--Source: Publications of The Arkansas Historical Association;
Edited by John Hugh Reynolds; Vol. 1; 1906;
Transcribed by Renae Donaldson.
ARKADELPHIA-- The word is compounded of the abbreviation of Arkanmu and the Greek word adelplnu, "brother." (Source: The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States - 1905, contributed by Tina Easley.)
HISTORY OF CLARK COUNTY*
By Laura Scott Butler
*In order to stimulate the writing of local history, the commission offered a prize of $20 for the best county history. Papers were submitted by Robert Neill of Batesville, A.H. Carrigan of Hope, D. Porter West of Dover, E.L. Vandakin of Forrest City, Wm. H. H. Oyler of Mountain View, Mrs. Laura Scott Butler of Antoine, Miss Clara B. Eno of Van Buren, and M.H. Holleman of Benton. The judges were Hon. George Thronburgh, Hon. P.D. English and Dean Percy Robottom of Little Rock. The prize was awarded to Mrs. Butler. The manuscripts of the other histories are among the papers of the Historical Association. Editor.
The historians, Las Vegas and the knight of Elvas, who were with DeSoto in his travels in the New World, in describing the brackish water and the salt deposits make it certain that the great explorer passed through the territory now occupied by Clark County, and that he camped on the bank of the Ouachita River near where the salt wells are now situated. These salt springs are on the southern bank of the Ouachita, and from this point DeSoto passed down the river to Autiamque.
It was here on the banks of the swift-flowing waters of the Ouachita, that Aaron Burr saw in a wild dream a new government grow into a princely power of which he was chief. The grandeur of her scenery, the beauty of her streams and the healthfulness of her climate might induce one less imaginative than Burr or Blennerhassett to indulge in dreams even more impossible.
Here a virgin forest of giant trees festooned by wild grapevines, met the eye from above while the rich alluvial lands beneath were covered by an almost tropical vegetation. Crystal waters jumped from rock to rock or glided with a murmur under the great moss-covered rocks in the beds of her limpid streams. Wild animals, with no fear of man, browsed lazily on the rich herbage or watched with indifferent curiosity the advent of the stranger who felt as did Alexander Selkirk when he said:
“The beasts that roam o'er the plain My form with indifference see; They are so unacquainted with man Their tameness is shocking to me.”
The territory now occupied by Clark County was purchased from France by the United States during Jefferson's administration in 1803, and is part of the 16,000,000 acres which the United States acquired by treaty with the Quapaw Indians in 1818, and for which she paid the pitiful sum of $4,000 in supplies at the time the treaty was made and gave a promise of $1,000 in yearly installments, which, up to the present time, amounts to $92,000. $96,000 total amount paid for this handsome domain.
In 1805 the Territory of Louisiana was organized and from the lower portion of this territory was formed the District of New Madrid; in 1806 the lower portion of New Madrid was cut off to form a new district called District of Arkansaw. The legislature of 1818 created a new county from the southwestern portion of Arkansas County and William Clark, then governor of Missouri, gave the new county his name.
Clark County, at its formation, embraced all of what is now Pike, Dallas, Hot Spring, Garland and part of what is now Saline and Montgomery Counties, but it has been divided and sub-divided until there is only 900 square miles in the county, and that is one township larger than it was before the days of “Reconstruction” in the South. The Republican party of Clark County found in 1868 that a heavy negro vote could be polled in Manchester township in Dallas County, which is across the Ouachita River, and despairing of carrying Dallas County, that party annexed Manchester township to Clark County and succeeded in their enterprise.
Clark County is bordered on the north by Hot Spring and Montgomery Counties; on the west by Pike County; on the south by Nevada and Ouachita Counties; on the east by Dallas County. Antoine River borders its western limits, Little Missouri River its southwestern and the Ouachita River running through its northeastern portion forms its southeastern boundary.
In 1809 the Barkman settlement on the Caddo, five miles west of Arkadelphia, and the Hemphill settlement on the Ouachita, where Arkadelphia now stands, were the only white settlements in the county. Indians hunted wild game in her woods and fished in her streams and sold to the white settlers hides, furs and tallow, which soon became the basis of commerce between Blakeleytown and New Orleans. Maj. James D. Scott, a commissioned officer during the Indian troubles in Alabama, moved to Blakeleytown in 1833 and bought corn from the Caddo Indians who had their wigwams on the bank of the Ouachita where the Ouachita College now stands.
When the people of the east decided to move west they usually sold lands and everything but their negroes, clothing and bedding, their guns, cooking utensils and such implements as would be needed in felling the forest and tilling the soil of the new country. There were no roads through the wilderness of trees and undergrowth and the pioneer, with compass and ax, rode horseback ahead of his train of wagons and blazed the way while his negro men cut out the road for the wagons. They were often compelled to camp for days on the bank of some swollen stream waiting for the water to subside so that they could pass over. An emigrant train usually consisted of a carryall with the family of the pioneer within; following this a wagon containing the household servants; next a wagon containing the bedding of the master's family; following this would be a train of wagons filled with the plantation negroes, and behind all would be driven the domestic animals. Often the wagon load of household goods would be worth scarce $200, while the wagon loads of negroes would represent perhaps $100,000. Here we find men reared in all the luxuries of an eastern home sacrificing all to bury themselves in the wilds of a new untried country. Educated and refined, the influence of their lives was felt by all who came to live in their midst. Not all who came were of this class, but the most who remained felt the influence and to this better class Clark County owes her educational advantages and high standard of integrity that characterizes her citizenship of today. Many who came were poor and carved out their future for themselves, but their names are above reproach and their sturdy principles have left their stamp on succeeding generations.
The same love of discovery and adventure that prompted Columbus to seek new worlds sent these immigrants to the far west, but it was with the spirit of Marquette and Father Hennepin that they builded their homes and raised altars to the worship of the God who had guarded them amid the dangers of the wilderness.
The immigrant train reaching its destination would halt near a river or spring. The wagons would be used for tents until the new home was built. Soon the great forest, which had hitherto been thinned only by great age or storms, was felled and their huge trunks converted into a home for the kings of the forest. Broadaxes hewed them into shape; ready hands piled them high. Boards were split, mortar made for the “stick and dirt” chimney. If the house was to be of round logs they were skinned and dried and put in place. If there were any neighbors they were always ready to help “raise” the house and even to cover it, so welcome was every newcomer. These houses were usually of the “saddlebag” shape, that is, one or two rooms on each side of a wide hall. A broad porch, which ran the full length of the two rooms and hall, was built on the front and a low porch to the back of the rooms. The kitchen never formed part of these homes, but was built back from the house as a safety from fire. The openings between the logs were “chinked” with mud and a broad fireplace, that would hold great logs three and even four feet long, was built in each room. The hearths for the fireplace were of flat rocks sometimes three and even four feet square, and occasionally a rock would be found that made the whole hearth. One of his kind is now in the home of a family just west of Arkadelphia. Thus the house was made warm enough for this climate. The negro cabins were build back of the kitchen, on either side of a street and the horse lot and barns back of these.
Furnishing the home was to the untried immigrant a puzzling question. Happy was the wife if she had persuaded her husband to bring a few chairs, a wardrobe and bureau and though they looked all out of place amid their surroundings they were a convenience and reminders of the old home. A mirror would scarcely have reached the new home in safety, and small looking glasses were a luxury. Sometimes a mahogany dining table would be flanked on either side by puncheon benches or home-made split-bottom chairs. The bedsteads were the most unique of all the pioneer's furniture. They were made with only one leg, which supported one end of the side and footboards while the other ends were inserted in auger homes in the walls. Boards were laid across or ropes were woven into a mattress and this completed the pioneer's bedstead, which one, a novice in the matter, would think very uninviting, but when the cotton mattress was spread on and over that the plump feather bed, one found comfort in its best sense.
These immigrants came from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri and Kentucky. These states sent to us their bravest and best citizens to be the makers of Clark County history, and to these immigrants we owe a debt of gratitude for the influence of their honest, honorable lives on the succeeding generations. To these pioneers we owe the educational advantages enjoyed by our children. They paved the way for our public schools, our high schools and colleges.
Pioneer Teachers of Arkadelphia
1820 – William Callaway; taught several years.
1840- James Trigg
1843 – Thomas Heard
1844 – Mr. King
1845 – John Mosely
1846 – Thomas Benton Malone
1848 – Mrs. Brown
1850 – Samuel Stephenson, who built the first school building in Arkadelphia
1854 – Mr. Mathewson
1857 – Mr. McCameron
1857 – Blind Institute opened with nine pupils, Profs. Ellis and Patten, presidents
1858 – Miss Libbie Webb; taught until 1888
1860 – Prof. Wilkinson
1865 – Prof. Watts; Miss Mary Connelly, assistant
1866 – Miss Mary Connelly; taught until 1874
1874 – Miss Fannie Cook
Location and Climate
Longitude 93 west, latitude 34 north, make a juncture near the center of the county. The climate is mild in winter, lying south of, and in close proximity to the Ozark Mountains, it is protected from the cold winds from the north and the cool breezes from the south make the climate pleasant and healthful all year round. It is frequently as late as the tenth of January before there is any extreme cold weather and what is called extremely cold weather there would be very mild temperature in the northern part of the State. There is not a day in the year but that the farmer and those having gardens may have some of the hardy vegetables on his table.
Soil and Productions
White and red sand, gray and black loam, black lime-lands, all having a clay foundation which holds moisture and prevents serious washing. The land is well drained by the Ouachita, Caddo, Terre Noir, Little Missouri, LaFourche, Antoine and DeCeiper Rivers; these, with the forest of pine, oak, hickory, walnut, beech, elm, poplar, tupelo, ash, sweetgum, cottonwood, locust, cedar, maple, sycamore, cypress, willow and wild magnolia invite moisture and make a general drought impossible.
Lands along the rivers are very productive, making from one to one and a half bales of cotton and from thirty to fifty bushels of corn; from one hundred to one hundred and fifty bushels of sweet potatoes and from one hundred and fifty to one hundred and seventy bushels of Irish potatoes to the acre. Hay, from the natural grasses, and from clover and alfalfa, may be harvested in abundance. Wheat from thirty to forty bushels to the acre have been harvested, but the dampness of the climate prevents this from being a very profitable crop. Rice is being planted in the low lands with success. Two crops of filed peas and a summer and fall garden always prove profitable to the industrious farmer and market gardener. All varieties of vegetables are grown and are usually in excess of the demand. The black lime-lands, being above overflow, make a greater average yield than the bottom lands. The fruits that have made Arkansas famous are grown everywhere in Clark County. Plums, pears, apples, peaches, apricots, figs, cherries, grapes and watermelons are in excess of demand. Strawberries, raspberries and Japanese wineberries are successfully raised. Blackberries, huckleberries, wild grapes and muscadines offer immense crops free to whoever cares to go to the woods to gather them. Horses, sheep, cattle and hogs bring ready money to the farmer and are cheaply raised on the fine pasture lands, in the canebrakes and on the heavy mast of acorns and hickory nuts.
There are hundreds of clear, healthful springs over the county. Sulphur, arsenic, iron and magnesia are found in these waters. The Sulphur Springs are attracting a great deal of notice as a health resort, and while they are a few hundred yards from the east border of Manchester township, they are only eight miles from Arkadelphia, and the citizens from that town patronize the hotel and camps that are provided for guests, every summer.
In giving the growing prosperity of Clark County, we should not forget the former, and to many just minds still the rightful, owners of this rich domain. The people whom DeSoto found here were still occupying this land when the first white settlers came in 1809. True, they had in ages past driven away or exterminated a prehistoric race and occupied the lands so acquired, but they had so effectually destroyed their predecessors that there were no heirs to claim the lands. The white man has no such palliation for his awakening conscience. Three tribes of Indians occupied Clark County in 1809. The Caddos lived along the banks of the Caddo River; the Quapaws on the Ouachita for several miles below Arkadelphia, and the Delawares along the lower Ouachita to below Camden (Ecore a Fabre). These tribes were friendly to the white settlers and there is no record of any depredations made by them. They sold their furs and hides to the white settlers and took in exchange blankets, saddles, bridles, guns and ammunition. They often warmed themselves by the fires of the white man and the white man in his turn sought the shelter of the wigwam.
Wauhachie, a Delaware brave, refused to leave the happy hunting ground of his forefathers when their reservation of 1,500,000 acres was at last claimed by the white man, but built his hut on the banks of the river he loved and for many years, with his canoe, made a familiar figure on the bosom of this beautiful stream.
