A squatter named Hubbard erected, near a spring, a mud and stick house. Hubbard sold, Sept. 2, 1853, for $2 per acre some acreage to Henderson Moore of North Carolina. Moore owned slaves, and as settlers began to arrive he erected a horse operated cotton gin and blacksmith shop.
He later opened a mill on Mill Creek, at the waterfall where he ground wheat and corn. It is thought that Moore bought a whole section from Hubbard and lived in his mud hut for about four years until he could build a better home.
John W. Blair of Tennessee settled six miles north of this place Jan. 6, 1856. That night a heavy snowstorm fell and the only protection this small family group had was a wagon sheet. They had to camp for weeks before Blair could cut out enough logs to build a house. After the logs were cut he had to go to El Paso to get men to help raise the walls of the house.
A.J. Dickens of near Greenbrier settled his homestead in 1858. Dickens later became a Union soldier in the Civil War. Phillip Howell also settled near this place early in 1856. He was a justice of the peace in Union township.
Other settlers then augmented this community which was now called Mooresville. Moore acquired a second section of land.
His cousin, Sid Moore, built a general store building here in 1857 and erected another mill on Mill Creek. Lumber in this area was scarce.
The nearest lumber mill in this decade was at Pearson, near Quitman, on the Heber Springs road in the western part of the next county east.
Tradition relates a heavy growth of smilax (Greenbrier or sawbrier) along this creek bank. One aged settler was nettled by the rank profusion of these plants and voiced his ire at the store of Sid Moore. It was this settler's suggestion that the settlement be renamed Greenbrier.
At any rate, Sept. 15, 1857, Henderson Moore became postmaster of the town newly called Greenbrier, however the named was derived. The post office was kept in a long house.
Some say the town was named for this creel. It is unlikely that such a large stream of water in this area was known from 1808 being within six miles of either fork of Cadron Creek.
Also in 1814, a settlement pear Batesville on the south bank of White River had formed and was called Greenbrier. It had a ferry and was crowded for 1819-19 families lived there. Many settlers into Faulkner County came south from Batesville, for they recorded their land titles there. John Standlee came through Batesville and it is not improbable that some early settler also brought along this name for this rich creek bottom. Here again, we can only speculate as to how this town was named.
W.W. Blessing writing in the Log Cabin Democrat in 1933, said "Greenbrier, just before the Civil War, was a post oak, slashy land, not good for much of farming." West of the little settlement was a tan yard where the beef and other hides were tanned for making shoes. The hides were usually tanned on the halves. In its early days the only mill in the area was the Hartwick Mill on the upper Cadron Creek and at Old Austin, in nearby Lonoke County.
Early settlers in and around Greenbrier were Sam Glenn, Isom Hall, John Henderson, John Belote, john Blair, Jack Tarkington, Lewis Johnson, Joe Jolly, John Surratt, John Donnell, Riley Wooley and John and Eb Abernathy.
Frank D. Cantrell, born Nov. 25, 1861, at Whitfield, GA., was a son of J.J. and Bernice Carey Cantrell. This family came to Arkansas in 1870 by steamboat to Little Rock. They then acquired a wagon and moved their belongings to the Blackfork community.
The family of young Alonzo A. Wilson moved to Greenbrier in 1871 from Tennessee. Young Wilson had been born Oct. 11, 1867.
Henry Clay Williams moved to this area in 1872 with his parents. He had been born Nov. 19, 1870, in Union County.
David A. Howell had been born near Greenbrier March 14, 1867, to Phillip and Emily Howell, who had moved here from Tennessee in 1857. Mrs. Annie White Gaylon, was born Sept. 13, 1862, near Greenbrier, a daughter to William and Elizabeth White.
John L. Conner was born six miles east of Greenbrier Dec. 19, 1871. He was a son of James W. and Gracie Simmons Conner, both of Tennessee. They moved into this area shortly before the Civil War. Conner had served in the Confederate Army.
Samuel Joseph Hankins was born a mile east of Greenbrier March 3, 1871, a son of George and Liddy Glenn Hankins.
"""Twin girls, Alice and Emma Fox, were born March 5, 1866, near Humbolt, Tenn. They traveled with their parents to Greenbrier in 1870, at the age of dour. Their parents were William S. and Martha Fox. Alice married Thomas J. Smith, a son of John Smith of Loretta, Tenn. Emma married a Mr. Snow whose family had homesteaded land in this area in 1838."""(see below)
East of the Marcus Hill settlement on the Springfield-Searcy road was a store and gin owned by George Shock. On this road Joe Matthews also lived. There was a small log house known as Mount Zion (later Enola) which was the only church of note for miles around.
