Review of Dallas County History

Gleaned from the Bicentennial Edition of the Fordyce-News Advocate by Richard Merritt. 

November 10, 1976

By Richard Merritt

The first settlers to arrive in Dallas County came in the 1830's to the Tulip area, followed by residents in the Princeton area. Dallas County comprises an area of 672 square miles with an altitude of 250-500 feet above sea level. The land is coastal plains, with the higher elevation in the north section in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains and rolling and level land in the south. The average temperature is 64 degrees and the average annual rainfall is about 54 inches. Dallas County was covered with timber.


Following the increasing settlement of the area in 1843, Dallas County was formed in the fall of 1844 by an act of the Arkansas State Legislature and was officially established January 1, 1845. Portions of Clark and Bradley counties were combined to form the new county. All of the 654 square mile area of Dallas County is east of the Ouachita River. The new county was named in honor of George Mifflin Dallas, Vice President of the United States, 1845-49.


During the history of Dallas County, there have been three courthouse buildings in two municipalities with the seat of government having been housed in five different locations. For the first eighteen months of the new county, the government headquarters was located in the home of Presley Watts, County Court Clerk, at Princeton, 1845-46. In July 1846, a log cabin courthouse building was completed on the East Side of the public square at Princeton. By 1854, a large two-story frame courthouse had been erected near the center of the square. From October 1908 until sometime in 1912, the county offices were in the second floor of the McKee Building in Fordyce. The present Dallas County Courthouse was completed at Fordyce in 1912.


Princeton was the first town established in Dallas County. Princeton was the major business, trade and political center during the first 50 years of the county. After the county was formed, measures were taken to make a town in the center of the county. It was first called "Dallastown," then later renamed Princeton when Presley Watts, Benjamin Spears, S. Scroggins, James Kennedy, George Scroggins and others petitioned the county court. The first house in Princeton belonged to Esquire A. Ramsay, who came from South Carolina to Arkansas in 1842 when the entire country was largely a wilderness area. As was the common practice when a settler moved beyond the end of the road, Squire Ramsay opened the new road as an extension of the old one. This road became known as the Princeton Pike, stretching from Pine Bluff to Princeton. The second house in Princeton was a store kept by a Methodist preacher-peddler. The next house built belonged to Elias Doyda. Soon to follow were houses of a Mr. Carr and the Richmond Bros.


The legal system provided many names of the early residents of Princeton. In October 1845, the Grand Jury of Dallas County was in session, presided over by the Honorable William H. Sutton, Judge. Some of the grand jurors were John Hasty, Henry Hellam, M. Moore, Pleasant May, Samuel Wyatt, R. J. Wilcox, Alex Dorch, William Overton, John Jester, S. S. Shattock, J. B. House, J. B. Phillips, Joseph Bird, Joe Gray, James Eason, J. Bunn, David Hall, A. Ramsay and Thomas Stanley. From 1859-74, Freeman Walker Compton of Princeton was Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas, serving on position no. 3. An early roll of petit jurors included the names of William Owens, Henry Gray, E. Dickinson, Joseph Speer, S. M. Cain R. K. Barham, B. R. Lawrence, E. M. Harris, B. B. Lyle, W. B. Langley, W. K. Frazier and Isaac O'Brien. Some of the early lawyers of Princeton were George W. Bradley, John Brown, James M. Thomason Jeaster Cameron, Robert H. Dedman, Col. M. M. Duffle and R. F. Fuller.


In October 1845, Winthrop Colbath, in behalf of the county commissioners, reported a site had been selected and a deed was presented for the courthouse at Princeton. Alex Dorch was appointed commissioner of public buildings for Dallas County. Lots in town were sold and from that money a sum of $340.99 was paid to the contractor. (After it fulfilled its days of service, the courthouse building was later ordered to be sold at public auction for the sum of $300.) Squire Ramsay, the only carpenter in the county, cleared the land for the Princeton city square after a survey by Joe Gray. In 1848, Robert Coleman built a jail on the square. On March 4, 1849, Princeton was incorporated. In October 1851, a public well was put on the square by Clark Vowell and Hilling M. Bauldin at a cost of $50.90.


Early businesses in Princeton prospered in the 1850's. E. M. Hanis and George W. Mallett were tailors. The tailor tools of George W. Mallett have been preserved and passed down through the family, at one time in the possession of his granddaughter, Glenn Mallett. Samuel Wyatt and John Heam were wagon makers. N. J. Culbertson and wife Mary manufactured crockery northeast of Princeton on what was later known as the Stark Brand road near Culbertson branch, better known as "Jug Creek," since most of the crockery consisted of jugs. Pottery in the Princeton area was first made in 1843 by William Bird, who built his own kiln. This was the first industry in Princeton with the product being shipped out of the area. Bird trained a number of apprentices, one of whom was John C. Welch, who continued the trade into the early 20th century after purchasing the entire operation. The last known location of the kiln was at the nearby community of Wave. In 1854, the court of Dallas County rejected the request of Levi J. Lawrence for a license to retail whiskey in Princeton in quantities less than one quart. Princeton was connected to Camden in July 1862 by an extension of the telegraph line and from there to Arkadelphia and then linked with Little Rock.