In 1836 a little boy wandered from his home on the banks of the Ouachita and was lost in the dense woods and canebrake. The parents were in great distress, fearing that their child would be torn to pieces by the wild animals, bitten by poisonous snakes or fall into the deep water of the river. All day the neighbors and father hunted for the child. Wauhachie was away in his canoe. The father, remembering how true was the Indian's instinct on the trail, went in search of the old Indian. When found, Wauhachie asked to be shown where the child was last seen. Being shown the spot, he took up the trail and followed it through the woods and cane down to the bank of the river and at last found the little boy, frightened and exhausted by his long tramp, but unhurt. This boy is still living in Arkadelphia, and his sister, Mrs. Charity Phillips, now 88 years old, remembers the incident well. Great fields of cotton and corn grow where the hut of Wauhachie once stood, and he sleeps on the bank of the river he loved in a grave made by the grateful hands of his white friends.
There is an old battle ground where the Delawares and Chickasaws fought with desperate valor for the occupancy of the lands. This battle ground is on the east bank of the Ouachita River, eighteen miles southeast of Arkadelphia. Near it stands tow mounds. On this battle ground several Indian bows in good state of preservation were picked up by a white settler who stills lives in Arkadelphia (S. D. Callaway).
Many arrow heads have been picked up here and from the mounds the curious pottery of the Mound Builders have been taken. The most remote period designated in the legends of the Indians living here when the white man took possession, tells nothing in regard to these mounds nor were there any mounds of their own building nor had they any knowledge of the art of making the pottery found in these mounds. A skeleton taken from one of these mounds measured eight feet. There were four of these skeletons and they were lying with their heads nearly touching each other in the center of the mound and their feet at right angles. (I visited this mound August 25, 1906, and dug several pieces of pottery from it at a depth of three and four feet.) The pottery taken from one of these mounds is of coarser grade and not so finely marked as that found near by. These mounds measure fifty feet in diameter; they are ten feet tall and large oaks stand on the top of them. Trees have grown to great age and one has recently fallen on which was written in deeply carved letters “Blake H., 1870.”
Another mound is fifteen miles northwest from Arkadelphia and is fifteen feet tall. From this mound the pieces of pottery Nos. 6 and 7* (*These and other numbers in this chapter refer to pottery, pencil sketches of which were furnished, but from which plates could not be prepared. Editor.) were taken with a skull in perfect state of preservation. When found the skull was filled with a network of fine root tendrils. These relics are now in the possession of Capt. C. C. Scott of Arkadelphia.
Another mound is fifteen miles west of Arkadelphia and is fifteen feet tall and thirty feet in diameter. Ancient trees grow on this mound. Two mounds stand on the east bank of the Caddo River, five miles west of Arkadelphia. A wall not so high as the mounds reaches from one mound to the other. The mounds look like two citadels connected by a wall and that this was used by the garrison of the citadels in passing from one to the other in time of war. Yet another reason may be assigned for the presence of the wall, since the land on which these mounds stand is subject to overflow, and the wall may be used in time of floods.
An incident which happened in 1826 shows the Indians' love of fun. Charity Callaway, daughter of John S. T. Callaway, with several other children, were on their way home from school one afternoon when they heard the horrifying whoop of some Indians from behind them. The children were a long way from home, but remembering an old, unoccupied house just ahead of them, ran with all their might to reach it, thinking every moment to feel the weight of the dreaded tomahawk. They reached the hut, and just as they tumbled through the shutterless opening the Indians reached the house, and after running their horses around once they rode away laughing heartily at the fright they had given the children. Mrs. Phillips, nee Charity Callaway, tells this with some of the horror she felt then.
Below is some of the pottery found in the mounds in this county. They are in the possession of Mrs. E. S. Horton, Miss Nora O'Baugh, Capt. C. C. Scott, Mr. Thomas Tenyson, Mr. Eugene Hart. A skull in the possession of Capt. C. C. Scott is a fine specimen and is in a good state of preservation. The wide bowl, No. 5, is eight inches across and is an unusual specimen. This was found only a few years ago on the banks of the Ouachita. When first found these relics must be handled carefully as they are soaked with water and are easily broken, but by placing them in the shade to dry for a few days they become hard and durable. They are often found after an overflow washed up on the bank. They are so plentiful in some places that they are left in the field and are broken for sport by the finders with little thought of their value.
Formation and Naming the County
The county of Clark was the fourth county formed and it was named for William Clark, governor of Missouri Territory. Court was held at the residence of Jacob Barkman, June 14, 1819. James Cummings and Stephen Clanton produced commissions showing that they had been appointed as judges of said court. James Bates and Samuel Roane were admitted as attorneys. A. S. Walker, prosecuting attorney, Moses Bates, sheriff, Ben Wyatt, constable.
The grand and petit jurors were: James Stephenson, Jesse Smith, Williams McDaniel, Edward Goode, Thomas Montgomery, David Trammel, Micajah McDaniel, George Stroope, Jacob Stroope, William Hemphill, Charles Sinclare, John Brewer, Walter Crow, Thomas McLaughter, Winthrope Colebreath, William Jacobs, John McDaniel, Samuel Smith, Adam Stroud, Adam Hignite, Jacob Wells and Jesse Dean.
Clark, Pulaski and Hempstead Counties were formed into a circuit as the second circuit, and Samuel Roane was elected representative to the legislature, 1820-23; Neil McLean, circuit judge. Samuel Roane was made president of the council during his term of office.
Walter Blaylock, Jesse Dean, James Stephenson and John Edwards were appointed to lay out the first public road of the county, which road beginning on Saline Bayou at Saunder's and to intersect the public road at Jacob Barkman's. The second public road: Jacob Barkman was appointed to lay out a public road to run from Jacob Barkman's house on the Caddo River, to the Little Missouri River, crossing the Terre Noir at James Bryan's.
Two true bills were found; one for assault and battery and one for larceny.
Fifteen merchants' and six peddlers' licenses were granted.
John Alexander, an orphan, chose Jesse Cummings guardian.
Ben Wyatt allowed $200 for constable's services.
Nancy Hemphill approved as collector and preserver of property of John Hemphill, deceased, per his will.
James Britton appointed overseer of the public road running from Jacob Barkman's to the Little Missouri.
Sheriff's claims allowed.
In 1825 the county seat was moved to Biscoeville, where it remained until 1827, when it was held in the house of Adam Stroud. It was moved to Greenville, now Hollywood, in 1830, and remained there until 1842, when it was moved to Blakeleytown, and that same day the name of Blakeley town was changed to Arkadelphia.
Locating the County Seat Permanently
The question of moving the county seat to Blakeleytown was not a new thought to the people there. They had begun to plan for that by building houses and warehouses for the accommodation of the hunters in which they stored their hides and furs for sale or shipment. Jacob Barkman, with his “dugout,” had established a river commerce between Blakeleytown and New Orleans. Blakeley's Bluff was the landing place for the Indian canoes filled with hides and furs to sell to the white settlers, John S. T. Callaway had built a large log residence there and had opened a grocery store. Blakeley was running a blacksmith shop near this store and but for the enterprising Jacob Barkman they would have had the postoffice, too.
The bottoms along the rivers were plentiful in game. The hunters could kill deer, bear, panther, wolves, wildcat, mink, coon, o'possum, fox, squirrel, rabbits, buffalo and find ready sale for the hides at Bakeleytown or store them in the warehouse to be shipped on the next boat to New Orleans.
Wild turkey, quail, wild geese and prairie hens and ducks, supplied the table of the pioneer, and if he was fond of fishing, he might have the choice of cat, perch or trout, and tiring of these he could sit down to as savory a dish as turtle soup as ever graced the table of a king. In this day of rapid transit we wonder how anything new ever reached the widely scattered settlements, but somehow the news that Blakeleytown was going to give a barbecue to which everybody was invited reached even the remotest cabins. Pulaski and Hempstead heard of it and had representatives on the ground.
The great day came at last and was an event in the lives of the pioneer families. Long trenches were dug for the barbecuing; the grounds were cleared; trees were cut down for seats. Hunters spent the day before the barbecue in the woods killing bear, deer and wild turkey for the feast. Beeves and hogs were killed and dressed after dark. The trenches filled with hickory wood burned all night, sending long shafts of flame toward the sky, lighting up the weird scene, while pine torches burned brightly from large stumps at the edge of the clearing. Inquisitive wolves came within the radius of the light to be driven back by the dogs and the panther's plaintive cry penetrated the darkness beyond and started the subject of a future hunt and tales of depredations they had committed in the settlements.
Early on the morning of the momentous day wagons loaded with the women and children and with baskets filled with the good things that the pioneer's wife knew so well how to prepare; men on foot and on horseback, and hunters, belated with their game, were assembled on the ground.
It soon became known that this barbecue was given for a purpose, and that a vote for the removal of the county seat would be taken, and the people from Greenville felt that they had been outwitted by the enterprising citizens of Blakeleytown.
The sports of the day were shooting at marks with rifles and shotguns; running races, in which the Indians joined; throwing knives, and, to the disgust of the Indians, essayed to throw the tomahawk and to view with them in shooting with bow and arrow.
The young girls watched these sports or swung in grapevine swings which nature seemed to have grown there just for their pleasure. The older women told each other of their experiences in their new homes and the “makeshifts” they had resorted to in lieu of the many conveniences left in their old homes, in the far east, or exchanged recipes for cooking the new kind of fruits found in the new country.
The excellent dinner, the wine and the good cheer generally had put all in a good humor, and when the vote was taken Blakeleytown had won.
The question of giving the new county seat a better name was soon decided by adopting the name suggested by James Trigg, and old Blakeleytown was wiped from the map of Clark County and the new county seat called “Arkadelphia.”
These pioneers had chosen better than they knew, for Arkadelphia has proven to be the most healthful location in the county. Dr. Branner, state geologist, said of Arkadelphia: “Arkadelphia is the best naturally-drained town in the world. Gravel underlying the subsoil produces this drainage.”
The first effort at manufacturing was made by John Hemphill in 1812. He began with a few small kettles to make salt at the salt springs three miles east of Blakeleytown. It is these springs or wells that are referred to in the history of DeSoto's travels in Arkansas. As the demand for salt grew, Mr. Hemphill ordered larger kettles from New Orleans. The largest of these kettles held 200 gallons. After John Hemphill's death, Easley and Gentry bought the salt works and put in large pans and made salt in the most approved way.
During the Great War these salt works were leased by the Confederate government and soldiers detailed to make and deliver salt to the army of the Trans-Mississippi Department. Wagons with great canoe-shaped beds passed through Arkadelphia during the 60's hauling salt to Price's army. These salt springs are between the Ouachita and L'eau Frais Rivers, and it is supposed that the French, on passing the stream of water flowing from these springs and finding it too salty to drink, on coming to the fresh water of the next stream exclaimed: “L'eau Frais!” which means “fres water,” and thus named that stream.
The first gristmill was built at Greenville and was run by water power. During low water a great dam was built across the creek and a log millhouse built just below and against this dam. A great wooden wheel whose axles ran in deep grooves in two wooden pillars, securely fastened beneath the millhouse, was turned by the water from the dam falling on the cogs of the wheel. The wide band of this wheel turned the smaller wheels, which in their turn made two heavy stones turn one upon another, crushing the grains of corn as they passed between the stones.
Before this mill began operation corn was grated on tin that had been punctured full of holes and fastened to a plank. The corn thus grated had to be new corn or soaked until soft before it could be grated. This mode of making meal was resorted to when the water was too high or too low to run the mill. Many ruins of these old mills stand as beautiful models for the painter's brush.
The first brickyard was started in the eastern part of Blakeleytown by O'Baugh and Bean in 1830. The few bricks used before this time were made by the negroes on the plantations for private use. Jacob Barkman's two-story brick residence, the first brick house in the county, was built of brick made by his negroes.
The first frame houses in the county were of lumber hewn from the forest by broadaxes and ripsaws in the hands of carpenters and planed by “jack planes.” Elegant homes were thus built and some of these, with not a nail in the framework, but instead are mortised and fastened together with wooden pegs, stand as a monument to the superiority of the wooden-pinned over the wire-nailed structures of today.