Turkey Creek and Barney were then largely unsettled. Jim Reynolds, the Brown, Keathley, Dalton, Henry, Garland, Davis, Bell and Hawkins families then began to move into the area one by one.
Burl Moss was one of the pioneer settlers of Garland Springs. The Baptist Church at Greenbrier was established in 1860. Feb. 18, Elder I.R. Hall became the first pastor. The church clerk was Thomas Dickens. Members were Edmond Thorn, Marion Adkinson, Joseph Dickens, Thomas Dickens, Martha Moore, Elizabeth Thorn, Essie Hall, Mary Reynolds, Eliza Adkinson, Charity Dickens and Manassa Carrington.
B.H. Birden, I.R. Hall and John Lee were organizing elders, while Edmond Thorn was named the first deacon. This new church joined forces with the Caroline Missionary Baptist Association. The first church building was erected about 30 yards east of the present edifice. It was sold in 1878 for $7 and moved to the place then called Crossroads, now Greenbrier.
June 1, 1867, a special conference of the church was called to consider charges of adultery against Elder York, the new pastor, who had been called on March 31, 1866. The Rev. W.T. Box was called to fill the place of the deposed elder. July 29, 1867, however, the church rescinded its action and retained Elder York. This action split the church and, in 1871, the splinter group moved into the town of Greenbrier and built a church.
By 1875 the two churches were again reunited and constructed with the Masonic Lodge of Greenbrier, No. 290. This building was occupied in 1878 and also served as the community school.
A Methodist church was organized and a new building was erected in 1886. This building burned Thanksgiving Day, 1910. In 1940 a new rock building replaced the old Methodist church on the same site.
In 1910 the Baptist church chose J.S. Wofford, W.b. Love and W.C. Kelson to select a new site for the church. A 60-foot building was constructed. It was destroyed by a tornado that swept central Faulkner County on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, 1926. By February, 1927, the present native stone building had been erected for the Macedonia Baptist Church.
In 1903 the Nazarene church was erected on its present site about one-half mile north of the business district. In 1946 a Freewill Baptist Church was built north of the town on Highway 65. In 1953 the Church of Christ built its edifice north of the business district, also on 65. During 1955 Immanuel Baptist Church was erected just south of the town at the junction of Highway 25 and Highway 65.
Several schoolhouses had been built in the vicinity of Greenbrier. In 1878 it moved to the town proper and was held in the Baptist church building. The Greenbrier School District was formed April 17, 1879. In 1885 the school building stood on a site a fourth mile north of town. By 1906, however, it was abandoned for a new school at its present site on the south side of the town crossroads.
Nov. 25, 1926, this school building was un-roofed by a tornado. The upper floor of the building was destroyed. two homes in the town also were devastated, as were the Baptist church and numerous court buildings.
Hundreds of trees in the vicinity were uprooted. Since 1927, 24 school districts have been absorbed into the Greenbrier School District, which covers 145 square miles. Its buildings house over 600 students (1964). A gymnasium was built in 1950 and was at that time one of the largest in Faulkner County.
Early teachers at Greenbrier were A.B. Henry. a Mrs. Bobb, J.M. Craig and a Mr. Smith. The students in these early schools used a slate for paper which cost from 10 cents to a quarter. With care these slates would last for many years. The pencil also was made of slate.
Liquor came to Greenbrier in 1878. Smith & Julian applied to the county court on Aug. 28, 1878, for a license to sell liquor in less quantity than one quart in the town of Greenbrier. Their license was granted Oct. 28. Aug. 4, 1879, W.D. Smith presented a petition to the county court signed by 176 citizens of Hardin Township asking "that W.D. Smith be allowed to apply to the court to sell spirituous liquors in Greenbrier, in Hardin Township..." An election was held in this township in November, 1878, in which a majority cast their vote for liquor to be sold at Greenbrier. The Smith license was also allowed by the county court and his fee of $100 was paid into the county funds.
Greenbrier lies in a lush cotton belt. Hardin Township had a population of 868 in the 1880 census. The town had eight general stores, three grist mills, four cotton gins, a steam saw and shingle mill, three churches, the school house and a population of 350.