During the War, 1861-65, some notable people were in or through the Princeton area at various times. There were Marmaduke, Shelby, and Gen. Steele fleeing, through Princeton with Price's cavalry after him, Gen. Fagan and Gen. Kirby Smith. At one time during the war, Willie Harley was the only white man in the county. All of the men and older boys had gone to war, leaving thirteen year old Willie behind because they said he was too young to be a soldier. When Dr. Edward Livingston Harley, a surgeon with the Arkansas troops across the Mississippi, came home to Princeton for a visit William (Willie) Reese Harley followed his brother back to the war, crossing the Mississippi on the next boat after Edward, and located the Arkansas troops at Shiloh in time for the battle. After hearing his brother was among the wounded, Edward found him, patched up his arm (a crooked souvenir that remained with him the rest of his life) and took him back to Princeton behind him on the horse Their father was Basil C. Harley, former president of the Arkansas State Senate in 1854. Willie later returned to the war with a cousin, Col. D. A. Williams, and served until the end of the war. Dr. Edward L. Harley practiced medicine at Paris, AR, after the war, where he lived when he died. Most of the veterans of the War buried at Princeton had no headstones. Veterans from both sides were buried there after the battle of Jenkins Ferry, where the Federals lost 200 and had 955 wounded and the Southern forces lost 300 and had 300 wounded. One inscription on a marble headstone in the Princeton Cemetery (approved by the court to be established in October 1848 and purchased 3 acres for the sum of $10) reads as follows: Harris, Eugene, Chief Surgeon of Clark's Brigade, May 30, 1828 - September 10, 1864.


When the railroad came to Dallas County, it missed Princeton. Many today are unaware that the thriving community of Princeton was once a leader in South Arkansas and the first County Seat of Dallas County. Princeton had the first Post Office in the county, in the home of Presley Watts, Postmaster. The early schools in the area were at first private, but later public schools served effectively by 1874. The first public school building was a two-room building. It was used until 1898, when a new two-room building was built west of Highway 9 in the northern part of town. This building was used until 1936. The school consolidation of the 1930's and 40's reached Princeton in 1936. The Works Project Administration (WPA) built a brick veneer building that served until 1965 when the Princeton School District was consolidated with Fordyce. A small part of the school district was consolidated with Sparkman that same year.


The early churches in the Princeton area were the Princeton Baptist Church (led by Rev. Bayless of Tulip Baptist Church, who preached and pastored in Princeton as early as 1847, when a church building was built it Princeton), the Princeton Methodist (itinerant preachers from 1843 until Rev. Hayes began a work and a building was built in 1846) and the Princeton Presbyterian (led by Rev. A. R. Banks in 1846, who divided his time between the Tulip congregation and the Princeton congregation). The Ben Few Campgrounds organized in 1898 and named after Rev. Ben A. Few, was a popular place for revival meetings. The first year the meetings were held in a brush arbor. In 1899, the land was cleared and a log tabernacle was erected. The log tabernacle was lighted by coal oil lamps. People traveled in buggies, wagons and on horseback to attend the meetings. Rev. R. W. McKay was the first evangelist to hold a meeting at the camp.


In 1850, Princeton had four doctors and one dentist. The dentist was Dr. C. C. Adams. The doctors were Dr. Peter Clark, Dr. Miller W. McCraw. Dr. William F. Smith and Dr. W. E. Clark.


Although it is popularly believed to be a fact, Princeton and Fordyce were never connected by rail service the promise of prosperity offered by the railroads made change necessary. Princeton remained the Dallas County Seat until 1908 when it was moved to Fordyce.