The first cotton gin in the county was built in 1830 on the plantation of Jacob Barkman, and was of two and three-bale daily capacity. The press was of the screw-patent, and was built near the door of the lint house. The lint cotton was carried in baskets from the lint room to the press box. The heaviest negro on the plantation was put into the box to tramp the cotton down as it was piled into the box. Neighbors for miles around could count the number of bales completed by the shrieking of the old screw in agonized warning, but the bent back of the old mule as he strained round and round told where the real suffering was located.
The first postoffice was established at the home of Jacob Barkman. The route between St. Louis and Monroe had been established in 1811 and in 1817 Davidsonville was put on the route with Arkansas Post and were the first postoffices in the territory. Jacob Barkman went to Little Rock and used his influence to have one established near his house. He succeeded and was appointed postmaster. It was called Barkman postoffice, and was the first in the county.
The first boat, other than the canoe, was a dugout made and manned by Jacob Barkman's negroes. This boat plied between Blakeleytown and New Orleans in 1812. This boat was made from the trunks of two large trees hollowed out and fastened together and supplied with oars.
The dugout was supplanted by the pirogue, which was much larger than the dugout, and besides the hides, furs and tallow which the dugout had carried, cotton was added to the loading. This pirogue, or flatboat, brought back cotton cards, $10.00 each; powder, $10.00 per pound; crosscut saws, $75.00 each; handsaws, $25.00 each. These boats carried on the first river commerce in the county. The flatboat or pirogue was 100 feet long and six or eight feet wide and could carry 100 bales of cotton. It was considered quite an honor to own one.
Captain Brown ran a flatboat between Blakeleytown and E'core Fabre in 1820.
The first tannery was established by Nazareth Mooney in 1830 at Blakeleytown and continued in operation under the management of Leonard Marbury as late as 1874. During the Civil War this tannery furnished leather for shoes for the Confederate soldiers of leather from this tannery.
The first cotton factory was started by Jacob Barkman at a cost of $30,000, but was destroyed by an unusually high overflow in the Caddo River before it had accomplished much.
The oldest written record of the white man's presence in Clark County was at Blakeleytown. The date 1800 was deeply carved into a large beech tree that stood on the bank of the Ouachita at Blakeleytown. Near it and on another tree were the words “Kill a deer” and the initials “W. H. G. 1811.” No one here can give any account of who “W. H. G.” was.
The oldest settlers now living Arkadelphia are: Mrs. Charity Phillips, nee Callaway; Mrs. Harriett Barkman, nee Maddox; Mrs. Sabrina Trigg, nee Heard, and Mrs. Browning. The oldest of these is Mrs. Phillips, 89; the youngest, Mrs. Trigg, 76.
The first stage coach ran from Little Rock to Arkadelphia in 1850; Field Huddleston was driver and Dick Chidester, contractor. This line continued in operation until the Iron Mountain railroad was completed.
The first jail was of hewn logs, two stories high; iron bars in place of glass and wooden shutters to use in extremely cold weather. The second jail was of brick, two stories high, and was built in 1843.
The first person buried in Blakeleytown was John Hemphill.
More Recent Industries
The old' dugout' had escaped from its moorings and floated down the river; the pirogue and keelboat had found a watery grave, and above their timbers plowed the first steamboat to leave Blakeleytown. The “Dime,” a small sidewheel steamer, owned by Jacob Barkman, began making regular trips between Blakeleytown and New Orleans. The owner was the captain, Joe Cossart pilot, and it was manned by the captain's slaves.
The pirogue and keelboats brought nothing but the necessities, but the “Dime” brought some of the luxuries into the homes of the pioneers. Furniture of walnut, mahogany and rosewood took the place of the puncheon tables and one-legged bedsteads. The whole settlement knew that a piano had been ordered for one of the young ladies in the neighborhood and when it came there were young men who did not need the negro drayman to put it in place in the parlor.
The “Dime” soon had competitors in the “O. K.,” “Bluelle,” “Joe Jakes,” “Will S. Hayes” and “Arkadelphia City.”
The stage coach took the place of the “mail rider” and his mail bags, and these have been supplanted by the Ultima Thule, Iron Mountain and the Southwestern railroads as mail carriers.
The gristmills made a crude kind of flour from native wheat, but the finer grades began to be shipped in when the first boats came. Now the Arkadelphia roller mills are turning out 200 barrels of flour daily, and 100 bushels of meal and eight carloads of chops per day. This mill is now putting in machinery to increase the capacity fifty barrels per day.
This mill was established at a cost of $40,000, and is owned by Adams Brothers.
The courthouse built in 1843 has been replaced by a magnificent $35,000 structure of latest model in architecture and is inclosed by a heavy iron fence. A large town clock with four faces counts the hours from the tower.
With all the elegance of the new building it did not cost as much as did four of the pillars of the old courthouse whose place it has taken. In reconstruction days, Surrells, the “Carpet-bag” judge, made an appropriation of $40,000 to build a new courthouse. He had four large pillars put under the front porch of the old brick building and decamped with the balance of the money to his northern home. It was not until 1896 that the debt made by this “carpet-bag rule” was liquidated.
Since the passage of the “road tax bill” the public roads in the county have greatly improved.
The Sentinel, a small two-page paper, was the first paper edited in the county. This was started in 1850. This was supplanted by The Arkansas Traveler, edited by S. M. Scott, in 1854. In 1868 Cols. J. W. Gaulding and Adam Clark began the publication of the Southern Standard, an 8-page weekly. The Herald, edited by George Beck, and the Siftings, edited by E. McCorkle, were separate periodicals for several years, when they were merged into one under the name Sifitngs-Herald.
It will be impossible to tell half of the brave deeds of Clark County boys during the Great War.
Thomas Dyer, while defending the breastworks at Helena, was shot through the right lung with a minie ball. He was left on the ground for dead, but was picked up by the enemy and taken to their hospital at Memphis. He may tell you his experience, for he is still living:
“The Federal surgeon came to my cot and examined my wound; then, turning around, said, as he left me, ‘He will die.' The attendant left me then and no one came near me to do anything for me for three days. The blood that flowed from my wound ran from my mouth, saturated my clothing and bed, and having to lie so long on my back I was miserable. I could keep off the green flies while I was awake, but he weather was hot, and I was so exhausted that I would fall asleep, and one can imagine the condition I was in at the end of the three days. The third day the same surgeon came to my cot, and in a tone of surprise said, ‘You alive yet! I don't believe you are going to die.' I said ‘I know I am not if you will give me a chance. Do something for me or kill me and put me out of my suffering.' He immediately ordered clean clothes and warm water, bandages and every preparation was made to dress my wound. He did not probe for the ball, and I am still carrying that ball in my right side as a reminder of that horrible time.
“As soon as I was well enough I asked for parole, but was told that if I would take the oath of allegiance to the Union that I would be sent home. This I refused to do. I went to the hospital steward and he told me to get a copy of the oath from one of the men who had taken the oath. This I did. I got one from a man named Brown and passed on handing the copy to the paroling officer and was put on the Arkansas side of the river. I walked, rode and rested until I got home.”
Mr. Dyer, as soon as he got well, joined the Trans-Mississippi army and fought in the battles of Poison Springs and Marks Mill, and helped to harass Steele all through Arkansas.
Captain John Dyer and Captain Reed with their companies, were sent to harass the enemy and ordered to fire into their advancing columns, which they did, killing over a hundred men. Reed and Dyer's company took part in the battle of Marks Mill and Poison Springs. Generals Price and Caball, in publishing orders, commended their gallantry. Captain Dyer was sent to the rear of Steele's army afterwards and was killed. Lieutenant Drew Ross, than whom there was no better man, was killed while on a scout.
Two brothers named Hill were flag bearers, and both were killed at the battle of Helena.
An interesting incident of the capture of Island No. 10: Tom and George Dorris were serving on the Island at the time, and as soon as they knew of the surrender they made for the Arkansas side of the island. It was dark, and seeing some floating pine bark on the water they waded out as far as they could into the water and put the bark over their heads and stood there until all the Federals left that side of the Island. Before leaving they fired their guns in the water, as they said, “To kill a reb if he is hiding there.” They struck very near Tom Dorris and once he thought he was shot, but managed to keep the bark over his head and swam to Arkansas side with his brother, and reached home.
The following is a list of Company “E,” second Arkansas regiment, which was organized and left Arkadelphia in 1861, with Harris Flanagin captain. Captain Flanagin rose to the rank of colonel, and while serving in the army he was elected governor of Arkansas without his knowledge or consent.
George W. Andrews – wounded at Oak Hill; lives at Hope.
William B. W. Brown – wounded at Murfreesboro.
Sterling Burton – living in North Arkansas.
Charles Bennett – died after the war.
Livie Bushnell – taken prisoner at Elk Horn; died in Alton prison.
James Bridges – killed at Murfreesboro.
Henry L. Benjamin – made a cripple for life at Elk Horn; died in Soldiers' Home.
James Brogall – went through the war; wounded at Lovejoy's Station; died since the war.
Jesse Bogan – died at Shelbyville, Tenn.
J. W. Callaway – died after the war.
Martin Cole – died after the war.
H. L. Cash – wounded at Richmond and at Bentonville.
W. W. Canada – went to Georgia after the war.
Simeon Dunn – wounded at Murfreesboro and Moore's Mill; dead.
Warren Denson – living in Texas.
James Davis – wounded at Kennesaw Mountain; living in Texas.
Sterling Elder – living and blind.
W. E. Evans – lives in West Mississippi.
James Ellis – died in Shelbyville, Tenn.
H. Clay Ellis – taken prisoner at Elk Horn; lives in Texas.
Harris Flanagin – died in 1874.
James Fortson – dead.
George W. Flanagin – killed at Oak Hill.
Ben W. Freeman – died at Grand Junction.
Thomas Gordon – wounded at Oak Hill.
Lewis Gray – deserted.
Andrew J. Gentry.
John Gafford – killed in Texas.
William Gamble – dead.
Ed Hurst – dead.
John Humphrys – living in Texas.
Dyer Holder – dead.
John Holder – wounded at Oak Hill; killed at Resaca.
William Holder – wounded at Oak Hill; living in Hot Spring County.
Stephen O. Hodges – deserted.
Elsey Hudson – dead.
Abe Henderson – dead.
G. W. Homer – died at Knoxville, Tenn.
G. W. Hunt – living in Hot Spring County.
H. A. Harrington – died at Castillon Springs.
M. A. Haney – living in Georgia.
Moses P. House.
Daniel House – died at Grand Junction.
F. M. Joiner – died at Granby.
Garrett R. Jordan – died in Little Rock, 1862.
Thomas R. Jackson.
Nat M. Jones – killed at home, accidentally.
A. N. Legg – died at Castillon Springs.
D. T. McCallum – wounded at Richmond, Ky., at Peachtree Creek and Nashville and made lieutenant; dead.
D. N. Moore – living in Texas.
John G. Malone – killed at Oak Hill.
M. M. Malone – went through the war.
George E. May – killed at Poison Springs.
J. A. McCallum – living in Arkadelphia.
James McDaniel – wounded at Pilot Knob.
Tom Mitchell – died at Memphis.
G. A. Malcom – dead.
W. T. Morehead – living in Texas.
Roy Nash – living in Miller County.
H. H. Orsburn – wounded at Elk Horn.
J. C. Ridgway – wounded at Oak Hill; dead.
W. H. Roles – died on Spring River.
William M. Rowe – living at Hollywood.
James W. Reed – deserted.
Sam Russell – went to Georgia.
D. H. Ross – killed at Antoine while on scout duty.
J. L. Stroope – died at Tatum Springs.
J. W. Sorrels – died at Neosho.
James B. Smith – died at Neosho.
Isom L. Stroud – dead
A. Stanley – living in Texas
Thomas C. Shepherd – made lieutenant; killed at Resaca.
William E. Kenny.
James D. Thomasson – living at Alpine.
Enoch Tarver – killed at Murfreesboro.
Alfred Strap – wounded at Oak Hill and at Nashville.
William Tweedle – wounded at Murfreesboro and at Oak Hill.
W. A. Thompson – wounded at Murfreesboro; died in prison.
Young Taylor – lives in Texas.
R. D. Thomasson – wounded at Chickamauga, living at Alpine.
Jeff Thompson – wounded at Murfreesboro, Kennesaw Mountain and at Bentonville; still living.
H. Waldrop – made adjutant and captain; dead.
E. T. Wells – living at Wallaceburg.
A. R. White – died of wounds at Oak Hill.
E. H. White – died at Tatum Springs.
Charles Ward – dead.
