Fox in Stone County found its origins in the
Written by: Tracy L. Crain
Arkansas Democrat Gazette
Sunday, October 14, 2001
The community of Fox is known for quite a
few things, including the occasional fight
Letís just start with the basics. Thereís
the community fun park, the Rural Special
School District, Neda Leeís cobbler pie,
plenty of good old fashioned patriotism and
so much more, here in this little rural
The fun park, complete with most of the
amenities that one would find in a larger
recreational facility, offers residents a
place to play basketball, volleyball, and
baseball. Although there are no lights, the
ball park has a chain link fence and seating
"Community members keep the park open by
hosting a number of fundraisers, such as
local ball games. Money received helps pay
for monthly upkeep," Dee Brewer, deputy
circuit clerk for Stone County said.
Brewer describes Fox as a place with no
boundaries. "It originated in the late
1800s. Itís not incorporated and there is no
city hall," she said.
Eldon Broyles was born here in 1934. It
could be said that he stays for the food. He
mentions a good number of great cooks.
Although they are good, he says thereís none
better than Neda Lee, known best for her
Broyles loves life in this hilly community
and remembers quite a bit about growing up
here, like the first electric service and
the first time soda was available.
"I live a quarter of a mile from where I was
conceived," he said. "I can well remember
the day when we received most of the modern
Broyles, who was a union organizer for
several years, moved away for a while, and
then returned to make his permanent home in
He describes Fox as a place whereÖif you
blink, youíll miss it. He says progress is
not fast, but rather the opposite.
"Thereís only one grocery store, but we used
to have three. Burl Ticer and her husband
were respected as the main grocers here,"
Broyles said. "Iím proud of them because
they were in a position where they could
have taken advantage of a lot of people, but
never did. If I had to think of one thing to
say about this community, it would be that
weíre always divided on everything. I think
that shows our independence."
That independence can be traced back to the
origination of the name," Fox."
The town has quite a story about choosing
that particular name. "When Fox first came
into being, it was called Smart. As Arkansas
became more populated, it was discovered a
Smart was already in the state. So, there
were two Smarts for awhile. This area, since
it was the smallest, had to change," he
said. "As it is now, the community canít
even decide on what up is. Because of that
type of mentality, itís difficult for the
people to agree on much, especially a name."
He continued, "Anytime a name change
was mentioned, residents in the community
could never agree. Finally, the postal
service sent a postal inspector to the area
to help the community chose one. There were
fist fights as people tried to vote on a
The name finally evolved from some teenage
boys who caught a fox outside during that
town meeting. Itís believed the inspector
saw the boys chasing the animal during that
town meeting, and said, "Why not call it Fox
Run or Fox Chase?"
"By the time the chase had ended, there was
a Fox post office," Broyles said.
Broyles, whose brother was postmaster of Fox
for several years, takes pride in the
knowledge that he helped build one of the
newest buildings in the community: the post
office. "I built that building in 1984," he
said. "I had to survey the three miles
around the area."
Townsfolk in Fox are said to get along well
and said to stick together. An example would
be the community-wide effort to get the
recent mileage increase that is helping the
community update its educational facilities,
pay for a new gym, and fund the fun park.
"The people in this town really stuck
together to do that," Broyles said. "We are
a small community and 75 percent wanted to
incorporate so there would be some state
turn back. 25 percent did not want to and we
had a heck of a fight."
Part of that spirit is what makes Broyles
stay in Fox. Itís also the serenity of the
Ozark Mountains that he loves.
"I have been in the fast lane too long and
it is definitely not fast lane here. It is
laid back. Youth respect the elderly here
and they always have," he said. "I also
think we have fewer drug problems. We canít
brag that we donít have hotheads or any drug
problems, but I think most of those problems
come from people who have been transplanted
The heart and soul of the community seems to
also be in the school.
"The community has always supported the
Rural Special School. This part of Arkansas
has always been into basketball. And back
when I was a teenager, the local schools
played each other," Broyles said. "Our
school district, the main school in the Fox
area, was established in 1946. The primary
activities include basketball in the winter
and baseball in the summer."
He remembers what it was like to grow up
here. "This was a rural farm area and there
was a lot of work to do. On Sunday,
everybody went to church," he said.
Farming is still strong here. Several
residents also raise chickens. Itís way of
life they say is being phased out.
"The farm community here, for the most part,
is raising cattle. Most everybody raises a
few cows, but we have a become a bedroom
community. Weíve got to where we have a lot
of commuters, retired military and
schoolteachers here," Broyles said.
Burl Ticer and her late husband ran the
local store in Fox for 35 years.
"I know the people here better than anywhere
else. A lot of them traded with me and I had
to extend credit to a lot of them. Most of
them were really good to pay their bills,"
she said. "My husband and I really tried to
help the people of this community. We have
touched so many peopleís lives and they have
touched ours. Each family was a part of our
Ticer, who states her first name is spelled
like a boy, thinks that her parents really
wanted a boy.
"I get a lot of letters with Mr. And not
Mrs. Written on them. People get confused."
Ticer, who has lived on five acres of land
in Fox for 69 years, loves the community.
"The reason I like living here are many. I
can have my freedom here, more than in the
city. We also have a nice park and a new
water department that gets water from the
Trimm area," she said. "It is unbelievable
how many people have said they would be
there for me if I ever needed anything. That
means a lot to me."
When asked if she would ever move, Ticer
stated plainly, "Sometimes life deals us
hands that we are not expecting. I would
hate to have to leave. This place is just
home to me."
In the same way that Fox is home to Ticer,
it is also home to Broyles.
"I will always live in Fox. My grandparents,
parents and late wife are buried here. I
plan to be buried here as well," Broyles
said. "I guess," he said, "I became
Located along Arkansas 5, close to Drasco in
Stone County, sits the community of Fox. It
has an estimated population of 300
(Fox is an excerpt from Road Trips; a weekly
feature of small towns in Arkansas written
by Tracy Crain and published by the Arkansas