When the Texas and St. Louis Railway Company of Arkansas incorporated on May 21, 1881, the citizens of Dallas county did not realize the impact it would have on their future. A land grant made land available for the right to construct a railroad from Bird's Point Missouri, to Texarkana, TX. The southeast comer of Dallas County was in the path and strategically located be between Pine Bluff and Camden. In 1882, Fordyce became a community. The Texas and St. Louis (or vice versa) Railway company later became the Cotton Belt. The Texas and St. Louis made railroad history on October 18, 1886; when 419 miles of narrow gauge railroad line (mostly in Arkansas) was converted to standard gauge all in one day. The Ultima Thule railway planned to connect Ultima Thule in Sevier County to Arkadelphia, Sparkman, Princeton and Fordyce - but the completed plan never materialized. The Ultima Thule railroad dump eventually formed a part of the Highway 7 roadbed between Sparkman and Dalark. The highway leaves the railroad dump at the sharp curve where it enters Dalark. A logging railroad went from Arkadelphia to Dalark in the 1880's. It went an undetermined distance toward Princeton, but turned south to the first Sparkman settlement (called Sparkman no. 1). The second major railroad, the Rock Island, came to Dallas County in the years of 1905-07. The Rock Island line went from Little Rock to El Dorado, which made Fordyce the crossroads of two major railroads in 1905. The future of the county rested on the progress of the railroads. With three main railroads in the county (the Cotton Belt across the southeast comer, the Rock Island down the eastern and western side), plus a considerable amount of logging railroad, Dallas County was a thriving farming and lumbering community. The railroad presence resulted in more population, business and influence. Ultimately Fordyce became the new Dallas County Seat.


The President of the Texas and St. Louis Railroad (later known as the Cotton Belt), James W. Paramore, selected a young cavalry officer he had known during the war to scout the area and map out the route for the tracks through Dallas County. The young officer Paramore admired for his judgment and foresight (and having some former railroad experience) was Cap. Samuel W. Fordyce. At the time, Cap. Fordyce was living, in Hot Springs, AR, in an attempt to regain his health from war injuries, he had served with the Ohio Cavalry of the Northern Army during the War. He had moved to Huntsville AL, after the war, where he married the daughter of Col. W. A. Chadwick, former commander of the 28th Alabama Regiment. Fordyce determined to ride over the route to see it first hand (before the line was completed he rode over the 419 mile route between Texarkana and Bird's Point, Missouri, a total of three times) He chose a route that would cross the plains near river where cotton production was best, a route determined by the obvious requirements of economy of construction and an eye to the future. At completion in 1882, the cost of construction was around $12,000 per mile. Steel rails had been imported from Wales, Great Britain, through New Orleans and up the Mississippi River to Bird's Point. Indigenous oak was used for the ties since it was easily obtained and best suited for this use.


The new town, established in 1882 on the railroad, was given the name "Fordyce" in honor of the builder of the railroad. It obtained a post office on June 25, 1883. Fordyce was incorporated on April 8, 1884. The town site is reported to have been partly cleared by W. W. Killigrew before 1850. In 1881, the property was owned by Dr. A. S. Holderness. The city was a plat of about 135 acres, mostly north of the tracks, with streets running parallel and perpendicular to the tracks, which runs northeast and southwest. Businesses first lined First Street with about ten stores, two livery stables, a hotel and a depot. About 1884, business began to line Chief Street. The 18 businesses on Chief Street were mostly brick buildings, started by the example of the Hamptons in 1887.


The Fordyce Enterprise was the first newspaper, started in 1884 by J. M. Raines. According to the Sep. 8, 1887 edition (the oldest Dallas County newspaper in existence), there were several Fordyce merchants advertising, Among these were Ederington and Dunn General Merchandise and Plantation Supplies; G. W. Smith and Bros. Dry Goods, Grocery and Queenware; Nutt Barnes and Co. Dry Goods, Grocery and ready Made Clothing; W. A. Elliott General Merchandise; J. J. Hempstead Watches, Clocks and Jewelry, Amis and Wilkins, General Merchandise and Plantation Supplies; Chandler and Rowland General Merchandise and Plantation Supplies; W. A. Waters and Co. Drug Store; J. E. and G. M. Hampton General Merchandise; R. W. Cheatham and Bros. General Merchandise; and Jordan and Westbrook Livery, Feed and Sales Stables. The doctors named were M. S. Moore and J. A. Waters of Fordyce and J. K. I-lodge and W. W. Lea of Princeton. The lawyers named were R. C. Fuller and Malt Cramer of Fordyce and M. M. Duffie and R. H. Dedman of Princeton. The notary publics at Fordyce were HA. Barnes and D. R. Weyand. S. G. Smith was a barber who advertised "tonsorial work." Local residents named were Chas. Robertson, Mrs. W. H. Watson, Miss Helen Pattillo Sam Nutt (farmer), Edward Jordan, Mr. Hempstead, Gus Cooks, Capt. Banks, Bailey Green, Wiley Hampton, Dr. Parham, Mr. Dunn, Mr. J. J. Daniels, Squire Higginbotham, Billy Bowland, Jord Mosley, Miss Katie Whitfield (new music teacher at Now Edinburg), Assessor Hawkins, Bob Richardson, Miss Jennie Robertson (teacher at New Edinburg), R. W. Parham (farmer), Jeptha Oliver, Miss Katie Grimes and Mr. Kendrick.


