educational circles in Arkansas and a past president of State Teachers Association, who named the football team the Pioneers and originated the slogan, "A Pioneer Never Quits." For years Batesville High School was on Seventh Street between Vine and Oak, but in 1951 ground was broken for a new high school at Ninth and Rock Streets. A substantial amount of the construction cost was met by funds raised in finance, a campaign among individuals and businesses in Batesville. The school on Rock Street is the junior high school in 1976. [In 1998, this building is the Batesville Middle School. The new Batesville Junior High was built beside the high school in ____.] Farms have continued to grow in size, and cotton, once the county's major crop, completely disappeared from the county's farms in 1974. The cotton gin at Desha, which had been built by the late Desha Lester in 1936, and was still owned by the family, was the last to close, ceasing operation in 1970. The town of Batesville had a population of 7,219 in 1970, but there are numerous residential developments near the city limits. The strength of industrial development is marked by construction of the Arkansas Eastman plant at Rutherford, which is expected to begin production of industrial chemicals late in 1976. Occupying a portion of the county's historic lands in the White River bottom below Batesville, Arkansas Eastman is making an investment of $31 million, which is unduplicated in the county's history. The trend toward industrial development is strong. The Population of Independence County 1830 ---------------------------------------- 2,031 1840 ---------------------------------------- 3,669 1850 ---------------------------------------- 7,767 1860 ----------------------------------------14,307 1870 ----------------------------------------14,566 1880 ----------------------------------------18,086 1890 ----------------------------------------21,961 1900 ----------------------------------------22,557 1910 ----------------------------------------24,776 1920 ----------------------------------------23,976 1930 ----------------------------------------24,225 1940 ----------------------------------------25,643 1950 ----------------------------------------23,488 1960 ----------------------------------------19,832 1970 ----------------------------------------22,723

The National Register of Historic Places of Independence County

Nine sites in Independence County have been nominated for the National Register of Historic Places of the National Park Service, Department of the Interior. These are:


This house at 561 East Main Street was one of those mentioned by James Rutherford as standing when he arrived in Batesville in 1849. W. E. Maxfield was a son of Uriah Maxfield. For many years the house was occupied by Dr. and Mrs. E. P. J. Garrott and after Mrs. Garrott's death the dwelling was leased by Mr. and Mrs. Carl Johnston for an antique shop. Dr. Garrott was a Baptist minister and Mrs. Garrott was a daughter of W. E. Maxfield. This was the first nomination made for the National Register.

Morrow Hall

The second nomination of Independence County was Morrow Hall, a two-story brick structure which was Arkansas College's first permanent building and the only college building remaining on the former campus downtown. Constructed in 1873 by William J. Joblin, the building with a frame structure housed the college until 1888 when Alumni Hall was built. Morrow Hall, which is now the property of the First Presbyterian Church and is in regular use by that congregation, was named in recent years in honor of the John P. Morrow family.

Wycough-Jones House

The Wycough-Jones house at 683 Water Street is one of several architecturally significant houses in Batesville. Dating from the 1870's, the original owner and builder was M. A. R. Wycough, who was born in Batesville in 1839. Wycough was a Confederate soldier, county official, and farmer. A street in Batesville is named for the Wycough family. The dwelling is now owned and occupied by Dr. and Mrs. O. E. Jones, who have maintained the house in excellent condition. Dr. Jones is a dentist and an owner of the Batesville Guard-Record Company.


This house is probably the oldest dwelling in Batesville in 1976. Built about 1840, it became the home of Uriah Maxfield in 1849. Maxfield, born in Hagerstown, Maryland, in 1815, arrived in Batesville in 1842, and entered the boot and shoe making business. Maxfield's store in Batesville owned by C. W. Maxfield, is the oldest business in the county in continuous existence The family developed mercantile, banking, and farming interests and had a woolen mill on the Bayou north of Batesville. A daughter of Uriah Maxfield married J. Conway Fitzhugh and they made their home in the house, and the dwelling is now occupied by their daughter, Mrs. Mary Fitzhugh Spragins. Mrs. Spragins' husband was Dr. John D. Spragins, a Presbyterian minister and president of Arkansas College 1942-1952.


