The first English speaking settlers were Tennesseans, Kentuckians and Alabamians. The earliest came down the Mississippi River, and then penetrating Arkansas at the mouths of the streams from the west, ascended these in the search for future homes. The date of the first coming of English speaking colonists may be given as 1807, those prior to that time being only trappers, hunters and voyagers on expeditions of discovery, or those whose names cannot now be ascertained.
South Carolina and Georgia also gave their small quotas to the first pioneers of Arkansas. From the States south of Tennessee the route was overland to the Mississippi River, or to some of its bayous, and then by water. A few of these from the Southern States brought considerable property, and some of them slaves, but not many were able to do this. The general rule was to reach the Territory alone and clear a small piece of ground, and as soon as possible to buy slaves and set them at work in the cotton fields.
In 1814 a colony of emigrants, consisting of four families, settled at Batesville, then the Lower Missouri Territory, now the county seat of Independence County. There was an addition of fifteen families to this colony the next year. Of the first was the family of Samuel Miller, father of (afterward) Gov. William R. Miller; there were also John Moore, the Magnesses and Beans. All these families left names permanently connected with the history of Arkansas. In the colony of 1815 (all from Kentucky) were the brothers, Richard, John, Thomas and James Peel, sons of Thomas Peel, a Virginian, and Kentucky companion of Daniel Boone. Thomas Curran was also one of the later colonists from Kentucky, a relative of the great Irishman, John Philpot Curran. In the 1815 colony were also old Ben Hardin – hero of so many Indian wars – his brother, Joab, and William Griffin, Thomas Wyatt, William Martin, Samuel Elvin, James Akin, John Reed, James Miller and John B. Craig.
Alden Trimble, who died at Peel, Ark., in April, 1889, aged seventy-four years, was born in the Gal Hogan settlement, on White River, Marion County, June 14, 1815. This item is gained from the obituary notice of his death, and indicates some of the very first settlers in that portion of the State.
Among the oldest settled points, after Arkansas Post, was what is now Arkadelphia, Clark County. It was first called Blakelytown, after Adam Blakely. He had opened a little store at the place and about this were collected the first settlers, among whom may now be named Zack Davis, Samuel Parker and Adam Highnight. The Blakelys and the names given above were all located in that settlement in the year 1810. The next year came John Hemphill, who was the first to discover and utilize the valuable waters of the salt springs of that place. He engaged in the successful manufacture of salt, and was in time succeeded by his son-in-law, Jonathan O. Callaway. Jacob Barkman settled in Arkadelphia in 1811. He was a man of foresight and enterprise, and soon established a trade along the river to New Orleans. He commenced navigating the river in canoes and pirogues, and finally owned and ran in the trade the first steamboat plying from that point to New Orleans. He pushed trade at the point of settlement, at the same time advancing navigation, and opened a large cotton farm.
In Arkansas County, among the early prominent men who were active in the county’s affairs were Eli I. Lewis, Henry Scull, O. H. Thomas, T. Farrelly, Hewes Scull, A. B. K. Thetford and Lewis Bogy. The latter afterward removed to Missouri, and has permanently associated his name with the history of that State. In a subsequent list of names should be mentioned those of William Fultony, James Maxwell and James H. Lucas, the latter being another of the notable citizens of Missouri.
Carroll County: Judges George Campbell and William King, and John Bush, T. H. Clark, Abraham Shelly, William Nooner, Judge Hiram Davis, W. C. Mitchell, Charles Sneed, A. M. Wilson, Elijah Tabor, William Beller, M. L. Hawkins, John McMillan, M. Ferryman, J. A. Hicks, N. Rudd, Thomas Callen, W. E. Armstrong.
Chicot County: John Clark, William B. Patton, Richard Latting, George W. Ferribee, Francis Rycroft, Thomas Knox, W. B. Duncan, J. W. Boone, H. S. Smith, James Blaine, Abner Johnson, William Hunt, J. W. Neal, James Murray, B. Magruder, W. P. Reyburn, J. T. White, John Fulton, Judge W. H. Sutton, J. Chapman, Hiram Morrell, Reuben Smith, A. W. Webb.
In Clark County, in the earliest times, were W. P. L. Blair, Colbert Baker, Moses Graham, Mathew Logan, James Miles, Thomas Drew, Daniel Ringo, A. Stroud, David Fisk and Isaac Ward.
Clay County: John J. Griffin, Abraham Roberts, William Davis, William H. Mack. James Watson, J. G. Dudley, James Campbell, Singleton Copeland, C. H. Mobley.