The churches, schools and banks came along with the establishment of the new town. The Baptists were already active in the area when Fordyce was established. The Presbyterians came in 1883 and the Methodists in 1886. The private schools were the Clary Training School in 1890 sponsored by the Methodists (with J. D. Clary in charge - this eventually became the first public school in Fordyce, Gus Warren, principal) and the Judson Baptist Academy in 1901 sponsored by the Judson Baptist Association. By 1908, there were three banks in Fordyce (the Bank of Fordyce, Citizens Bank and the South Arkansas Bank, and Trust).


The first Kilgore Hotel opened in 1900 on the comer of East 2nd and Spring, proprietor and owner J. H. Kilgore. The two-story frame building was replaced by a two-story brick hotel in 1912, which later burned in 1928. Another Kilgore Hotel building was constructed that operated as a hotel until 1957 when it was converted into a rest home.


The special election to move the County Seat occurred in 1908. The first election narrowed the choices to Princeton and Fordyce. The second election established Fordyce as the new Dallas County Seat. The County offices were located in the upper floor of the McKee building until 1912 when E. L. Koonce, general contractor, completed the construction of the new courthouse.


Logging has had great impact on Dallas County. Ivan came into existence as a logging camp that remained a community when logging operations abandoned clear cutting for selective harvesting. The typical logging camp had a school, a commissary (company store), churches, recreational facilities and doctors. Everything, even the homes, were built portable to transfer from place to place when an area was logged. Many of the logging families later moved into Fordyce. Some had homes that were built out of box cars that could be moved by tail to the new logging camp locations. By the early 1920's, the eastern, western and southern sections of Dallas County were rich with railroad tracks. The timber industry had two main logging railways, the Fordyce and Princeton (the Fordyce and Princeton never connected or spurred to the Freeo Valley and never reached Princeton) and the Freeo Valley (connecting Ouachita County to Princeton from the Eagle Mills Lumber Co., in operation in the 1920's). Ivan was the main logging camp in Dallas County around 1908. Both of these logging railways had many miles of spurs (laid by logging crews) that were later abandoned. Some of the abandoned tracks have since been used for forest access roads, highway roadbeds and for forest fire protection. In later logging days, the trains had track laying machines that both put down track and took up track. The old logging system was to log down one side of the tracks and then log down tile other side of the tracks to return. In 1904, Mason and Kirkland sold the Fordyce Lumber Co. to E. S. Crossett and C. W. Gates. The coal burning logging trains hauled the timber until the 1930's when the engines were converted to oil burners. About 1940, most of the logging by train ended when trucks proved to be more economical.


Dallas County has had as many as 58 school districts. Some are Beech Grove (attached to Fordyce 1936-37), Sparkman (still in operation), Tulipdale (attached to Sparkman), Ivy (attached to Carthage, 1930), Tulip (consolidated with Carthage in 1930), Carthage (still in operation), Shady Grove (annexed to Sparkman in 1937), Chapel Springs (dissolved), Saline (dissolved), New Hope (annexed to Fordyce in 1948), Summers (annexed to Bearden in 1931), Princeton (annexed to Fordyce and Sparkman in 1965), Jacinto (annexed to Sparkman in 1930), Benton (annexed to Thornton in 1933), Eaglette (annexed to Princeton in 1941), Midway (annexed to Princeton in 1930, appealed to court and then annexed to Fordyce in 1947), Rock, Island (annexed to Carthage in 1949), Ramsey (annexed to Princeton in 1931), Bushy Creek (annexed to Sparkman in 1949), Hearne (annexed to Fordyce in 1938), Fordyce (still in operation), Bluff Springs (annexed to Thornton in 1931), Willow (consolidated with Carthage in 1930), Lea's Ridge (annexed to Carthage in 1945), Harmony (annexed to Sparkman), Harrison (annexed to Sparkman in 1947) and Carwood (annexed to Carthage in 1948.) At present, there are 3 schools in Dallas County (Fordyce, Sparkman and Carthage).


Dallas County Officers in 1845 were County Judge William Owens (who resigned before he served a day and was succeeded by H. H. Coleman), Sheriff P. S. Bethel, Clerk Presley Watts, Treasurer J. H. Wyatt, Assessor (no assessor until 1868 when W. H. Smith was the first), Coroner J. T. Craig and Surveyor W. R., McKay.


