Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Western Arkansas
Goodspeed Publishers, 1891
Fulton County - Historical
FULTON COUNTY–ITS FORMATION, ORGANIZATION AND OFFICERS–ITS CAPITAL AND BUILDINGS–POLITICAI. RECORD–THE BENCH AND BAR–SITUATION OF THE COUNTY–IMPORTANT STATISTICS FOR THE INSTRUCTION OF IMMIGRANTS–REAL AND PERSONAL TAXATION–AGGREGATE POPULATION–EDUCATIONAL AND RELIGIOUS ADVANCEMENT–SELECTED FAMILY RECORDS–THE GREAT REBELLION–MUNICIPAL ORGANIZATIONS.
O, the pleasant days of old, which so often people
True, they wanted all the luxuries that grace our modern days;
Bare floors were strewed with rushes, the walls let in the cold;
O, how they must have shivered in those pleasant days of old.—Brown.
FULTON COUNTY was organized in 1843, in accordance with an act of the General Assembly of the State approved December 21, 1842. The first officers under the organization head the list of county officers following in this work. The territory composing the county formerly belonged to Izard, and was originally a portion of the old county of Lawrence. In 1855 a part of Fulton County was set off to Marion, and a part of Lawrence was attached to it. In 1873 territory from Fulton was taken off in the formation of Baxter County.
Soon after the county was organized, the site of the present town of Salem was selected for the seat of justice, where it has ever since remained. A log court house containing one room was soon erected on the public square. After being used for a number of years it was replaced with a larger log structure containing a court-room and clerk's office. This building, together with all of Salem except one log cabin, was consumed by fire during the Civil War. The fire was supposed to have been the work of a marauding party. Afterwards another log court-house was erected and stood until the fall of 1870, when it, together with all records saved to that time, was also consumed by fire. After that time, the present courthouse, a medium-sized, two-story frame structure, with a hall and offices on the first floor and the court-room on the second, was erected. It stands in the center of the large public square; and the jail, a wooden building, the walls of which are made of planks lying flatwise—one upon another and securely spiked together—is located in the southwest corner of the square.
The following is a list of the names of county officers, and dates of term of service, from the organization of the county to the present writing:
Judges: E. C. Hunter, 1843-46; John Plumlee, 1846-48; S. Billingsley, 1848-50; L. Bowling, 1850-54; R. L. Brantley, 1854-56; S. Billingsley, 1856-58; E. C. Hunter, 1858-60; L. Bowling, 1860-62; W. R. Chestnut, 1862-64; J. D. Isham, 1864-66; W. R. Chestnut, 1866-68; H. Turner, 1868-70; J. W. Ball, 1870-72; commissioners, [p.260] 1872-74; T. J. Cunningham, 1874-80; S. H. White, 1880-82; R. E. Richardson, 1882-84; T. N. Chestnut, present incumbent, first elected in 1884.
Clerks: Isaac King, 1843-52; W. M. Bennett, 1852-54; J. A. Simpson, 1854-56; J. C. Todd, 1856-58; S. W. Davis, 1858-62; T. N. Estes, 1862-64; J. P. Cochran, 1864-68; Wiley King, 1868-71; A. R. Brantley, 1871-72; W. P. Rhea, 1872-82; L. P. Kay, 1882-86; H. F. Northcutt, present incumbent, first elected in 1886.
Sheriffs: F. Tolbert, 1843-44; Daniel Beck, 1844-46; C. E. Simmons, 1846-48; S. H. Tolbert, 1848-50; N. L. Barker, 1850-54; R. Benton, 1854-56; L. D. Bryant, 1856-58; T. Martin, 1858-60; L. D. Bryant, 1860-62; E. O. Wolf, 1862-64; M. V. Shaver, 1864-66; E. O. Wolf, 1866-68; W. E. Spear, 1868-72; W. T. Livingston, 1872-74; B. R. P. Todd, 1874-76; W. T. Livingston, 1876-80; D. P. Tunstall, 1880-82; W. T. Livingston, 1882-84; D. P. Tunstall, 1884-86; W. T. Livingston, 1880-88; A. F. Basham, 1888, present incumbent.