Silas Vaught – dead.
Muster Roll of Twelfth Arkansas Regiment
E. W. Gantt, colonel; Thomas Read, major; W. D. Cole, lieutenant; Dr. Jennings, surgeon; Dr. Saunders, assistant surgeon; Ed. Jordan, quartermaster; Will McDonald, commissary.
John M. Ruffin, captain; H. W. McMillan, first lieutenant; Archibald Fulks, second lieutenant; G. T. Williams, third lieutenant.
G. A. Hale, captain; G. M. East, first lieutenant; Lanson Smalley, third lieutenant.
Joseph White, captain; W. DeWoody, first lieutenant.
___. ___. Chandler, captain; S. Elder, first lieutenant.
Ed. Jones, captain; William Cunningham, first lieutenant; Harman Gibbs, second lieutenant; ___. ___. Parker, their lieutenant.
John Abernathy, captain; Dave Coulter, first lieutenant.
Dr. Lovit, captain; ___. ___. Perry, lieutenant; ___. ___. Davis, second lieutenant.
___. ___. Flippin, captain; ___. ___. Archer, first lieutenant.
Erasmus K. Williams, captain.
Besides these there were other companies that joined the army in Virginia and fought under Lee and Jackson. Some of these:
Harris Flanagin, captain; Newton Love, captain; ___. ___. Monroe, captain; Abe Pennington, captain; ___. ___. Reaves, captain; W. J. Smith, captain.
Capt. Newton Love's Company:
N. Love, captain; S. D. Callaway, first lieutenant; L. B. Clark, second lieutenant; J. M. Smith, third lieutenant.
J. A. J. Anderson, P. E. Betha, Alex. Callison, Louis Callison, Mack Falkner, William Falkner, John Falkner, William Franklin, William Doby, A. L. Griffin, T. J. F. Nunn, T. Humphry, Ed. Hill, Deck Reynolds (killed), ___. ___. Duncan, ___. ___. Reynolds, Jesse Etchson, W. Malone (killed), James Stafford, George Ward, William Clemm, Dave Clemm, John Jordan, Newton Jordan, W. Herron, W . Neighbors (killed), Will McDonald (killed), ___. ___. _______. one, Tom Price, A. L. Sloan.
The 12th Arkansas was at the surrender of Island 10. Lieutenant McMillan had a good horse on the Arkansas side of the river and thought he could escape. He asked Colonel Gantt to give him orders to Governor Flanagin. Gantt did so, and he swam to the Arkansas side and, getting his horse, made his way home.
War Record for Clark County
In the terrible struggle by the Confederate States for state's rights in the 60's, Clark County sent her old men, her young men and her boys. Many of these old men were grandfathers, and thirteen and fourteen-year-old boys went to close up the ranks that were so rapidly being depleted by bullets from guns in the hands of the plebian Irish and the low Dutch. David Dodd was an example of the heroism of these beardless boys.
Smith Johnston, aged 14, fought in Jackson's army all through the war. Wyatt Johnson, his brother, was killed in Virginia when he was only 17 years old. General Rust's courier was only 13. Joe Pride, 15, killed at Corinth.
In nearly every important battle of the war some Clark County boy took part, and their bones, torn from shallow ditches by wild animals, repose as relics of the unequal struggle, amid saber and gun, cannon ball, and grapeshot, shrapnel and minie balls gathered by the tourists as mementos of that sanguine struggle.
Mexican War Volunteers
Harris Flanagin, captain John Peake
T. G. Mosely, first lieutenant Cooper Self
I. M. Eason, second lieutenant G. W. Goodman
Joshua Phillips, first sergeant Jonathan Gullick
T. L. Stroope, David Delaitre, G. W. Nichols, Robert Wilson, T. P. Stroope, Joseph Pepsworth, H. L. Pullen, James Brown, Ben S. Duncan, L. M. Haufter, John R. Moseley, John F. Keath, F. G. Moseley, E. Walthrop, M. P. Berry, Robert Johnson, John P. Stroope, Isaac Gates (or Kates), Dyer Holder, A. Jordan, T. Waldrum, William Bott, T. R. King, Cor. Smith, T. S. Peppen, W. Masnigh (or Massey), William Peake, I. G. Murphy, George A. Norward, W. H. Maddox, T. Browning, William McCollum, A. S. B. Greene, Isaac D. King, J. R. Allen, John T. Wingfield, John T. Langley, L. B. Stroope, J. M. Callaway, John Wilson, Francis B. Millar, Elias B. Smith, W. S. Sloan, Timothy Long, William R. Pullen, John Ashburn, J. B. White, B. F. Hughes, William R. Francis, Thomas P. Evans, Louis Leigh, Thomas P. Brewer, James Stroope, T. Burgis, Wesley Kilpatrick, J. K. Graham, William Mainard, David Henderson, __. __. Matlock, Armstrong Stell, Samuel H. Colewaith, Stephen Bales, Charles Broadway, F. W. Trammel, James Wardlaw, G. W. Trammel, James R. Ashburn
These names are on file in Judge Flanagin's office.
The whistle of the steam gin and press has silenced the shrieking of the old cotton press and instead of two and three bales daily many of the new gins turn out from 10 to 15 bales daily.
The “spinning jinny” that silenced the spinning wheel of years ago has in its turn been silenced by the carders, spinners, sizers, warpers and looms of the $70,000 cotton factory that stands on the bank of the Ouachita at Arkadelphia. This factory has a daily capacity of 3,000 yards of cloth and 500 yards of rope, and has 3,000 spindles and 60 looms in it. Arkadelphia added a bottling works to her industries.
From the small water mill there has developed a lumber industry that excels any other industry in the county. The Arkadelphia Lumber Company, with a plant valued at $100,000, is turning out 125,000 feet of lumber daily. A stave factory and lath mill are run in connection with this mill. This mill is situated on the east side of the Ouachita and is a suburb of Arkadelphia.
The Gurdon Lumber Company manufactures 80,000 feet of lumber daily. Five other companies with a total capacity of 75,000 feet per day are situated in the county.
A large cotton seed oil mill is situated at Okolona.
There are three companies with have sunk oil wells near the northern and southern corporation line and from the character of the soil and some crude oil Arkadelphia is looking with great interest to having both oil and gas wells in the near future.
No. acres of land………………………………………………………... 579,000
Under cultivation………………………………………………………… 79,000
Assessed value…………………………………………………………...$ 100,500
Town lots………………………………………………………………...$ 600,000
Churches and Schools
The first thought of the people of Arkadelphia was the establishment of a school and church. Mary Dixon, mother of John Hemphill, had bought the first tract of land that had been sold in the Territory of Arkansas. This tract consisted of 320 acres on the Terre Noir. She deeded one acre for the building of a church and made the deed to the Methodist church and thus established the first Methodist church in the county. This land was bought in 1820 and James Monroe's name is signed to the deed.
The first school house was built of logs in the southeastern part of Arkadelphia, but the settlers set to work to improve their school, and Clark County is ahead of her sister counties in school interests.
There are eighty-seven public schools for whites and two high schools.
There are forty-three public schools for blacks and two colleges for blacks.
Henderson and Ouachita Colleges are magnificent brick buildings.
There are seventy-one school districts in the county and the value of public school property is $35,705.
Arkadelphia has an eight-room brick school building, but this being too small to accommodate the school an appropriation of $40,000 has been made to build a large school building on the site of the old one. Music has been a department of this school for several years, and when the new building is completed there will be room for an elocution department.
Amity comes next in school interest with a splendid high school. Okolona and Gurdon have fine schools.
The Baptist Young People's Union has been located at Arkadelphia and for the past session the Ouachita College was used, but funds are being subscribed for a permanent building for its use.
Secret Societies: Masons, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Knights of Honor and Woodmen of the World have organizations here. Literary societies with readings, music and debates form a social feature in nearly every neighborhood. Arkadelphia has a splendid brick library building filled with writings from the best authors. The Teachers' Reading Circle has a large membership in the county.
The citizens of Clark County, believing that evil influences will overcome the best training of the greatest teachers, have united their efforts to surround the young people of Arkadelphia and the county with an atmosphere that is at once elevating and ennobling.
The officers of Arkadelphia, joined by the people of the best class, have destroyed the whiskey traffic and sent some of the runners of “blind tigers” out of the county.
In Arkadelphia there are four churches for the white people and four for the blacks. The Baptist church is a large brick structure, the Methodist church is an old building soon to be supplanted by a large brick edifice costing $20,000. The plans are in the hands of the contractors.
Rev. Andrew Hunter filled the pulpit of the Methodist churches in Clark County for many years.
Rev. A. R. Winfield was a noted minister of the Methodist church that gave his influence for the good of the people of the county.
Rev. D. S. Williams was noted minister of the Baptist church in the county.
Rev. A. L. Crawford was a noted minister and educator. He had charge of the Presbyterian church at Arkadelphia for many years.
Colonel Cargile of Okolona, John Bozeman of Springdale, Sam Callaway of Gurdon, James Strong, Mr. Purcell, Dr. McAlpine, Judge Henry Stuart, Dr. J. r. Dale, Capt. C. C. Henderson, S. R. McNutt, Elijah Lawley, George Carder, Henry Wells, Williams Wells, Joe Adams, Joseph Thomas, Dr. Kelly, Dr. McGill, James Skillern, Prof. Samson, Mr. Rubin Peeples, Dr. S. Y. T. Carter, Judge William Callaway, Maj. James D. Scott and many others have made Clark County in the best sense of the word.
Many of these are dead, but some are still living to forward the interests of the county. They are from all over the county, and an empty jail and a small court docket attest the good they have done.
Carpet-Bag Rule in Clark County
Clark County, as did the rest of the State, suffered severely under “carpet-bag” rule. This name was an appropriate title, as the men who held sway in the county came here with no more than could be carried in an old-fashioned carpet-bag of the brussels carpet variety.
When they left Clark County there was a debt that took years to cancel. If they had taken our property alone and left us our loved ones we could forget and forgive.
The greatest war the world has known had just ended; the bones of Clark County's best and bravest lay bleaching on a hundred battlefields; the property of the people had been confiscated; soldiers were quartered in the homes of the citizens, and they did not trouble to get a search warrant when they chose to enter and search a man's house.
The principles of the Confederate government were founded on constitutional rights, and secession was the result of the repudiation and nullification of Article IV of the constitution by the Northern states when they passed the personal liberty laws which made it a crime, punishable by fines and imprisonment, if a Southern man entered Northern territory to recover property escaped into that territory.
The South refused to relegate to a few states the right to make laws for the whole. Northern politicians denounced the personal liberty laws and Delaware, during the session of her legislature of 1860, acted upon the bills offered for the annulment of the personal liberty bills in that state, but failed to pass the bill by a large majority.
Some of Kentucky's bravest and best citizens had lain in northern jails for having the temerity to enter Northern states in search of property concealed there. Other bordering states had suffered the same humiliation. Southern people traveling through northern territory were insulted and felt less at home than when in Europe.
Congress passed laws forbidding foreign ships carrying cotton from one port to another within the bounds of the United States, thus enacting laws similar to those imposed upon the colonists by England, and for which cause the colonists rebelled.
During Steele's raid, Steele himself and many of his men entered the best homes and demanded the best rooms and compelled the owners to feed them and their horses.
The “quartering act” was again imposed upon the people of the country, yet secession of the states might be given as an excuse, but from 1865 to 1872 the “quartering act” was still in force in many of the states, and the people submitted rather than have bloodshed, of which they had seen as much.
In 1865 a Federal garrison was established in Clark County consisting of a company of white men and a company of negroes.
The company of white men were for the protection of the “carpet-bagger” in his depredations, and the negro troops were to arrest any white man who asserted his rights as a citizen of the United States or the State of Arkansas.
All the remunerative civil offices were filled by the “carpet-bagger” himself, but the constable's and magistrate's offices were relegated to the negro as his share of the “spoils.”
Under any silly pretext citizens were arrested and fined or confined in jail. Col. J. W. Gaulding and Col. Adam Clark, editors of the Southern Standard, were arrested and tried for criticizing, in the columns of their paper, bills found by the grand jury at the last session of the circuit court. Surrels, in his instructions to the jury, said: “No one has the right to criticize the acts of this court.”
Colonel Clark, as junior editor, was fined $25.00, and Colonel Gaulding was fined $50.00 and ten days in jail, and was forced to serve the whole ten days.
