Izard County is a community that works
together, says resident
Written by: Tracy L. Crain
Arkansas Democrat Gazette
Sunday, January 14, 2001
Itís been described as fishermanís paradise
located in the heart of the Ozarkís
In a 1967 press release from the Arkansas
Publicity and Parks Commission, Max Love,
said, "It is without doubt the most
delightful, most scenic, and the most
friendly community in the state."
Guion, for all its attractions, is also home
to a few celebrities like Jaydine Morton,
who has been featured numerous times by the
Arkansas Democrat Gazette for her uncommon
tales of southern small town living.
Although sheís too modest to admit it,
Mortonís a celebrity in these parts and for
a good many reasons. She has stories to
share, like how the entire town set out
after a missing cow one day.
She also knows about the economic and
emotional impacts that storms, like the one
that happened in 1929, affected the
community. She even wrote a 35 page pamphlet
on the "Storm of 1929" and sold copies to
help raise money for Guionís local cemetery.
Copies of her pamphlet can be found at the
Old Independence Library located in Guion.
"I was responsible for organizing the
cemetery fund-raising event," Morton said.
"I guess I just didnít know how to say no
back then. We were very successful in our
fundraising. We put the money we made into a
fund account. Our goal was to earn $5,000,
and we got it in less than two years."
To Morton, Guion is a community that works
together. She also describes it as a type of
paradise that has abundant amounts of
rainbow trout and smallmouth bass. The
fishing in the nearby White River, she says,
is second to none.
"This place really has something different
to offer," she said.
As do residents, like Morton. They create a
different kind of ambience to this town.
Itís an atmosphere as such that made Joel
Ruminer, a well-known Arkansas tap dancer,
describe Guion as one of his favorite
communities in the state.
When Guion was first settled in the early
1800s, it was known as a busy place. It was
also considered to be one step ahead of the
"We were the first to have running water in
the county," Morton said.
Guion was also known for its mining
companies, the trucking industry and for
merchandise transported into the area via
boat and railway.
How Guion received its namesake is similar
to other small towns that were built around
the tracks of the railroad.
Morton said there are really two beliefs.
One is that when trains came through Guion,
the conductor would say "Go On," which
sounds like "Guion."
The other belief, more commonly accepted, is
that Guion was the name of a railroad
Morton moved to this fishermanís hideaway in
1944, where her parents had lived
previously. She can recall their stories of
storms with great accuracy.
"It seemed to them that every time they
moved back here, a disaster would occur in
the month of April," she said. "Through it
all, they somehow survived a storm and a
flood, of which both occurred during the
month of April in different years. Also, in
April of another year, my brother fell off
of one of the nearby bluffs."
When Mortonís parents lived here, most
people came by way of boat. They would dock
at what was known then as Wild Haw Landing.
"This town was referenced under a lot of
different names before the railroad worker
named it Guion," she said.
When asked what makes this area so
different, Morton offers the following
"I like the area because itís peaceful. You
donít have a lot of traffic, and there are a
lot of animals scurrying about the place,
like birds and bald eagles."
Larry Morton, another resident of Guion,
describes the area as beautiful, but scarce.
"Itís a nice place to live, but itís
difficult if you need things," he said.
"There are no restaurants or anything."
Perhaps, however, that is what makes this
place so uncommon enough that it is one of
the most written about communities in the
The Wall Street Journal as well as small
town and local trade magazines have also
written articles detailing the magic of this
rural haven that offers only a few churches,
a post office, a few small businesses and a
sawmill to its population of 93.
"At the end of every September, we have a
reunion here where all the old residents
come back," Jaydine Morton said. "We are
getting ready for our third one. Jack Arnold
sang this past year and it was standing room
only. The people here really like to come
(Guion is an excerpt from Road Trips; a
weekly feature of small towns in Arkansas
written by Tracy Crain and published by the
Arkansas Democrat Gazette.)