Feb, 2, 1880, M.E. Moore petitioned the county court to grant an order "incorporating said town of Greenbrier as prescribed by law." This was granted April 5. The town let this charter become inactive, but in 1948, the town was reactivated and Hugh Henry was elected mayor. Royce Williams, Percy Matthews and Howard Lawrence have been mayors in the years following.
Cotton became important to the well being of this inland village. Nov. 1, 1898, S.B. McCollum sold two bales of cotton, weighing 560 and 553 pounds at 4.45 cents a pound with a gross proceeds to McCollum of $49.52 from both bales. Nov. 19, 1919, a bale of cotton brought 45.5 cents a pound, or $223.86 for an average 500-pound bale. By Oct. 9, 1926, however, a bale of Rowden variety cotton only brought 11.75 cents per pound, or $53.25 per bale.
Another early Greenbrier store was that of a man named Britten. He carried a small stock of snuff, salt, soda, pepper and sugar. This later commodity he limited to only five pounds per customer, because it was often difficult to secure. Other merchants through the years were J.D. and J.E. Martin, I.R. Hall, Jim Walton, Sid Moore, Jim Moore, George Clark and Sain Wofford.
July 6, 1886, upon petition of numerous citizens of Hardin Township the voting precinct of that township was moved from Shady Grove, on Horseshoe Mountain, into the town of Greenbrier. This move did not displease the Greenbrier merchants and saloon keepers.
When Conway Station was formed in 1871, old-time Greenbrier (1857) looked with scorn upon this upstart railroad town. By the turn of the century, however, several factors tipped the scales in favor of Conway as the commercial center of Faulkner County.
Some of the Greenbrier merchants moved to Conway. J.E. Martin did so, as did the Moore men. Improved roads and the coming of the automobile drew away some of the Greenbrier mercantile business. Another setback was the construction of Little Rock-Harrison road, which was constructed on 1923, some six miles tot he west of Greenbrier, through Wooster. This new gravel road allowed settlers to the north to get to Conway with some ease.
Cotton prices often were low then high, and then low again. During the 1928, Highway 25 was constructed, linking Greenbrier to Wooster and Batesville. Mail also came up twice a day from Conway.
Thompson's gin baled 4,048 bales of 10-cent cotton in 1931. This was the biggest crop at Greenbrier for the 20-year period 1929-49. This Depression, however, caused many business houses to close permanently, while others merely had new owners. Business houses at Greenbrier which closed were the drugstore of E.J. McCracken and the blacksmith shops of Clyde Kelso, Tom Waddle and L.M. Castleberry. The gin of J.S. Mobbs and the general stores of Will Parks, Drew Glover, Tom Wofford, Ernest McCracken and Lull McCrae were forced to close their doors.
The town had two physicians during the Depression . They were Dr. J.S. Liebling and Dr. E.T. Williams. Merchants during these black days were G.J. Wooley, Ewing Wooley, J.O. Turney, J.O. Cantrell, W.B. Love, George Lieblong, J.W. Dilliha, Harrison Reynolds, Oliver Brannon and Thomas Cantrell.
Many men in this community were given jobs in the construction of new roadways, the construction of the Greenbrier Smith-Hughes building, the home economics building and a small heating plant under the National Youth Administration program. They young men of this area were enrolled at nearby Camp Halsey, one of three local CCC camps, which was 10 miles east of Greenbrier, near Centerville.
Electricity came to Greenbrier in 1936, the first area to be served in the county by Arkansas Power & Light Co. With the relocation eastward of Highway 65 from Wooster to Greenbrier, in 1942, in the midst of World War II, a new Greenbrier began to stretch away from the old town site in which many of the 1880 buildings still stood.
Many new store buildings have been erected here. The city has street lights, a water works with a fire hydrant system. All farm-to-market roads in the four-mile square city have been hard surfaced. The water system is city owned and Greenbrier has a community fire department. In 1963 a new post office building was erected and a dial telephone plant was introduced by Allied Telephone Co.
CORRECTION TO ABOVE BY
Janis SNOW Mundy
"Twin girls, Alice and Emma COOPER, were born March 5, 1866, near Humbolt, Tenn. They traveled with their parents to Greenbrier in 1870, at the age of four. Their parents were WILLIAM STANLEY COOPER and Martha FOX. Alice married Thomas J. Smith, a son of John Smith of Loretta, Tenn. Emma married a Mr. (FRANCIS JONAH) Snow whose family had homesteaded land in this area in 1838.