The old “Sedition Law” was resurrected from the past and the best citizens of Clark County were tried and condemned by its dictates.
Ludlow Clark (in no way related to Adam Clark), an attaché of the negro bureau in Arkadelphia, while drunk threw brickbats at Judge Stuart, a peaceable, honorable citizen of Arkadelphia. Ludlow Clark was brought up before Adam Clark, who, in the meantime had been elected mayor. The mayor had him put in the calaboose until he sobered up and turned him loose without a fine.
Ludlow sent for Captain Lightfoot's company of Federals and had the mayor arrested and brought before a negro magistrate, and, prompting the ignorant negro what to say, the magistrate said: “I bin's yo' ober to de sukket kote to de sum ob five t'ousand dollahs damage fur faus ‘pris'nment.”
Maj. James Witherspoon and ex-Gov. Harris Flanagin appeared as attorneys for Colonel Clark, and the case was dismissed at the next session of court.
Tankersley, member of the legislature from Clark County under “carpet-bag” rule, secured an issue of 150 $1,000 bonds for the building of a railroad from Arkadelphia to Camden to be known as the Ouachita Valley Railroad. The bonds were issued, the money was collected and appropriated by the “Carpet-bagger,” and the men who worked on the road were never paid a cent. That dump still stands, a monument to that great fraud, and the money collected in taxes to liquidate this debt represent the tears of the orphan and widow whose homes went on the delinquent tax list.
William Callaway, to whom Hon. James H. Berry owes his life on the battlefield at Vicksburg, was a great wag. On one occasion he tied a piece of gingercake to the door know of every business house near the “rad hole,” as the negro bureau and carpet-bagger's offices were called.
The next morning when the “rads” read the inscription “bait” on the cakes they asked what it meant. Mr. Callaway said: “It is bait for the ‘rads.'” Captain Habicht, one of the gang, shot at Mr. Callaway and the bullets struck the wall just back of him.
Harris Flanagin graduated in the law school of Poloai, Ind., and come to Arkadelphia in 1839. He is the only man from the county that has been honored by the vote of the people with the highest office in the State. He was elected governor while serving as colonel of the 2d regiment of mounted riflement at Cumberland Gap in 1862.
The telegram announcing to him his election:
Received at Knoxville Oct. 25, 1862.
(To be called for.)
Col. Flanagin was elected governor of Arkansas by a large majority.
Headquarters Cumberland Gap,
Oct. 28, 1862.
Col. Flanagin is granted seven days leave of absence to pass to Knoxville or other points on important business. Sig.
Maj. Gen. McCown
H. S. Medford, Ass't. A. Gen.
Harris Flanagin, the most honored man in the county, deserved so richly all the trust his people placed in him.
He had been tried through the long years of service in his own county and proved worthy, and his State elected him without his knowledge or consent.
When only 21 years of age he came to Clark County and began the practice of law. He was appointed deputy sheriff in 1841; commissioned captain of state militia in 1847 by Thomas Drew, governor.
Headquarters 2d Division, Army of Kentucky, Sept. 2, 1861.
You will assume command of the 2d brigade, 3d division, army of Kentucky, and discharge the duties pertaining thereto until further orders. You will move your command tomorrow at 4 o'clock a.m.
By orders of Col. McNair, Commander 3d division.
A. S. P. Greene, clerk.
The above records are not all the places of trust that had been given to him by his people, but they are enough to show the character of one of Clark County's great men.
The line between Pulaski and Clark was changed in 1868. A part of Clark was thrown into Hot Spring County, and a part of Dallas was cut off and added to Clark in 1868.
In 1873 part of Clark was cut off into Montgomery County. In 1833 part of Clark went to make Pike County. Thus Clark lost much of her territory.
John Wilson came to Clark County in 1820 and was elected president of the constitutional convention of 1836. He was made president of the Real Estate Bank of Little Rock. He fought a duel with Mr. Anthony in the legislative hall in 1836. Anthony was killed and himself badly wounded.
John Wilson was a man above reproach in his generous, honorable life. Gentle in manner, but of indomitable courage.
The first settlers of Clark County were:
Adam Blakeley, who opened the first store at Arkadelphia. He came in 1809 with Zach Davis, Samuel Parker, Abner Hignite, Isaac Cates, Samuel Parker, Moses Collins and Adam Stroud. Some of these cleared land and made corn and potatoes; others hunted and fished.
John Hemphill, who came in 1811, brought a large family with him. His mother-in-law came with the family and she had the honor of purchasing the first tract of land sold by the United States in the Territory of Arkansas. This was a tract of 320 acres and is now known as the Bozeman Place.
To Jacob Barkman must be credited the honor of being the founder of river commerce in the State. He opened interstate commerce along the Ouachita and Red Rivers and down the Mississippi as early as 1812. The medium of commerce was the pirogue at first, and then the keelboat, and later the “Dime,” a side-wheel steamboat that carried 400 bales of cotton, hides, pelts, tallow and lard.
Some of the landings were: Chickasaw Bluffs, Dallas, Port, Montroy, Peeple's Landing, Russell's Warehouse, E'core Fabre, Bastrop, Gain's Landing.
The Blind Institute was opened at Arkadelphia in 1859 with nine pupils. It was supported by the people of Arkadelphia until 1868 when an appropriation was made by the legislature and it was moved to Little Rock. Profs. Ellis and Patten were the presidents while it was at Arkadelphia. This was a school for all blind white people from the age of 6 to 26.
A county fair in which the people of Clark County took great interest was opened in 1891. Every variety of farm product was on exhibition in the agricultural department and fruits and vegetables were as fine as can be raised in the State. The ladies' pavilion was filled with beautiful productions from the needle, loom and fingers. The culinary department attracted much attention. Preserving, pickling and canning processes were splendidly represented.
The stock parade was of specimens of as fine horses, Jersey, Durham and Holstein cattle as could be raised anywhere.
Cottswold sheep and Angora goats were on exhibition also.
The race track held the most exciting feature of the fair. Many fast horses were entered and numerous prizes and purses were won.
This fair was opened for three years, but a horrible accident the last day of the fair in October, 1893, threw a damper over the people and the association was abandoned. George Eagle, nephew of Governor Eagle, was killed in the hurly-burly race by his horse falling and being run over by the racers from behind.
Caddo Gap, a sudden separation of two peaks in the Ozark Mountains, is in the northern part of the county, and is rich in beautiful scenery. It has been sought as a country resort for pleasure seekers and as a health resort for the sick for several years, and the fine water is doubling the visitors. The new railroad from Gurdon has been completed to within a few miles of the Gap, and will, before the year is out, be finished many miles on its route to Fort Smith. Trains on the road are now running to Amity. The track now completed is about 30 miles.
Hon. J. H. Hinemon offered $200 toward the erection of a model school house in the State to be used as a model for all future buildings, and which model he will endeavor to have adopted by all the school districts in the State.
Clark County has secured the appropriation, as she secures every other worthy enterprise, and the school house is to be built in district No. 14. It was to the wide-awake interest of our circuit clerk that Clark County is due thanks for the honor of having such an attraction. The building in all will cost about $600.
A canning factory has been established in the county by Nicholas McSwain, and he has ordered several thousand cans for the factory.
The first person hung in the county was a negro man, for killing a negro woman. This occurred in 1850.
The first duel was between H. K. Hardy and Richard Wilson. Wilson was killed by a pistol shot. Hardy was justifiable.
Hickman killed Hicks in 1860. Hickman was hung, the first white man hung in the county.
Jack Callaway opened the first hotel in the county and it was afterwards bought by Solomon Spence. It was on Main street and was burned in 1871.
The first jail was of hewn logs, two stories high, with dungeon underneath. It was built in Arkadelphia in 1843.
S. R. McNutt and Luke Gibney were the great philanthropists of the past. Charles Henderson is the zealous leader of the Sunday school and church work in Arkadelphia and has nobly supported Henderson College by his patronage, gifts of scholarships to poor boys and the gift of several thousand dollars to the college. To his estimable wife is due remembrance for the help given in the great work of the Sabbath school.
To Doctors Cargile and McGill, Okolona owes much of her prosperity.
To Prof. Samson, Amity owes her fine school, high school and commodious brick school building.
Drs. McAlpine, Bourland and Williams did much in the building up of the town of Gurdon.
George Carter, Ed McDaniel and Don Dyer helped to lay the foundation of Hearn's success as a town.
[Source: Publications of The Arkansas Historical Association; Edited by John Hugh Reynolds; Vol. 1; 1906; transcribed by Renae Donaldson]
HISTORY OF CLARK COUNTY
[Source: Publications of The Arkansas Historical Association; Edited by John Hugh Reynolds; Vol. 2; 1908; transcribed by Renae Donaldson]
By Mrs. Laura Scott Butler
[The chapter here given completes the chapter on the same subject, which appeared in vol. I. of Publications, p. 362. For a sketch of Mrs. Butler, see vol. I. of Publications, p. 327. – Editor]
Old Land Marks
The oldest road in Clark County is the old Military road now known as the Little Rock and Washington road. This road was cut by the government for the use of the soldiers on their way to Mexico in 1846 and was also used in the moving of the Indians from east of the Mississippi to their reservations in the west. This road crosses the Caddo River at the Jacob Barkman plantation and passes on in front of the old brick dwelling. It was then that Mrs. James Barkman saw the suffering of the Indians on that terrible march. They were very hungry and the little children carried on the backs of the squaws, cried continually for food. As soon as the Indians were allowed to stop the women came to the house and in broken English begged for milk for their little ones first then food for themselves. The officers who had charge of the Indians allowed them to stop and camp for the night. Two of the little ones died while there and were buried in shallow graves in the woods. Mrs. Barkman did what she could to alleviate the distress of these poor people.
Another old road lies partly in Clark County. This is the Arkadelphia and Camden road. This road partly covers an old Indian trail running from Blakeleytown to Ecore Fabre. Another Indian trail runs down the west bank of the Ouachita River from old Blakeleytown to the crossing opposite Cassamassa or Cachamassa, which is the only known location of an Indian village in any part of what was once Clark County. Cachamassa and part of the trail lies now in Dallas County. Cachamassa was a village of the Delaware Indians and is not far from the old battle ground of the Delawares and Chickasaws in which the Delawares were victorious and remained on the soil until moved by the government.
An old Indian trail runs through the northwestern part of Dallas County near where Willow postoffice now is. This trail is covered partly by the Arkadelphia and Pine Bluff road. Another Indian trail runs along the Ouachita River on Cox's Ridge, below Cachamassa and intersects one of the trails leading to Cachamassa. Reverend Thomas Peterson who rode with his father (an old pioneer of what was then Clark County but now Dallas County) over these trails gives the above description of them.
On Cox's Ridge there is an unusually tall mound from which Mr. George Walker, now living, has dug curious pottery and skeletons, relics of a prehistoric race. The Tate's bluff and Tulip road was an old Indian trail. This road as are many of the highways, was an Indian trail kept plain for many years by immigrants who came on horseback and afterwards, when they came in wagons, were widened for the accommodation of vehicles. In many instances these trails proved as direct as if pointed by a surveyor's compass.
In 1907, on Bearhead Island, in the Ouachita River, the smallest of arrow heads were found. Dr. Robert Wozencraft has some of these in his possession. They were used by the Indians, it is supposed, in killing small game, or as mere playthings by the Indian children. They are cut from pearl white, red and mottled flint and are very beautiful. Miss Elizabeth Butler has three of these dainty arrowheads which are made of pearl white flint. These were picked up on the Caddo River.
EXPERIENCES OF CLARK COUNTY BOYS IN CAMP AND ON THE FIELD AS TOLD BY THEMSELVES.
VIEW MUSTER ROLLS
While the Confederate leader, General Morgan, was operating on the Cumberland River, cutting off supplies from the Federal army, Wiggins' battery was sent down the Cumberland River to intersect any Federal gunboat or transport that might attempt to pass up the river. The battery pitched tent near Betsey's landing and planted their cannon behind a breastwork of pig iron which had been brought there from a foundry near by for shipment. Ed. Browning early one morning, heard the puffing of a boat down the river and with Rufus Hearn hurried to the landing. As they passed through the camp one of the men called out, “Where are you going?” “To take that boat,” Browning answered. Soon the black smoke of the boat was seen. The two gunners waited until the steamer was near enough and called for it to land. It proved to be a transport loaded with supplies which with the crew and one passenger were surrendered to the two Confederates before the rest of the battery came up. The one passenger was a wounded Federal soldier.