Treasurers: D. Hubble, 1843-44; W. Falkenberry, 1844-60; J. Montgomery, 1860-64; S. Billingsley, 1864-66; J. M. Archer, 1866-68; J. Andrews, 1868-70; T. Chestnut, 1872-74; E. D. Hays, 1874-76; T. W. Chestnut, 1876-84; S. P. Welden, present incumbent, first elected in 1884.
Surveyors: B. Archer, 1843-46; H. Long, 1846-50; W. E. Davis, 1850-52; J. O. Brown, 1852-58; J. T. Livingston, 1858-60; S. H. Tolbert, 1860-62; M. F. Billingsley, 1862-64; S. Vanatta, 1864-68; William Raines, 1868-72; S. H. White, 1872-76; C. C. Torrence, 1876-80; William Anderson, 1880-82; W. C. Anderson, 1882-84; C. C. Torrence, 1884-88; C. C. Davis, 1888, present incumbent.
Assessors: J. W. Kennedy, 1864-66; W. H. H. Orr, 1866-68; J. W. Cleghorn, 1868-72; J. M. Archer, 1872-74; A. L. Pearson, 1874-76; S. H. White, 1876-80; M. T. Price, 1880-82; C. C. Torrence, 1882-84; W. C. Anderson, 1884-86; T. H. Hammond, present incumbent, first elected in 1886.
Representatives in constitutional conventions: 1861, S. W. Cochran and George C. Watkins; 1868, William A. Wyatt; 1874, Edwin R. Lucas.
At the September election in 1888 the number of votes cast in Fulton County, for the candidates for governor, were as follows: James P. Eagle, Democrat, 1,011; C. M. Norwood, opposition, 612. At the presidential election in November, 1888, the number of votes cast within the county for the several candidates were as follows: Cleveland, Democrat, 873; Harrison, Republican, 272; Streeter, Union Labor, 195; Fisk, Prohibition, 29.
Just when, or in what particular house the sessions of the county and probate courts were held prior to the selection of the site for the seat of justice, and before the first court-house was constructed, can not now be given, for the reason that all records of the county prior to the fall of 1870 have been destroyed. It is presumed, however, that they were held in Salem very soon after the county was organized. The regular sessions of the county court now begin on the first Mondays of January, April, July and October of each year, and of the probate court on the first Mondays of March, June, September and December.
The Fulton circuit court belongs to the Fourteenth judicial district, and its regular sessions begin on the fourth Mondays of March and September of each year.
The legal bar of Fulton County is composed of the following named attorneys: C. A. Phillips, B. H. Castleberry, J. L. Short, R. B. Maxey and J. M. Burrow.
Fulton, like all sections of country, has, to some extent, been afflicted with criminals. A few murders have been committed, but no legal executions of the offenders have taken place. They have, however, been punished with terms of service in the penitentiary. Society is now well regulated, and the safety of persons and property is secured.
The county of Fulton, located in Northeast Arkansas, on the southern slope of the Ozark Mountain Range, is bounded north by Ozark, Howell and Oregon Counties in Missouri, east by Sharp County, Ark., south by Sharp and Izard Counties, and west by Barter County, and has an area of 600 square miles, with only about one-tenth of [p.261] it improved. Its boundary lines are as follows: Beginning on the State line between Arkansas and Missouri, where it crosses the line between Ranges 4 and 5 west of the Fifth Principal Meridian; thence south on the range line to the line dividing Townships 19 and 20 north; thence west on the township line to the line between Ranges 5 and 6 west; thence south on the range line to the line dividing Townships 18 and 19 north; thence west on the township line to the middle of Range 11, west; thence north on section lines to the north line of the State; thence east on the State line to the place of beginning.
