Carthage

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 Seals, 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.

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