At Shelbyville, Tennessee, during the battle, Wiggins' battery captured three cannon and four hundred men at a bridge. Soon after this capture the battery was ordered to cross this bridge and as the guns were passing onto the bridge one of the artillery horses was shot and fell on the bridge, blocking the way. The team behind became entangled in the harness and before the bridge could be cleared part of the company was captured.
On the public square in Shelbyville, Ed. Browning had his gun ranged on the pike where the Federals were seen advancing. A lieutenant rode up and told him to turn his gun on a house where he said some sharpshooters were lodged and were picking off our men. Ed. obeyed orders but made the lieutenant sight the gun to be sure of the right house. The gun was fired but it was not until after the war that the effects of that gunshot were known by the gunner. Long after the war Captain Munly of the 5th Alabama cavalry, who was wounded and captured in the battle, told Browning that eleven were killed and fourteen wounded in that house by that shot. Most soldiers were never certain that they fired a single fatal shot, but Ed. Browning of gun number 4 has not that consolation since more than once he has seen the result of his gun's work or heard of the fatal effect of his old rifle on the ranks of the enemy.
On November 21st during the Shelbyville campaign, while Wiggins' battery was posted on a hill, a cavalryman rode up to the gunner of number 4 and pointed out a Federal standing on the edge of a deep gorge about a mile off. A ball soon ploughed a furrough under the man's feet, which made him and his squad fall back. The guns of Wiggins' battery soon emptied the enemy's rifle pits which were in easy range.
Dave Dickinson, then twenty years old, was shot in the leg at the battle of Shelbyville and captured. As soon as he could walk about he was allowed the privilege of the hospital grounds. While still on crutches he escaped and reached his battery just before the battle of Leverne. Though still suffering from the wound, he refused to stay out of the battle and got permission to help the gunner, Gabe Bowlin, load his cannon. Dickinson's work was to hand shells from the limber chest. He had always
laughed at others for dodging shells and was noted for his fearlessness. He had the lid of the limber chest propped on his head as he reached for the shells and while in this position a shell from the lid fall on the gunner's arm. “Good Lord, Dave, I thought you never dodged?” “That came so close it jarred it off,” said Dickinson, laughing as he reached for another ball.
At this battle while the battery was shelling the enemy Pole Wingo was holding his horse's bridle when a percussion shell whizzed by and took off the horse's head and left Pole holding the bridle. This was a close call but the daring soldier only laughed.
At Russellville, seven miles from Knoxville, Wiggins' battery kept a destructive fire clearing several important points for the enemy. At May's Ford, December 10, 1863, Wiggins' battery assisted by White's battery routed a brigade of Federal cavalrymen, capturing sixty men, and opened the ford for the passage of the Confederate army. On the 11th of December these batteries with great difficulty placed their cannon on a high hill in such a position as to enfilade the Federal breastworks and soon drove them from their strong position.
Lieutenant James Bryant was in charge of two guns on the Pike near Murfreesboro. The men were worn out with long fighting and asked to be allowed to lie down. To grant such a request was against orders, but the lieutenant was weary himself and in sympathy granted the request. In a minute they were asleep and very soon eight Federal cavalrymen rushed in behind their pickets and captured the entire battery. Fred Hawks was driver of one of the guns and was slow about starting. One of the Federals ordered him to hurry up. Fred still dallied all he dared. One of the enemy held a pistol to his head and in not very polite language commanded him to drive up. Fred hurried then and in the hurry one of the guns turned over on Shackle ford breaking his legs. The Federals halted as soon as they thought they were at a safe distance and were lying down when the Confederates made a charge, recapturing the entire battery. Fred Hawks asked and was granted the great privilege of escorting the very Federal who had driven him so unmercifully a few minutes before, and made him drive at the muzzle of a pistol, for all he was worth.
At Stone River there was a stockade near a bridge occupied by Federal soldiers. When ordered to surrender they refused and Wiggins' battery demolished the stockade, capturing sixty prisoners. After passing this bridge the gunners, by crawling on their knees and pushing the wheels with their shoulders, managed to place their guns in a position to command the enemy. Ben Johnson fired his gun killing two of the enemy and before another gun could be fired they ran up the white flag. The next day this battery captured one hundred wagons and teams. The teams were turned loose and ran off braying, as much frightened as their owners. The wagons were run together and burned.
Dave Dickinson was cannoned of gun number 1. This was a dangerous place to hold and could not be filed except by the bravest and coolest of the boys. One day General Wheeler watched Dickinson at work with his gun on a dangerous part of the battle field. After the battle General Wheeler applied to Captain Wiggins for Dickinson as a courier on his staff. Wiggins refused to give him up, saying that he needed just such men at his guns.
One dark night Wiggins' battery got behind the pickets of Rosenerans' army at Cox's Hill on the Murfreesboro road and saw great number of camp fires burning. The captain ordered the guns fired in succession. The boys were near enough to hear what the Federals were saying. When the first shot struck them one Federal said, "Whoope, good God.” They knocked out their lights quickly. After firing six rounds the battery retreated to camps without an accident.
During a duel with the Federals near Cloud's Hill, Joe Ballew was shot in the elbow, the ball passing through and coming to the surface on the opposite side. It was pulled out and handed to Joe who with great reluctance went to the hospital where Dr. Scott told him he would have to amputate the arm. A soldier could bear a wound bravely when he knew he would soon be able to fight again for his home, but to know he must go home never to return to his command was a great suffering.
Near Rocky Face, February 27, 1864, Wiggins' battery shelled a brigade of Federal cavalry, killing and wounding a great many of the enemy. Two of the batteries succeeded in reforming and renewed the attack driving the Confederates from their position. Retiring to Rocky Face, a stronger position, the Confederates forced the Federals to retire. Of this engagement the Federals reported: “They were Wheeler's flying artillery and more to be dreaded than any battery in the Confederate service.”
At Shelbyville, when Ed. Browning saw that he would be captured, he told Tobe O'Baugh to take his horse and save himself if he could. Ed. was captured but thought his horse safe. But when the prisoners were rounded up who should he see but Tobe. “What are you doing here Tobe,” said Ed. “Well, Ed., I wanted to see how the fight was going and they caught me too.”
At Leverne two men in citizen's clothes walked up to where Wiggins' battery was stationed and pointing to where firing was going on, asked, “Who is that fighting down there?” “That is Wheeler's cavalry,” said Ed. Browning. “I could take a blue coat and a pitchfork and run them all out of the country,” said one of the citizens. It happened that General Wheeler was standing near enough to hear him. Wheeler turned to an orderly and said, “Put guns in those men's hands and put them on the firing line.” The orderly obeyed with alacrity. At Pittman's Ferry seven thousand Federals attempted to capture the Confederate commissaries stored there. Wiggins' battery with four guns saved the supplies.
At the battle of Fort Donaldson a Confederate soldier stayed on the firing line throughout the battle though shot through the side. The same day a cavalryman was shot through the cheek, the ball plowing a gash in which a man could lay his finger, yet he did not get off his horse during the battle. At Nashville during a battery duel, a cannon ball plowed a furrow under Rufus Dawson's feet turning him sommersault.
At Leverne a Confederate courier rode up to where Wiggin's battery was stationed and on looking at him Ed. Browning saw one of the courier's eyeballs hanging on his cheek. The dauntless Confederate instead of going to the hospital took out his knife, cut the cord that held the eyeball and throwing the severed ball on the ground rode gallantly on to his duty without getting off his horse.
Sam Rudisil was captured at Shelbyville at the bridge and while under guard a Federal soldier struck him over the head with his saber, cutting a deep gash to the skull. This outrage was committed without any provocation and is only one of many similar barbarities committed upon the defenceless by Federals. Captain C. C. Scott was so treated at the battle of Corinth, Mississippi.
Rufus Hearn and A. A. Blake were captured at the battle at Shelbyville, Tennessee. Blake was shot through the thigh during the battle and Hearn was shot after he was captured by one of his guards. They with other prisoners were confined in a two story house in Dandridge. One night Hearn heard someone groaning and knowing that other wounded Confederates were down stairs he managed to crawl down stairs to where the sufferer lay. He found that it was Blake and that he was dying. Blake gave him a book in which he had kept a diary and had written some poetry, for Blake was both a poet and musician. He told Rufus Hearn to send the book to his father in La Salle, Illinois. He said his father and two brothers were in the Federal army. Hearn wrote to Blake's father, telling him of his son's death and of the book and asked where the book must be sent. Mr. Blake wrote back that he did not want to see the book and sent the book back to Mr. Hearn. Two years later when the war was over he wrote for the book and it was sent to him. As soon as Hearn was able to walk he tore up his blankets, tied them into a rope and let himself down from a window and escaped to his command.
James Morehead was shot in the leg at the battle of Murphreesboro and suffered greatly from the wound for over forty years. Since having it amputated he has perfect health. At McMinnsville Wiggins' battery captured six hundred prisoners. They were paroled for lack of prison room and guards.
SOME MAKE-SHIFTS DURING THE CIVIL WAR
It was not until after the ports along the Gulf coast had been closed that imported goods became scarce. The South was full of resources of which it had never dreamed until necessity forced the people to resort to substitutes.
Salt was one of the first imported articles that became scarce. The old salt works near Arkadelphia, after a long period of inactivity, began again the manufacture of salt. The capacity was enlarged to meet the demand and coarse white salt was plentiful until toward the last of the war the Confederate government impressed the works and detailed men to make salt for the Trans-Mississippi army. It was then that citizens found it difficult to procure salt to preserve meats and for table use, and the salting of stock became a serious question. In this emergency Mrs. E. S. Horton, had the dirt taken from the floor of the smokehouse on her husband's plantation and boiled. The dirt was then allowed to settle and the water was drawn off and evaporated. This made a dingy looking salt only to feed to stock. Corn was sometimes soaked in the salt water and the salt fed to the stock in that way. A bushel of salt at the salt works sold for $10 in Confederate and was not always to be had at that price. One woman came fifty miles to buy salt and went back with only one pound and was glad to get even that much. The Confederate government kept wagons with great canoe shaped beds, hauling salt to the government commissaries of the Trans-Mississippi war department. Kettles of 200 gallons capacity were kept constantly boiling over furnaces heated by wood fires. The process of making salt went on day and night. Two crews of negroes, impressed by the government for the business, worked alternately. Negroes cut and hauled the wood for the furnaces.
Beaten biscuit only were found on the dining tables of the South. A table made from a heavy block of wood one and one-half by two feet, was made of hard wood, cedar preferred, and stood in every kitchen, covered by a clean cloth when not in use. Upon this block dough, made of flour, lard and salt, was laid and beaten by a pestle until light and flaky and then baked in large ovens before a broad fireplace in which logs of oak and hickory wood had been allowed to burn into hot coals. Soda biscuits were considered unhealthful but soda for other purposes was in demand. Soda made of the ashes of cobs, ash or hickory wood took the place of the imported article.
Flour, though not a necessary article of food in the South, supplied many luxuries for the tables. The dampness of the southern climate caused rust and blight in wheat and only a dark grade of flour could be made from it. The South had always imported its flour and only crude machinery was used by the grist mills to grind the native wheat. Those who were fortunate enough to procure a barrel before the southern ports were closed paid fifty and in some cases more than fifty dollars in Confederate money for it.
The South was indebted to the negro cooks for excellent corn bread, egg bread, waffles, muffins and corn lightbread and so suffered little by the blockade.
Molasses was easily substituted as sorgum and sugar cane grew well in the South; sorghum in the cooler climate and sugar cane in the Gulf states. A sorghum mill, crude but effectual, was put up on every large plantation. As long as there was money to buy or cotton could be exchanged for sugar, Arkansas was well supplied, but transportation toward the close of the war became difficult and unsafe and those who had not been fortunate enough to supply themselves used molasses made of the sorghum cane in its stead. Fruit was preserved in molasses.
A good substitute for the imported starch was made from wheat. The wheat was soaked in water until it was soft and then rubbed between the hands until the starch was washed out of it. The water was then strained and allowed to settle. All the starch would settle to the bottom of the vessel where it formed a white cake. The water was then drained off and the starch spread out to sun on white cloth. It dried into hard lumps and was put up for use.
