- County History
Including Civil War Rostors and Personal Interviews
Early History - 1876
History of Carroll County Arkansas|
By Honorable Bradley Bunch
Berryville, Ark., Sept. 11th, 1876
In compliance with a resolution adopted at the Centennial Celebration of the county of Carroll, on the 4th day of July, 1876, I have collected and prepared form the very imperfect data at my command the following historical sketch of Carroll County. I do not insure entire accuracy in all things pertaining to dates, having no county records to refer to anterior to 1870; consequently very little data can be obtained other than the memory of old citizens.
I have been a citizen of Carroll County since the year 1838, and write from my own recollection since that date. Prior to that time I have been wholly dependent upon others who resided in the county before that time.
In presenting the history of Carroll County, we find that Arkansas was organized into a Territory in the year 1829. Izard county was one of the original counties of the Territory, named in honor of the then Territorial Governor, Mark W. Izard. It embraced the present counties of Izard, Fulton, Baxter, Marion, Boone, Carroll, nearly all of Newton, and a large portion of Madison.
Carroll County was organized by an act of the Territorial Legislature bout the year 1834, and embraced all the territory extending west from Range sixteen to the divide between Kings River and War Eagle Creek, and from the Missouri line to the Boston Mountains, or, in other words, to the divide between the Buffalo and the Arkansas River waters.
The first white settlements made in Carroll County were a short distance between the mouth of Clear Creek, now in Marion County. The Shawnee Indians had a small village at the mouth of Clear Creek, the houses of which were principally made of cedar logs. They were said to have been peaceable and well disposed toward their white brethren. Horse racing was their favorite amusement, and they were passionately fond of whiskey and tobacco.
The first white settlement ever made on Crooked Creek was at the Stiffler Springs, where the town of Harrison now stands, by Barny Cheatham. He built the first mill in the county on T. W. Hopper's spring branch. It was then known as 'the natural dam.' It was not uncommon for the early pioneers to go forty or fifty miles to Cheatham's mill in wagons. Those who were less fortunate and had no wagons were compelled to beat or grate their meal.
The first mail route over established through Carroll County was in 1831, and blazed through by Hargroves and Cooper to Ft. Smith. The first post office was established at Bellah's Stand, on Crooked Creek, a few miles above Harrison.
The first settlement made west of Carrollton was at Scott's Prairie about 1830 or 1831, by John Yocum, from which the beautiful stream of Yocum Creek took its name. (Note: Scott's Prairie is now Green Forest.)
The first wagon ever driven through the county was by Mr. Boyd, Roland Boyd's father. HE moved the Sneed family form some point on White River to Osage.
The county seat of Carroll County was located at Carrollton in 1835. The first court house was built of hewn logs and was about twenty feet square, covered with clap boards. IT had tow doors and one window, and the floor was loose plant sawn with a whipsaw. The first circuit was held the same year (1835), and presided over by Archibald Yell. David Walker was Prosecuting Attorney. Judge Yell was afterwards Governor of the State. At the outbreak of the Mexican War he accepted the position of Colonel, went to Mexico, and lost his life in the famous battle of Buena Vista. David Walker still survives, and has from time to time filled some of the most prominent positions in the State government.
John Adams was the first Sheriff of Carroll County. He was appointed by Governor of the Territory. The first clerk was a man by the name of Moody. The first County Judge was George W. Campball. Thomas H. Clark was second Sheriff.
In 1836 or 1837 Marion and Madison counties were established. All that portion of Carroll east of range 19 west, was stricken off and attached to Marion County. All that portion west of the divide between Dry Fork and Kings River was attached to Madison County.
During the session of the Legislature of 1842-43, Newton County was established. All that portion of Carroll south of a line dividing Townships 17 north form Madison to Marion County lien was taken to form a part of Newton County.