Dallas County has been served by at least 50 post offices. Some of those were Princeton (1845, discontinued 1967), Tulip (1845, discontinued 1938), Moro (1846, discontinued 1953),Hickory Hills (1849, discontinued 18 50), Cachemasso (1849, discontinued in 1867), Silver Springs (1849, discontinued in 1851), Beech Bluff (1850, discontinued in 1867), Chappell (1850,discontinued in 1861), Holly Springs (1850, discontinued 1973), Red Bird (1852, discontinued in1853), Fairview (1852, date discontinued unknown), Como (1853, discontinued 1871),Chambersville (1853, discontinued 1866), Oak Grove (1856, discontinued in 1859), Stover (1857,date discontinued unknown), Damo (1860, date discontinued unknown), Lea's Ferry (1860, date discontinued unknown), Pine Grove (1874, discontinued 1923), Round Hill (1878, date discontinued unknown), Saline (1878, discontinued 1925), Ivy (1882, discontinued 1953), Willow(1882, discontinued 1.969), Fordyce (1883, still in operation), Ramsey (1884, discontinued 1917), Dry Run (1886, discontinued 1892), Dalark (1887, discontinued 1957), Nix (1888, discontinued 1918), Jacinto (1892, discontinued 1931), Sparkman (1893, still in operation), Seals (1903, moved and named changed to Carthage in 1906), Carthage (1906, stiff in operation), Ivan (1906, still in operation), Bunn (1907, date discontinued unknown), Petty (1912, discontinued 1920), McIntosh (1914, discontinued 1916), Jinks (1914, discontinued 1915), Ouachita (1914, discontinued 1954),Maiming (1914, still in operation), Fruitridge (1915, discontinued 1917), Swaty (1916, discontinued 1923) and Wave (1920, date discontinued unknown). Some post offices were established and later discontinued with the dates of establishment unknown. These include Daisey (discontinued 1905), Oakhurst (discontinued 1905), Chase (discontinued 1905), Green (discontinued 1905), Eaglette (discontinued 1927), Estes (discontinued 1917), Roane (discontinued 1917), Crouse (discontinued 1907). At present, there are four post offices operating in Dallas County (Fordyce, Carthage, Ivan and Sparkman)..


Tulip is about 25 miles north of Fordyce on Highway 9. William Dunbar and an exploring party crossed Tulip Ridge in 1804. During the eighteenth century, a French trapper Tulipe had hidden some goods in the area. It was called "Cache La Tulipe." In 1828, Moses Overton, the first pioneer settler, built his home and later a store. He was followed in 1833 by Tyre Brown, a wealthy Tennessee planter who built a plank home from logs held in a slanting position by two Negroes and cut by two others using a whip saw. He farmed on a grand style and for a while the area was called "Brownsville" in his honor. He was the first Postmaster in Tulip from 1845-47. He received mail that was brought in by stagecoach once a week. Other prominent planters from Tennessee and the Carolinas settled in the area. The area was also known as "Smithville," Col. Maurice Smith, Samuel H. Smith, Samuel W. Smith, Alexander Smith and Richard Smith built their homes close together. Later, another unrelated Smith, Gen. Nathaniel G. Smith, led the effort to change the name to Tulip. Surveyor Joseph Gray laid out the town of Tulip on March 13, 1845. Those present were Col. William Bayless, Col. Maurice Smith, T. H. Brown, Peyton S. Bethel and Dr. William Pinckney Bethel. Bayless built the first store in Tulip and Dr. Bethel built the first school. Dr. Lewis D. Cooper was the first doctor in Tulip. Besides Cooper and Bethel, Dr. James K. Cooksey had an office in Tulip. The town consisted of the usual shops, lawyers offices, livery stables, blacksmith shop owned and operated by George Doty, tailor L. D. Lipscomb, and merchants James A. Pattille, The Carpenter Bros., A. G. and Drury Neville, Boza's Saddlery, James Pryor (shoemaker and carriage maker) and Major Borden, who ran a boarding house. The family names were Eaton. Lea, McNail Pryor, Reid, Wilson, Patille Butler, Green, Matlock-, Bayless, Thrasher, Grant, Barbee, Jones, Hughes, Hunter, Cheatham, Boyd, Cooper, Doty, Reamey and Bethel. Presley Watts, James Kennedy, Moses Overton and Henry Gray once lived in Tulip.


