This place and its vicinity had settlers who entered land as early as April 25, 1836. The following entries were made in that region: William Bloyd, October 24, 1840; James Wynn, July 16, 1840; Eli Bloyd, August 19, 1840; Peter Bloyd, November 10, 1840; John Graham, May 7, 1836; George Putmer, April 10, 1837; Robert McPhail, April 25, 1836; Moses Graham, July 9, 1838; Evan Harrer, July 10, 1838; J. F. Tamison, December 12, 1838, and Benjamin Hardin, April 25, 1836. The general settlement went under the name of West Fork, but its village life did not begin until about 1875 or 1876, when the old water-mill plant at the head of the creek was moved there, and the steam mills built. This was carried out by H. H. Davis, D. Robinson and W. H. Brock. Following this was a carding-machine, introduced by M. M. Morrow, and John Hughes became the first merchant. A spoke-factory was established by J. M. Langston, soon followed by a Mr. Bentley. H. H. Davis and J. M. Langston soon became proprietors of the mill, and added a blacksmith shop; and a Mr. Bell soon added another place where the anvil’s ring could be heard. Hughes, the merchant, soon disposed of his stock to Jacob Yoes and a Mr. Simco, but on the completion of the “Frisco” railway he reopened another establishment.

The construction of the St. Louis & San Francisco Railway was as great a boon to West Fork as to other places along the line. An outlet for its fruits, produce and timber led to rapid development in the village, until its business is now represented by the following establishments: Jacob Yoes and Gilbreath & Langston lead in merchandise; F. J. Males has a fine drug store; J. P. Cox deals in groceries; hardware and implements are handled by Jacob Yoes; a meat market is owned by Thomas Everett; C. Stapleton deals in furniture; J. W. Bell, and D. H. and D. K. Barron are blacksmiths. The West Fork Hotel is owned and managed by Dr. A. S. Fleming. The proprietors of the West Fork Flouring Mills are Yoes & Crider. The West Fork Canning and Evaporating Company is a local stock company, with a capital of $25,000, and $8,500 already invested in equipment. The president is S. P. Sample; secretary, G. S. White, and superintendent, C. K. Winslow. Mr. Sample, H. H. York, G. A. Yoes, J. W. Robertson, Thomas Walker, J. F. Collyer and J. C. Oldham are directors. The company also own a can factory. Lozier’s Nursery is owned by Fred. Lozier. J. M. Phillips is a contractor and builder. Drs. J. S. Cannon, S. P. Sample and A. S. Fleming represent the medical fraternity. Thomas McKnight, J. P., J. C. Oldham, N. P., and G. S. White, N. P., attend to legal business.

The post-office was moved from the present site of Pitkin, which then bore the name West Fork. The first incumbent of that office was H. H. Davis; he was followed by J. W. Hughes, W. Simco, himself and J. P. Cox, who is now in charge. A well-known deputy postmaster was J. M. Langston.

Four fraternities are represented, the G. A. R., F. & A. M., I. O. O. F. and Knights of the Horse.

West Fork was incorporated in May, 1885, and the following officers chosen: Mayor, J. M. Phillips; recorder, J. A. Smith; marshal, Joshua Carmen; aldermen, H. H. Davis, H. H. York, S. P. Sample, W. E. Shanks and N. Northern. Messrs. Simpson and Emerson have served as mayors, also. The officers for 1888 are as follows: Mayor, J. M. Phillips; recorder, J. B. Lansdell; treasurer, S. P. Sample; marshal, N. Northern; aldermen, J. C. Carmen, J. F. Collyer, J. D. Sample, Thomas McKnight and James Emerson.

Back to: Washington County, Arkansas History

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