Buttons were made of bone, horn and gutta-percha. Old combs furnished the latter material. Pieces of gourd were covered with the material of which the dress was made and formed a trimming for the homespun dresses. Buckles and hair pins were made of horn and buckles for trimming hats were made of shells and were beautiful. The young Southern soldier spent many pleasant hours making gutta-percha rings for “The Girl I Left Behind Me.” Silver and gold sets in the shape of hearts and clasped hands were inserted in the black material and were more appreciated by the recipient than the diamond she already wore.
Needles were scarce and a woman who had all the numbers was to be envied and was often called upon to loan. If a needle was misplaced the whole family joined in the search for it. A coarse needle for sewing homemade carpets and other heavy sewing was made form knitting needles or of umbrella ribs of which there seemed to be a good supply. Hair pins were made by bending knitting needles.
Calico, when it could be bought at all, cost one dollar a yard in gold or silver. A pink and blue linen brought from Texas in 1863, cost five dollars a yard in Confederate money. Sea Island cotton was cultivated for the finer quality of homespun cloth. The cotton was picked from the seeds to insure a long fiber so necessary for the find cloth and sewing thread. One girl made her bridal trousseau of the finest of white homespun n which to marry her soldier sweetheart when he should come home on a furlough. Homespun thread was used with which to embroider the dress.
Hosiery had been knit in the homes every since colonial days but these were of cotton or wool, lamb's wool being preferable for winter wear. Mr. Joe Key of Holly Springs, Dallas County, opened a carding factory, where those who wished could have the wool carded into long roils which spun much finer thread than roils made by hand cards. Mr. Key added a cleaning machine to his mill which removed all dirt, trash and burrs from the wool. He carded the wool on shares when the owner preferred and as he made both cotton and wool cloth to sell he also bought a great deal of wool. When wool hats became scarce, Mr. Key began the manufacture of cotton and wool hats for men. He made a few beaver fur hats but the price was so high for beaver hats that the sale was limited.
Cloth with cotton warp and wool filling, called linsey, was much used for the servant's winter clothing before the war, and was adopted by all classes during the last years of the war. It was usually much finer for the mistress than that worn by the maid. Blankets and gray colored counterpanes were made of wool dyed red, blue and green. Nearly every home in the Southland of the present day has beautiful specimens of this peculiar pattern.
Of all the lost luxuries none so worried the housekeeper as did the absence of coffee. Many substitutes were resorted to but none of these ever filled the place of the rich Java and Moccas that were considered a necessity. Rye, wheat and sliced sweet potatoes were toasted and a few grains of the carefully hoarded imported coffee were mixed with the substitute to give it just the taste of the real. House-keepers vied with each other in their effort to make the best substitute and deceive the guests into believing their cup of coffee was real.
The demand for paper far exceeded the supply and our mails brought newspapers printed on wall paper. Mr. James Skillern of Arkadelphia has a copy of a Richmond (Virginia) paper, printed on wall paper. This copy contains the account of the fall of Richmond and the last words on a partly blank column record the effort the proprietor and printers were making to escape. One more daring than the rest must have set up those words. The strangest part of it all though is that it reached the subscriber and though yellow with age is legible.
Ropes were made of homespun thread. Three windlasses were fastened through a board which was nailed to a tree. One windlass at a time was turned until the thread was twisted. Then all three being turned together made the rope, whose other end was fastened to a stake driven in the ground.
Home made blankets, suits of jeans, cotton or wool socks, shirts and underwear were ever kept ready to be sent to the loved ones at the front by some soldier who came home on a furlough or was nearly well enough of his wound to return to his command. Besides those for the loved ones clothing for others who might need them was sent whenever possible.
The woods were full of medicinal herbs but the form in which they were administered was a bitter dose for the poor sufferer. For instance chills were cured by drinking dogwood and poplar bark or peach and cherry bark teas. This tea was made by boiling the bark to a strong tea and administered in half tea cup doses. The medicine was very effective, but horrible bitter and more than took the place of quinine in taste.
Every plantation had its negro shoe maker but he only made shoes for the slaves. When fine shoes from northern factories were no longer procurable the shoe maker made his master's family's shoes of kid or goat skin. Calf skin was used for coarser shoes. There was such a great demand for well tanned leather that many conscienceless tanners sold hides from the vats that were only half tanned. When made into shoes they looked innocent enough but they were made for dry weather. If wetted they would stretch, but if allowed to dry while not in use, it was impossible to get them on again until they were soaked in water.
Palmetto swamps are found in many places in the South. There is one in Dallas County twelve miles from Arkadelphia. From the palmetto the ladies made themselves beautiful hats. The young palmetto was pulled out of the ground and in this state it was a cream color. It was then laid in the dew to bleach. When white as desired it was plaited in either plain or fancy plaits and sewed into any desirable shape. Threaded palmetto made the plumes and rosettes for the hats. Wheat and oat straw was made into hats where palmetto could not be procured. Straw was not as durable as palmetto, nor could it be bleached so white.
Ribbons disappeared entirely, but colored dress braids were plaited into rolls for the hair. Silk hair nets worn by school girls at the beginning of the war were replaced when worn by nets made of horse hair. White horse hair nets strung with pearls or white beads made a pretty net for wearing to receptions and concerts. Toilet soap was made of mutton suet and lye. Distilled rose water or sassafras perfumed the soap.
House-keepers of all times are fond of pretty table ware. White china with gold hands was much prized the first years of the war, but poor clumsy “Julie Ann” soon made these disappear and only substitute for broken china was ugly brown pottery. Pottery manufactures sprung up in every county from which crude brown ware was made. White clay was not so easily found as the brown, and war made from it was more costly. The pottery makers were not so fortunate as was Robinson Crusoe; they did not learn to glaze the ware as it is done now and the porous were required boiling in lye occasionally to keep it sweet and clean.
The knives and forks, like the china ware, gradually disappeared and the Arkansas traveler's outfit, “Big Butch, Little Butch and Old Cob Handles,” flanked the brown pottery dishes laid on bird's eye linen table cloths and happy was the house-keeper who had enough of these to go around. Many homes were robbed of all silver ware by the Federals on their raids through the State. Mrs. J. R. McDaniel was robbed of silver knives, forks, spoons and silver service upon which her monogram was carved. On the morning that General Steele entered Arkadelphia Federal soldiers went to her home, ransacked the house, taking everything they wanted and with other things this silver ware. What they did not want themselves they handed out to the negroes. This is one of many like instances in Clark County.
Beautifully woven white counterpanes took the place of the worn out Marseilles of ante-bellum days. Richly embroidered counterpanes, whose stitches are today copied on much of the drawn work, are still owned and valued highly by the possessors as relics of the handiwork of Southern women during the war.
Sperm and wax candles of northern manufacture soon gave out but there were still living many women whose mothers had lived through the trying days of the Revolution and had taught the daughters the art of candle making. Nearly every family possessed a set of candle molds with which tallow candles for kitchen use were made, but wax candles were imports. To supply the loss wax was bleached and colored or left white and molded for parlor or hall. The pure tallow candle was serviceable for winter use but for warm days wax must be melted with the tallow to make it firmer.
Rough looking hair brushes were made from hog bristles and while less elegant in appearance were more serviceable than many of the costly ones of today.
The finest dress material was made by picking old silk dresses to pieces and carding the fiber with cotton and spinning it into fine thread and weaving it into cloth. Black silk and cotton mixture made a beautiful gray material and very durable.
The old winding blades made the winder count every round of one hundred and forty four rounds of thread to the cut. This cut was tied and another begun and woe to the poor winder who forgot her count. Some inventor to whom a monument should be raised, invented a clock reel and all the winder had to do was to turn until the clock struck and she knew by that, that a cut was wound on the blades. Five cuts made a hank of thread and that these hanks be accurate was of importance to the warper who attempted to warp the thread to a certain number of yards and a given width.
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One of the pioneers of Clark County was William F. Browning. He came to Clark County in 1842 and settled in the northwestern part of the county where Amity now stands. He built a large double log house which is still standing and is what is known as the McFadden place.
When Mr. Browning built this home there were no neighbors near him and he had to send to Arkadelphia, a distance of thirty miles for his mail. Soon people from other states moved in and Mr. Browning established a private mail route from his home to Arkadelphia. He sent one of his negroes or his son to Arkadelphia once a week for the mail, bringing the mail of all the neighbors without charge. He called his end of the line Amity and the town which has grown up there still goes by that name. A few years after the first mail line was established a Mr. Browning's home a neighborhood of settlers bought lands between Arkadelphia and Mr. Browning's. He had his negro carrier or his son to take up the mail at that place and soon gave it the name of Alpine, by which name it is still known. No charge was made by Mr. Browning for delivering or taking up the Alpine mail. Here in the wilds of a new country is found an incident which shows what neighborly kindness meant in the settling of this county. Those who had the means helped those less fortunate than themselves and a friendship and hospitality grew up among the citizens who laid the foundation of Clark County.
At Amity Mr. Browning built a church for the Baptist denomination and when he died in 1854 he was buried near this church, the ruins of whose foundation are still to be seen.
Mr. Browning was at one time surveyor for the county and the prettiest residence portion of Arkadelphia is in the Browning addition.
In 1833 Michael Bozeman came to Clark County and built a double hewn log house eight miles west of Arkadelphia. This house is still in good state of preservation and is occupied by tenants of the plantation. In 1845 Mr. Bozeman built a two story frame building which is now occupied by his grandchildren. He was one of the leading citizens of Clark County and served the county in the legislature of 1858. He was a man of great benevolence, noted for his hospitality and a pioneer of great value of the new county.
One of the pioneers of Clark County was Lewis Randolph, secretary of the Territory under President Jackson. Lewis Randolph came to Clark County in 1835 and, purchasing a tract of land of the Terre Noir, ten miles west of Arkadelphia, built a typical “Arkansaw” log house, brought his wife, who was Bettie Martin of the White House, and lived in the wilds of Clark County for two years. In 1837 he died and was buried near his home at a church supposed to be the one built by Mary Dickson on the first tract of land sold in the county of Clark in 1820. The church was called Mount Pisgah. None of the old graves is marked.
The old home of Judge William A. Callaway stands on a prominent street in Arkadelphia. It is a five room frame building of early architecture. Judge William A. Callaway, son of John and Amy Callaway, was born three miles northwest of Arkadelphia in 1824. Judge Callaway's parents were among the pioneers who came from Missouri in 1816. John Callaway represented Clark County in the territorial legislature of 1825 and for intelligence and sterling worth Clark County never had a better representative. Judge Callaway's grandmother was Gemima Boone, daughter of Daniel Boone, who became the wife of her rescuer, Flanders Callaway who, with her father, rescued Gemima and her sister from the Indians in Kentucky while Boone made that State his hunting ground. It was in honor of Flanders Callaway that Calloway County, Kentucky, and Callaway County, Missouri, were named. William A. Callaway was one of Clark County's noblest citizens and was honored by his county with many positions of honor and trust and at his death in 106 he had been county and probate judge for several years. His wife, who was Emily Bevel of Athens, Alabama, deserves mention for her many acts of charity and kindness to early steelers. The children of Judge Callaway, among whom are Judge Joseph Callaway and ex-County Clerk Thomas Callaway, are honored citizens.
Callaway Hotel, the first hotel in Arkadelphia, was built in 1824. In 1845 Solomon Spence bought the hotel and until it was burned in 1878, it was the only hotel in the place.
The first surveyor, Dr. Haddock, born 1798, came to Arkadelphia and his first work was on the plantation of Jacob Barkman. He was the first surveyor for Clark County and laid off Arkadelphia into blocks which are known as the Haddock Survey of the town of Arkadelphia. He was a most eccentric man, educated but lacking in refinement. He seldom slept in the same house two nights in succession. It is said of him that he never spent a cent for board, but “sponged” upon the hospital people, eating at every man's table and finding an occasional bed if the weather was inclement, but otherwise sleeping in the forest which surrounded the town. He was accused of burying his gold in the forests, for he kept only gold. He was thought by many to be poor, but after the Civil War he dug up his gold and went with a friend to the new gold mine in Colorado. The first night of his arrival the hotel at which he was stopping burned. He perished in the flames, though a friend with him escaped.
Whipping Post.—An old court record at the court house in Arkadelphia gives an account of a whipping post and the names of some of the victims and the verdict to the sheriff “That the offender be given thirty-five lashes well laid on.”
