Ninety-nine years ago this week, on Sept.1, 1884, Greene County
voters went to the polls
and decided to move their county seat from
Gainesville to the new town of Paragould. The
vote was 943 to 737.
On Oct. 6, County Judge John
Osteen ordered the transfer of the records
and all movable effects.
According to a family history written by the
late Ora Yantis, Sheriff T. R. Wilcockson
picked her father, W. J. McDonald, to help
oversee the move. McDonald's teamster, Cub
Drafton, with a couple of prize bays, Bill and
Ball, handled the wagon. The sheriff and Mc-
Donald, both heavily armed, followed on
horseback. At Gainesville, this crew loaded up the safe that had
been purchased by the county in 1877 and returned to Paragould --
without meeting the resistance they had
A temporary courthouse was soon built and
on Aug. 9, 1887, a three-member committee-- Eli S. Bray, A.P. Mack and
W.H. Jones --was appointed to draw up plans for a perma-nent, brick one.
The contract was let on Oct. 5, 1887 to W. F. Boon and S. R. McGinnis.
The $14,700 price tag did not include a clock for the belltower, so
residents kicked in an additional $1,000. On April
3, 1888, the committee reported the completion of its task.
In 1975, the courthouse was added to the
National Register of Historic Places.
| While this looks like the
east face of the courthouse shown in
the top trio, it is actually the west face on which the vault
annex was added in 1918. Telltale signs are the additional
steps at the south door and the center window on the west.
The east face, like the other two, has a center door, but it is
no longer used.
Daily Press photos by: Bruce
|| Above, an engraved marker just outside
the south door pre-
sents a synopsis of the courthouse's
history. Completed in 1888, the original building
was remodeled in 1918 when a vault annex was
built and the entire structure coated with stucco.
After the courthouse bell was removed from its tower in 1965, it
was given a new home atop a concrete pedestal on the courthouse
lawn. According to the bell's inscription it was cast in
1887 by the Clinton H. Meneely Bell Co.
of Troy, N.Y. The tower's four-faced
clock had stopped some 25 years earlier, at 8:25. The
quorum court refused several times to appropriate
the estimated $1,500 for repair of the clock and
restoration of the deteriorating steeple.
Eventually, the county decided the tower was unsafe and had it