Carroll County from the 1875 Arkansas and portion of Indian Territory Map - FM

Geology of Carroll County Arkansas

The following, with reference to the geology of the county, was compiled by David Dale Owen, State geologist:

One and a-half miles southeast of Charles Hutchison’s farm the following succession was observed in a ravine:

  1. Sandstone.
  2. Chert.
  3. Light-grey limestone.

The Pilot Knob, near Charles Hutchison’s, has the same general geological structure as the Boat Mountain.

Four and a-half miles from Carrollton, the Archimedes limestone was observed with remains of a dark shale over it. Under this limestone comes in a sandstone, which has much the appearance of that over the grey limestone on Crooked Creek; it is not likely that they can occupy the same geological horizon, unless there has been a great thinning away of the measures that form the base of the Boat Mountain.

Some loose pieces of conglomerate were also seen between four and six miles from Carrollton.

The descent to Terrapin and Long Creeks is about 390 feet; in the bed of the former creek entrochital, cherty limestone was found.

Along with some yellow pyrites, which were submitted to me for examination by the citizens of Carrollton, there were some specimens of a bluish-black scoriaceous ore, in some of which I detected a notable quantity of copper. This ore was said to have been obtained in the Childer’s Mountain, about seven miles west of Carrollton, on the waters of Cornelius or Dry Creek. This ore has the appearance of some of the Ducktown copper ores of Tennessee; and, as I found samples of that variety of Tennessee copper ore in the hands of the brother of the individual who brought the ore into town, I thought it probable that this might be a sample of Tennessee ore, which, from inadvertence, had been mixed and confounded with the pyritiferous ores of the Childer’s Mountain. On this account, and as the locality of this ore was then only known to the individual who collected it, and he was from home, I concluded, as my proposed route through Carroll County lay northwest, to request the Hon. W. W. Watkins, as soon as it was convenient for him, to visit the locality on Childer’s Mountain in company with the discoverer of the ore. This he afterward did, and subsequently addressed a letter to me, dated the 6th of July last, in which he states that there was no mistake as to the ore having come from the locality, since he had now obtained specimens from the mines himself, viz.: on southwest quarter of Section 31, Township 19 north, Range 23 west, and had forwarded some specimens to await my arrival at Little Rock. These specimens I received at Little Rock, and have now had an opportunity of testing them for copper, in my laboratory, by the application of the reagents considered most delicate for the detection of that metal, without obtaining any copper reaction. If copper is to be found among these ores, in the Childer’s Mountain, it can be only sparingly and locally disseminated.

Most of this ore sent to me, from this mountain, is a white iron pyrites, associated with a hydrated oxide of iron, in which yellow iron pyrites is diffused.

Where the Berryville road crosses the Childer’s range of mountains, it is elevated about 370 feet above Terrapin Creek. The surface rock, at this elevation, is sandstone, overlying cherty limestone.

In the gap of the Osage Mountain the sandstone must be at least 130 feet in thickness.

About eleven miles northwest of Carrolltown, and three and a-half miles from W. Jones’, on the divide between Scott’s Prairie and Prairie Township, magnesian limestones, probably of lower silurian date, crop out, which are separated from the limestone and sandstone of the Osage Mountain by crisp chert. The upper beds of this lower formation have the same earthy character and checkered appearance on the surface as the strata which form the lower portion of the hills in Township 19 north, Range 17 west, and on Fallen-timber Creek, in Marion County, and are, no doubt, of the same age. Some of these limestones probably possess hydraulic properties. This change in the formations is accompanied by a corresponding change in the growth, which consists of small oaks, interspersed in groves on the hillside, with a thick undergrowth of sumac and blackberries. Here, as in Marion County, numerous springs of water issue from among these earthy, magnesian limestones, and, flowing down the slopes, render the roads wet and miry.

The crisp chert, which occurs on this side of Scott’s Prairie, has a different lithological appearance from that associated with the sub-carboniferous rocks on the southeast side of the same prairie, and occupies probably a lower geological position.

The hills about W. Jones‘ are composed of the same description of magnesian limestones, and crisp chert, with some associate sandstone. About midway of the hills, the so-called “cotton rock” is found: a white, close-textured variety of magnesian limestone, which is used for underpinning the houses and building the external walls of chimneys. If placed exposed to the direct heat of the fire it is apt to crack and give way; therefore, for the inside lining of fireplaces, another bed is preferred, which lies higher in the hills; this is, however, judging from its external appearance, a purer limestone, and, though it may not be so liable to crack by heat, it will certainly be more easily burnt to lime. Hereafter an analysis of these rooks will be made.

Several intercalated bands of sandstone occur in the hills in this part of Carroll County; most of them are below the level of the “cotton rock.”

The formations here appear to be of the same character and age as those in the lead region of the eastern part of this county, and the western part of Marion, already described in the first part of this Report; it is probable, from this analogy in the two regions, that lead ore will be found, to some extent, disseminated in pockets in the calcareous members, in the same manner as it occurs in the Coka and Mitchell diggings.