A Notable Case.—Captain Polleys was duly elected mayor of Arkadelphia in 1868 and in August, 1869, Henry Timmons, a carpet-bagger, demanded of Mayor Polleys the “books, papers and things” belonging to said city, without giving any authority for such a demand, only an order from Powell Clayton to remove Polleys and instate Timmons. Upon Polleys refusing to vacate a quo warranto was served on him. Governor Harris Flanagin and Major Witherspoon defended Polleys. The case was decided in favor of Polleys.
In 1869, at the first session of the court after the election of directors, the board which had been elected by the citizens of Arkadelphia according to law, recommended the levying of a tax of one per cent for school purposes. The new board voted for by negroes from all over Clark County and some from Louisiana, recommended that a three per cent, tax be levied and the carpet bag court adopted the three per cent.
At the next session of the court, then composed of different members, it levied a one and one-half per cent tax. The circuit court began proceedings at once and a writ of mandamus was secured from Little Rock citing the members of the county court to appear before the adjourned term of the circuit court to show cause why they did not levy the three per cent school tax.
William F. Browning was the first settler at what is now Amity, Clark County. He was the first merchant and from this store he delivered the mail brought from Arkadelphia by his son or one of his negroes. This was then a wild country with deer, wolves, bear, and other wild animals in abundance and they were quite tame. The old inhabitants tell of going to school when they were children, and having to wait until the herds of deer crossed the road before they could pass. Hunting deer was the favorite sport of the hunters in those days. Mr. Browning’s farm was on the Caddo River and he named the place Amity because of the significant meaning of the word. Brother Browning, for such he was called, was a man noted for his piety and goodness. Afterwards the post office was moved nearer the present site of Amity. Mr. Browning died in 1853 and Colonel Philander Curtis succeeded him as postmaster and served until after the war. The people of this sparsely settled country would come many miles to get their mail at this office.
Before there was a postoffice anywhere in this country, there was a school. As early as 1845, Dr. A. B. Clingman built the finest school house in all this country, and furnished it with the best seats to be had. The house was built of logs. The seats were logs split in halves with holes near each end in which pegs were driven for supports. The pupils had no desks but kept their books either upon the floor or on their seats. This building was near the present site of Amity. Remains of that building are still to be seen.
Captain Robert Burke was the first teacher. He was well known as a hunter and surveyor. The school interest was maintained until the distant rumbling of the great war distracted the minds of the people. Schools were forgotten and interest in them was not revived until 1870. Then followed several teachers, some of whom have become prominent educators of the State. Among these were R. M. Traylor, D. T. Holmes, Prof. Amis, R. H. Parham, Clarke Baker and Prof. Burke. Prof. Burke built up a noted school. It had the reputation of being “The best school in all the land.” Prof. Burke died in 1883, and again the school interest waned under the management of different teachers.
In the spring of 1891, the citizens became aroused to the importance of education. They saw that the many children of Amity and surrounding country could not be educated unless a school was maintained at home. They effected a permanent organization to be known as the Amity school board. This name was changed to board of trustees after the school was incorporated in 1895. Prof. Samuel Samson, a graduate of the University of Colorado, who afterwards pursued post graduate work in Harvard University, was chosen the first principal of this school. Under his management the school opened October 19, 1891, with an enrollment of thirty-five pupils. Its graduates have attended the University of Arkansas and various colleges of the State.
Charles A. Keith, 1905, won the Rhodes’ scholarship to Oxford University, Maurice Williams, 1908, was awarded the scholarship offered by the Arkansas Federation of Woman’s Clubs, to the University of Arkansas. He is the first to be given a scholarship of any kind in this institution.
The Amity High School has three departments, literary, music, and elocution and reading.
The high school department enrolled for the session of 1907-8 one hundred and twelve pupils, the music department thirty-seven students, while the elocution and reading department enrolled forty students, the grammar grades, two hundred and twenty-five. The number of boarding pupils averages about one hundred each year. Board is ten dollars per month. For many years Amity has been noted for its morals and Christian influences. The educational interest has always been good. Amity, following the example of the New England colonies, made her first public building a school house and often the preacher was the teacher.
ARCHAEOLOGY.---This part of Clark County is rich in archaeological remains. The relics of the ancient Mound Builders are scattered along either side of the Caddo River. Arrow heads, tomahawks, pottery, pipes, and many other relics for which there is no name, are found in abundance.
“On opening of several mounds. I found basins that were used for cooking purposes. These basins were about two feet long, one foot and a half wide and five inches deep. It seems that a hole of the desired size and shape had been made in the ground in which prepared material was placed and molded. The sides and ends of these cooking basins flared uniformly. They are very hard and the surface is smooth. Being built in the ground it is impossible to remove one without breaking it into small pieces; hence I have never been able to add one to my collection.
“They bear evidence of great heat. Sometimes the ground is burned for twenty inches beneath the bottom on the basin. In one instance the bottom of the basin was covered with a black, oily substance about half an inch thick. Thinking that it might be greased, I applied a match to a small portion which soon gave off a strong odor of burning grease. This simple test seemed to unite the distant past with the present.”
There appears to be two classes of these mounds; viz: mounds in which the people lived (living mounds) and mounds used for furnaces (burning pottery, pipes). Nearly all the mounds I have excavated were living mounds. These mounds are simple in structure. They are usually built a few feet beneath the surface and corner posts were fixed to which poles were fastened by bark or leather thongs. The roof consisted of poles covered with boughs over which was thrown sage grass and then large quantities of earth. The wood, though in its original position, had distilled to charcoal.
The grain shows the wood to be pine. The floors were unusually level and smooth, and sometimes they were covered with a bluish white sand, none of which is found in this county at present.
The other class of mounds present an entirely different aspect. On opening one of these last, you are impressed with the evidence of intense heat. I will give a brief description of one I excavated;
It was a mound of medium size. The soil had washed off until a roof of a hard black substance showed. Beginning on the north side of the mound was made, and it proved to be a furnace. Three arches and the structure of the mound were exposed.
The arches were about three feet at the base and thirty inches high separated by a wall eighteen inches high. I did not dig out the arch to see how long it was, but judge it to be about ten feet.
The arches were filled with the same material of which the pottery was made. The material in the arches appeared to have been packed solidly when soft, then burnt. There does not appear to be any reason why these arches were filled and burnt in this manner. These arches still exist in a well-defined state of preservation. If they were not used to make pottery for what were they used? There are two kinds of substances from which the pottery was made, viz: A light brick red clay and a nearly black clay. To all appearances these clays are alike except in color or shade. It appears to be pure clay.
The structure of this mound is very interesting. Over the three arches was a large arch extending across the mound. The large arch was about ten inches thick, made of the same red material found in two of the smaller arches. On top of this large arch was a layer of soil, followed by another larch arch, not so thick as the former and made of the black material, another layer of soil, and another arch of red material, and so on.
The layers of earth and the arches decrease in thickness until the top arch was not more than one inch in thickness. These arches were hard and smooth. The thickness of each arch and the distance between them were as near the same as the unaided eye could tell. Many fragments of pottery were found in the debris in front of the arches. Pipes were numerous.
In the mound described above there was found more than a dozen pipes, made chiefly of the same material as the pottery. Pipes have been found in these mounds that appear to have been made from a hard, gray, fine grained sand-stone. The Mound Builders must have been inveterate smokers.
A farmer on the Caddo River desired to make a storm house and began excavating on the top of a mound. After digging down two feet he found a skeleton, at the head and feet of which was placed a basin, and along the sides of the body were found different kinds of pottery. Five of these skeletons were found in this mound, each buried above the other with pottery arranged in a similar manner around each skeleton. The farmer took out more than a hundred jugs, pots, and jars. This pottery was perfect in symmetry, and also decorated with some attempt at the artistic. Sometimes the decoration would be merely plain bands, while on other pieces it would be criss-cross work or a wreath representing some flower. The decoration was cut in the vessel before being burned and is in no way defaced. They made no effort to use paints or stains on this pottery. I have three of these pieces of pottery.
The regularity with which the mounds were arranged, the perfect symmetry of the pottery and the implements, show a correct idea of form and a love of beauty. Something more than a savage intelligence directed their work. It is more than possible that the Mound Builders were a remnant of a once highly civilized race of people who lost their civilization through conditions under which they were forced to live.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.---Mrs. Jane P. Jones was born on the Caddo River in 1837. Her ancestors came from Germany to North Carolina. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. B. Clingman, moved from Tennessee to Arkansas in 1835. She married Dr. Alfred Jones on Sunday, January 1, 1854. Mrs. Jones has lived a long life of usefulness. She reared a large family and several of her grandchildren have distinguished themselves in various professions.
Isaac Newton Runyan was born in Alabama, March 9, 1838, and came to Arkansas with his parents in the fall of 1856, moved to Amity, 1870. He served through the Civil War in the first Arkansas cavalry, under Colonel j. C. Monroe, in General Cabell’s brigade. He participated in the battles of Prairie Grove and Cane Hill and followed Price on his raid through Missouri. Mr. Runyan’s greatest service to his country has been rendered by his loyalty as a citizen. His high sense of justice and his love of peace gained for him the attention and respect of all who know him. He has lived a long life of usefulness and as treasurer of Clark County made many friends.
Captain Robert S. Burke was born in 1842. He was captain of a company for four years in the Confederate army. He was captain of a company for four years in the Confederate army. He assisted the government in sectionizing the land of Pike, Montgomery, Hot Springs counties and a portion of Clark County. He taught the first school in Amity, 1845. Captain Burke’s life was long and useful. He enjoyed the personal friendship of General Albert Pike.
John H. Jones was born in 1833, and came to Arkansas in 1845 with his parents from Mississippi. He served in the Confederate army in the first Arkansas cavalry under Colonel J. C. Monroe, in General Cabell’s brigade. He was in the battle of Jenkins’ Ferry. He was a useful citizen.
Dr. John F. Biggs was born in 1832. His father, Dr. A. Biggs was a prominent physician and minister. Dr. Biggs came to Arkansas in 1850 from Tennessee. He was a graduate of the Botanical College, Memphis, Tennessee, and of Electric Institute, Cincinnati, Ohio. He taught in the government schools of Coffee, Indian Territory. He represented Clark County in the legislature in 1866, 1881 and 1185. He was a deep thinker, and a profound reasoned. He delivered many lectures on theological subjects. He devoted forty years of his life to administering to the suffering. He died at Center Point in 1892.
Amity, as many country villages, has sent forth many men and women of strong character. Most of her young people have entered either the ministry, teaching profession, farming or medical profession. Only four have become lawyers. Some of the best families of the colonial period helped to settle this section of the State. They brought with them splendid ideas of culture, school, church, law and order. The character of these early settlers has been stamped upon every institution in the community, and the schools and churches and the high standard of manhood and womanhood still continue to speak of these worthy pioneers.
The first owner of the lands on which Bierne now stands was Mr. Tate. He was a farmer and cultivated these lands. When the Iron Mountain Railroad was completed to this place, a townsite was laid off and named for Mr. Gordan, one of the railroad officials. Soon after this it was ascertained that there was another Gordan in the State and the name was changed to Gurdon and the site was changed to where that town now stands. The railroad was built in 1875.
The first school house in Gurdon was what is now the Christian Church and the first teachers were Mr. Ithey Nash and Mr. Fairborne.
There was a grist mill owned and operated by a negro named Robert Smith over forty years ago. It stood where Mr. Failing’s residence now stands. Rev. Mr. Wililams was among the first Baptist ministers.
Rev Sandy Winfield was the first Methodist minister and the Presbyterian church was organized in the school house by Rev. J. C. Williams. The Methodists built the first church house in Gurdon and later the Baptists built a church and the Christian membership bough the old school house.
The first store was kept by Mr. William McLeland, then followed the Normans, Keys and Halls as merchants.
The only event of special interest to occur at Gurdon is that when the outlaws, the James boys, were hard pressed by the officers they buried their stolen treasures on a lot upon which a house was afterwards built by Mr. Talley but is now owned by Dr. Cuffman. It is said that parties have dug up gold coins on that lot.
SOURCES.—The author is under obligations to many old citizens of the county for reminiscences. She mentions, in particular, Mr. Thomas Peterson and Mrs. Paisley of Gurdon, Prof. Samuel Samson of Amity, and Mrs. E. S. Horton, Mrs. Austin Crow and Mr. James Skillern of Arkadelphia.
[Source for Transcription: Publications of The Arkansas Historical Association, Edited by John Hugh Reynolds; Vol. 2 (1908); transcribed by Renae Donaldson]
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