Early Pioneers of Carroll County
Prior to the formation of Carroll County in 1833, a number of early American pioneers had already established their homes in the untamed Ozark wilderness. Barney Cheatham established an early settlement in Izard County called "Stiffler Springs", and he built the first mill on T.W. Hopper's Spring Branch known as "The Natural Dam". Settlers would travel miles for milling service. The Sneed and Coker families are reported to have established the first permanent settlements within the current boundaries of Carroll County prior to 1820. The Sneeds are also credited with having developed the first road to cross Carroll County, known as the "Old Dubuque Road". It passed through Carrollton and followed an old Native American trail to Fort Smith. The early Sneed Family claimed several thousand acres along the Osage River.
The 1820's produced a small migration of settlers from the East, many of whom were from Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee. They generally followed one of two routes that traversed the Arkansas and White River valleys. These early Carroll County pioneers, many of Scotch-Irish descent, tended to live in small community groups and often inter-married. Louis Russell, an English/Cherokee settler originally from North Carolina, reportedly established a homestead on Yocum Creek as early as 1822, although some historians believe he arrived in the county later than this. Russell is credited with planting the first apple orchards in Carroll County, and would later assist in the construction of the town of Fort Smith.
The first mail route through Carroll County was blazed by Cooper and Hargroves in 1831, carrying mail as far as Fort Smith. A post office was also established at Beulah's Stand on Crooked Creek, not far from present day Harrison. Around this time, Carroll County included parts of present day Marion and Madison Counties, Boone County, and Newton County and the old "Military Road" was the primary route through the area. By 1842, there were three post offices located in Carroll County. Prior to Arkansas becoming a state, a man named John Adams was selected as the first sheriff of Carroll County. The first sawmill in the county is said to have been built by Mr. James in 1843 on the Dry Ford of the Kings River. The Indian population during this time was sparse, although there was a small Delaware Indian settlement near Long Creek. The Osage had already ceded all of their land in Arkansas, and the exiled Cherokee people would settle the area only temporarily before being moved further west. Historical records suggest that there were very few Native Americans in the region after 1835.
Additional pioneers that resided in Carroll County as early as the 1830's included members of the Baker, Beller, Blevins, Boyd, Bunch, Burts, Bush, Butler, Campbell, Chaney, Clark, Cornelius, Dawson, Fancher, Hale, Hall, Hawkins, Holmesley, Hulsey, Kenner, McMillan, Meek, Mitchell, Musick, Nooner, Norris, O'Neill, Plumlee, Ramsay, Scott, Shelly, Sisco, Stallings, Standridge, Stone, Tabor, Thomas, Vaughn, Walker, White, Whiteley, Williams, Wilson, Wood, and Yocum families. Many of these surnames would later become well-known as placenames in Carroll County, having influenced numerous permanent settlements and townships in the area.