The county court house at Carrollton was burned in 1860. As to how it took fire it is not known, but is supposed to have been fired by parties against whom an indictment had been found, the Clerk's Office being kept in a room on the second floor of the building.
By and act of General Assembly approved April 9th, 1869, Boone County was established and all that portion of Carroll County east of Range 22 west was taken off to create the county of Boone. At the same session Cedar and Clifty townships were attached to Carroll.
In the early settlement of Carroll County, farm machinery, other than the ordinary home-made plow and hoe, was unknown. The old Barshear or Cary plow was used for breaking land, drawn usually by oxen, and when so broken, was crossed off and cultivated with a bull tongue or shovel plow. New lands were sometimes broken with bull tongue and coulter, and this mode of breaking is not entirely abandoned at the present day, especially in the barren and wild grass lands, but in most cases plows of modern improvement are used as breaking plows. The walking cultivator, as it is called, has been introduced into the county, and so far as threshing machine ever brought into the county was in 1859. It was known as Johnson's thresher, and was brought from Washington County, near Oxford's Bend, on White Bend. It was what was known as 'a chaff piler.' The next thresher brought to the county was in 1866 by Mr. Callais, of Benton County. It was a one-horse endless chain power. Callais sold out to Simmons & Brown, in the neighborhood of Berryville. Since that time threshing machines have been common in almost every neighborhood. The country is now supplied with good separating threshers of the most improved style.
The first saw mill ever built in Carroll County was by Mr. James in the year 1843, a short distance below where Carroll's mill now stands, on the Dry Ford of Kings River. Joel Blair built another on the same stream, a year afterward, about one mile below. Both used the sash saw.
The first steam saw mill was built by B. H. Hobbs & Co., nine miles northwest of Berryville, in 1857. At the present day there are no less than eight or nine steam saw mills in the county, all using the circular saw, beside several good water mills, where the sash saw is still in use.
Good flouring mills are not sufficiently plenty at present to supply the wants of our rapidly increasing population, especially at the dry season of the year. There are, however, some good mills in the county, and others in course of construction, and it is to be hoped that the wants of our people in this respect will be speedily met.
The educational interests of the county have by no means been neglected. In almost every neighborhood in the county, public schools are taught at least three months in the year, and are conducted by teachers, who, under the law, must be of good moral character, and of literary attainments. Besides these there are other schools and academies of high grade, carried bon by private enterprise, notable among which are the Carrollton High School, Fairview Academy and Clark's Academy.
The Carrollton High School is locate at Carrollton, the former county seat , on a beautiful eminence lying east of and over looking the stream of Long Creek. This school is conducted by Prof. W. R. Belding. Fairview Academy is located at the beautiful little town of Fairview, in the southern part of the county, in the fertile valley of the Osage. This school is under the management and control of Prof. Isaac Hoyl. Clark's Academy, located at Berryville, the county seat, has been in successful operation since January, 1867, a period of nearly ten years. This institute is under the control and management of Prof. Isaac A. Clarke.
The principal streams in the county are Long Creek, Dry Creek, Yocum, Indian Creek, Osage, Kings river, Dry Ford, Piney, Leatherwood, Big and Little Clifty, and fifteen or twenty miles of White River. These streams all have more or less rich alluvial bottom lands, yielding form fifty to seventy five bushels of corn to the acre.
There are two newspapers published in the county, the Carroll County Bowlder and the Carroll County Advocate, the former published at Carrollton by W. B. Tilton, and the latter by J. C. Hanna at Berryville. Both commenced publication near the same time, in the fall of 1875.
In 1840 Carroll County proper contained but three political townships, with a voting population now exceeding three hundred. Now it contains thirteen politic townships, with a voting populations of at least eleven hundred, and numbering about six thousand inhabitants.
In 1842 there were but three post offices; now there are ten in the cunty, and nearly every neighborhood is accommodated.
Berryville, Ark., Sept. 11th, 1876
Carroll County Historical Quarterly
Vol.1 No. 2