Tulip was not situated on water, but was a stage stop for the Chidester Stage between Camden and Little Rock. The Concord Coach line also had a stop in Tulip. The Tulip, believed to be the first monthly news magazine published in Arkansas was founded 1850 by William E. Smith, publisher and proprietor with George D. Alexander, John S. Garvin and Benjamin J. Borden as editors. D. J. Borden had for a while been Publisher and Editor of the Arkansas Gazette. A French woman named Madame Estimarille opened a school early in the 1840's. In the mid 1840's, Rev. John Pryor, Presbyterian, opened a Female Academy, in 1849 G. D. Alexander began the Alexander Institute


Tulip also had the first Arkansas military academy, chartered by the state Legislature in 1850 and called the Arkansas Military Institute The 1851 graduating class included Cadet Angus F. McNeill, Salutatory address; Cadet William N. Smith; Cadet George J. Byrd, Cadet James E. Caldwell, Cadet N. D. Flourney, Cadet Robert Bethel and Cadet William G. Daniel. At the May Day festivities at the academy in 1854, Arkansas Gov. Roane was the guest speaker. He met and later married Mary Kimbrough Smith, the daughter of Gen. Nathaniel G. Smith, in July, 1855. Among the wedding guest, were Albert Pike, Judge Elbert English, Chester Ashley, William Woodruff (founder of the Arkansas Gazette) and the Dauleys. The ceremony was performed by Judge Somerville. At the outbreak of the War, Cap. Albert Pike returned to the community to teach the young men the art of war.


The Methodist congregation at Tulip was first called Smith's Chapel. Rev. William Mason helped establish the Methodist congregation in 1848. The Arkansas Methodist Convention met in Tulip in 1853. During the War, in 1863, Smith's Chapel became a field hospital for many wounded soldiers. Many were buried in the Tulip Cemetery. The Presbyterian congregation was organized by Rev. A. R. Banks about 1840. The Rev. M. W. Bayless led the Baptists in Tulip. The Arkansas Baptist State Convention was organized at Tulip in 1848 under the leadership of Arkansas Gov. James P. Eagle. The choir from Ouachita Baptist College sang at the centennial anniversary of the Arkansas Baptist State convention, also in Tulip.


In Tulip, the Masonic Lodge record of Proceedings lists several names: W. L. Somerville, N. G. Smith G. C. Eaton, B. J. Borden, William Bethel, R. L. Duff, James W. Eaton, William H. Hunter, D. A. Neville, L. D. Lipscomb, Peyton Bethel, J. S. Williams, A. H. Phillips, G. M. Russell, M. Baugh, T. C. Hudson, John S. Garven, L. Jacobs, G. D. Alexander, A. G. Neville, J. Abbott, W. A. Lea, A. Yates and E. S. Smith.


Holly Springs, a Dallas County community located 15 miles southeast of Princeton on Highways 9 and 128, was originally settled in 1841. Holly Springs received its name from the Holly groves and beautiful springs in the area. Some of the early settler's names were Launius, House, Key, Crownover, Galling Head, Proctor, Stells, Peterson, Chambers, Sorrell, Beard and Henry. Holly Springs Township was formed in 1850. At the time there were two general merchandise stores. One was the Henry and Proctor store and the other was the W. B. Head store, who was also Justice of the Peace. Richard C. Key was the first postmaster in 1850. Cap. John A. Goodgame, merchant and farmer, came to Holly Springs in 1851. Holly Springs had some steam powered gristmills and two cotton gins Joe Key built the first gristmill in Holly Springs and also had a tannery. During the war, he made shoes for the soldiers.


In Holly Springs, the St. John's lodge was organized in 1850 with charter members R. C. Key, A. A. Key, and D. C. Campbell. The lodge met every Saturday night before the full moon.


The schools of Holly Springs were at first private, then subscription schools. The school met in a log cabin. The Judson Baptist Association sponsored a High School at Holly Springs that was called the Judson Baptist Academy. It was a tuition school for boys and girls. W. R. McEwen was the professor. Mc Ewen also published The Star Weekly, a four page four-column paper with Dr. O. O. Wozencraft as one of the stock holders. The Judson Baptist Academy operated until 1901 when the building burned. In 1902, the Judson Baptist Association deeded the land to the Holly Springs School District. After the new Holly Springs School building (two story) was erected the Masonic Lodge leased the upstairs for their meetings for the sum of $1 (lease was good as long as the lodge maintained a charter). The Holly Springs school trustees in 1903 were O. O. Woozencraft, W. H Henry, G. L. Sorrells, E. E. Pryor and J. W. Jones.


Politics and the medical profession were strong in Holly Springs. W. L. Patterson was elected to the House of Representatives in 1885 and served until 1889 when he was elected Senator. The doctors in Holly Springs were Moses J. Mitchell, O. O. Wozencraft and Folden. Dr John K. Hodge was born in Holly Springs in 1950. After about six years in practice at Holly Springs with his father, Hodge moved to Princeton. W. L. Wozencraft joined his father in practice at Holly Springs.


In Holly Spring religion has a long history. The Methodist congregation existed in 1827. In 1848, the Methodist preacher T. Q. C. House, a teacher, landowner and business man, began his ministry. The Baptist church was organized in 1833 with Rev. P. J. Crowder as pastor. Holly Springs had an influential Negro preacher, the Rev. Richard Anderson Sinquefield (born near Indian Springs in Butt County, Georgia, in 1832 and died 1908).


