Goodspeed's History of Benton County, pp. 20-34


The First. -- While it is not positively known, it is believed that Adam Batie, who settled on the prairie that now bears his name, near the present site of Maysville, was the first settler in Benton County. The date of his settlement has not been ascertained, but it is presumed to have been prior to the year 1830. Batie Prairie and the creek that flows from it are both named in honor to this early and first settler. In 1830 John McPhail and his father settled on that prairie. Soon thereafter Martin Mays settled on the present town site of Maysville, and William Bird Keith settled near by. The above named five persons were the only residents on Batie Prairie in 1838. Soon thereafter Judge English, Robert Cooper, Lemuel Tynnon and several other followed, until the whole of the prairie was occupied.

One of the first settlers of the county was William Reddick, who settled early in the thirties or late in the twenties at the place since known as Elkhorn. He and his son-in-law, Samuel Burks, also an early settler, came from Illinois. Reddick was a politician and a prominent citizen. For many years he controlled the politics of the Sugar Creek settlement, and that settlement usually controlled the politics of the county. Jacob Roller, from Hawkins County, Tenn., settled where his son William now lives, on Roller's Ridge. This ridge lies northeast of Garfield, and is about four miles long, east and west. It is so called by reason of Roller's settlement thereon. Two improvements had been made on this ridge prior to Roller's settlement, one on the east and one of the west end. Mr. Roller erected and for a number of years kept a whisky distillery where he settled. He was thrice married and had twenty-four children. His third wife, who survived him is still living. There were other settlers in that neighborhood by the name of Roller. James Jackson, from Overton County, Tenn., settled near the site of Garfield in 1829. Daniel Ash was a very early settler near the State line north of Garfield, and 1849 Jacob R. Forgery, from Scott County, Va., settled in the same neighborhood. The Pascals were early settlers in the country southeast of the site of Garfield. Before the organization of the county Henning Pace, from Tennessee, the father of the first sheriff of the county, settled on Sugar Creek, a few miles north of Bentonville, and one or two of his sons settled lower down on the same creek. Chris. C. Pace, who is still living at a very advanced age, settled south of Bentonville. Henry Ford, and other Fords, were also among the early settlers on Sugar Creek.

Others. -- Three miles east of Bentonville was the Woods' Settlement, where Samuel and William Woods, of Tennessee, located. They both raised large families, and lived there until their deaths. George P. Wallace, at whose house the county was organized, settled one mile and a half east of Bentonville. He was a large and powerful man, being nearly seven feet in height, and had several sons who were his equal in stature. He subsequently sold his first improvement and moved to another place in the county, a few miles further north. It is said that when he wanted to raise a house he did not invite his neighbors to assist, for he and his stalwart sons were always equal to the task. John B. Dickson, the first clerk of the county, settled on what is now Deming's Addition to the town of Bentonville. He subsequently settled at Osage Springs, where Ezekiel Dickson now lives, and afterward moved to Texas, where he died. He came to this county from Bedford County, Tenn. James Jackson and his sons, and Samuel Williams, his father-in-law, settled one mile west of Bentonville, and the locality was afterwards known as the "Jackson and Williams Settlement." Robert Dickson and his son Joseph settled one-half mile west of Bentonville, and Uncle Ezekiel Dickson, a brother to Robert, settled about eight miles west from Bentonville. The Dicksons all came from Bedford County, Tenn. James, Joseph and David McKissick settled from five to eight miles west of Bentonville, and Edward Cunningham settled at the Cunningham Springs, about six miles from Bentonville. About a mile south of these springs William Pelham settled. He subsequently became surveyor-general of the State. He was a brother-in-law of ex-Gov. Conway. Rev. James Harris, a Cumberland Presbyterian minister, and probably the first preacher in the county, settled about three-fourths of a mile west of Bentonville.  In 1836 Col. Hugh A. Anderson brought his family from Kentucky, and settled where his son Oliver I. Anderson now resides, nine miles south-west of Bentonville. A large spring, heretofore mentioned, is at this place, and Col. Anderson used to keep a deer park so enclosed that the deer had access to the spring branch.

