Log Cabin Democrat

Centennial Edition

History of Faulkner County Towns and Townships

From the LCD Centennial Edition 1873-1973


Centerville was on a plateau which comprises the present community and lay in a gloomy tangle of woods on either side of a rough stagecoach trail from Batesville to Little Rock.

It is reported that Price's army passed through this area during the Civil War and camped on the banks of the Cadron. This army was occupied for two days in moving horses, artillery and related materials across the deeply banked Cadron Creek.

Dr. O.J. Owen came to this area from Indiana. Near this place his wagon broke a wheel. He was forced to camp under a huge oak tree while he attempted to repair the wheel. The Owen couple decided they like the land herabouts and decided to make it their home. Dr. Owen later furnished a yoke of oxen to haul in the lumber for the first schoolhouse.

William McNew was another early settler. He was of Irish descent and raised many orphans in this area. Others joining the settlement were Buck Blythe, Rube Brown, J.W. Venable, Frank Utley, Bill Wooley, A.J. Jolly, Bill Johnson, W.L. Thompson, Jim T. Blessing and George Wooley. These men were small farmers.

About 1855 Riley Wooley came to Conway County from Dyersburg, Tenn., and settled on a site one mile south of a range of hills running east and west from Searcy Valley, White County, to the west to end near Mallettown.

Near this Wooley farm a mile and a half away was a natural gap occuring with each side curving to the south and coming quite close together. This locality got its name from this settler and has since been known as Wooley Hollow. In 1935 this hollow and gap was dammed and became Lake Bennett.

W.W. Blessing and his parents and others of the family group settled near this gap in February of 1860 just north of the hollow on a dim road. Up the hollow on the north end of this road lay Quitman. There are two streams of water which run through the hollow. Blackfork and Mill Creeks are their names. Upon flooding of the Blackfork Creek all land traffic was stopped in the area.

The first church in this community was that of the Methodists, which unfortunately was destroyed by a forest fire that swept the area. McNew Chapel was then erected on the westside of this little community, at the cemetery, while Pleasant Hill Church was erected on the east side. McNew Chapel was destroyed early in the 20th century by a tornado.

In 1916 a community church was erected and called Union Grove. It is now Centerville United Methodists Church and is housed in a lovely native rock edifice.

The Centerville Work Center was established after the depression so rural residents could have a central location to achieve tool or harness repairs, to make their mattresses and to hatch their eggs.

The early school of this srea burned on 1914. A two-room school building was rebuilt on that site. In 1927 two more rooms were added to the plant. A Smith-Hughes school building was erected in 1928.

The school system in 1940 consisted of an auditorium and gymnasium, and agricultural building, a grade school, a home economics building and a science and commericial building with a storm house which had a capacity of 500. This school is now closed and the community children travel by bus each day to Greenbrier.

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