Conway County: Judge Saffold, David Barber, James Kellam, Reuben Blunt, James Barber, James Ward, Thomas Mathers, John Houston, E. W. Owen, Judge B. B. Ball, J. I. Simmons, T. S. Haynes, B. F. Howard, William Ellis, N. H. Buckley, James Ward, Judge Robert McCall, W. H. Robertson, L. C. Griffin, Judge W. T. Gamble, D. D. Mason, George Fletcher and D. Harrison.
Craighead County: Rufus Snoddy, Daniel O’Guinn, Yancey Broadway, Henry Powell, D. R. Tyler, Elias Mackey, William Q. Lane, John Hamilton, Asa Puckett, Eli Quarles, William Puryear.
In Crawford County were Henry Bradford, Jack Mills, G. C. Pickett, Mark Beane, J. C. Sumner, James Billingsley.
Crittenden County : J. Livingston, W. D. Ferguson, W. Goshen, William Cherry, Judge D. H. Harrig, O. W. Wallace, S. A. Cherry, Judge Charles Blackmore, S. R. Cherry, John Tory, F. B. Read, Judge A. B. Hubbins, H. O. Oders, J. H. Wathen, H. Bacon.
Fulton County: G. W. Archer, William Wells, Daniel Hubble, Moses Brannon, John Nichols, Moses Steward, Enos C. Hunter, Milton Yarberry, Dr. A. C. Cantrell.
Greene County: Judge L. Brookfield, L. Thompson, James Brown, J. Sutfin, G. Hall, Charles Robertson, Judge W. Hane, Judge George Daniel, G. L. Martin, J. Stotts, James Ratchford, Judge L. Thompson, H. L. Holt, J. L. Atkinson, J. Clark, H. N. Reynolds, John Anderson, Ben-jamin Crowley, William Pevehouse, John Mitch-ell, Aaron Bagwell, A. J. Smith, Wiley Clarkson, William Hatch.
In Hempstead County: J. M. Steward, A. S. Walker, Benjamin Clark, A. M. Oakley, Thomas Dooley, D. T. Witter, Edward Cross, William McDonald, D. Wilburn and James Moss.
Hot Springs County: L. N. West, G. B. Hughes, Judge W. Durham, G. W. Rogers, T. W. Johnson, J. T. Grant, J. H. Robinson, H. A. Whittington, John Callaway, J. T. Grant, Judge G. Whittington, L. Runyan, R. Huson, J. Bankson, Ira Robinson, Judge A. N. Sabin, C. A. Sabin, W. W. McDaniel, W. Dunham, A. B. MeDonald, Joseph Lorance.
Independence County : R. Searcy, Robert Bean, Charles Kelly, John Reed, T. Curran, John Bean, I. Curran, J. L. Daniels, J. Redmon, John Ruddell. C. H. Pelham, Samuel Miller, James Micham, James Trimble, Henry Engles, Hartwell Boswell, John H. Ringgold.
Izard County: J. P. Houston, John Adams, Judge Mathew Adams, H. C. Roberts, Jesse Adams, John Hargrove, J. Blyeth, William Clement, Judge J. Jeffrey, Daniel Jeffrey, A. Adams, J. A. Harris, W. B. Carr, Judge B. Hawkins, B. H. Johnson, D. K. Loyd, W. H. Carr, A. Creswell, H. W. Bandy, Moses Bishop, Daniel Hively, John Gray, William Powell Thomas Richardson, William Seymour.
Jackson County: Judge Hiram Glass, J. C. Saylors, Isaac Gray, N. Copeland, Judge E. Bartley, John Robinson, A. M. Carpenter, Judge D. C. Waters, P. O. Flynn, Hall Roddy, Judge R. Ridley, G. W. Cromwell, Sam Mathews, Sam Allen, Martin Bridgeman, John Wideman, New-ton Arnold, Joseph Haggerton, Holloway Stokes.
Jefferson County: Judge W. P. Hackett, J. T. Pullen, Judge Creed Taylor, Peter German, N. Holland, Judge Sam C. Roane, William Kinkead, Thomas O’Neal, E. H. Roane, S. Dardenne, Sam Taylor, Judge H. Bradford, H. Edgington, Judge W. H. Lindsey, J. H. Caldwell.
Johnson County: Judge George Jameson, Thomas Jenette, S. F. Mason, Judge J. P. Kessie, A. Sinclair, William Fritz, W. J. Parks, R. S. McMicken, Augustus Ward, Judge J. L. Cravens, A. M. Ward, M. Rose, A. L. Black, W. A. Ander-son, Judge J. B. Brown, A. Sinclair, William Adams, W. M. H. Newton.
