HISTORY OF TOWNS
IN
GREENE COUNTY , ARKANSAS


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PARAGOULD , GREENE COUNTY , ARKANSAS - Source : St. Louis Republic Feb. 3, 1897

Greene County a Sample of Arkansas Counties After Transportation Facilities are Secured .

Increased Nearly Three Times in Population in Twelve Years .

Crowley's Plateau and the Cleared Bottom Lands the Most Prolific for Anything in the World .

Paragould , Not Fourteen Years Old , Is a Great Commercial Center . 

Paragould , Ark. Jan . 22 - Prior to 1882 there were no railroads in Greene County except the main line of the Iron Mountain which runs through the extreme northwestern corner . In that year , the Cotton Belt , which runs in a northwesterly direction through the eastern portion of this county , and the Helena branch of the Iron Mountain , which runs paraliel with the Cotton Belt as far as Paragould and then northwest to it connecting point with the main line , were completed The Cache Valley Railroad was constructed in 1890 from Sedgwick in the souhwestern corner of the county , on the Kansas City , Fort Scott and Memphis line , to Crowley , near the center of the county . Prior to 1882 , the population of the county did not exceed 7,500 and the largest town Gainesville , had only about 230 people . The means of transportation as seen , being so limited , outsiders had no way of learning anything of the resources of this section except by an arduous oberland journey through a sparsely settled country . If the increase in population of 73 percent which is the largest enjoyed by any county in the State , with a single exception , between 1880 and 1890 , is an indication , Greene County must have attracted considerable attention . Each year brings in more immigrants than the preceding one and the percentage of increase since 1890 has continually grown until now the population is estimated at 17,000 of which it may be added only about 200 are negroes . These immigrants come from all sections but of late principally from Illinois , where the people are realizing that they can get as good lands here as they have in Illinois and at about one-seventh of what Illinois land is held at. Not only is it so much cheaper but there is an assurance of a growing increase in value as the country settles up . An evidence of the natural wealth of the county is the growth of its towns , the chief of which , now has a population of 3,500 and was born only 14 years ago . The cultivated area is at present less than 50,000 acres and there are 378,240 acres in the county. Of this vast area but little , even in the extreme eastern portion along the St. Francis River , is not susceptible to drainage and cultivation . Imagine the effect on the growth of towns of having a family on every 50 acres of this uncultivated land . The farms of the county at present do not average 50 acres and 50 acres is ample for the needs of the farmer of this section . The eastern third of the county in level , flat bottoms , but not subject to overflows when it has been cleared . it was for the purpose of developing this section that the Paragould Southeastern Railway Company was organized by Messrs Bertig Bros and W. C. Hasty , its projectors . The road was completed two years ago to its present terminus , Cardwell , Mo 13 miles east of Paragould.

Yesterday , in company with the vice president , A. Bertig and F.S. Yantis auditor , your correspondents made the trip over the entire line , which has three stations - Bard , Bertig and Cardwell . At Bard there is a shingle mill and a saw mill at Bertig a saw mill. These mills are already furninshing considerable traffic for the road.

At Bertig , too , one the Arkansas side of the St. Francis River is the Buffalo Island Fishing Club , which has been formed by a few gentlemen who have visited this section and felt the magnet to influence of fish on the end of a line. The club quarters comfortably arranged to accommadate 25 people and is equipped with all the necessaties in the way of rods , boats , etc.. Bagwell's Lake a famous fishing point and noted hunting grounds , are conventiently near and of easy access. The officers of the club are : C. S. Wheler , president , A. L. Bergfeld , vice president . John H. Holmes , secretary , Steve Virgilio , manager . Visitors , whether members or not , are accommodated by this club. 

Just across the St. Francis River , on the Missouri side , the famous Knobel Club of St. Louis has its quarters , which are comfortably and well arranged but not so prententious as the old clubhouse , which was destroyed by fire some time since. The Knobel Club embraces all the famous sportsmen of St. Louis in its membership . They could not find a point that affords a greater variety of game or a greater abundance . In the fields and woods are found deer , turkey and quail and the river and lakes abounds with game fish . This locality is a veritable hunter's paradise.
Two and one-half miles east of Bertig , in Missouri , is Cardwell , the road's terminus Eighteen months ago the ground on which Cardwell is located , which belongs to Bertig Bros. and the surrounding country was covered with a heavy growth of timber , with a few small farms at wide intervals Cardwell is now an incorporated , growing city of 500 population with a magnificent back country to contribute to its growth . There is every indication of activity there and some of the stores carry immense stocks.

Since the advent of the road many valuable farms have been cleared along it line. The soil of this section of the country is of a rich black sandy loom and many farms were seen that produces more than a bale of cotton and 50 to 75 bushels of corn to the acre.

The heavy growth of oak , cypress , hickory and gum timber make the stations along the road desirable points for the location of plants for the manufacture of timber products.

