Topography of Carroll County Arkansas

Carroll County is situated in the northwestern part of Arkansas, adjoining the State of Missouri, and in the second tier of counties from the line of Indian Territory, between Boone County on the east and Benton County on the west, with Newton County on the south and Madison on the south and southwest. It borders upon the Missouri line a distance of about thirty-five miles. The greatest length north and south is about twenty-five miles. The area is about 746 square miles, or in the vicinity of 500,000 acres.

Mountains of Carroll County Arkansas

The county occupies a position about midway between the Boiton and Ozark Mountains, spurs from both of which diversify its surface. The western portion of the county is extremely broken and irregular. Gaither’s spur of Boston Mountains, properly speaking a connecting link between this range and the Ozarks, extends northeasterly through Madison and Newton Counties. On the east side of the Fancher fork of Osage it is known as the Sisco Mountain, and above Dog branch bears the name of Phillips Mountain. Across Osage it becomes Morris Mountain, and thence continues in an irregular and broken trend in a general northerly direction, forming the divide between Osage and Long Creek, and known under the various local names of Long, Childer’s, Bradshaw’s, Jenning’s, etc. In the northern part of the county, between Indian Creeks, the range culminates in Pilot Knob, the loftiest elevation along the northern boundary of the State. Crystal Mountain, detached from the main chain by the Osage River, is a conical elevation about a mile and a half in diameter, rising gradually to a considerable altitude. Upon the top, within well defined limits, the surface to a depth not yet ascertained is composed entirely of crystals. No similar geological formation is known to exist anywhere. The Sister Knobs, one mile west of the main chain, overlook the fertile valley of Osage and the Town of Berryville.

Streams of Carroll County Arkansas

The entire county, being north of the Boston Mountains, is drained by White River, the largest tributary of the Mississippi between the Missouri and the Arkansas Rivers. White River flows through the extreme northwestern part of the county, in a northeastern direction. It is here a considerable stream, confined to a narrow channel by high cliffs, and presenting scenery that has not been unappreciated by the tourist. Clabbern branch flows into the river at Beaver from the northwest, and Leatherwood Creek from the southeast at the same place. Stanley branch and Clifty Creek also empty into this river in this county.

King’s River, next in volume and importance to the White, rises in the Boston Mountains, in Madison County, and enters Carroll in Dry Fork Township. For some distance its course is nearly identical with the county line. Its general direction is nearly due north. The current is rapid and the water clear. Dry Fork, the first tributary of King’s River in the county, rises in Newton, and pursues a southwesterly course twenty-five miles through a valley ranging from 200 yards to one-fourth of a mile in width. Piney, so named from the variety of timber that flourishes upon the hills through which it flows, drains the whole of Piney and part of Osage Townships. It is about twenty miles long, and the uniform width of the valley is 200 or 300 yards. Osage River, the most considerable tributary of King’s, is third in order among the streams that flow into it in this county. It is formed by the junction of the Fancher. and Kenner forks, both of which rise in Newton County, at Fairview. From this point the general course of Osage is northwest. Its entire length is about thirty-five miles. The valley begins to widen immediate’y below Fairview. Cultivation along the benches, or second bottoms, first appears at the Blasengame settlement in Osage Township. Osage receives a small tributary from Lundy’s hollow,seven miles north of Berryville, and also the waters of Bell’s fork, near Fairview. Nearly opposite the mouth of Osage King’s River receives the waters of Keel’s Creek from the west. This stream rises near Clifty, and flows eastwardly.