Spring River is formed by the Mammoth Spring at the town of Mammoth Spring, at the State line, about three miles west of the northeast corner of the county, and flows in a southerly direction across its eastern portion. Myatt's Creek rises near the center of the northern boundary of the county and flows southeasterly and empties into Spring River in the east central part. South Fork enters the county from Missouri a little west of the middle of the northern boundary, and flows south and east to its junction with Spring River in Township 19 north, Range 5 west. Strawberry River and the tributaries forming it rise in the south central portion of the county–the river itself flowing in a southeasterly direction. The creeks in the extreme western division of the county flow in a southwesterly direction and partially form the Big North Fork of White River. The streams above named, together with their tributaries, furnish excellent drainage for the entire county, and on the larger ones there are many good mill sites. Numerous pure mountain springs abound everywhere, the most noted of which are Mammoth Spring, at the head of Spring River, and Sharp's Spring, in the southern part of the county. Good well water can be obtained at an average depth of thirty feet, and many wells are in use, as are also cisterns. These sources furnish an abundant supply of water for all purposes.
The entire surface of the county is more or less hilly and mountainous, though the knobs and ridges do not reach to any considerable height. Many of the hill sides are sufficiently level for cultivation, and on the tops of the ridges are found a number of comparatively level tracts. Valley lands abound along the larger streams. The south central and southwestern portion of the county is not so hilly and broken as elsewhere, and in this and in the valleys of the streams the best farms are found. In the extreme southwestern portion, where pine timber abounds, the soil is thin and sandy. On Myatt's Creek and South Fork the soil is a black sandy loam, while on Spring River it is mostly a clay soil. On Strawberry the soil is called a "mulatto soil," and is that kind best adapted to the raising of cotton. It is a loamy clay, composed largely also of vegetable mould. The soil of the uplands consists principally of clay and vegetable mould, and in many places is exceedingly stony. The stone, however, is small and loose upon the surface, and easily removed. Lead and zinc have been discovered in different places within the county, but no mines have been opened.
The first land entries date from 1836, but not many were made prior to 1850. During the 50's more entries are noticed than at any other period of similar length. Large tracts of land are owned by non-residents. Many of the citizens have made homestead entries, and many have already "proved up" and secured their titles. There are thousands of acres of Government lands in each of several Congressional districts yet subject to homestead entry, and to the home-seeker who desires to secure a home under the homestead laws, this county presents many advantages over those of the cold, bleak and barren regions of the West and Northwest.
The timber of the valley lands consists of walnut, sycamore, burr, white and "sour" oak, linden, ash, hickory, sweet and black gum, cottonwood, box-elder, etc. On the uplands black jack, post, black and white oak and hickory abound. The best saw-timber is found in the valleys. Good pine timber is also abundant in the extreme southwestern portion of this territory. The timber has not been shipped out of the county to any considerable extent. A few saw-mills are in operation, all of which are doing good business.
The principal resources of the county, as now developed, and the principal vegetable productions are corn and cotton. According to the United States census of 1880, there were within the county 866 farms and 24,629 acres of improved land, and from these the vegetable productions of the previous year were as follows: Indian corn, 299,930 bushels; oats, 20,827 bushels; wheat, 10,924 bushels; hay, 166 tons; cotton, 2,438 bales; Irish potatoes, 95 bushels; sweet potatoes, 681 bushels; tobacco, 3,400 pounds. Thus it will be seen that corn and cotton were extensively raised, while but little attention was given to the growing of other crops. The soil is well adapted to the development of all kinds of vegetables named, and the tame grasses and clover. Clover, timothy and herds grass (red top) have recently been introduced, but have not been raised to any considerable extent. The reason for this is the liberal range upon which the stock lives and fattens, requiring only a little feed through the short winters. The number of live stock within the county, as shown by the census of 1880, was as follows: Horses, 1,615; mules and asses, 567; neat cattle, 5,934; sheep, 4,189; hogs, 16,427. The number assessed for taxation in 1888 is as follows: Horses, 2,471; mules and asses, 891; neat cattle, 12,426; sheep, 5,764; hogs, 16,483. The apparent small increase in the number of hogs is attributable to the fact that the number given by the census of 1880 includes all slaughtered and sold during the previous year, while the number given in 1888 includes only those on hand when assessed. The real increase of hogs must have been enormous. Fulton County is excellent for stock raising, the climate being mild, the water supply good, and the range for pasturage extensive. It is also well adapted to the cultivation of all kinds of fruit common in this latitude; but fruit growing has not been very largely followed, at least not for shipping purposes. It could be made a very profitable industry, and the opportunity is here for all who may wish to engage in it.