Phineas Holmes settled about five miles southwest of Bentonville, and John Kinchelve settled near the same place on Osage Creek. The latter took an active part in the organization of the county, and was for many years a justice of the peace for his township. A few miles southeast of Bentonville was the Graham settlement, where George and Joseph Graham located with their families. An early settler, still surviving, says "there were a host of the Grahams." Robert and James Cowan settled about eight miles south of Bentonville. A brother-in-law of the Cowans, by the name of Colville, settled in the same locality. Colville Township derives its name from the latter. Colville went to California in 1850, and on one occasion he left the camp of himself and comrades and went out prospecting, and was never afterward heard from. Robert Hubbard, the first representative of Benton County in the State Legislature, settled near the Cowans, and Benjamin and Jefferson Hubbard settled lower down on the Osage. The Maxwells also settled in the Cowan neighborhood. Isaac Horton, from Tennessee, settled near the site of Lowell, in 1830. All of the foregoing named individuals, whose date of settlement is not mentioned, were living at the places mentioned in 1838, when Judge Alfred B. Greenwood came from Georgia and settled in Bentonville. Many of them had settled several years prior to that time.

In 1833 Felix G. Lindsey came from Kentucky and settled about three miles west of Sulphur Springs. In 1835 Christopher C. Pace and his son J. H. Pace, also from Tennessee, settled about six miles east of Maysville. In 1840 Solomon Phillips and his son Pleasant, from Tennessee, settled about one and a half miles north of Maysville. Among the first children born in Benton County were John and Elijah Keith, who were born about three miles southeast of Maysville, the former in 1834 and the latter in 1836.  Among the later settlers near Maysville was A. T. Hedges, from Indiana, who located one and half miles southeast of that place in 1844. Henry R. Austin and his mother, Ellen Austin, came from Bedford County, Tenn., in 1845, and settled west of Nebo, where Elijah Austin, son of Henry R., now lives. Mrs. Ellen Austin has survived her son, and is now living with her grandson, at the advanced age of one hundred and one years, and is yet active and intelligent. She was well acquainted with Gen. Jackson and with President Polk, and is such a stanch Democrat that she declares that if she could control a thousand votes she would give them all to "Grover."

In 1839 Richard Burgess and his family, including W. W. Burgess, who now lives at Springtown, came from Bedford County, Tenn., and settled on Lick Branch, near the Osage, where E. Maxwell now lives. The same year Walter Thornberry and his son-in-law. David Brickey, came from Virginia, and John Edwards from Tennessee, and settled on the same branch. About the same time Joseph Neal and Charles Kincheloe settled on Brushy Creek. In the fall of 1840 Archey Wilson and his brother Samuel, also from Bedford County, Tenn., settled in the Burgess neighborhood. This made quite a colony of Tennesseeans. David Brickey was a famous hunter, and on the first night after the arrival of the Burgesses he and W. W. Burgess went out and shot and killed six turkeys. Certainly the new comers were not "out of meat." The first settlers on Flint Creek, in the vicinity of Springtown, were as follows: Isaac and Hasting Dial, the latter settling about a mile east, where John Reynolds now resides. In 1850 Robert Duckworth, Matthew Vaughan, Perminter Morgan, Wiley Jones and Maj. Jack Russell all came from Georgia, and settled in that vicinity. The following year Robert Hall and his sons, Jesse and Young, Rolly Hood, Joseph Thomas and his son Joseph, also from Georgia, Hiram Thomason and his sons, John and Sanford, and several others, settled on Flint Creek, and William Addington settled in "Coon Hollow."

Simon Sager, a German, after whom Sager's Creek was named, is believed to have been the first settler in the Hico-Siloam vicinity. He settled on the creek where John De Armon now lives, near Siloam. About the year 1844 Dr. Henry Powell settled with his family on Flint Creek, four miles north of the site of Siloam. His widow, Mrs. Anna Powell, still resides on the place. About the same time James Riddle also settled on Flint Creek, in that vicinity. John Quinton was the first settler of the place now occupied by Col. D. Gunter, at Hico. The latter came from Tennessee in 1844, and settled where he now resides. Daniel Copeland was also a very early settler near Hico.