Lafayette County : Judge Jacob Buzzard, Jesse Douglass, Joshua Morrison, I. W. Ward, J. T. Conway, W. E. Hodges, J. Morrison, George Dooley, J. M. Dorr, J. P. Jett, W. B. Conway, W. H. Conway, T. V. Jackson, G. H. Pickering, Judge E. M. Lowe, R. F. Sullivan, James Abrams.
Lawrence County: Joseph Hardin, Robert Blane, H. Sandford, John Reed, R. Richardson, J. M. Knykendall, H. R. Hynson, James Camp-bell, D. W. Lowe, Thomas Black, John Rodney, John Spotts, William J. Hudson, William Stuart, Isaac Morris, William B. Marshall, John S. Ficklin.
Madison County: Judge John Bowen, H. B. Brown, P. M. Johnson, H. C. Daugherty, M. Ferryman, T. McCuiston.
In Miller County : John Clark, J. Ewing, J. H. Fowler, B. English, C. Wright, G. F. Lawson. Thomas Polk, George Wetmore, David Clark, J. G. Pierson, John Morton, N. Y. Crittenden, Charles Burkem, George Colhim, G. C. Wetmore, D. C. Steele, G. F. Lawton and Judge G. M. Martin.
Mississippi County: Judge Edwin Jones, J. W. Whitworth. E. F. Loyd, S. McLung, G. C. Bartield, Judge Nathan Ross, Judge John Troy, J. W. Dewitt, J. C. Bowen, Judge Fred Miller, Uriah Russell, T. L. Daniel, J. G. Davis, Judge Nathan Ross, J. P. Edrington, Thomas Sears, A. G. Blackmore, William Kellums, Thomas J. Mills, James Williams, Elijah Buford, Peter G. Reeves.
Monroe County: Judge William Ingram, J. C. Montgomery, James Eagan, John Maddox, Lafayette Jones, Judge James Carlton, M. Mitchell, J. R. Dye, J. Jacobs, R. S. Bell.
Phillips County: W. B. R. Horner, Daniel Mooney, S. Phillips, S. M. Rutherford, George Seaborn, H. L. Biscoe, G. W. Fereby, J. H. McKenzie, Austin Hendricks, W. H. Calvert, N. Righton, B. Burress, F. Hanks, J. H. McKeal, J. K. Sandford, S. S. Smith, C” P. Smith, J. H. McKenzie, S. C. Mooney, I. C. P. Tolleson, Emer Askew, P. Pinkstou, Charles Pearcy, J. B. Ford, W. Bettiss, J. Skinner, H. Turner and M. Irvin.
Pike County: Judge W. Sorrels, D. S. Dickinson, John Hughes, J. W. Dickinson, Judge W. Kelly, Isaac White, J. H. Kirkhan, E. K. Williams, Henry Brewer.
Poinsett County: Judges Richard Hall and William Harris, Drs. Theophilus Griffin and John P. Hardis, Harrison Ainsworth, Robert H. Stone, Benjamin Harris.
Pope County: Judge Andrew Scott, Twitty Pace, H. Stinnett, W. Garrott, W. Mitchell, Judge S. K. Blythe, A. E. Pace, J. J. Morse, F. Heron, Judge Thomas Murray, Jr. , S. M. Hayes, S. S. Hayes, R. S. Witt, Judge Isaac Brown, R. T. Williamson, W. W. Rankin, Judge J. J. Morse, J. B. Logan, W. C. Webb.
Pulaski County: R. C. Oden, L. R. Curran, Jacob Peyatte, A. H. Renick, G. Greathouse, M. Cunningham, Samuel Anderson, H Armstrong, T. W. Newton, D. E. McKinney, S. M. Rutherford, A. McHenry, Allen Martin, J. H. Caldwell, Judge S. S. Hall, J. Henderson, William Atohinson, R. N. Rowland, Judge David Rorer, J. K. Taylor, R. H. Callaway, A. L. Langham, Judge J. H. Cocke, W. Badgett, G. N. Peay, J. C. Anthony, L. R. Lincoln, A. Martin, A. S. Walker, Judge R. Graves, J. P. and John Fields, J. K. Taylor, W. C. Howell, J. Gould, Roswell Beebe, William Russell, John C. Peay.
Randolph County: Judge P. R. Pittman, B. J. Wiley, William Black, R. Bradford, J. M. Cooper, B. J. Wiley, B. M. Simpson, John Janes, James Campbell, Samuel McElroy, Edward Mattix, Thomas S. Drew, R. S. Bettis, James Russell.
