Greene County, Arkansas

Coffman Community

The Coffman community, located in the southeastern part of Greene County, is said to have first been settled in 1880 by Ross Coffman, who came to Arkansas from Indiana.

Mr. Coffman firdt purchased 400 acres at one dollar an acre, later he became the owner of 3,000 acres, most of which he cleared. However later, he disposed of approximately one-third of his holdings because it was too expensive to farm in that early day.

Coffman brought a sawmill from Indiana which he erected on his farm. He also had a brickyard and a cotton gin. A tall windmill, was for many years a landmark on his farm and it was used for power to generate electricity. The Coffman home was one of the first in the county to have running water and a bathroom. People used to come from miles around to view this modern feature.

There was also a gristmill in the community owned by Mark Overman.

At the time Coffman settled in Greene County that area was a wooded wilderness. There was a boat landing on the St. Francis River, to the south of the Coffman farm, named Mitchell's Point. Steamboats used to dock there coming from as far a Helena. The landing was eventually abandoned, but during Prohibition days, it was claimed to be a rendezvous for moon shiner's.

The first schoolhouse, a small one-room structure was built in 1895. In 1922 a two-room house was built and used until 1939, when the district consolidated with Lakeside district and the Lakeside School was built.

There are still a few residents of Coffman who recall a destructive cyclone, which hit the community in the spring of 1911, destroying most of the fruit trees , leveling many houses and barns.

Robb's Chapel Baptist Church was built in 1924, on land adjacent to the schoolhouse, donated by Mrs. Ida Robb. Services were formerly held in the schoolhouse.

Until 1922, the main road to Coffman ran diagonally through the woods from Paragould, and it was necessary to lay a timber or log base to keep it passable. In 1922 a new road was built, although in bad weather this road was not easy to travel. In 1939, the road was resurfaced by the WPA and has since become a good road maintained by the County.

Early settlers in the Coffman Community besides the Coffman family included the following: J. W. Leatherman, Tom Hopkins, Frank Dover, J. J. Montieth, Marion Holligan, John Robinson, Nick Hoyer and Arthur Wadley.

Transcribed by: Sandy Hardin

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