Butlerville, located in western Lonoke County, is experiencing population growth, residents say.
Written by: Tracy L. Crain
Arkansas Democrat Gazette
Sunday, October 1, 2000

Marvin Bailey, 65, of Cabot, grew up in Butlerville. His parents, now deceased, also lived there for the greater part of their lives. For that reason, the small township, located 10 miles northwest of Cabot in western Lonoke County, will always be home to him.

Bailey lived in Butlerville for what he describes as "thirty something" years. "Everybody knew everybody back then," he said. "Most of my neighbors and friends were considered working class. There were not a lot of rich people in the area."

Bailey, considered to be one of the area experts on the town's history, describes the general landscape as a place with "slightly rolling hills, where country folks go to get back to their roots."

In this town, with an estimated population of 200 to 300 residents living inside the city limits and a few hundred living outside, there are only a few gas stations, one church and a couple of historic cemeteries.

Part of the town's beauty is that commerce is almost non-existent. It's a unique characteristic considering that a good number of people are continuously moving into the area.

Bailey said the only store the town ever had is the one that Bud Worthy used to run. "When he passed away, people started visiting the two stores at the junction of Arkansas 31 and 38," he said.

Most of the residents who live in Butlerville either work in Little Rock, Cabot or at the local Remington plant. Most of the residents agree with Bailey that the town has been experiencing population expansion for quite some time.

Devona Brannon, branch librarian with the Arlene Cherry Memorial Library, said, "Butlerville was once just a crossroads, one of the those towns where they put a church and called the area something. That's the way the country is around here."

The town, founded in the mid-1800s, is believed to have received its namesake from a doctor with the last name of Butler. Bailey says, however, that the story behind the dedication is a mystery to most everyone.

As for community activities, a barbecue fund-raiser is held each fall to support the local volunteer fire department. "We have around 13 men who volunteer their services. Everyone in the community attends the fund-raiser to support them," he said.

Although many residents don't have the time to do much socializing, the residents who live in this quiet township are said to be friendly. Bailey said there are a few families who farm.

"They farm mostly beef cattle out here. A few people raise soybeans. That's about it," he said.

Josephine Pearl, a native of Butlerville and a retired teacher, has lived in the town for 72 years, except for the 10 years she lived in Jacksonville.

Pearl said Butlerville is nothing like it used to be when she was a child. "I used to know all my neighbors. Nobody knows anyone anymore," she said.

Pearl's mother, who came to Texas in a covered wagon, settled in the spot where she now lives. Because of that, Pearl feels very much at home in the quiet town. "I just wouldn't live anywhere else," she said.

Pearl and Bailey agree on everything about Butlerville, except for the number of registered voters in the area, which they say ranges from 400-900 in and around the township.

Rita Moody, an employee with the county clerk's office in Lonoke County, supports the larger number. "There are 908 registered voters in the area today," she said.

With its peculiar country appeal, Butlerville is a quiet, enchanting place known more for its recent population expansion than its historical roots.

(Butlerville is an excerpt from Road Trips; a weekly feature of small towns in Arkansas written by Tracy Crain and published by the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.)