Early Settlers of Benton County, Arkansas

While it is not positively known, it is believed that Adam Batie, who settled on the prairie that now bears his name, near the present site of Maysville, was the first settler in Benton County. The date of his settlement has not been ascertained, but it is presumed to have been prior to the year 1830. Batie Prairie and the creek that flows from it are both named in honor to this early and first settler. In 1830 John McPhail and his father settled on that prairie. Soon thereafter Martin Mays settled on the present town site of Maysville, and William Bird Keith settled near by. The above named five persons were the only residents on Batie Prairie in 1838. Soon thereafter Judge English, Robert Cooper, Lemuel Tynnon and several others followed, until the whole of the prairie was occupied.

One of the first settlers of the county was William Reddick, who settled early in the thirties or late in the twenties at the place since known as Elkhorn. He and his son-in-law, Samuel Burks, also an early settler, came from Illinois. Reddick was a politician and a prominent citizen. For many years he controlled the politics of the Sugar Creek settlement, and that settlement usually controlled the politics of the county. Jacob Roller, from Hawkins County, Tenn., settled where his son William now lives, on Roller’s Ridge. This ridge lies northeast of Garfield, and is about four miles long, east and west. It is so called by reason of Roller’s settlement thereon. Two improvements had been made on this ridge prior to Roller’s settlement, one on the east and one on the west end. Mr. Roller erected and for a number of years kept a whisky distillery where he settled. He was thrice married and had twenty-four children. His third wife, who survived him, is still living. There were other settlers in that neighborhood by the name of Roller. James Jackson, from Overton County, Tenn., settled near the site of Garfield in 1829. Daniel Ash was a very early settler near the State line north of Garfield, and in 1849 Jacob R. Forgery, from Scott County, Va., settled in the same neighborhood. The Pascals were early settlers in the country southeast of the site of Garfield. Before the organization of the county Henning Pace, from Tennessee, the father of the first sheriff of the county, settled on Sugar Creek, a few miles north of Bentonville, and one or two of his sons settled lower down on the same creek. Chris. C. Pace, who is still living at a very advanced age, settled south of Bentonville. Henry Ford, and other Fords, were also among the early settlers on Sugar Creek.

Three miles east of Bentonville was the Woods’ Settlement, where Samuel and William Woods, of Tennessee, located. They both raised large families, and lived there until their deaths. George P. Wallace, at whose house the county was organized, settled one mile and a half east of Bentonville. He was a large and powerful man, being nearly seven feet in height, and had several sons who were his equal in stature. He subsequently sold his first improvement and moved to another place in the county, a few miles further north. It is said that when he wanted to raise a house he did not invite his neighbors to assist, for he and his stalwart sons were always equal to the task. John B. Dickson, the first clerk of the county, settled on what is now Deming’s Addition to the town of Bentonville. He subsequently settled at Osage Springs, where Ezekiel Dickson now lives, and afterward moved to Texas, where he died. He came to this county from Bedford County, Tenn. James Jackson and his sons, and Samuel Williams, his father-in-law, settled one mile west of Bentonville, and the locality was afterwards known as the “Jackson and Williams Settlement.” Robert Dickson and his son Joseph settled one-half mile west of Bentonville, and Uncle Ezekiel Dickson, a brother to Robert, settled about eight miles west from Bentonville. The Dicksons all came from Bedford County, Tennessee. James, Joseph and David McKissick settled from five to eight miles west of Bentonville, and Edward Cunningham settled at the Cunningham Springs, about six miles from Bentonville. About a mile south of these springs William Pelham settled. He subsequently became surveyorgeneral of the State. He was a brother-in-law of ex-Gov. Conway. Rev. James Harris, a Cumberland Presbyterian minister, and probably the first preacher in the county, settled about three-fourths of a mile west of Bentonville. In 1836 Col. Hugh A. Anderson brought his family from Kentucky, and settled where his son Oliver I. Anderson now resides, nine miles southwest of Bentonville. A large spring, heretofore mentioned. is at this place, and Col. Anderson used to keep a deer park so enclosed that the deer had access to the spring branch.