Four of the most conspicuous hills of the Osage range, in the northwest part of Carroll County, in sight of Berryville, have received the names of the “Sister,” “Grandfather” and “Indigo” knobs. The Sister hill, nearest to Berryville, gave a height of 370 feet above the Berryville branch of King’s River. The summit rocks on this hill are the red, variegated and encrinital marble limestones; but most of the layers on this hill appear to be too earthy, and too prone to decomposition for ornamental outside work.

The “Fire-stone ” was found in place about fifteen feet from the top, and the “Cotton-rock” toward the base of the principal ascent, at an elevation of about seventy to eighty feet above the branch from which the levels were taken.

In sighting with the level, across from the Sister to the Grandfather knob, a bench of rock was observed, cropping out about 80 or 100 feet from the top, corresponding, in level and position, to the red, variegated and encrinital limestones that crown the Sister-hill. By computation the Grandfather-peak must be nearly 100 feet higher than the Sister-hill.

The succession of the different beds of rock, forming the hills in Prairie Township, as far as they have yet been observed, is as follows:

  1. Sub-carboniferous chart.
  2. Sandstone.
  3. Light grey, sub-carboniferous limestone.
  4. Chert.
  5. Encrinital, pink and red limestones; the place of the marble rock.
  6. Sandstone; about seventy feet in thickness.
  7. Chert.
  8. Magnesian limestone and sandstone.
  9. “Cotton-rock,” a variety of magnesian limestone.
  10. Magnesian limestones, some of which, probably, possess hydraulic properties.

Three or four pounds of lead ore are reported to have been found adjacent to the town of Berryville, on land owned by Berry. The remarks previously made in regard to the lead region of the eastern part of Carroll County, will apply also to Prairie Township.

Five miles northwest of Berryville, on the Osage, is a locality worthy the attention of the iron manufacturer. Iron is found here in quantities which might be sufficient to supply a smelting furnace. An attempt was made in this vicinity to establish iron works; but, in consequence of the death of Belcher, one of the principal parties interested, the enterprise was never fully carried out.

In the high ridge dividing the waters of the Osage fork of King’s River from Piney, the succession was as follows:

  1. Cherty sandstone.
  2. Encrinital limestones.
  3. A great mass of awl, replaced sometimes by sandstone.
  4. Magnesian limestones, interstratified with some sandstone. At Steven’s mill, on Piney Creek, the encrinital limestone is underlaid by sixty to eighty feet. of sandstone.

The soil, derived from the cherty sandstone, forming the summit of the above “divide,” supports a growth of pine.

On the ridge between Piney Creek and the Dry Fork of King’s River, the strata of the preceding section appear to have dipped considerably toward the southwest, so that they lie lower in the ridges, and are capped with white, sub-carboniferous limestone and sandstone, overlying the cherty sandstone of the preceding section.

In descending from these strata to the Howard farm, on the Dry Fork of King’s River, a great mass of chert was passed over.

No black shale was visible in any of the sections in this part of Carroll County.

The rock in the bed of the Dry Fork of King’s River, at Howard’s farm, is light grey limestone and chert, at least fifty feet in thickness, and apparently of sub-carboniferous date; but, if so, there must be a rapid dip of the strata between the Piney and Dry Forks of King’s River.

Some lead ore is said to have been plowed up in Howard’s field

A large spirifer was found in the limestone of the Dry Fork, allied to Spirifer striatus, and casts of Orthis crinistria in the overlying chert, both of which species belong to the sub-carboniferous era, and therefore indicate the age of these rocks.

In passing from the Dry Fork to the main branch of King’s River, a ridge of about 330 feet in height was passed over. At the base of this ridge is the aforementioned light grey limestone, fifty feet or more in thickness; over this is a slope of chert containing casts of Orthis crinistria, surrounded by sandstone, which forms the top of the ridge, where we passed over it into Madison County.

Mineral Development of Carroll County Arkansas

As early as 1834 one Col. Huff, a noted counterfeiter, extracted silver ore from Childer’s Mountain, near Varmint Lick, smelted it, and carried on a vigorous business in the manufacture of spurious currency. The Jackson Mines, on King’s River, and the Clebin Mines have yielded 315 ounces of silver to the ton of ore. At Trigger Hill, in the western part of the county, there is a locality known as the Indian Graves, form a number of small mounds resembling graves. It has been ascertained, however, that no burials ever occurred here, and that the earth was probably removed in prospecting for minerals. In 1850-51 Abraham Belcher established a blomary and forge on King’s River, for the smelting and forging of iron. The ore was obtained in that vicinity. Belcher died in 1853, and his establishment was discontinued soon thereafter.


Back to: Carroll County Arkansas Genealogy

Source: History of Benton, Washington, Carroll, Madison, Crawford, Franklin, And Sebastian Counties, Arkansas: From the Earliest Time to the Present, Including a Department Devoted to the Preservation of Sundry Personal, Business, Professional And Private Records ; Besides a Valuable Fund of Notes, Original Observations, Etc., Etc. Salem Mass.: Higginson Book Co., 2000. Reprint. Originally published: Chicago : Goodspeed Pub. Co., 1889.

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