P. M. Phillips, of Bedford County, Tenn., came to Benton County in 1838, and in 1847 settled on Round Prairie. Col. Henry Hastings came from Tennessee in 1836, and settled seven miles west of Bentonville. He subsequently located at Corner Spring (Decatur), where he lived until his death. Thomas Quarles, from Georgia, settled on the northeast part of Round Prairie about the year 1840, and in 1844 Col. John Phagan, from North Carolina, settled at the Double Springs, on the Line Road. In 1846 David Chandler, also from North Carolina, settled on the farm which he still owns, one and a fourth miles southwest of Bloomfield. He now resides in Bloomfield. Rev. John Givens, a Baptist minister from Tennessee, was an early settler on Butler Creek. About the year 1845 A. M. Winnery, from Tennessee, settled on the site of the village of Sulphur springs. Near the same time Frank Lauderdale, James Thomason and Danile Tittle, all from Tennessee, settled in that neighborhood.

The first settlement on War Eagle Creek, in Benton County, was made by two brothers known as bear hunters, their names being Jesse and Levi Borne. They came from Illinois early in the spring of 1832, and settled above the present War Eagle Mills, and each one raised three acres of corn that year. The following fall Absalom Thomas, Henry Taber, Lewis Russell, Robert Taber, William Brazeel and a Mr. Nelson all settled with their families in that neighborhood, and in December of that year Sylvanus Blackburn, Josiah Blackburn, Julius Kirk and Matthew Brewer with their families, all from Hickman County, Tenn., settled in the same neighborhood. The latter party came by way of Springfield, Mo., and, crossing what is now the line between Missouri and Arkansas, on the old State road passing north and south, they reached the cabin of John Fitzgerald, then living near the present village of Lowell, and stayed there over night. The next day, leaving their families at Fitzgerald's, they prospected for and selected their respective locations, and then moved thereon. Sylvanus Blackburn located on the place, at the present War Eagle Mills, where he and his estimable wife, who then accompanied him, are still residing, he being in his eightieth year at this time, and she being about the same age. Julius Kirk settled on the creek about half a mile below the mill site and Matthew Brewer about three-fourths of a mile above it. Mr. Blackburn and his wife are the only survivors of these settlers. The next year John, David and Abram Stanley, James Borne, James Matthews and Daniel Flannery settled in that neighborhood, and soon after George Crabaugh and his son-in-law, Oliver Miller. About the same time two famous hunters, Stephen Coose and John Scennett, settled on White River. The former, in order to illustrate the crookedness of this river, once related that he traveled one entire night on the river in his canoe from a point near his residence, and on landing in the morning found that he had gained so little distance that he walked home to get breakfast.

The first death that occurred in the War Eagle settlement was that of a little daughter of David Stanley, and hers was the first grave in the Austin graveyard, about four miles above War Eagle Mills. The second death was that of John B. Kirk, son of Julius Kirk, and he was buried in the first grave in the Blackburn graveyard, near War Eagle Mills. Among the first marriages that took place in that neighborhood were those of John Highland and Rachael Borne, James Blackburn and Sarah Crabaugh, Joseph Stanley and Millie Blalock, Oliver Miller and Miss Blalock, the latter being a sister to Millie.