Carthage, located in Chester Township in the northeast part of Dallas County, had its beginning in 1905 when the Rock Island railroad extended its lines from Little Rock to Louisiana. The town site (incorporated in 1907) was just off the old Tulip and Pine Bluff road in the old McLendon field. Miss Thunie Holes, a teacher in a nearby country school suggested the name for the community. In 1906 , the business men and establishments were Monroe Orr, A. J. Womack, M. F. McGraw, Ross Wylie, P. K. Wylie, John Garlington, T. W. Morrow, A. J. Hudson, Hodges Furniture Co., D. O. Crowder, Banks Hotel and Livery Stable, Neil Womack Livery Stable, Purdy Hotel, Purdy Bros. Store, Brown Manning Blacksmith Shop, Starks Cotton Gin, Carthage Lumber Co. and Sawmill, Matthews and Nutt Butcher Shop and Grocery and Fate Wells Barber Shop. Four doctors (M. D. Kelly, Matlock, O. W. Hope, and C. C. Cox) had offices and one dentist (Will Ruichardson). Some of the early resident's names were Smith, Westbrook, Patillo, Monroe, Orr, Womack, Hasty, Wylie, Crouse, McGraw, Watts, Banks, Nutt, Matthews, Kelly, Gill, Kauffman Purdy, Starks, Bland, Kincholer, Willis, Roark, Green, Jones, Morehead, Manning, Treadwell and Key. The first elected officials were L. E. Purdy, clerk and Fate Wells, mayor.


Farming was the principal occupation near Carthage. Through 1914, 1000 bales of cotton were marketed each year. Later, the cotton fields were planted in pine timber as large lumber mills began buying timber and land in the area. In 1921 the nearly impassable roads and streets were graded and graveled. In 1925, Charles Feaster installed electricity for businesses in Carthage. In 1930, Robert K. Higgs purchased an AC Plant operated by a diesel motor, which furnished lights for the entire town. Sidney Seats, a Negro, operated a store and a post office about two miles south of Carthage. He served until 1906, when Matthew L. McGraw was appointed the first postmaster of Carthage. The first school in the area was for Negroes and it began in 1883 in the building of the Bethel A. M. E. congregation. The enrollment was 15 and R. N. Davis of Pine Bluff was the teacher. The first white school in Carthage was taught by Ethel Adams of Little Rock in 1907. The small school met in one room of a residence.


Religion in Carthage included the Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists for the whites and the Baptist., Church of God in Christ, Methodist, and A. M. E. for the Negroes. The Presbyterian congregation was formed in 1906 by Thomas C. Johnson of Warren The Baptist church was organized in 1907 with Rev. George S. Smith is first pastor. The Methodist congregation was formed by 1908. The Negro churches were: the Baptist church was organized in 1906 with Rev. A. 13. Stevenson as pastor-, the Church of God in Christ congregation was formed in 1927 in David Parham's home.; the Methodist congregation was established about 1907; and the A. M. E. about 1908.


In Carthage, The Masonic Lodge was organized in Dallas County in 1916. Charter members were Charles M. Feaster, L. F. Griffin, M. L. McGraw, M. D. Kelly, Ross Wylie, D. Crowder, C. C. Cox and W. H. Vanell. They met upstairs in the Crouse store for many years. They bought the Temperance Hill Methodist Church building and moved it to Carthage for their new meeting place.


Pine Grove, a farming community in southwestern Dallas County, began to be settled about 1841. Benjamin DeLaughter, moved to Pine Grove in 1871. He was a Baptist minister farmer and operated a large steam powered gin. James N. Butler named the community when the Pine Grove Post Office was established in 1874. The post office was located in the general store operated by Butler and his brother, John W. Butler. After the post office was discontinued in 1923, the mail was carried by horseback from Holly Springs to Pine Grove to Sparkman to Fairview.


Ouachita, located 5 miles south of Sparkman on Highway 7, was settled before 1890. In 1890, a Mr. Crownover donated 5 acres of land to the Ouachita Baptist Church if they would meet there. The Rock Island railroad came through Ouachita in 1913. The passenger train brought the mail from Malvern and Camden each day. In 1913, Ouachita had a hotel, bank, several stores, a post office and a new school building. Several sawmills were in operation in the area. A Methodist congregation was organized in the 1920's, but continued only a few years. Most of the members transferred their membership to the Sardis congregation in the Pine Grove community.


