Searcy County History — Facts and Trivia
This page is not an attempt to give a complete history of Searcy County. Its purpose is to provide some historical facts and trivia to help everyone understand the conditions which helped create the unique heritage and character of this area.
- Peter Cornstalk was a Cherokee Indian Chief still living in the area at the time of the first white settlers in the 1830’s. He is believed to have been the last chief of the lost Cherokee town, Sequathee. Believed by some to have been located where Spring Creek flows into the Buffalo River, Sequathee means either “opossum who grins” or “opossum who runs”.
- Legend has these Indians working a Silver mine along the bluffs of the Buffalo River. Other legends about a Spanish Silver mine or “Lost Silver Mine” in his area exist in a variety of forms. This legend is the reason for the name of the community “Silver Hill” located on US 65 just south of the Buffalo River.
- Marshall was originally called Raccoon Springs
- Searcy County was one of five counties which originally voted against session in Arkansas
- While about one third of the county supported the Confederacy, two thirds of the citizens where either pro Union or against the war.
- A large Peace Society was created in Searcy County during the Civil War and before 78 of its members were arrested and marched to Little Rock in chains, the county served as the center of pro-union activity in the state.
- Snowball was supposed to be named Snow Hall after the Masonic Lodge built in the community. The Post Office made a mistake (insert your own joke) and named the post office Snowball.
- The H.D. Williams Cooperage Mill in Leslie during the early 1900’s was the world’s largest barrel making plant in the world.
- Leslie was recognized in the 1950’s as the “Whittling Capital of the World”
- The youngest survivor of the Mt Meadows Massacre (1858), 9 month old William Twitty Baker was returned to his relatives in Leslie where he spent the rest of his life living until 1937.
- Although Ozark Winters are generally mild it does snow a little. However in 1918 it snowed a lot. In January of that year the all-time monthly snow fall record for Marshall was set at 37 inches. That same month Arkansas’s all time monthly snow record was established in Calico Rock at 48 inches. (For reference, the all-time monthly snowfall for Chicago is 42 inches, also set in 1918)
- During the first quarter of the last century several cattle drives a year would originate from Marshall and go to stockyards in Missouri. Although, the numbers of cattle involved were modest by Hollywood standards, 50-100 head, it was still an old west style cowboy on horseback operation. One such cattle drive was caught without warning by the “Blizzard of 1918”, all the cowboys survived.
- During the 1920’s Searcy County endured a long and bitter railroad strike. The Ku Klux Klan became involved in the violence associated with the strike. As a result, The Eagle, an anti-Klan newspaper was established in Marshall. The paper listed 63 local businessmen as owners and was published weekly until 1929, at which time organized Klan activity had all but disappeared.
- The National Weather Service recognizes Gilbert as the “coolest town in Arkansas”.