Later Settlers.-- About 1848 William Wells, from Washington County, Ark., settled one mile south of Sulphur Springs. In 1851 G. W. Mitchell, from Tennessee, settled on the site of the present village of Bloomfield, and H. T. Gillespie, from North Carolina, settled where he now lives on the Line Road, two miles south of Cherokee City. About the year 1855 James Ingle settled two and a half miles northeast of Bloomfield. In 1855 Jesse Benton settled where he now lives on Honey Creek, eight miles west of Sulphur springs. He came from Georgia. Prior to 1853 the following persons settled in the upper Pea Ridge neighborhood, near the famous battle-field, to-wit: Enoch Trott, from Tennessee; James Wardlaw, from Illinois; Mat. Cavaness, George Miser, from Tennessee; Lewis Pratt, Rev. Jasper Dunagin, Wash. Ford, John and Samuel Reddick, Wiley Foster and his two brothers, and Granville Medlin. J. Wade Sikes and his father and family, from Tennessee, settled there in 1853. H. H. Patterson and his two brothers, William Marsh, John Lee and the Morgans were also early settlers in the Pea Ridge vicinity. In 1851 Young Abercombie and his sons, James, William, John, Samuel, Hiram, La Fayette and Floyd, settled on Round Prairie.

For other early settlers the reader is reffered to the biographical department of this work. It must also be borne in mind that many other persons hereinafter mentioned in connection with the organization of Benton County were early settlers thereof.

Nativity and Character of the Settlers. -- By far the greater portion of the first citizens of Benton County came from Tennessee. Many came from Georgia and North Carolina, and a goodly number came from Virginia and Kentucky, with here and there a man from the free States. Many were descendants of the first settlers of the States from whence they came, and were thoroughly acquainted with pioneer life, and thus well qualified to open the country and establish new homes on the wild western frontier. Nearly all were farmers and hunters, without much education or polish, and with moderate ambitions and wants easily satisfied. To establish a home on a farm of greater or less extent, to live plainly, frugally and honestly, to enjoy comfort and not to work too hard seems to have been their cheif desires. The majority were poor and they never became wealthy. As is the case everywhere the few only became rich. Of cultured, scholarly, enterprising and ambitious men there were a few. Many brought some money, slaves and other property to the county, established themselves comfortably from the first, and soon or eventually reach conditions of affluence. Some of the merchants and other business men were shrewd and successful. The doctors and lawyers were fair representatives of their professions. There were no gentlemen of leisure, all had duties to perform, and though they were a little rough, uncouth and unpolished, they were free and hearty, generous and hospitable, and on the whole just the right kind of people to brave the storms, "subdue the wilderness" and press forward the line of civilization.

Some people sigh for a return of "the good old times," but there was no more morality in the first decade of the county's existence than in the one just past; and on looking over the first indictments in the courts one would conclude that there was not so much. There were not then so many churches, schools and school books in proportion to the population as at present. Indeed, some of the "noble old pioneers" were a little "tough." One of the first enterprises was the establishing of whisky distilleries, and in those "good old days," when the intoxicating fluid was cheap, and free from government gaugers and revenue collectors, nearly everybody drank it. And notwithstanding the declaration that some are disposed to make, that intemperance is on the increase, the truth is just the opposite, as there is not nearly as much whisky consumed now, in proportion to population, as there was then. It is customary to indulge in a great deal of extravagance in extolling the virtues of the first settlers of any country. Their good qualities are extolled immoderately, while it is seldom, or ever, hinted that they had any vices. Our first settlers were men and women, with all of the virtues and graces, and all of the vices and frailties possessed by their ancestors, and retained by their descendants. They were hospitable and generous, as a rule, and their successors practice the same virtues.

The Pioneer's Cabin. -- Log cabins were the domiciles of the pioneer settlers, and the building of one was a notable event. The first two or three settlers had to erect their own, with the assistance of their families. Later, the pioneer, upon arrival into the country intended for his future operations, would stop and camp at the house of some former settler, and leaving his family there would, under the guidance of the former settler, set out and hunt and select a place to his liking, usually at a spring or some creek, and then return and move his family thereto. The next thing to be considered was a cabin in which to dwell. A day for its erection would be appointed, and the former settler would mount a steed and ride far and near to the habitations of the few scattered settlers and notify them when and where the "raising" was to take place. They would come from within a radii of fifteen to thirty miles, and on the day appointed the cabin would go up; meanwhile the newcomer would clear the spot for the new house, and live with his family in the "covered wagon." Axes, with which to cut and prepare the logs, froes, with which to rive the clapboards, and augers, with which to bore holes for pins and to prepare the wooden hinges for the doors, were all the tools required. If there were enough helpers, the logs would be hewed, otherwise put up round. Ridge poles would be placed in order, and the clapboards placed thereon and weighted down with poles, and thus the cabin would be covered. A huge fire place cribbed with logs at one end of the building, lined with stone and mud, and topped out with a stick and mud chimney, constituted the heating apparatus. The floor and door would be made of puncheons, and the door hung with wooden hinges. Thus the pioneer's cabin would be completed. With the use of the ax and auger bedsteads were made of small poles in the corners of the building. In such humble houses the pioneers dwelt, wore plain apparel and fed on humble fare -- lived comfortably, happily and well. They did not sport fine clothes, but had plenty of comfortable and durable linsey and jeans and homespun cotton, much better suited to their rough-and-tumble life.