According to the United States census of 1880 the assessed value of real estate in Fulton County was $201,186, and of personal property, $205,836, making a total of $407,022. The total taxes charged thereon for all purposes amounted to $7,008.
The taxable wealth of the county in 1888, as shown by the assessment rolls, is as follows: Real estate, $617,821; personal property, $519,371, making a total of $1,139,192; and the total taxes charged for all purposes is $17,150.92. Thus it is seen that from 1880 to 1888, the taxable wealth of the county nearly trebled. The assessment of 1889 will undoubtedly show it more than trebled. These figures prove that the county's resources are being rapidly developed.
The aggregate population of the county at the end of the several census decades has been as follows: 1850, 1,819; 1860, 4,024; 1870, 4,843; 1880, 6,720. The colored population was, in 1860, 88; 1870, 85, and in 1880, only 36.
The only railroad here is the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Memphis, which was completed in 1883. It enters the county, from Missouri, at Mammoth Spring, and runs thence in a southerly direction across its territory for between thirteen and fourteen miles. It was assessed for taxation in 1888 at $141,765. It has been and will continue to be of great advantage to the county.
Prior to the actual settlement of the section now composing Fulton County, it was occupied by a few adventurous and migratory hunters who subsisted upon wild game, wild honey, berries and other articles of food that they sometimes procured by returning to the frontier settlements and stealing. This class did not long remain after the permanent settlement began, which, according to best information, took place during the 20's and early in the 30's. Among the early settlers that may now be mentioned were G. W. Archer and his family, consisting of nine sons and three daughters, who settled on South Fork, four miles east of Salem, and Daniel Hubble, William Wells, Moses Brannon, Mr. Cobb, the Barkers, John Nichols, the Eatons and the Lewises, all of whom located with their families on South Fork. "Tilt" Hubble settled on the Nesbit place, four miles south of Salem, and Moses Steward in the same neighborhood. It is said of the latter that he raised a family there without any [p.263] beds except beds of leaves. Enos C. Hunter, the first judge of the county court, took up his residence in 1840 on Indian Camp, six miles east of Salem. Milton Yarberry settled eight miles northwest of Salem, near the State line. A Mr. Morrison located on the site of Salem, and John C. Claiborne near that place. John D. Isenhour, Fred, and Daniel Shaver, Dr. A. Cantrell and Samuel W. Cochran were pioneers near the present town of Union.
A few Indians remained here until after the settlement began, and it is related by surviving old residents that one of the pioneers, whose name, for the sake of his descendants, shall not be revealed, stole a pony from the Indians, for which offense the Indians caught and punished him in a novel manner. Placing him astride of a pony, they tied his feet together under its body, with his hands behind him, attached a halter around his neck and the other end of it to a tree, then removed the bridle from the pony and quietly left him to his fate. As the pony began to graze, the halter became stretched, and the man was about choking to death just as a party of his friends arrived and by freeing him saved his life.
The early settlers suffered many hardships and privations. They wore their own homespun clothing, and upon attending preaching service in a private house or in "God's first temples, the groves," the rich, as they were called, wore moccasins on their feet, while the poor went barefooted.
In this county the cause of education has been greatly benefitted by the stanch public sentiment in its favor. About the year 1850 a subscription school lasting only a few weeks was taught in Salem. This it is believed was the first school taught here, and only a few others were in existence until the free school system was established, after the close of the Civil War. The old citizens of the county–those who were children when the settlements began, or were born soon afterward, never had an opportunity to attend school, but grew to manhood with such education as they could acquire at home. The following statistics taken from the report of the State superintendent of public instruction for the year ending June 30, 1888, indicates the advancement made in the public schools of the county: Scholastic population–white 3,560, colored 32, total 3,592; number of pupils taught in the public schools–white, 1,647; colored, 16; total, 1,663; number of school districts, 69; number reporting enrollment in the schools, 48; number of teachers employed–males, 20; females, 18; total, 38; average monthly salaries paid teachers–first grade, males, $34; females, $27; second grade, males, $24.75; females, none; third grade, males, $26; females, $20; amount of revenue expended for the support of the schools, $6,208.51. These figures show by comparison that of the scholastic population less than one-half were enrolled in the public schools; but the figures do not include the pupils of schools where the directors failed to make reports. The wages paid teachers are much less than in many other counties. County Examiner S. H. White said in his report to the State superintendent for 1888: "The public schools have no opposition in this county at this time, and the tax books show that thirty-nine of the districts voted a tax last year ranging from two and one-half to five mills."
