The Old Hermit At Georgetown

Searcy Daily Citizen, August 5, 1936

The first settlement in White County from the Spanish Grant was at Georgetown, which is in the extreme eastern part of the county. Francois Francure settled there in 1789, the same year George Washington became President of the United States.
Francure entered Spanish Grant No. 2416 comprised of 1600 arpens, which was equal to 1,361 acres or about two sections of land. The lines ran southwest from White River at Negro Hill and extended into Jones Island equal in area to two square miles fertile bottom soil. The American State papers at Washington City show that he occupied the same for 14 years before the cession of this territory from France to the United States, which occurred in 1803 during Jefferson's administration.
While it was the second settlement in the state (being second only to Arkansas Post on the Arkansas River) he lived there probably longer than any of the early settlers for the land was forfeited according to the county and state records in the name of "The Estate of Francis Francure." He must have lived there more than 50 years. His name indicates that he was French and it is thought that probably he came down the Arkansas and up White passing by such desirable spots as Clarendon, Des Arc and Devalls Bluff and landed at Negro Hill, now known as Georgetown.
I have never seen anyone who knew Francis Franchure, but John W. Little, who came here in 1832 as an 8-year-old boy, told me that he had heard of an old man leading a hermit's life on his land there.
Many legends and traditions have been handed down concerning the first settler but actually little is known about him. The translation of his name into English is "freeman Freepreacher" and it may be that he was one of the Huguenot immigrants who came from France to the southern part of the United States in the 18th century.