HEALTH , CLIMATE AND PURE WATER

Between the bottom lands of the St. Francis River , which forms the dividing line between Greene County and Missouri on the east , and the flat lands of the Cache River in the western section , is Crowley's Ridge , which as has been explained in articles published from counties south of here , is an elevated string of land 4 to 14 miles in width . While the bottom lands on either side of the ridge are more productive , this is the most populous and oldest settled section of the county. This is due to the elevation and natural drainage facilities . The newcomers , however are for the most part selecting the more feritle lands of the east and west sections. 

In and around Paragould on the ridge are deposits of valuable clays , suitable for the manufacture of tiling pipe and pottery.

No concern need be felt by the immigrant on acount of water , there are many fine springs along the ridge and water can be found at any point within 20 to 50 feet of the surface. In the bottoms there is a bed of white sand within 15 or 20 feet of the surface and by diving a pipe down to it the purest water is obtained. The health of all parts of the country will compare favorably with that of any section.

The county has about 70 school districts , many of which have two schoolhouses and it is well known that the public school system of Arkansas is excelled in only two or three States in the Union. There are 45 churches in the county , representing seven different denominations.

The climate of this section is delightful in winter and not so warm as further north in summer. Nobody ever heard of a sunstroke in Northeastern Arkansas.

The soil , while corn ant cotton form the chief crops will produce anything . Since the erection of a flouring mill at Paragould a greater acreage of wheat is being put in and raised with success . Cotton , corn , wheat , oats , potatoes , grasses of every variety , melons and all fruits produce luxuriously There are farms in the county which average a bale of cotton per acre and 50 bushels of corn , per acre is frequent.

Lands are cheap improved land selling for $4 to $50 and unimproved land at $2.50 to $10 . The far greater part is unimproved timber land and the immigrant or invester can find no more profitable field anywhere.

The county officers are : County and Probate judge , S.r. Willcockson , Circuit Court and Probate Clerk and Recorder G. O. Light , Sheriff and Collector of Revenue , John R. Thompson , Tax Assessor , J.O. Faulkner , Treasurer , John Rossen , Surveyor , W.T. Crowley , Coroner , Dee McHaney .

PARAGOULD'S GROWING PROSPERITY

Paragould had its birth in the latter part of 1882 when the Cotton Belt system and Helena branch of the Iron mountain were completed to this point . The name , Paragould is an appropriate combination of the names of the (then) presidents of the respective lines. Messrs Paramore and Gould .

The location on an elevated point of Crowley's Ridge , affords natural drainage , which keeps the streets dry and clean and the atmosphere pure and healthy.

The Henry Wrape Co. incorporated in 1893 , and manufactured tight barrel staves and circled headings . The company has two separate plants here , one for manufactures of staves and the other for heading. They also have a branch stave factory at Jonesboro. The heading plant ships out a car load of headings per day . one hundred and fifty men are employed in the department . Their products are shipped all over the United States. The officers are Henry Wrape m St. Louis president , C. A, Raith , Secretary , W.J. Wrape , treasurer and manger Frank Wrape , cashier. Branch offices are maintained in St. Louis.

J. F. Hasty & Sons are manufaturers of all kinds of cooperage . The owners are J. F. and E. F. Hasty of Detroit , Mich and W. C. Hasty is the local manager . The plant was established here in 1890 and is valued at $15,000.

The products , consisting of staves and tight barrels shipped in the shook go to every part of the world . The barrel trade is principally with the Argentine Republic and the French and Spanish Indies , where they are used for alcohol , rum and molasses . The domestic trade is chiefly with California and New York . Fifty men are employed with a monthly pay roll of $2,000.

The Binkman Stave Company was established in 1888 . All kinds of bucked , sawed and jointed tight barrel staves are manufactured . The bulk of this product are sold to whisky dealers in Illinois and wine merchants in California. Employment is about 60 men who are paid $2,000 a month. The officers are J.F. Brinkman , president , Otto H. Brinkman , secretary , W.W. Wilson , treasurer .

All of the plants named are conventiently located and have switches from both the Cotton Belt and Iron Mountain railways .

The P. H. Hammond Planing Mill Company saw annually 800,000 feet of lumber and manufature cornice , ceiling , brackets , columns scroll work etc....

The McDonald Lumber Company , McDonald & Smith proprietors , operate a planing mill and manufacture doors , sash , blinds , moldings ,etc..

The Paragould Foundry and Machine Shop of which F.B. Simons is proprietor , employs four men and is well equipped for the rebuilding of engines , foundry and general repair work. 

The Paragould Roller Mill Company was organized in 1882 and the mill was erected at a cost of $16,000 . The mill has a full roller process and a daily capacity of 123 barrels of flour and 40 barrels of meal . Home grown wheat runs the mill about one half of the time and the rest shipped . The mill has encouraged the raising of wheat in this sections . Four men are employed . The officers of the company are T.H. Wyse , president , Bob Meriwether , vice president , P.E. House , secretary and treasurer.

