Moorefield in Independence County was named by railroad workers
Written by: Tracy Crain
October 8, 2000

Moorefield, located in Independence County, is known primarily for three families, a peach orchard, and the state’s oldest Baptist church.

Another characteristic, less common, makes the town worthy of a visit in autumn--its warm fall colors. Located off of Arkansas 69, the area, abundant with trees, is picturesque. An array of multi-colored leaves can be seen floating about the rooftops of its 160 residents---giving Moorefield its own distinct beauty.

Residents in the area overwhelmingly repeat one phrase: “It’s peaceful here.” And, it is indeed. There was a time, however, when Moorefield wasn’t quite so peaceful.

The sounds of loggers and railroad workers were once very common to this farming community and remnants of that earlier lifestyle are still visible.

The railroad tracks that spread alongside the mile long radius of the town still function and an old sawmill to the right of the tracks is used once in a while, although it no longer caters to the bigger logging jobs.

The Goodwin family and their two dogs, Joe, a half lab and a blue heeler, as well as Charlie, a pug, are residents of Moorefield.
From the front porch, Charles Goodwin recants his memories of the town while his wife Debbi attends to the dogs and their two year old son, Cory.

Goodwin said his family, as well as the Morgan and Moore families, were some of the first settlers. “There were also two brothers, Conrad and Hugh Morris, part of the Moore family, who were well known to these parts.”

The Goodwin family owned a good portion of the land in the area over the years, which was used for farming. And, Goodwin’s grandfather raised corn and potatoes on the lands he purchased. He also ran a store. “A store is all that has ever really been here,” Goodwin said. “It’s now a car lot.”

Interestingly enough, Charles and Debbi live in a house that was built by his parents 38 years ago. He has a lot of fond memories centered around that house and the fields.

“I remember riding in the horse drawn wagon and picking up potatoes with my grandpa. I still have that wagon,” he said.
Edna Morgan, 77, a native of Moorefield and Charles’s aunt, also remembers what it was like to grow up here, particularly before cars were common.

“We walked everywhere, even to church on Sunday. My aunt had a car and sometimes she would come get us. Mostly, we just walked, though, and the road was not blacktop,” she said.

Morgan, whose husband was the first alderman in Moorefield, recalls the old depot and how the trains would come and go. “There was also a post office back then. Now, the mail comes out of Batesville,” she said.

One of her favorite memories is of the peach orchard they used to have in town. “In 1942, when it was still here, people would come from Batesville and wait in line just to buy them.”

There was also a school in town that Morgan attended as a little girl. “It was a one-room school,” she said. “We lost a lot when we lost it to consolidation.”

Although the school system is now part of Batesville, community members have two churches that host a variety of community functions.

One of the churches, Rehobeth Baptist Church, is known as the oldest Baptist church in the state.

“There is another Baptist Church known for being the oldest, but it was disbanded at one time. My church, Rehobeth, has had continuous service,” Morgan said.

Rehobeth is famous for its annual homecoming service. “We have a potluck dinner picnic and there is always entertainment,” she said. “Our homecoming is kind of like a family reunion because almost everybody is related to everybody here.”

As far as the town’s namesake, Morgan, who keeps a journal of historical information for her family, was told the name originated from railroad workers.

“There’s an old story where a train man supposedly came along and said there is more field than anything else, so they called it Moorefield,” she said. “It’s a play on the Moore family, who also owned a lot of the land here.”

One of the most distinct attractions, Morgan said, is the mural that can be seen on the community wall. “It was painted by Charley
Handford and is really beautiful,” she said.

Goodwin says expansion has been slow but steady. He also notes that the value of land has been increasing since Wal-Mart opened a store a few miles from their town.

“There is a lot of development starting in this area,” he said. “If they keep moving out here, then I might move, but I doubt it. For being a small area, the wages are pretty good.”

Goodwin, who works as a tool and dye maker, describes his pay as competitive as the pay in Texas or larger states.
“Companies are having to compete with the bigger towns to get good workers. We do a lot in Searcy and with Emerson Electric. Things are pretty good right now,” he said.

“About the only thing we don’t have anymore is a family doctor. We used to have one who was famous and then he moved to Cave City. My old physician, Dr. I.M. Husky, was in Ripley’s Believe It or Not one time because of his name,” Morgan says.
“He was a really nice man and my family doctor for a long time. Then, he moved away. I’ll never forget him.”

The small town of Moorefield, positioned next to Quail Valley, was incorporated in the mid 1800s.

(This article was revised 12/09 for historical archiving and is an excerpt from Road Trips; a weekly feature of small towns in Arkansas, which was written by Tracy Crain and published by the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.)