Waldron News
25 March 1976
The Scott County Bicentennial Committee Salutes:
The Town of Hon and Hon Family

The late Jackson Hon was born in Illinois, moving to Arkansas as a young man. There building a log house on the bank of the Poteau River six miles west of Waldron which is now called Highway 80. The place of the home was located at the Dallas ford. This was the main road at that time from Fort Smith to Mena.

Travelers camping on the other side of the river came to him one morning stating that a little girl in their camp had died, asking if they could bury her on the side of the road, about 35 yards from the bank of the river. That was the beginning of what is known today as the Old Hon Cemetery. Her grave was mounded with two slab rocks. (To this day, the grave can be found just a few feet from the grave of Jackson Hon.) This cemetery can be seen from the Old Bull Creek bridge on Hwy. 80.

The Hon family lived on the bank of the Poteau River till a large flood came. He was on his way home from Fort Smith on horseback when he reached the top of Poteau Mountain, he could see the valley covered with water. Riding his horse as far as he could, then swimming from tree to tree until he reached the house to find the family had fled to safety.

He then built a larger log house on the point of the hill which was called Hon, on Highway 28 west, named after the late John Hon in 1904. At the changing the place was first called Poteau. The time was about 1845. Negro slaves occupied the upper portion of the house. They were kept to work the fields. The late John, Daniel and Catherine Hon Strickland was born in this log house. Also the late Sodie Davidson and many others. Even in good condition, the two story home was torn down in the 1920's.

Jackson Hon was too old to be in the Civil War and was forced to hide out in the river bottoms with his negro slaves. The Jay Hawkers and the bushwhackers were the ones the few old settlers feared the most. They would kill the hogs and chickens in the barn yard when they wanted one. It was on the point of the hill at Hon that John Hon was to be hung because he wouldn't tell the Northern soldiers where his father was in hiding. With the rope around his neck and over the limb, a man rode up telling where his father was. This was all the soldiers wanted so he was turned loose. In later years, he remarked that he was determined not to tell where his father was even if it had meant death. Those were crucial times. Women and children watched while their loved ones were hung or shot.

About 1910, the little village of Hon was beginning to grow. Post office, 6 stores, 2 churches, a school, Masonic Hall, Odd Fellows Hall, a cotton gin, with a large saw mill run by steam, a depot that had a thriving business with a switch yard and laoding pin for stock, a train going east in the morning, returning in the afternoon. The night train coming through in the late evening, staying over in Waldron at night, returning to Heavener the next morning. The whistle blowing, the lights on, the colored porter and conductor standing on the step waiting for the train to stop for the picking up of baggage and helping people to load. The tain was the only means of transportation besides the wagon, buggy, or horse back.

Yes, the early settlers paid a price for what we now have. May we thank God for them and keep their burial grounds clean here and elsewhere. Happy birthday U.S.A.

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