Sparkman No. 1, or old Sparkman, was located in Owen Township about 15 miles southwest of Princeton and settled about 1892 as a sawmill community. The sawmill was owned by Lemuel "Pete" Sparkman (also the first postmaster), hence the name. It was located about 1/4 of a mile southwest of the present town of Sparkman, or Sparkman no. 2. Sparkman no. 1 was located on the Ultima Thule railway. In 1898-99, the businesses included DeLaughter and King Cotton Gin, S. Leonard and Son General store, L. E. L. Boseman, H. O. Nall, and A. Posey blacksmiths, Wozencraft and Wi1son as doctors, Mrs. J. D. Leonard as music teacher, a depot and one church. When the new, main line railroad went through the area, it missed Sparkman no. 1 by a short distance. Sparkman no. 2 was established on the railroad between 1911-13. The 640 acres of land for the town site had belonged to only one landowner, Herman Willis (who homesteaded on a 160-acre tract in 1899). In 1913 S. B. Horne had a sawmill and gin. Sparkman no. 2 had a post office in 1914 with High McElwain being the first postmaster.


In 1915, Sparkman had four doctors. They were C. A. Henry, Joe C. McFadden, J. Y. Smith and Marvin Taylor (who also owned and operated the Palace Drug Store). The first full run of the Malvern and Camden railroad through the Sparkman community was in 1913. It was sold to Rock Island and continued operation for many years.


Sparkman's first hotel was operated by a Mr. Dale and his wife from Dalark, assisted by a Mrs. Rambo (Dale's sister) and sold to Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Cole in 1916. Dr. J. Y. Smith bought the hotel from the Cole's and operated it until 1936 when it burned. The Sparkman News was established in 1915 with J. J. Burdine as publisher and editor. Sparkman's first election was in 1915. The first mayor was Claude F. Kennedy and recorder was H. O. Nalls. Those receiving votes for alderman were Arthur Lee, H. O. Theatt, George DeLaughter, C. A. Doak, Jess A. Leamons, C. R. Pedigo, Bob Russello, and W. C. Arnold. Electricity was installed in Sparkman by a company owned by S. B. Horne in 1915 on the east and north sides of Main Street.


Bank officers in 1916 in the Merchants and Planters bank of Sparkman were John T. Taylor, John T. DeLaughter, John N. Stuart, John M. Key and George W. DeLaughter. The oldest Ford dealership in Arkansas with continuous family ownership is Sparkman Motors, owned by the DeLaughter family. The first school in Sparkman was a two-story building with an enrollment of 132. H. O. Theatt was the first principal and Miss Ethel Fite (Mrs. Scott Leamons) and Miss Ella Adams were the first teachers.


When Sparkman no. 2 was established, there were no churches in town. A large warehouse was used for a community Sunday School in which all denominations participated. Bill Sinquefield was the superintendent. The Baptist church was organized in 1914, the Methodist congregation in 1916. The colored citizens also organized a Baptist church in 1914 and an A. M. E. congregation in 1916.


Manning, a community in the western part of Dallas County, had very little cleared land before the coming of the railroad. Some of the first families to settle there were Sing Adams, Jim Adams (Sing's son), W. A. Moore, Page and Burton Porterfield and Walter Adams. The Camden and Malvern railroad operated about 54 miles of track between Malvern and Kent in 1911 that was purchased by Rock Island in 1913. The community was named for a railroad man sent here from Chicago. Manning, wife and son Kenneth stayed with the Jim Adam family while the railroad was under construction. After the arrival of the railroad, a town site was established and surveyed by J. W. Holeman in 1914. In 1915, a Baptist church was established (the longest existing institution in the community). Also in 1915, a Methodist congregation was formed. In its heyday, Manning boasted five stores, a barbershop, hotel, cafe, a cotton gin (operated until the 1940's) and Dr. Allie M. Stuart's office The first school (three rooms - two classrooms and a combination classroom and auditorium) was formed in 1914 on Judge Ed Porter's property. In 1927, W. P. and C. F. Sturgis of Arkadelphia began operating a sawmill at Maiming. The sawmill had both a drykiln and a plainer and was a big employer in the area. The Sturgis brothers also had a sawmill at Princeton where lumber from that mill was hauled to Manning to be plained. On March 12, 1941, 112,362 board feet of lumber were shipped out by rail from Maiming in one day. After a part of the mill burned in 1964, many families moved away from Manning to find jobs at sawmills in Leola and Sparkman.


The railroad had the single greatest impact on the early history of Dallas County. The timber industry became very important about the time the railroads were losing influence in the 1940's. The family farm has mostly disappeared in Dallas County, with only a small number of farms, mostly livestock and poultry, remaining. Pine trees were planted in the fields where the crops once grew. Dallas County has the reputation of being one of the fastest growing areas for pine trees. Presently, the economy of Dallas County still depends heavily on forest products.

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