Phineas Holmes settled about five miles southwest of Bentonville, and John Kinchelve settled near the same place on Osage Creek. The latter took an active part in the organization of the county, and was for many years a justice of the peace for his township. A few miles southeast of Bentonville was the Graham settlement, where George and Joseph Graham located with their families. An early settler, still surviving, says “there were a host of the Grahams.” Robert and James Cowan settled about eight miles south of Bentonville. A brother-in-law of the Cowans, by the name of Colville, settled in the same locality. Colville Township derives its name from the latter. Colville went to California in 1850, and on one occasion he left the camp of himself and comrades and went out prospecting, and was never afterward heard from. Robert Hubbard, the first representative of Benton County in the State Legislature, settled near the Cowans, and Benjamin and Jefferson Hubbard settled lower down on the Osage. The Maxwells also settled in the Cowan neighborhood. Isaac Horton, from Tennessee, settled near the site of Lowell, in 1830. All of the foregoing namedindividuals, whose date of settlement is not mentioned, were living at the places mentioned in 1838, when Judge Alfred B. Greenwood came from Georgia and settled in Bentonville. Many of them had settled several years prior to that time.

In 1833 Felix G. Lindsey came from Kentucky and settled about three miles west of Sulphur Springs. In 1835 Christopher C. Pace and his son J. H. Pace, also from Tennessee, settled about six miles east of Maysville. In 1840 Solomon Phillips and his son Pleasant, from Tennessee, settled about one and a half miles north of Maysville. Among the first children born in Benton County were John and Elijah Keith, who were born about three miles southeast of Maysville, the former in 1834 and the latter in 1836. Among the later settlers near Maysville was A. T. Hedges, from Indiana, who located one and a half miles southeast of that place in 1844. Henry R. Austin and his mother, Ellen Austin, came from Bedford County, Tenn., in 1845, and settled west of Nebo, where Elijah Austin, son of Henry R., now lives. Mrs. Ellen Austin has survived her son, and is now living with her grandson, at the advanced age of one hundred and one years, and is yet active and intelligent. She was well acquainted with Gen. Jackson and with President Polk, and is such a stanch Democrat that she declares that if she could control a thousand votes she would give them all to “Grover.”

In 1839 Richard Burgess and his family, including W. W. Burgess, who now lives at Springtown, came from Bedford County, Tenn., and settled on Lick Branch, near the Osage, where Ed. Maxwell now lives. The same year Walter Thornberry and his son-in-law, David Brickey, came from Virginia, and John Edwards from Tennessee, and settled on the same branch. About the same time Joseph Neal and Charles Kincheloe settled on Brushy Creek. In the fall of 1840 Archey Wilson and his brother Samuel, also from Bedford County, Tenn., settled in the Burgess neighborhood. This made quite a colony of Tennesseeans. David Brickey was a famous hunter, and on the first night after the arrival of the Burgesses he and W. W. Burgess went out and shot and killed six turkeys. Certainly the new comers were not “out of meat.” The first settlers on Flint Creek, in the vicinity of Springtown, were as follows: Isaac and Hasting Dial, the latter settling about a mile east, where John Reynolds now resides. In 1850 Robert Duckworth, Matthew Vaughan, Perminter Morgan, Wiley Jones and Maj. Jack Russell all came from Georgia, and settled in that vicinity. The following year Robert Hall and his sons, Jesse and Young, Rolly Hood, Joseph Thomas and his son Joseph, also from Georgia, Hiram Thomason and his sons, John and Sanford, and several others, settled on Flint Creek, and William Addington settled in “Coon Hollow.”

Simon Sager, a German, after whom Sager’s Creek was named, is believed to have been the first settler in the Hico-Siloam vicinity. He settled on the creek where John De Armon now lives, near Siloam. About the year 1844 Dr. Henry Powell settled with his family on Flint Creek, four miles north of the site of Siloam. His widow, Mrs. Anna Powell, still resides on the place. About the same time James Riddle also settled on Flint Creek, in that vicinity. John Quinton was the first settler of the place now occupied by Col. D. Gunter, at Hico. The latter came from Tennessee in 1844, and settled where he now resides. Daniel Copeland was also a very early settler near Hico.

P. M. Phillips, of Bedford County, Tenn., came to Benton County in 1838, and in 1847 settled on Round Prairie. Col. Henry Hastings came from Tennessee in 1836, and settled seven miles west of Bentonville. He subsequently located at Corner Spring (Decatur), where he lived until his death. Thomas Quarles, from Georgia, settled on the northeast part of Round Prairie about the year 1840, and in 1844 Col. John Phagan, from North Carolina, settled at the Double Springs, on the Line Road. In 1846 David Chandler, also from North Carolina, settled on the farm which he still owns, one and a fourth miles southwest of Bloomfield. He now resides in Bloomfield. Rev. John Givens, a Baptist minister from Tennessee, was an early settler on Butler Creek. About the year 1845 Z. M. Winnery, from Tennessee, settled on the site of the village of Sulphur Springs. Near the same time Frank Lauderdale, James Thomason and Daniel Tittle, all from Tennessee, settled in that neighborhood.