St. Francis County: Andrew Roane,- William Strong, S. Crouch, Judge John Johnson, T. J. Curl, G. B. Lincecum, William Lewis, Judge William Strong, Isaac Mitchell, David Davis, Isaac Forbes, Judge William Enos, N. O. Little, W. G. Bozeman, H. M. Carothers, Judge R. H. Hargrove, H. H. Curl, Cyrus Little.
Saline County: Judge T. S. Hutchinson, Samuel Caldwell, V. Brazil, C. Lindsey, A. Carrick, Judge H. Prudden, G. B. Hughes, Samuel Collins, J. J. Joiner, J. R. Conway, R. Brazil, E. M. Owen, George McDaniel, C. P. Lyle.
Scott County: Judge Elijah Baker, S. B. Walker, James Riley, J. R. Choate, Judge James Logan, G. Marshall, Charles Humphrey, W. Cauthorn, G. C. Walker, T. J. Garner, Judge Gilbert Marshall, W. Kenner.
Searcy County: Judge William Wood, William Kavanaugh, E. M. Hale, Judge Joseph Rea, William Ruttes, Joe Brown, V. Robertson, T. S. Hale, Judge J. Campbell.
Sevier County: Judge John Clark, R. Hartfield, G. Clark, J. T. Little, Judge David Forau, P. Little, William, White, Charles Moore, A. Hartfield, Judge J. F. Little, Henry Morris, Judge Henry Brown, George Halbrook, Judge R. H. Scott, S. S. Smith.
Sharp County: John King, Robert Lott, Nicholas Norris, William Morgan, William J. Gray, William Williford, Solomon Hudspeth, Stephen English, John Walker, L. D. Dale, John C. Garner, R. P. Smithee, Josiah Richardson, Judge A. H. Nunn, William G. Matheny.
Union County: John T. Cabeen, John Black, Jr., Judge John Black, Sr. , Benjamin Gooch, Alexander Beard, Thomas O’Neal, Judge G. B. Hughes, John Cornish, John Hogg, Judge Hiram Smith, J. R. Moore, John Henry, John Stokeley, Judge Charles H. Seay, W. L. Bradley, Judge Thomas Owens.
Van Buren County: Judge J. L. Laferty, P. O. Powell, N. Daugherty, Philip Wail, L. Williams, Judge J. B. Craig, Judge J. M. Baird, J. McAllister, Judge William Dougherty, A. Morrison, George Counts, A. Caruthers, W. W. Trimble, R. Bain, J. O. Young, George Hardin, A. W. McRaines, Judge J. C. Ganier.
Washington County: L. Newton, Lewis Evans, John Skelton, Judge Robert McAmy, B. H. Smithson, Judge John Wilson, James Marrs, V. Caruthers, James Coulter, J. T. Edmonson, Judge J. M. Hoge, James Crawford, John McClellan, Judge W. B. Woody, W. W. Hester, Judge John Cureton, L. C. Pleasants, Isaac Murphy, D. Callaghan. Judge Thomas Wilson, W. L. Wallace and L. W. Wallace.
White County: Judge Samuel Guthrie, P. W. Roberts, P. Crease, Michael Owens, M. H. Blue, S. Arnold, J. W. Bond, William Cook, J. Arnold, Milton Saunders, James Bird, Samuel Beeler, James Walker, Martin Jones, Philip Hilger, James King, L. Pate, John Akin, Reuben Stephens, Samuel Guthrie.
Woodruff County: Rolla Gray, Durant H. Bell, John Dennis, Dudley Glass. Michael Haggerdon, Samuel Taylor, James Barnes, George Hatch, John Teague, Thomas Arnold and Thomas Hough.
The above were all prominent men in their localities during the Territorial times of Arkansas. Many of them have left names and memories intimately associated with the history of the State. They were a part of those pioneers “who hewed the dark, old woods away,” and left a rich inheritance, and a substantial civilization, having wealth, refinement and luxuries, that were never a part of their dreams. They were home makers as well as State and Nation builders. They cut out the roads, opened their farms, bridged the streams, built houses, made settlements, towns and cities, rendering all things possible to their descendants.
2 thoughts on “Early English Settlers in Arkansas”
I have two forefathers listed here. B. Burress or Benjamin and William Strong. Benjamin froze to death in a storm. William died on his plantation outside Memphis during the civil war.
Jacob and Abraham Wells, believed to be brothers, arrived in Clark County about 1811-1812 settling in the Stroud neighborhood. What are the most likely states they migrated from?