W. H. Jones owns and operates a cotton gin , which turns out a 1,000 bales of cotton each session.

L. Sedman owns a similar plant which turns out 800 bales.

W.J. McDonald operates extensive brick yards near the city and makes superior quality brick . All of the brick used in the erection of the business blocks of the town were made in this vicinity.

Among the new industrial plants to be established here is a jug and pottery factory . A few miles from Paragould are inexhastible deposits of the finest clay , adapted to such purpose .

Paragould possesses a first class opera house with a seating capacity of 600 and furnished with opera chairs . The stage is 50 by 24 feet .

The Northeast Arkansas Fair Association is now in its third year of existence and so far has been marked success . Within the inclosure of 40 acres are a fine half -mile track , grand stand , judges stand and ample quarters for stock . The races especially , attract attention and last season in to the local racers , horses from Kentucky , Indiana , Illinois and Tennessee were entered . Twelve hundred dollars were given for races and $2,000 awarded in premiums last year . The officers of the association are Jeff Blaxk , president , John Romson , secretary and E. Loda , treasurer.

Two miles from Paragould is the famous Oak Grove Stock Farm , owned by Loda & Bro. where some of the best horses of the Southwest are bred and trained .

The county seat prior to 1886 was Gainesville , about 10 miles north of here . In 1884 however by a vote of the county it was changed to Paragould and in 1887 a handsome courthouse was erected .

There are three public school buildings two for white and one for colored pupils . The West Paragould School is a substantial brick building with enrollment of 350 and the average attendance of 280 . The principal is Prof. S.E.L. Brown , who is assisted by Miss Martha Bennett , J.E. Rogers , Miss Tomple Toland , Miss Delia Mack , Miss Sammie Courtney , Miss Carrie Conwell and Miss Bertha Armstrong in addition the the regular classes the high school course is given .

Prof J.H. Roberts is principal of the East Paragould School . His assistant is Miss Mattie Lytle . The enrollment here is 168 and the average attendance a 140 . The colored school has an enrollment of about 30 and is controlled by colored principal and teacher.

Paragould has two weekly newspapers both Democratic . The Press Democrat was established at Gainesville in 1878 and was moved here in 1882 . The present editors and publishers are G.T. Breckenridge and W. A. H. McDaniels .

The Solophone Events alo a consolidation of two papers was orinally established at Gainesville and moved here in 1890.

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GAINESVILLE - SOURCE : ARKANSAS GAZETTE -  JANUARY 11, 1876 

GAINESVILLE , GREENE COUNTY , ARKANSAS IS MAKING STEPS TO BUILD A SCHOOL HOUSE AND ORGANIZE A HIGH SCHOOL . A MOVE IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.

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GAINESVILLE WIPED OUT  - SOURCE : ST. LOUIS REPUBLIC MARCH 25 , 1892

THE LITTLE ARKANSAS TOWN SUFFERED A LOSS OF $35,000 BY FIRE YESTERDAY

PARAGOULD , ARK. , MARCH 24 , THE BUSINESS PORTION OF GAINESVILLE , THE OLD COUNTY SEAT OF THIS COUNTY , AND SEVEN MILES NORTH OF PARAGOULD , WAS DESTROYED BY FIRE THIS FORENOON . THE POPULATION OF THE TOWN IS 900 . THE FIRE ORIGINATED IN THE BACK ROOM OF THE POST OFFICE . MR. SNODGRASS , THE POSTMASTER , WENT IN BEFORE BREAKFAST , BUILT A FIRE AND RETURNED TO HIS RESIDENCE . SOON THE FLAMES WERE BURATING FROM HIS BUILDING. THE POST OFFICE FIXTURES , MAILS , LETTERS AND MONEY WERE BURNED. THE FIRE SPREAD NEXT TO THE HOTEL OF W.O. JONES , CONSUMING IT AND CONTENTS. THE FLAMES LEAPED ACROSS THE STREET AND LICKED UP THE ENTIRE OPPOSITE ROW. THE STOCK OF ED JACOBS , VALUED AT $10,000 , WAS TOTALLY DESTROYED. THE INSURANCE IS $5,000 . TEN STORES AND FIFTEEN STORE - HOUSES WERE CONSUMED.

 ONLY TWO BUSINESS HOUSES WERE SAVED , THE JACKSON DRY GOODS COMPANY AND FRANK STOCK ,THEIR STOCKS ONLY BEING CONSIDERABLY DAMAGED . SEVERAL OF THE HOUSES BURNED WERE OWNED BY CITIZENS OF PARAGOULD , TWO OF THEM BY OBAR & CO. OF ST. LOUIS . THE RESIDENCE OF MR. OTTO BOENER AND ITS CONTENTS WERE DESTROYED , WITH A LOSS OF $ 3,000 AND AN INSURANCE OF $1,000. THE TOTAL LOSS IS $35, 000 INSURANCE $11, 000 . THE SMALL MERCHANTS HAD NO INSURANCE AND ARE RUINED.
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