The White Sulphur Springs Hotel was built in 1849

Stagecoach Hotcakes & The Howerton Inn


From the White County Heritage 1963 Charter Issue

A circular dated April 20, 1849, and bearing the signature of Irael M. Moore was among the possessions of his daughter, the late Mrs. T.A. Yarnell. Mr. Moore gave as references Moses Greenwood, William S. Henson, New Orleans, La.; William E. Woodruff [founder and publisher of the Arkansas Gazette] and Watkins & Curran, Little Rock, Ark.; Dr. Daníl J. Chapman, Batesvill, Ark.

The circular advertising the White Sulphur Springs at Searcy said that "the public house at this watering place has been repaired and re-fitted, extensive additions for the accommodations of visitors has been made for the entertainment of all who may resort to these springs. It is accessible by means of White and Little Red Rivers, the latter two miles away. It is on the main, direct road between Little Rock and Batesville and during the summer months a line of mail stages or accommodation coaches will run regularly three times a week between the springs and Little Rock.

"The medicinal properties of this White Sulphur water are believed to be unsurpassed by any in this western country as those who have heretofore resorted to this place for health or recreation can testify."

The undersigned being the principal proprietor of this watering place has permanently settled himself here with the determination that no expense or exertion shall be spared on his part to accommodate the public and render these springs a favorite place of resort.

Mr. Moore donated what is known on the records of White County as this Ė "the ten acre donation on which the business part of Searcy now stands also the plot of ground known as the Spring Park."

Before 1837 the White Sulphur Springs had been discoveed and just south of the springs was an inn which was a regular stop for the old stage coach. Across from the Inn was a little eating place run by a colored man called "Free Joe" and his wife "Aunt Mymie" whose hot cakes and coffee were praised by all stage coach travelers. Mrs. John Howerton owned the Inn and was the life of the dances held there and attended by many of the settlers for miles around. Her son, Bud Howerton, was the fiddler.

Besides the Inn several hotels were built and maintained within walking distance of the springs. One of the first was the White Sulphur Springs Hotel built in 1849 by Israel M. Moore. This building burned and was rebuilt by Z.T. Bennett and called the Sulphur Springs Hotel. It stood just south of the present Robersonís Rendezvous and was operated by A.W. Yarnell. The Kellum House, owned by J.P. Kellum, was located on what is now a vacant lot.belonging to Ray Yarnell just north of the Rendezvous. The Chambless Boarding House was owned and operated by Mrs. Hattie Chambless and was located where the First Baptist Church now stands. The Gill House, the most famous of all, was operated by Mrs. Jane Gill who was known far and wide for her efficient management of the hotel. When Gill House was sold and the name changed later to the Mayfair Hotel one of the last reminders of other days passed away.

For additional information contact the White County Historical Society, P.O. Box 537, Searcy, AR 72145.