The first settlement on War Eagle Creek, in Benton County, was made by two brothers known as bear hunters, their names being Isaac and Levi Borne. They came from Illinois early in the spring of 1832, and settled above the present War Eagle Mills, and each one raised three acres of corn that year. The following fall Absalom Thomas, Henry Taber, Lewis Russell, Robert Taber, William Brazeel and a Mr. Nelson all settled with their families in that neighborhood, and in December of that year Sylvanus Blackburn, Josiah Blackburn, Julius Kirk and Matthew Brewer with their families, all from Hickman County, Tenn., settled in the same neighborhood. The latter party came by way of Springfield, Mo., and, crossing what is now the line between Missouri and Arkansas, on the old State road passing north and south, they reached the cabin of John Fitzgerald, then living near the present village of Lowell, and stayed there over night. The next day, leaving their families at Fitzgerald’s, they prospected for and selected their respective locations, and then moved thereon. Sylvanus Blackburn located on the place, at the present War Eagle Mills, where he and his estimable wife, who then accompanied him, are still residing, he being in his eightieth year at this time, and she being about the same age. Julius Kirk settled on the creek about half a mile below the mill site and Matthew Brewer about three-fourths of a mile above it. Mr. Blackburn and his wife are the only survivors of these settlers. The next year John, David and Abram Stanley, James Borne, James Matthews and Daniel Flannery settled in that neighborhood, and soon after George Crabaugh and his son-in-law, Oliver Miller. About the same time two famous hunters, Stephen Coose and John Scennett, settled on White River. The former, in order to illustrate the crookedness of this river, once related that he traveled one entire night on the river in his canoe from a point near his residence, and on landing in the morning found that he had gained so little distance that he walked home to get breakfast.

The first death that occurred in the War Eagle settlement was that of a little daughter of David Stanley, and hers was the first grave in the Austin graveyard, about four miles above War Eagle Mills. The second death was that of John B. Kirk, son of Julius Kirk, and he was buried in the first grave in the Blackburn graveyard, near War Eagle Mills. Among the first marriages that took place in that neighborhood were those of John Highland and Rachael Borne, James Blackburn and Sarah Crabaugh, Joseph Stanley and Millie Blalock, Oliver Miller and Miss Blalock, the latter being a sister to Millie.

Back to: Benton County, Arkansas History

Source: History of Benton, Washington, Carroll, Madison, Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian Counties, Arkansas. Chicago, IL, USA: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1889.


4 thoughts on “Early Settlers of Benton County, Arkansas”

  1. I am looking for a book of biographies “early arkansas choctaw settlers” it gives information for elizabeth riddle summers and her children. i do not know if early arkansas choctaw settlers is the title but that is what is on top of each page. i have 4 pages copied from the book but need to know correct title/author and where i can buy that book! thank you

  2. Clarence Heatherly

    I am looking for any information on my GG Grandparents, Leander Jones and Mary Foster Jones. Mary Foster Jones was a full blood Eastern Band Cherokee. They came from Benton County, Tennessee and Settled in Benton County, Arkansas.

    1. In my posted in 2022 (below yours)… My family was Jonathon and Dianah Jones. They were traveling with the Crain familiy (they were also related), and the Hamby family. The Hamby wife was Nancy Foster. They were not of Indian decent buy perhaps there is some type of connection. Please feel free to email me with any thoughts regarding the time of 1857 to 1860 and the Hamby, Jones, Foster or Crain lines. I have yet to figure out what may have happened to a number of those in the party that did not seem to survive. Thanks so much, Ally Allypablo@gmail.com

  3. I am looking for early accounts, especially regarding Roller Ridge. What I have been able to figure out, is about 1856-1860 Six families (2 Jones families, 2 Crain Families and 2 Hamby families) traveled from North Carolina to Rollers Ridge. They settled in there and worked the land until they got a good crop. 2 of the younger families had each one baby there). It seems that 2 families returned to North Carolina by 1860 census. The remaining 4 families had I believe one death prior to the census (Jasper Newton Crain). Then just following the census there were 5 additional deaths (George Jones, Lank/Lankinston Hamby, Nancy Foster/Hamby and two of the Hamby kids). The Jones family ended up leaving and taking the remainder of the party with them to Missouri. A much later obscure comment suggested that the 6 families traveled together, then due to malaria ended up leaving. I have not been able to find any information on an outbreak of Malaria or other ailments in the 1860 time frame for Roller Ridge. If anyone has information I would be very grateful. Ally

    I have

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