This city is situated on Sager’s Creek, in Hico Township, twenty-eight miles southwest from Bentonville, and has a population of about 1,500. It is within two miles of the western and six miles of the southern line of the county. Hico, which may be properly called a residence suburb of Siloam City, is a very old place for this country. Col. D. Gunter settled where he now resides, in Hico, in 1844, before the place had even become a village. About that time, or perhaps a little later, a post-office named Hico was established at a point about two miles from the present Hico. This office was soon thereafter moved to the village that now bears its name, and Hico became a trading point, especially for the Indians, who patronized it to a considerable extent. It continued to be the leading place in that corner of the county until Siloam City was established, which drew away nearly all of its business except that of its flouring mills, and left it only a residence suburb.

That which led to the origin of Siloam City is its natural springs of pure, health-giving waters. In 1879 it was discovered that these waters contained medicinal qualities, and preparations were at once begun for the establishment of a summer resort. On the 24th of June, 1880, the first anniversary of the place was celebrated by a large and interesting meeting of the citizens of that vicinity. In March, 1880, J. V. Hargroves laid out the original plat of Siloam City, embracing parts of the northeast quarter and of the northwest of Section 6, in Township 17 north, Range 33 west. The following November East Siloam was laid out by Logan Teague. This addition contains the “college grounds and park,” and a large number of lots. Couches’ addition was the next one laid out, and in April, 1881, the additions of J. H. Beauchamp, T. R. Carles and William C. Tate were laid out. Johnson’s addition was surveyed and laid out in November following. In January, 1882, “C. D. Gunter’s Addition No. 1 to the town of Hico” and “S. G. Rogers’ Addition to Hico and East Siloam” were laid out. At the same time, or soon thereafter, Gunter’s second addition to Hico was laid out. By the foregoing it will be seen that the real estate owners in that vicinity intended to be ready at all times to accommodate persons desiring to purchase lots.

As soon as the first plat of Siloam City was surveyed buildings began to be erected and the town began a rapid growth. John D. Hargrove opened the first business, a general store, on Main Street. The place rapidly gained a reputation as a sumner resort, and that fact, coupled with the prospects of the early completion of a railroad through it, induced many people to immigrate thereto. In 1880, the first year of its existence as a town, it was incorporated as such, and the influx of immigrants was so rapid that in 1881 it had acquired a population of over 3,000. It was then incorporated as a city of the second class. During the rapid increase of population it was impossible to build houses fast enough to supply the demand, consequently for a time many of the new-comers had to camp out in their wagons or in tents. To supply the demand for houses “the sound of the hammer” was heard both day and night, and the whole town as it now stands, with the exception of a few buildings, was built in the first two or three years of its existence. After the “boom” ceased many who had gone there for the purpose of going into business discovered that the place was overdone, that the prospect for a railroad was not encouraging, and consequently moved away. Those also who went there in the summer of 1881, to get relief from the excessive heat and drouth of that year, returned to their respective homes, and the large population (being chiefly transient), on which the city obtained its charter, has dwindled away until it is now only about one-half of what it then was. Fortunately, however, Siloam City is situated in the midst of a good agricultural country, which will sustain it as a good, substantial trading place, even though it remains deprived of railroad facilities. The citizens still have hopes for a railroad, and when these hopes are realized, if ever, Siloam City will make a large and flourishing town, with a large and permanent population. The exceedingly pure water of its many springs, and the magnificent natural scenery surrounding it, and its healthy location, make it a most desirable place to live.

This place is commonly called “Siloam Springs,” but the name given it on its first recorded plat is “Siloam City.”

Siloam City is in fair financial condition, having a debt of only about $700. The city officers are D. R. Hammer, mayor; William H. Cravens, recorder, and Charles E. Copeland, marshal. The city is divided into three wards, and has two aldermen in each.

Sales Transactions in 1887

Seven general merchants, $76,000; three grocers, $22,500; two hardware, $6,500; three druggists, $7,100; two furniture, $8,500; one saddlery and harness, $8,000; two lumber dealers, $6,500; two newspapers and job printing, $2,900; two milliners and dressmakers, $1,400; one bed spring and mattress factory, $1,600; two watch-makers and jewelers, $1,600; three wheel-wrights and blacksmiths, $4,200; grain products, $18,000; live stock, $15,500; hides and furs, $2,100; 18,000 pounds wool, $3,600; 31,000 pounds dried fruit, $2,170; 53,000 dozen eggs, $5,300; 1,000 dozen quails, $2,000; 17,000 dozen pigeons, $6,800; deer, turkey and ducks, $930; hotels, $2,900; butcher, $4,000; livery and transfer, $6,500; miscellaneous, $2,500–total, $220,100.

