By: Jack Flinn of Hazen, Arkansas

Abstracted from an article with a photograph of the church from
the White River Journal, Des Arc, Arkansas, November 26, 1970

Prairie County, Section 4, Township 3 North, Range 5 West


"Mrs. Ruth Flinn Collins of West Monroe, Louisiana, found this picture. She was born on August 31, 1892. She is not sure she remembers the church, except for seeing the picture, or hearing people talk about it. Along about that time many people lived around close and it was a thriving neighborhood going by the name of Stringtown. Our grandfather, Dr. C.J. Flinn, settled there in 1872.

I remember a few of the names my parents often spoke of as close neighbors of the Stringtown or White Church community: the Morrows, Horns, Kings, Fords, Aycocks, Stallings, Blakemores, Bowmans, Garths, Winniehams, Hedspeths, Warners, Easons, Plunketts, Ingrams, Lovejoys, and many other names that I've heard but can't recall. Many of these people were buried in the White Church Cemetery. Mrs. J.L. Woolsey of Carlisle, born in 1897, remembers being at the church when she was a young girl. Her grandparents, Charles King and Lucy Bettis King, were buried there in 1901 and 1905.

No one remembers when the church was torn down or what became of the lumber. The rafters were used for fence posts and being of red cedar, three remain today (1970).

The oldest grave that I know about for sure is that of my grandmother, Mrs. Phada Womac Bettis who was buried in 1864. I'm sure the church and cemetery were there long before that date. Two long rows of soldiers and strangers are somewhere there. No one knows where the graves are or who they were. The rows of soldiers are said to be a group of men encamped in this area who contracted measles during the Civil War. Many gravestones mark graves of grandparents of people now living in this county."

An appeal followed requesting help in clearing out undergrowth and restoring markers.

Today (1989) this cemetery has a lovely wrought-iron arch marking the entrance.

Recently, I (Marilyn Hambrick Sickel) was told that a cornerstone from the original Wattensaw Presbyterian Church building, containing a ring belonging to a church member, is now the cornerstone at the Des Arc Presbyterian Church. There has also been a marker for a child mentioned with the dates 1831-1834. This marker is not visible anywhere but more than one individual has made mention of it.

Reprinted with permission from the book, Prairie County, Arkansas - Cemetery Inscriptions by Marilyn Hambrick Sickel (1989). Data submissions, corrections, and/or updates may be sent to the Prairie County Website Coordinator.

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