In addition to the public schools there are two well sustained academies in the county, the Salem Academy and the County Line Academy, the latter in the northwest corner.
Of the several religious denominations, the Methodists and Baptists were the pioneer workers hereabouts. About 1840, the former had preaching at the Hubble place, three miles north of the present site of Salem, and a little later the latter held services at Indian Camp, some six miles east of Salem. Churches then began to be organized, but the few that were formed prior to the war period became disorganized during that time.
The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, now embraces one circuit and three missions. Salem circuit contains seven appointments, with an aggregate membership of 394, including three local preachers. Rev. J. S. Watson is the pastor in charge at this writing. Viola Mission includes six appointments, with a total membership of 233, including six local preachers. Rev. R. D. Moon is the present pastor. Mammoth Spring Mission has [p.264] three appointments, whose membership has reached forty-five. Rev. J. F. Troy is present pastor. State Line Mission has seven appointments, with an aggregate membership of 187. The present pastor is Rev. J. R. Edwards. These all belong to the Batesville district of the White River conference, from the minutes of which the statistics have been taken.
The Methodist Episcopal Church embraces within the county the whole of one and a portion of another circuit. Viola Circuit contains six appointments, with an aggregate membership of 105. Wild Cherry Circuit has two appointments in the county–Wild Cherry and Gum Springs–the two having a membership of about 125. Rev. J. W. Slusher is pastor. Viola Circuit has no pastor at this writing. These churches belong to the Harrison district of Arkansas conference, of which Rev. W. C. Evans is presiding elder. There are a few organizations in the county of Methodist Protestants.
Of the Missionary Baptist Church there are the following organizations: Mount Zion, at Union, Liberty Hill, Little Strawberry, Enterprise, Gum Springs, Shady Grove, Mount Vernon, Salem, Viola, Oak Grove and Shiloh, with an estimated aggregate membership of 443. These organizations all belong to Big Creek association of Missionary Baptists. There are not less than eleven Christian Church organizations scattered though-out the county, having an aggregate membership of about 350. At Mammoth Spring is the St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, with a membership of twenty-five. It was organized in November, 1887, by Dr. Lawson, of Mississippi, and is the only one of that denomination in the county. Of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, there are at least three organizations in the county, viz: Hickory Grove, Fairview and one near Pleasant Valley. One Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church is in the county–Prosperity, four and a half miles southwest from Salem. It has a membership of about forty-five. Rev. J. C. McDonald, of Izard County, is the present pastor. All the settled portions of the county are supplied with churches and school-houses.
At the outbreak of the Civil War nearly all the citizens of Fulton County were in favor of establishing the Southern Confederacy. A very few who remained loyal to the Union departed to the North. Several companies of soldiers, commanded respectively by Capts. M. V. Shaver, Harry Tracy, L. D. Bryant and others, were raised within the county and served in the Confederate army during the war. In the early part of that period a skirmish took place on the Simmons farm in the northern part between a battalion of Confederate and a battalion of Federal troops, on which occasion the latter were routed, with a loss of six killed and a few wounded. The Confederates lost but one killed. Another skirmish occurred toward the close of the war, on Little Strawberry Creek, about four miles south of Salem, between a battalion of Clayton's command of Federal troops and a battalion of Confederate troops, under Col. Cloud, on which occasion the latter were completely routed. There was a small loss on each side. These were the only engagements worthy of mention within the county between the contending forces, but scouting and marauding parties frequently scoured the country, killing individuals and taking or destroyed much property. The county was over-run and laid waste, and before the war closed it was almost deserted. There was no bushwhacking among its citizens.
Towns and villages of commercial importance have sprung up here and there, forming necessary trading points for the surrounding country.
Afton, a station of the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Memphis Railroad, five miles south of Mammoth Spring, contains a depot, store, hotel and saw-mill.
