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WHAT'S IN A NAME?
(Woodruff County, Arkansas)


This material is taken from articles in Rivers and Roads and Points in Between, a publication of the Woodruff County Historical Society, in an article by Mrs. Ruth B. Wright called "WHAT'S IN A NAME? Origin of Place Names in Woodruff County".

Woodruff County: There are two stories about the naming of Woodruff County. One is that the county was named for William F. Woodruff, founder of the Arkansas Gazette, in 1819. Another source indicated that probably the county was named for William F. Woodruff, Jr. or for Alden Woodruff, both of whom were widely known for their activities in the Confederacy. Alden Woodruff was also clerk of the House of Representatives at one time.


Towns and communities in Woodruff County are listed below

Augusta: In 1820 the first white man, named Hamilton, landed at Chickasaw Crossing (Augusta). The founding father of Augusta was Thomas Hough. In 1848 Augusta was officially christened. Thomas Hough chose the name Augusta to honor his favorite niece. (Go to "About Augusta" for more information.) For current information on the city of Augusta, go to the Augusta web site at www.augustaar.org

Beards: The community of Beards was named for the L. A. P. Beards family. This community once had a school, a store, and two or three churches. The old Beards cemetery has been cleaned off and grave stones set up.

Bulltown: Jerry Bull, grandfather of T.C. Bull, was one of the early settlers of this section. He came from Moscow, Tennessee, and bought land in southeast Woodruff County. There was a store and a cotton gin on the farm. The people called the place Bulltown.

Cotton Plant: In 1846 William E. Lynch came from Mississippi and built a home and store on what is now Main Street in Cotton Plant. He brought some cotton seed with him, and some of the seeds were accidentally dropped near the store. The seeds came up and grew well. The sturdy plants were much admired, and people in referring to the store called it the Cotton Plant Store. As the community grew, there was need for a post office. In 1852 an application was made to the U.S. Postal Service for a post office for the village of Cotton Plant. The request was granted, and in time the store with the big cotton plants became the thriving town of Cotton Plant. (Go to "About Cotton Plant" for more information.)

Dent School: Dent School, no longer in existence, was named for Strother Dent, who gave the land and built the school. Dent school was located near Union on Cache River.

Deview: Legend has it that the French cleared the land and gave the name Deview to their settlement. Deview, which once was a thriving village before the railroad came through two miles to the north, consists today of a church and several dwellings. Deview is perhaps the oldest settlement in central Woodruff County, having been settled about 1850.

Dixie and Little Dixie: Since we live in Dixie, the South, perhaps this is the reason for the name, but no one seemed to have any information on why or how these places were named. One person said that B.J. Williams was the first settler on these plantations.

Fakes Chapel: About 1885 Mrs. G. B. Fakes, wife of Dr. Fakes, gave one acre of land to the people to build a Methodist church and to provide for a cemetery. The first church was also used as a school. Mrs. Fakes named the place Fakes Chapel.

Fitzhugh: Fitzhugh was named for Rufus King Fitzhugh. The founder of the village came from Green County, Virginia.

Grays: Grays was perhaps named for Will Gray, a descendant of Rollo Gray, the first permanent settler of Chickasaw Landing. Rollo Gray came to this area in 1822.

Green Frog School: Green Frog School was located southeast of Hunter with a stream near its rear end. Green frogs, small and large, found the areas to their liking and called it home. What boy could resist chasing green frogs during recess and slyly releasing one from his pocket to hop across the school room during classes.

All these were one-room schools; and were abandoned when improved roads made possible pupils' attendance at the large two-story concrete block school in Hunter after 1913.

Gregory: The post office at what is now Gregory was first established in October, 1889, under the name Lone Pine. On August 1, 1892, the name was changed to Gregory. Before 1870 a cotton gin, grist mill, saw mill and store were operated on the bank of the bayou (south of Gregory) at a place known as Lone Grove. It is not known when Lone Grove became Gregory's Point, so named for Minor Gregory.

Hammond Lake: Hammond Lake, west of Cotton Plant, was named for the Daniel Hammond family who are thought to have come to the County in 1861, the year they purchased land in that area. It is believed that the old road bed along side of the lake once led to the Hammond home. Daniel and Ann Porter Hammond had two children, Louella and Monroe, who later married Pauline Trice. After the death of his first wife, Daniel married Mary Mildred Young, and about 1881 the family moved to Texas. The last of the Hammond land in Woodruff County was sold by Daniel in 1891.

Hilleman: Hilleman was named for George Hilleman, a timberman from Altemont, Illinois, who with others from the North came in to cut virgin timber east of the railroad.

Howell: It seems that Joseph L. Howell, who owned land in this area, was the source of the name of this community. Mr. Howell was the first postmaster. The post office was established in 1883.

Hunter: The information concerning the origin of names in and around Hunter was prepared by Mrs. Balys Hall Kennedy. Hunter, in southeastern Woodruff County, supposedly came by its name through the Hunt family who were early settlers in the area. Shannon Hunt was not actually the first to bring his family into this locality, but he was among the first.

Hunt settled on the old Military Road about three miles east of the present town of Hunter. The family came in by covered wagon from Indiana, about 1874. Just when the settlement began to be called Hunter, no one seems to know. But some old-timers declared the name was gradually applied to the place after the Hunt family arrived.