Present Directory of Siloam City

Bank of Siloam, R. S. Morris, cashier; Z. T. Conley, assistant cashier; General merchandise, Ewing & Gilbreath, Jacob Nathan, Crane Bros., R. S. Gibson, W. W. Brown, C. W. Hinds & Co., J. H. Chitty, R. G. Ravenscraft; groceries, Parker & Mason, R. D. Jordan, J. V. Tracy, Morris & Graves, C. B. Randall, Mrs. A. Bottoms; drugs, R. B. Pegues & Co., D. W. Atkinson & Co., W. F. Brooks & Co.; hardware, R. E. Henry, W. A. Griffin, Wyatt & Bartell; furniture, M. O. Hicks; harness and saddles, J. P. Carl; watch-makers and jewelers, N. L. Lindsay, H. J. Hancock; photograph gallery, B. M. Rakestraw; boot and shoemakers, A. H. Budd, P. R. Stanfield, J. F. Nethery, J. Eslinger; wheel-wrights, E. B. Rosson, Paul Williams; cabinet-maker, L. L. Goacher; carpenters, H. Jack, C. B. Randall, H. Mark, W. M. Jones, W. H. Hancock, O. C. Davis; blacksmiths, McNair Bros., Bruner & Daniels, H. M. Martin; Hico Roller Mills, Gunter & Late; evaporating factory, W. O. Morris; wool carding mills, J. H. Chitty; furniture factory, Chamberlain & Woodmansee; bed spring and mattress factory, L. M. Prowse; Distillery No. 129, C. E. Noyes; steam saw and planing mills, Hinds, Wisner & Ragsdale, Suttle & Bruner; physicians, J. T. Clegg, J. F. Runyan, G. W. Jackson; dentist, J. A. Doss; attorneys, A. T. Rose, E. D. Feno, J. H. Trader; real estate, D. Shafer, Z. Abernathy, Rose & Davis; hotels, Ewing House, J. M. Ewing, proprietor; Fountain House, A. J. Davis, proprietor; butchers, Tolbert & Spencer; livery, Breedlove & Cresswell, M. N. Donaldson, I. S. Davis; churches, Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal, South, Cumberland Presbyterian, Congregational, Missionary Baptist, Society of Friends, Christian; high-school–faculty last school year, principal, H. J. Blake; assistants, Misses Annie Egy and Gertie Backus, E. S. Gibbs.

Siloam City Societies

Key Lodge No. 7, A. F. & A. M., at Hico, was chartered long before the Civil War. At the beginning of the war its charter was taken to Texas, and kept by a lady who returned it after the war closed. The present principal officers are Felix Miller, W. M.; Dr. J. F. Clegg, S. W.; Frank Carl, J. W. It has a small membership.

Advance Lodge No. 435, A. F. & A. M., was chartered in 1887. Present officers, E. T. Smith, W. M.; G. W. Mead, S. W.; Rev. E. S. Gibbs, J. W. It has about thirty-five members, and is prospering. Among its charter members were W. H. Hancock, D. R. Hammer, G. W. Mead, A. J. Norris, J. H. Walker, D. B. Swallow, Levi Davis, J. J. Preece and R. P. Pegues.

Calumet Lodge No. 5, American Protective League, was chartered in the spring of 1886, with ten members. It now has thirty-seven members in good standing. Its officers are F. M. Reager, ruler; J. Van Butler, financial secretary; T. T. Chamberlain, recording secretary; S. A. Broyles, treasurer. It is progressing satisfactorily.

Agricultural Wheel, No. 984, was chartered in the fall of 1885, and has now about thirty members.

Streeter Union Labor Club was organized August 3, 1888, with thirty members. John H. Chitty, president; C. B. Randall, vice-president; A. J. Egy, secretary; J. B. Newbury, treasurer.

Siloam Springs Lodge No. 91, I. O. O. F., was chartered in 1882, with C. B. Randall, A. J. Egy, John H. Chitty, T. J. Patton, J. B. Newbury, John A. Denny and others as charter members. Present officers, A. G. Wilkinson, N. G.; C. B. Randall, V. G.; A. J. Egy, Sec.; W. F. Brooks, Treas. It has from thirty to forty members, and is in a prosperous condition.

Curtis Post No. 9, G. A. R., named after Gen. Curtis, of Pea Ridge fame, was chartered in 1884, and has had since its organization 109 members. Lewis Simmons is Post Commander, and E. D. Feno, Post Adjutant.

The Siloam Press

The first paper published in Siloam City was the Sun, established in 1880, by Thomas Gallagher. In 1881 it was changed to the Dispatch, continued about a year, and then suspended. The Globe was established in 1881, by D. O. Bell, who published it about one year only. The Arkansas Herald, an eight-column folio, was established in 1882, by S. Abernathy, who published it two years, and then transferred it to Messrs. Grammer & Dameron, who published it one year, and then J. B. Dameron became sole manager of the paper, and continues to publish it. It has a good circulation, and is Democratic in politics. The Locomotive, a six-column quarto, was established in December, 1886, at Springdale, Ark., by H. Milton Butler and J. Van Butler, and was moved by the latter to Siloam Springs in August, 1887, where it continues to be published; J. Van Butler is sole proprietor. The paper is independent in politics, and has also a good circulation. The Siloam papers are well printed and edited, and receive liberal support from local advertisers.

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.