Camp is seven miles northeast of Salem. Here are a store, grocery, grist-mill and cotton-gin.
Elizabeth, eighteen miles southwest of Salem, has a general store, drug store and a cotton-gin, with three saw-mills in the near vicinity.
Mitchell, fifteen miles southwest of Salem, has one general store.
Myatt, in the northeastern part of the county, has one store, grist-mill and cotton gin.
Mammoth Spring is located on the Kansas [p.265] City, Fort Scott & Memphis Railroad, at the famous spring of that name. The old town, containing a small cluster of houses and a saloon, on the Missouri side of the State line, located at the Harry Turnstall Spring, about half a mile west of the big spring, was established many years ago, but the new town, near the big spring and the railroad, has been almost wholly constructed since the completion of the railroad, in 1883. It now contains three general stores, three groceries, two drug stores, a hardware and furniture store, a jewelry and a millinery store, three hotels, two restaurants, a livery stable, a weekly newspaper, two real estate offices, a building and loan association, a lumber yard, a fish farm, the Calumet Cotton Factory, two church edifices, a large brick schoolhouse, a complement of mechanics' shops, a lodge each of Masons, Odd Fellows and Knights of Pythias, etc., etc., and a population of about 800. The town is "booming," the immigration is rapid and the population will soon double and treble. The place is designed by nature for a health and summer resort, and is being fitted up for that purpose. A commodious hotel, commanding splendid views, recently under construction, is now completed, and is especially adapted for the accommodation of health and pleasure seekers. The Mammoth Spring Monitor, a Democratic newspaper, is published weekly by its proprietors, Culp & Deaderick. It is now in its second volume, and is well supported, as its ably written columns and substantial local matter deserve.
The great spring from which the river flows is about 180 feet in diameter, but the Mammoth Spring Improvement Company have constructed a huge dam across the river at a proper distance below the spring, thus forming a reservoir, completely submerging the spring and containing an area of eighteen acres. The sheet of water that flows over the dam is 107 feet wide, the depth of fall is fourteen feet and the quantity that falls is over 45,000 cubic feet per minute, enough to turn all the mills and factories that can be built adjacent to it. The supply is constant and does not vary with the change of seasons. The river, with this great body of water, for a distance of eleven and three-fourth miles from below the dam has a fall of 134 feet. In this distance many dams could be constructed and hundreds of mills operated. Mammoth Spring and the river that flows from it form one of nature's greatest wonders. The Calumet Cotton Factory stands by the dam mentioned. It is a two-story brick building, 50×250 feet in size, with a one-story wing attached, 40×90 feet, and at this writing is well supplied with looms and other machinery. The number of looms is about 120 and the number of spindles 5,000. One hundred and fifty hands are employed and all the finer grades of colored cotton goods manufactured. These hands and their families add much to the population of the place.
Salem, the county seat, is near the geographical center of the county, and has a beautiful site at the foot and south of Pilot Hill. It had its origin with the county's organization. As previously mentioned, it was destroyed during the Civil War. It now contains two general stores, a drug store, grocery, school-house, church, two hotels, the county buildings, two newspapers, etc., and twenty-two families. The Fulton County Banner, published weekly at Salem, is now in its fifth year. It is published by Lee Davis, is Democratic in politics, and has a fair circulation. The Salem Informer, now in its thirteenth volume, is published by Jesse Matthews. It advocates Republican principles and has for its motto. "Whatever will advance the laborer's interest."
South Fork, in the eastern part of the county, has a general store, a drug store, flouring-mill and cotton-gin.
Union, ten miles south of Salem, contains a general store and school-house.
Viola, in the western part of the county, contains two general stores, a drug store, flouring-mill, two cotton-gins, blacksmith shops, a school-house and Masonic hall.
Wheeling, four miles south of Salem, has a grocery, a saw and grist-mill and cotton-gin, a church and school-house.
Wild Cherry, in the southwest portion of the county, contains two general stores, two churches, a grist mill and cotton-gin, blacksmith shop, a [p.266] Masonic hall and Odd Fellows hall. At each of the towns and places above named there is a post office.
Updated 16 Feb 2015