Long Creek, a stream fifty miles in length, empties into White River near Forsythe, Mo,. and rises in Carrollton, whence it flows through Long Creek Township and Taney County, Mo. The principal branch of this stream is Yocum Creek, one fork of which rises in Prairie Township, and the other in Hickory, near Green Forest. Yocum flows northeast, and forms the boundary line between Yocum and Hickory Townships. It has but one branch of any importance, Sycamore Creek. Lipp’s branch, seven miles in length, rises in Boone County, and empties into Long Creek from the east. Dry Creek, dependent upon spring thaws for its existence, rises in Carrollton Township. It is twelve miles long, and flows in the spring months into Long Creek. Big Indian Creek rises in Prairie Township, and Little Indian in Polo. After gradually converging for a distance of eighteen miles, they unite two miles south of White River. Owl Creek rises in Franklin Township, and flows north into the same stream.

Prairies of Carroll County Arkansas

The principal prairies of the county are the “Big” prairies in Prairie and Polo Townships, between Big Indian Creek and King’s River, six miles long from north to south, and from three to five miles wide; and Scott’s Prairie, in Hickory Township, about three square miles in extent. These tracts, when first known to the pioneer settlers, were covered with the long grass peculiar to similar large tracts in the West, and were without any timber growth whatever. The Hale barrens, in Yocum Township, comprise an area about ten miles square. This tract is quite as level as the prairies. It is well timbered, but the same cannot be said of the drainage. The soil differs from that of the prairies, and approximates clay in its consistency. It has been found to be well adapted to the cultivation of fruits. In the southern part of the county the arable land is confined to the valleys of the streams, which are unsurpassed in fertility anywhere.

Caves of Carroll County Arkansas

Leatherwood, or Marley Cave, is five miles north of Eureka Springs. Its length is nearly a quarter of a mile, with an average width of thirty feet and a height varying from six to twelve feet. Some distance from the entrance there is an apartment 60×80 feet, and at the farther end there are numerous stalactites and stalagmites. There is but one passage way so far as known. This cave was discovered in 1878.

The Davidson Cave opens about 150 yards up the mountain from Sycamore Spring. “The entrance resembles a large gopher hole, and is anything but inviting, as one has to crawl into it feet foremost down a steep descent of about thirty feet. The ceiling is arched, the walls rising straight up, with an average width of between three or four feet, and are grooved and fluted columns,magnificent in proportions. It contains only one passage, of perhaps 100 yards in extent, with several shallow pockets in the sides. It ends in a small circular room, columned and fluted, terminating in an arched, dome-like ceiling, many feet above the main passage.” This is also one of the attractions of Eureka Springs.

Moore’s Cave, six miles northeast of Berryvale, in the mountains of Indian Creek, near the road to Springfield, Mo., known as the Wilderness route, was discovered by John Moore and his sons while prospecting for lead, in 1845. The floor of the first chamber is reached after descending 200 feet from the outside elevation, the entrance being extremely difficult From this room a number of passages radiate, one of which leads to the shore of a subterranean lake, and another to an immense basin-like depression. Stalactites are numerous. A party of gentlemen from the Hale barrens made the first extensive exploration September 4, 1845.

The Ocean Cave is situated six miles southeast of Eureka Springs. There is a constant current of cold air from the entrance. The interior, so far as known, consists of a subterranean lake, well stocked with fish.

A cavern of considerable extent was discovered by John Hinkle in 1878, on Keel’s Creek, a mile east of William’s saw-mill. An entrance is effected through an opening 4×2 by feet, and after a gradual descent of fifty feet a passage 100 yards long is entered, leading to an immense chamber filled with great pillars, arches and columns. Two wide passages, leading in opposite directions, terminate abruptly 100 yards away. The main passage continues 200 yards, opening into a small circular room. The exploration of this cave is exceedingly difficult.

Of other caverns of greater or lesser importance the Massman Cave, on Leatherwood Creek, has received some attention. Indian Cave, on the head-waters of Osage, is the only cavern of importance in that part of the county. Several skeletons, and specimens of Indian pottery, have been found in a great heap of ashes in a large apartment, a short distance from the entrance.


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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1 thought on “Topography of Carroll County Arkansas”

  1. This is very interesting. I would love to get information about Independence County since my ancestors settled there in the 1850s. I was born in Batesville. Thank you so much.

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