The Soulesbury-Glenn house, 623 Water Street, was first built for Soulesbury Institute, a Methodist school, which opened in 1850. Newspapers of the period indicate Soulesbury was a popular school until forced to close by the Civil War. It opened for a few years after the War but never regained its popularity, possibly because of the rise of the public schools. The property was purchased by the Glenn family in 1873 and remains under the ownership of members of the family. W. W. Glenn, the husband of Martha E. Glenn, who purchased the property in 1873, came to Independence County in 1828. Members of the family have been merchants, farmers, county officials, and businessmen in various enterprises. E. H. Glenn, whose widow occupied the house until her death in 1975 was prominent in development of the electric power utility which served Batesville and was manager for the Arkansas Power and Light Company after that company purchased the municipally owned power plant.

Handford-Schooler and Handford-Terry

The Handford-Schooler house, 658 East Boswell Street, is almost identical to the Handford-Terry house directly across the street at 658 Boswell. The Handford-Schooler dwelling was constructed by J. S. Handford, a brother of Charles L. Handford, who built the Handford-Terry house. The houses were built in 1888 by the brothers who were owners of the Handford Cedar Yard and who were prominent in other businesses. The similarity of the houses is a unique feature in Batesville. The J. S. Handford house is in 1976 the home of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Schooler and the Charles R. Handford structure is occupied by Mrs. Terry Griffith.

Dearing House

The Dearing house at Newark was built by T. H. Dearing at Akron about 1890. Akron, which was about two miles south of Newark on the Oil Trough ferry road, declined and Newark grew after construction of the railroad, and the house was moved to Newark and rebuilt. Dearing was a county official and farmer. the property remains in the Dearing family, being owned and occupied by his daughter, Mrs. Lean Dearing Shipman, and her husband, E. E. Shipman.

Spring Mill

Spring Mill, on Highway 69 north of Batesville, has good reason to be included with other nominations of historic places of the county, as this mill is the last of the nineteenth century water power mills operating in the entire state. It was constructed for A. N. Simmons by Col. J. A. Schnable, Confederate soldier, in 1867, and remains under ownership of the Lytle family. A collection of Independence County and Arkansas artifacts has been made by Mrs. J. A. Lytle, Jr., and is on display in the mill. ____________________ Mt. Zion Lodge No. 10, Free and Accepted Masons, was chartered November 13, 1843; however, work was commenced in 1842 under special dispensation of the Grand Lodge of Arkansas. D. L. Knight was the first worshipful master of Mt. Zion. Three Independence County Masons have been Grand Master of Arkansas Masons: John Q. Wolf, 1922; A. M. Kent of Sulphur Rock, 1926; and Dr. Wesley J. Ketz, 1951. One member raised in Mt. Zion, Dr. Ketz, is a 33rd degree Mason, and another member, David M. Evans, raised in a lodge in Los Angeles, is also a 33rd degree Mason. ____________________ Independence County's largest annual cotton crop was in 1925 when 17,716 bales were produced. An account of cotton gins in Independence and neighboring counties by Wilson Powell was published in the Chronicle, Vol. IX, No. 3, April 1968.


The Independence County Historical Society was organized June 1, 1859, when a group of about twenty met in the courtroom of the county courthouse. Fifteen persons paid dues at the first meeting. Paul Wayland was elected charter president; John P. Morrow, Jr., vice-president; Wilson Powell, secretary-treasurer; and Betty Stroud, W. J. Arnold, and A. C. McGinnis, member of the board. Wilson Powell has served continuously as secretary-treasurer. The editor of the Society's quarterly, the Independence County Chronicle, is appointed by the president, and A. C. McGinnis has also served continuously since appointment by Paul Wayland. The initial issue of the Chronicle was in October 1959. Presidents of the Society have been: 1. Paul Wayland - 1959-60 2. Robert Stroud - 1960-61 3. Dr. R. A. Craig - 1961-62 4. Carter Jeffery - 1962-63 5. John P. Morrow, Jr. - 1963-64 6. Dr. Ellis G. Mosley - 1964-65 7. Betty Buchanan - 1965-66 8. Malcolm Moore - 1966-67 9. Dr. Paul McCain - 1967-68 10. Craig Ogilvie - 1968-69 11. Mary Spragins - 1969-70 12. Dora Lee Ferguson - 1970-71 13. Betty Stroud - 1971-72 14. Dr. Edward N. Mosley - 1972-73 15. Wallace E. Lytle - 1973-74 16. Freeman K. Mobley - 1974-75 17. Leo Rainey - 1975-76 18. W. M. "Bill" Harkey - 1976-77

Chronicle Index October 1959 - October 1969
Chronicle Index January 1970 - October 1979
Chronicle Index January 1980 - October 1989
Chronicle Index January 1990 - January 1997

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