Population. -- The increase in the population of Benton County, since its settlement, was very gradual until since the year 1880. In 1860 it was 9,285; in 1870, 13,782; in 1880, 20,255, and now it is 31,000; an increase of 10,745 since 1880. This unusual increase is due mostly to the large influx of immigrants that have come into the county since the completion of the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad through it, and since the fact has been advertised that this region is unexcelled in the United States for the growing of all kinds of fruit. The population of Benton County, by race, for the dates here given, is as follows: For 1860, white, 8,905; negro, 385; Indians, 16. For 1870, white, 13,640; negro, 182; Indians, 9. For 1880, white, 20,167; negro, 128; Indians, 33. Of the present population the number belonging to each race cannot be accurately given. By a comparison of these figures it will be noticed that while the white population is rapidly increasing, that of the colored is decreasing, there being only one-third as many of the latter in 1880 as there were in 1860, and more than three times as many whites as there were then. It will also be noticed that the small Indian population doubled in the same period of time.

Wild Animals, Game, etc. -- The wild animals that originally inhabited the territory of Benton County were buffaloes, bears, wolves, wild cats, catamounts, panthers, elk, deer, foxes, raccoons, opossums, rabbits, squirrels, etc. The buffaloes fled in advance of the approach of the white man, and but few lingered after his coming. Sylvanus Blackburn remembers having seen two soon after he settled, in 1832. Probably these were the last ones seen in the county, or, at least, among the last. Unlike other wild animals, they did not remain to annoy or be annoyed by the settlers, but sought new pastures farther toward the setting sun. The bears, not willing to abandon their native haunts, lingered and struggled with their exterminators. Many were killed by the "bear hunters," who loved the dangerous sport. In the open country they have become extinct, but occasionally one is yet found in the mountain fastnesses. They were very annoying to the early settlers, and destroyed many of their hogs. The wolves were very numerous and troublesome, and destructive to sheep, pigs and young cattle. Sylvanus Blackburn relates that they killed nine of his sheep for two successive nights.

The bears would kill the largest hogs, and the wolves would generally take the pigs. The bears were hunted and killed for their meat and skins, and for their extermination. Many were killed simply to gratify the love of the adventure. The wolves being unfit for food, and their skins being of no value, were hunted and killed with a view of their extermination. They are not wholly exterminated, but are no longer troublesome. A few yet remained in the broken country distant from the settlements. The wild cats, catamounts and panthers, once very numerous and annoying, have become so nearly extinct as to cease to be troublesome. The elk became extinct many years ago. The deer were numerous but not annoying. They were hunted and killed for food. Their skins were also valuable. Josiah Blackburn, son of Sylvanus Blackburn, was a great hunter. He killed forty deer one winter on one "hunting snow." The old gentleman, though not a professional hunter, sometimes killed as high as three deer per day. Many of the surviving old settlers say that they often went out and killed a deer before breakfast. Many a deer lost its life by approaching too near the "clearings" of the old settlers, who always had their trusty rifles near at hand. The other animals mentioned above, though not so numerous as they formerly were, still abound in considerable numbers.