Still, there are others who are just as sure that the name "Hunter" became popular because of the excellent hunting available to wild game hunters from other places while the railroad out of St. Louis was being laid through the district. Nonetheless, the scales seem to balance and drop a bit in the direction of the Hunt family as being the source of the town's name.

Among the first schools built in the district were Prairie View, Rabbit Ridge, and Green Frog. Prairie View school was located on the Old Military Road on a small prairie, which gave its name as a natural outcome.

Maberry: Maberry, now a ghost town six miles west of Cotton Plant, was founded by the late Richard R. Jones, an early settler, in 1842. After the death of Mr. Jones, his widow married George W. Maberry about 1853, and the town became known as Maberry.

McClellan: A large lumber company bought several thousand acres of land from Dr. B. A. Fletcher and his brother Dr. T.M. Fletcher. A town sprang up. Several company members met and decided to name the new town McClellan for the vice-president of the company whose birthday happened to be on the day they met to name the town.

McCrory: McCrory was named for Cyrus G. McCrory, father of the late G.G. and J.C. McCrory. Cyrus G. McCrory had bought 400 acres of land where McCrory now is and had moved his family here during the early 1860s. McCrory sprang up after the Missouri Pacific Railroad came through in 1886. (Go to "About McCrory" for more information.) For current information on the city of McCrory, go to the McCrory web site at www.cityofmccrory.com

Morton: One person interviewed said that Morton was probably named for a man named Morton, an early settler who moved in to cut timber.

Overcup: A community near the Jackson County line where, according to hearsay, grew many overcup acorn trees is the community called Overcup.

Patterson: The village of Patterson was first named Martin's Junction for Rufus Martin, construction engineer for the B. & B. Railroad. Mrs Alice Ramsey says that she is the only person now living in Patterson who was living there when Patterson was called Martin's Junction. In 1922 Martin's Junction became Jelks. It was named for "the old" Dr. Lem Jelks, uncle of Dr. L.A. Jelks of McCrory. Dr. Lem Jelks owned a large farm north of the village. In 1929 the name was changed to Patterson in honor of Marshall Patterson who did much to help the town.

The Penitentiary: Another place northeast of Fakes Chapel and on Fakes land is a community known locally as The Penitentiary. This area was surrounded by slash and woods which made it almost impossible to get in and out.

Penrose: Penrose was named for a family of that name. The Penrose brothers were from a northern state and settled in this part of the county to cut virgin timber.

Pop City: A general store one mile west of Tipp was so named because soda pop was sold there in abundance.

Possom Creek: A school house in the woods is the way most remember the center of the Possom Creek community. A creek of the same name was noted for an abundance of opposums - thus the name.

Pulltight: Near Fakes Chapel is a community called by this unusual name. It seems that two black women got into "a hairpulling" fight. The crowd gathered around began yelling "Pull tight!". This was in incident that caused a place between Fakes Chapel and McCrory at the crossroads near the Wallace place to be called "Pulltight".

Pumpkin Bend: Pumpkin Bend, one of the strange names, was so called because of the many large pumpkins grown near a bend in the road. Vernon Golden said that when he was a little boy his grandfather told him the following story: Mr. Jim Felker was the first settler of the community now known as Pumpkin Bend. Mr. Felker grew pumpkins on the new ground he had cleared. The pumpkins were so big and so thick that you could walk on them - thus the name Pumpkin Bend.

Rabbit Ridge School: Rabbit Ridge School on a slight rise of me what northeast of Hunter was obviously named for its high rabbit population. The ridge was surrounded on all sides by swampy land.

Revel (or Revels): John W. Revel now resides on the land originally settled by his grandfather, John W. Revel, who came west in 1865 and settled in what is now known as the Revels community.

Richmond: Richmond was a pioneer settlement on the east side of Cotton Plant on Turkey Creek. In 1836 Cotton Plant was called Richmond. This was ten years before William Lynch came with his cotton seed. The two settlements merged gradually into one named Cotton Plant.

Riverside: Riverside, located several miles north of Patterson, was one of the oldest and largest towns in Woodruff County. Someone said that because of its location beside the river it was named Riverside. During the Civil War a group of soldiers camped at Camp Cache - this was Riverside.

Roddy School: Roddy School was located six miles south of Augusta on the west side of Highway 33. In 1908 Ed Roddy leased the acre of land on which the school stood to the directors for twenty years without cost. During the 1922-23 school term the school was closed and the children were transported to Augusta school by bus.

Tipp: At one time there was a store, a cotton gin, and a blacksmith shop in this community. The people applied to the U.S. Postal Service for a post office. The problem was that the community had no name. The men met to decide on a name. The plan was for each man present to write his suggestion on a piece of paper and put each slip of paper into a hat. The name drawn was to be the name of the community. Giles Wilder,, uncle of Mrs. Rae Armstrong, was present on this occasion. The name "Tipp" was drawn. The name was suggested by Riley Barnett.

Whitehall: In the 1890s Allen Holmes, father of Mrs. Jewell Knight, Mrs. Jessamine Guthrie, and Roddy Holmes, came to the Hilleman area. He and others started a Methodist church, calling it New Home. In 1906 the church was renamed Whitehall simply because several people liked the name. There was also a Whitehall Baptist church.

Wivelle: The name Wiville is derived from "Y village". That was the place that the railroad branched off to the west from the main line which ran north and south. Thus the place of the "Y", or Wiville.


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This page last modified Wednesday, 13-Jul-2011 19:33:16 MDT