Source - Pioneers and Makers of Arkansas


Lawrence County was established by the Missouri territorial legislature on January 15, 1815, being cut off from Arkansas County, and was then inhabited by several hundred progressive Americans. The earliest settlement dates back to 1804, at the mouth of Poke bayou, a settlement, however, which affected no one save the solitary man who made it. In 1811, and from that on to 1815, when the county of Lawrence was created, a stream of immigrants poured in from Missouri. The earliest settlers were Louis De Mun, William Robinson, William Hix, Sr., Solomon Hewitt, Andrew Criswell, James M. Kuykendall, Isaac Kelley, Charles Kelley and Morris Moore. In 1817 James Campbell was sheriff and Richard Searcy clerk. At Eleven Points in the same county were William Looney, William Meredith, Massack H. Jones, John Miller and James Hadlock.

At Davidsonville were Polly Taylor, James Taylor, William Cox, Jason Chamberlain, Staples Chamberlain, Stephen Chamberlain, John Lewis, Sr., John Lewis, Jr., Jacob Garrett and Benjamin A. Porter. In March, 1821, Rueben Lewis made an addition to the town of Davidsonville and dedicated five per cent, of the proceeds of the lot sale to the erection of a church, besides giving a lot for the same, and an acre of ground for a cemetery. He who imagines that the art of promoting was born in our day is mistaken. These advertisements also show that schools and churches were looked upon then as the chief additions to a town, and label these backwoods promoters as being, in progressiveness, energy and advanced spirit, every whit as good as any of their followers.

In Spring River township, were Thomas Black, Joseph Hardin, Jacob Hardin and William McAdoe. In Union township John Wells, William Fugett, Henry C. Wells, Jonas Austin and William Jones, a justice of the peace. On Strawberry L. Richie, George Bradley, Mr. Bayliss, James Allen, Napoleon B. Ferguson, James Ferguson, the Revolutionary soldier, Archibald Hodge and John P. Maxwell.


Old age is honorable. Gray hairs are an honor to any life and a crown of glory to a well-spent life. I have never seen a healthful man that wanted to die, and down deep in every heart is the hope that he may live a long and happy life. The desire to live long is universal and when one finds a number of gray heads in a community the inference is either that they have lived most careful lives or that the locality contains elements conducive to longevity. What shall we say of Lawrence County in early days? In 1830 a census was taken, which showed some remarkable instances of long life. The rules of the United States Census Bureau in 1830, although not so systematic as today, required nevertheless that the ages should be classified. Between sixty and seventy years of age at the date of the enumeration were the following Lawrence County pioneers: William Hix, Sr., Henry Murrey, Arthur Murphy, Colonel Stephen Byrd, Thomas Lewis, John Pierce, Mary Welch, Mrs. Nathaniel McCarroll, Ananias Erwin, William McKnight, Isaac Flaery and James Davis.

Between seventy and eighty years: Nathan Luttrell, Sr., James Boyd, Mrs. Wayland, Peter Taylor, James S. Wortenberry, Daniel Williams, Martin Van Zant and Mrs. Joseph Killett.

Eighty years and upward: John Shaver.

Twenty-one persons were in Lawrence County sixty years of age and upward in 1830. One of the Lewises, thought to be Henry, lived to be one hundred and eight years of age, and John Gould Fletcher, the ancestor of the great Fletcher family of the State, died in 1825 in Lawrence County, an octogenarian. His wife, who was a Lewis, lived also beyond her eightieth year. Nor were large families exceptional. The family of W. B. R. Horner consisted of thirteen white persons and seven slaves. Joseph Martin of Crawford County died March 24, 1841, at the age of sixty-nine having served in two wars, leaving his wife, seventeen children and no slaves, to mourn his irreparable loss. He was born in Albemarle County, Virginia, and lived a strenuous life. In December, 1828, a woman in Clark County gave birth to five living children, three of whom, with the mother, survived the catastrophe and lived to tell the story. James M. Kuykendall died in Lawrence County February 15, 1836, at the age of fifty-four years, twenty-one years of which were passed on Arkansas soil. He came from Kentucky along with the Hardins and served in the Fourth territorial legislature. He was a man of large stature and afraid of no living being. In 1825 he was elected sheriff, succeeding Joe Hardin, and was elected for six successive terms thereafter, dying in office. No other man in Lawrence County has ever held office as long as Colonel James M. Kuykendall.

Friday, September 28, 1883 : Arkansas Gazette
County of Lawrence is one of the best grain and cotton in the state. Most of the land is what is known as high bottom land. Some of it is very rich and produces well. Two bales of cotton the the acre have been produced on the strictly bottom land and it will average from three fourths to two bales per acre. Corn will yield an average of from forty to sixty bushels per acre, oats fifty to seventy-five and wheat fifteen to twenty-five . Two hundred bushels of Irish potatoes can be raised to, while onions weighing a pound are frequent.