Wild fowl, of various kinds, especially turkeys, were numerous. The turkeys, like the deer, were easy of acquisition, and were extensively used by the early settlers for food. The wild fowl still exist, but in very limited numbers. The varieties are those common to all parts of America in this latitude. In the hollow trees of the forests wild bees and their honey were found in great abundance by the early settlers. Had there been a market near at hand, the quantity of honey that could have been gathered from the forests would have been a considerable source of revenue, but, as it was, it was only gathered for home consumption. When a bee tree was found, the next thing to be done was to kill a deer and skin it. Then the deer skin, by true poneer ingenuity, was formed, and tied up so as to form a sack that would hold about two bushels. Into this deer skin sack the honey would be placed and carried home, the sack hung up in a safe place, and left hanging until the honey was consumed. The reader may think this was a novel vessel in which to put the honey, and so it was. In those days the people were not close to market where they could purchase earthen and wooden vessels to suit their conveniences, and consequently were obliged to improvise many things that we would not think of using at the present day. Sylvanus Blackburn and other surviving pioneers can testify to the truth of the foregoing concerning the wild bees and their honey.

Hardships, Advantages, Disadvantages, etc. -- The first settlers labored under great inconvenience from the want of grist and saw-mills, post-offices, blacksmith and other mechanical shops, there being none within convenient distance. The pioneer, before entering the extreme frontier, would provide himself with a supply of meal, which would last for a short time after making his settlement, then a new supply had to be obtained. Then came the test of pioneer life -- some corn had to be obtained by making a long trip to some point back from the frontier, or to some distant settler, who had "made" a crop and had a few surplus bushels. Mr. Sylvanus Blackburn, of War Eagle, and those that settled with him, went to Richland, about twenty-five miles distant, to get their corn. Many others had to go a greater distance. The corn being obtained the next thing to be done was to reduce it to meal, and in the absence of mills how was it to be done. The following is the method as related by the old settlers, who of necessity had to use it: First a large tree was felled, so as to leave a stump with a level surface, then a fire was kindled and kept burning on the center of the top of the stump, while the outer portion or rim thereof was kept wet to prevent its burning. In this way a hole would be burned into the stump, and when it was of sufficient depth to form a good bowl, the fire would be taken out and the hole cleaned, the coals adhering to the wood would be scraped out with some edged instrument, and a bowl thus formed sufficient to hold a quantity of corn. Then a pole with one end hinged to a forked post set near the stump, and extended horizontally over the stump, and a pedestal or maul suspended to the pole over the bowl in the stump, completed the pioneers' grist-mill. The corn would then be placed in the bowl, and one or two persons (often the settler and his good wife) would take hold of the loose end of the pole or "sweep" and move it up and down, thus causing the pedestal to pound the corn into meal. Such were the pioneer grist-mills on which the corn was ground for the hardy settler, his wife and little children. The first few grindings would be considerably mixed with the black, burned wood of the stump, and the meal would be of a dark color. Bread or "hoe-cakes," made of such meal, together with wild meat, of which they had a great abundance, and a little coffee and sugar -- the two latter articles being very inconveniently obtained -- usually constituted the diet of the pioneers for the first year and until they could raise a crop.

Clothing. -- Their clothing consisted of what they brought with them, which they subsequently made out of cloth manufactured at home with the spinning wheel and loom; and while it was not the finest in quality or of the most fashionable style, it was withal very comfortable. Until stores were opened on the frontier, it was very inconvenient for the settlers to obtain such goods as they could not manufacture. Another great inconvenience was the absence of post-offices. It took as many months, or more, as it now takes days for the news of the East to reach the settlers on the frontier. Many were the inconveniences, too numerous to mention here, which they were compelled to endure. Children should remember with gratitude the parents who endured these hardships and deprivations for their benefit.

