Log Cabin Democrat

Centennial Edition

History of Faulkner County Towns and Townships

From the LCD Centennial Edition 1873-1973:


"East from Conway on U.S. 64, for about six miles to the upper waters of Palarm Creek, are scattered several communities of small proportion, all of which remain simple farm areas. Settled as early as 1845, the homesteads dotted a vast area. The tiny settlements were known as Liberty, Sunny Side, the store at Duncan's Gap, the church at Mount Olive and Hamlet.

At Hamlet, on Palarm Creek, after the Carter mill and gin were erected in 1848, cotton was ginned and baled here. (A three-to-five-bale day was considered excellent). After the Civil War, Joseph Roden rebuilt the destroyed gin and converted its press to steam in 1865, using water from Palarm Creek for his boilers.

George P. Carter was born Jan. 24, 1872, on a farm nine miles east of Conway Station. He was a son of Alfred and Margaret Rhoden Carter, who met while they were en route west from their former homes in Georgia and Alabama. The Carter and Rhoden families met at Memphis in 1865.

They waited there about a week and the courtship of Alfred and Margaret budded. These two young people were married before the caravan crossed the Mississippi River. Part of the Rhoden clan migrated further west and was never heard from again by those who chose to stay in the Liberty community.

Mrs. Ina Rhoden Bailey was born Dec. 20, 1867, a daughter of Joe and Lizzie Hamlet Rhoden, who had settled in the Liberty community by 1871. Her father also operated a water-powered grist mill and gin up Palarm Creek about two miles north of the former site of the Carter gin.

Dr. George L. Harrod was born Jan. 25, 1869, in the Brown community of upper Palarm Creek, a son of Dr. George Harris and Pameila Witcher Harrod.

Dr. George Harrod was married Oct. 12, 1899, to Lenora Ethel Brown. Dr. Harrod at the time was living at Hamlet and took his bride of 18 there to start housekeeping. Their first child, Alberta, was born there. It was then that Dr. Harrod purchased the property where the six-mile store stood and had a home erected there. This would be the home of the couple until their deaths and the birthplace of two other children.

When the first telephone lines were placed in operation in this community the switchboard was placed in the Harrod home and Mrs. Harrod was the full-time switchboard operator.

Other families living in this area at the time of the creation of Faulkner County or shortly before that time were Joseph R. Kelsey and Elizabeth Dunaway Kelsey. Their daughter, Betty Kelsey, was born Oct 22, 1870, in this community. William R. McHenry was born Nov 29, 1872, to J.B. and Mary Hamlett McHenry. The J.N. Fulmer family settled here in 1865, migrating from Mississippi. A daughter, Jennie Fulmer, was born in the community on June 6, 1872.

Sunday, April 23, 1882, Liberty Baptist Church was organized by the Rev. W.J. and Robert Kirkland and the Rev. J.M. Davis. Joel M. Chivers, John Dunaway, and M. Walthall were all named deacons. Other charter members were Armistead Jeffries, B.K. Graham, Louisa Hendrix, Saline Walthall, Malinda Graham, Caroline Jones, Tennessee Colvin, Mary Ann McPherson, M.M. Watson, Elizabeth Spencer, A.A. Hinkle, and S.S. Peter.

May 28, 1882, Rebecca Jeffries was received by letter. Thirty-six other members were admitted by Aug. 12. In November the church hired a pastor and agreed to pay $4 to Rev. W.F. Cole every meeting day. Earlier in September it had agreed to erect a building in conjunction with the Presbyterians. This was an era of strict morals.

This tiny church was much upset with member defections. In January 1883, William Gates was called a "Campbellite." No progress was made in this case.

Robert Gresham was accused of profane and unchristian conduct, but was forgiven by the church members. Duncan allowed dancing at his home during May 1885. No action was ever taken. Metzger cursed but was restored to membership Aug. 12, 1885. Robert Lee was permitted to withdraw his name from the roll.

July 24, 1927, the Liberty Baptist Church was destroyed by fire. One store remains along the creek. Nearby on State Road 36 is the remains of a consolidated school system housed in attractive native stone buildings. In 1963 this district was again consolidated with the nearby Vilonia school district. The buildings are now used for a community center and a church."

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