History of Jackson County, Arkansas

by Robert D. Craig

Announcing the upcoming publication

of a detailed history

of Jackson County, Arkansas.

There are many of us who have close and not-so-close ties to Jackson County. Some of you may have information or materials that might help this story be told better. That is why I am soliciting information from all who have some type of historical contributions about Jackson County.


Interested in the people who lived in, and the histories of Amagon, Auvergne, Balch, Beedeville, Campbell Station, Denmark, Diaz, Elgin, Grand Glaise, Grubbs, Jacksonport, Macks, Newport, Old Grand Glaize, Olyphant, Possum Grape, Remmel, Shoffner, Swifton, Tuckerman, Tupelo, Weldon, and all points in between!


Brief Background on this Jackson County History Project

          For the past several years, I have been researching the history of Jackson County with the intention of publishing a comprehensive history.

          I have searched through virtually every county newspaper (for the most part the Newport Daily Independent, Tuckerman Record and Jackson County Democrat) that I could find on microfilm. I have also searched through many Arkansas Gazettes and other newspapers. The Jackson County Historical Society is quite active, and I have copies of articles published in its Stream of History. There is a great historical society at Tuckerman called "Trails to Tuckerman" which has a nice collection of materials. And, of course, I have searched libraries, the internet and hundreds of books. As a result of this work, I have thousands of notes and copies of articles.

          Due to the large amount of information I have found, plans are for more than one volume to be published. Thess books will cover topics one might expect: the Early Years, the Civil War, Reconstruction Years, World War I, the Depression, World War II (including details of the local airfield), and the years after the War. There will be special chapters on the musical influence in the county, the rivers, baseball, biographies of prominent citizens, the Jacksonport State Park, even the story of the infamous White River Monster.

          The first volume expected to be published is how World War II affected Jackson County and its people. The huge Army Air Base was built northeast of Newport, the history of that project alone being worthy of its own volume. The next volume to be published will probably be 1900 to World War II.

          There are also the citizens of Jackson County's past and present that added to its rich history. Not only am I searching for information about the business and community leaders, I am also looking for information about other accomplished individuals including Aunt Caroline Dye, Pickens Black, politicians, entertainers, business leaders, and many others.  

          I have not yet decided on a cut-off date of the history, but the 150th anniversary of the county (1979) is a possibility. Even if 1979 is more or less the final year of the history, there are things happening even today that add to or finish a story from before 1979. For that reason, other events will definitely be added (the growth of ASU-Newport is one good example).

          To be included in these books are the local stories of history that should interest everyone. I want to show the part that Jackson County and its citizens played in local, statewide, nationwide and worldwide events. Many local people who participated in these events will be listed by name along with their particular contributions.

          Please note that while I am a member of the Jackson County Historical Society, at the present time this is a private effort that I have undertaken myself. It is not a project of the Jackson County Historical Society.  The society is fully aware of my project and has been supportive, though.



You Can Help: Written Information

          I have the story from the perspective of newspapers and books. I am now asking for information from others with Jackson County ties. If you or your family have information that might belong in this permanent history, please contact me.

          Specific topics I would like personal information on: integration of the county schools, the World War II airbase at Newport, the prisoners of war who were located at the airbase toward the end of the war, musical influence (including gambling, etc.) from the 1950s, baseball, the depression, locations of country schools and cemeteries, etc. You might have old historical writings or letters that are of particular interest. Your family members might have written or recorded histories which contain local history.

          In addition, some of the most difficult histories to compile are the towns and communities others than Newport (and Tuckerman to some extent). Information is lacking from those areas where a newspaper was not published. Photographic records from those areas are also scarce.


You Can Help: Photographs and Similiar Items

          Photos (group shots, buildings, events, street scenes) and the stories that go with those photos are requested. Scanned photographs can be sent via the internet. Scrapbooks would be interesting if they have much of local historical interest. All information needs to be identified and documented as fully as possible.

          One aspect not really explored are the early films made in Jackson County. I have come across references to several professional (more or less) films made. And, this does not include amateur movies that might include early scenes or events in Jackson County's history. Whether professional or amateur, if you have any films that fit this description, please consider providing a copy for preservation purposes.

          About the only items that are not needed for this particular project are records that are genealogy in nature. While many people have made tremendous progress with their family histories (and they are to be commended), this work has grown quite large (over 250 pages of information so far) and there will be very few instances where I have the opportunity to publish family information. Unless a person was a prominent resident, accomplished something quite impressive, or was a civic or political leader, then there will probably be little need of single portaits or family information. (That said, I am the editor of the Jackson County Historical Society's Stream of History, and we might be interested in some genealogy materials for that publication. Let me know if you have a family story of interest.)

          Those who make specific contributions of photographs that are used in the finished book will be given full credit unless otherwise requested.


You Can Help: Sending Historical Items

          If you'd like, you can send original items to me to look over. However, before doing that, it might be better to first send a list of what you have that you're willing to share. And, if sending original items, you might want to add delivery confirmation from the postal service. I will take great care with original items sent to me, but I cannot be responsible for lost or damaged items. Also, please understand that submission of material does not guarantee use in the finished book.

           Although I no longer live in Jackson County, I could arrange for local delivery. Please contact me for more information.


You Can Help: Spread the Word!

          Please link this website wherever you think it might be of interest. Tell others about this project, especially older relatives or friends or those who may not have access to the internet or who no longer live in Jackson County.


Disposition of Donated Items

          All original items will be copied or documented and returned to the owners. Sometimes, though, a person might have or have been given historical things that he or she is not interested in keeping. Please do not throw those things away! If there are historical items that you wish to donate, it is my intention to offer these things to the Jackson County Historical Society or Trails to Tuckerman (if more applicable to the Tuckerman area) to become part of their permanent collections. These things may or may not be accepted by these organizations. I will make a good faith effort to have your items placed according to your wishes, and I will make every effort to let you know what happens to your material should you wish to make a donation.


I'll Help You

          Since I have researched every issue of every newspaper published in Jackson County that is on microfilm, I have notes on many events in the county's history (most of my newspaper information is from 1901 forward; pre 1900 is fairly sparse, but I do have some notes). If there is a particular event that you want a date on, tell me some specifics and I'll be glad to search my records. I can do word searches of the newspaper notes that I have typed. As a rule, I did not copy deaths (even murders), birth or marriages. However, if it was a significant event, I might be able to help you. Understand that I have to limit these kinds of searches, but if there is something you are hung up on, let me know.



          Thank you in advance for your interest in this project. Please consider providing information so that it can be preserved and treasured for years to come. I hope this history will be a source of pride for all of those lucky enough to have family ties to or interest of any kind about Jackson County, Arkansas.


For more information about the Jackson County Historical Society

        Jackson County Historical Society

          P.O. Box 711

          Newport, AR 72112


For more information, please contact me

          Robert D. Craig, 15650 State Highway A, Kennett, MO 63857






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