Later Mills. -- The stump and pedestal mills were superseded by "horse mills," and these by small water mills. Among the first of the latter kind erected was one put up by John E. Turner, on War Eagle Creek, abut six miles below the present War Eagle Mills. This was probably in what is now Washington County. There is no mill there now. The first mills at War Eagle were put up in 1848. The early settlers in the western part of the county went to the Elk Mills, in Missouri, to get their grinding done. Subsequently the Hilterbrandt Mills were erected on Flint Creek, in the Indian Territory, about twelve miles southwest of the present village of Bloomfield. For many years these mills were patronized by the people of the western part of the county. Finally the Hico, the Bloomfield and other mills were erected within the county, and now it is well supplied with both saw and grist-mills. Several of the flouring mills are supplied with the latest imrpoved machinery and apparatus for making the roller process flour. The most noted ones are mentioned in the history of the towns in which they are located.

Although the early settlers had to endure many hardships and privations, they certainly had many of the sweets of life along with the bitter. After having raised and gathered a crop, and thus secured a supply of breadstuffs and vegetables for their families, they lived on the fat of the land, which was then "flowing with milk and honey." The milk was supllied by the cows that fed upon the luxuriant wild grasses, and the honey was procured from the hollow trees, where the busy little bees had stored it in great quantities, the latter costing nothing but the labor of securing it, and, perhaps, an occasional sting. Yes, with plenty of bread and vegetables, wild honey, venison, turkey and other wild game to suit their tastes, they could certainly prepare meals such as kings and potentates, in the midst of magnificent splendor, never dreamed of enjoying.

Pioneer Weddings. -- The courting of the young people, in the frontier settlements, was attended with some inconveniences. For the want of house room it was often difficult to visit and woo a young lady except in the presence of her parents. No costly parlors furnished with upholstered chairs, into which the young couple might retire to tell of their loves and expectations, then existed, and it was seldom that a young man had the pleasure of escorting his lady love to church or to Sunday-school. But there were "frolics" and dances on the puncheon floors, and in spite of the many inconveniences the young people enjoyed themselves. The climate being mild, there is no doubt but that the native forests were often utilized by young lovers for pleasure walks, and that on such occasions, underneath some beautiful shade tree, the question was asked and the answer given that forever bound their hearts together. A pioneer wedding could not compare, in point of elegance and finish, with one of these days, for there were lacking the paraphernalia of display, and the pomp and circumstances attendant, in this age, upon affairs of that character. In those days the wedding trousseau was not costly and elegant, but plain and simple. The bridal toilet was neither expensive, elaborate, fanciful or showy, but it was sensible, for it was sufficient and appropriate to the times, the manners and circumstances. Yet she was as well dressed as the groom with his coon-skin cap, his jeans coat, his linsey or cotton shirt, his jeans or coarse linnen trousers, his feet in home tanned shoes, and without a glove to his hand or name. But for all the discomforts and disadvantages, the marriages were as fortunate and felicitous, and the weddings themselves as joyous, as any of those of modern times.

Early weddings were sometimes attended with some public amusement. A shooting match was sometimes common, and foot races and other athletic sports were frequently indulged in. At night a dance, in which all participated, was common. The wedding feast was well worthy the name. The champagne was good old whisky, manufactured at some local distillery, clear and pure as mountain dew. Then there were venison steaks and roasts, turkey and other wild meats, and other delicious edibles, sufficient to appease the appetites of the most fastidious guests. The particulars of the first marriage or marriages in Benton County cannot now be given, nor the names of the first parties married, unless they were some of those mentioned in connection with the War Eagle Settlement. If any public record of the early marriage was made, it has been lost or destroyed, as no such record can be found in the clerk's office prior to the year 1860.

The record was commenced in 1861, and records only three marriages for the year 1860, viz.: March 28, Thomas Wells and Miss Adaline Baker; August 30, James Riddle and Mrs. Emla McWilliams; October 9, T. J. Holum, aged twenty-three years, and Mrs. Elizabeth Thomas, aged forty-one years, all being solemnized by Rev. H. Powell. Sixty marriages are recorded for the year 1861, and six in January, 1862, and then no more are recorded until July, 1865, after which forty-two are recorded for that year. The war suspended marriages, or else they were not recorded. For subsequent years the record shows the number of marriages in the county to have taken place as follows: for 1866, 108; for 1870, 133; for 1880, 142; for 1887, 243, and for the present year, up to August 7, 142.