A Brief History of Benton, Arkansas

Selections from 1913 Niloak Pottery Catalog (Niloak, 2018)

Benton is a city in and the county seat of Saline County, Arkansas, and a suburb of Little Rock. Named after U.S. Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri Territory, the town began in 1833 on the east bank of the Saline two years before the county was established. Rezin Davis deeded eighty acres to Benton and became its first mayor. The first business, opened in 1834, was an in-house store owned by Joshua Smith. Benton’s primary industry at the turn of the twentieth century was pottery. There were thirteen firms, the most famous of which belonged to Charles Hyten. His business, Niloak Pottery, named from the reverse spelling of kaolin, a richly colored clay found in the area, produced utilitarian jugs, churns, crocks, and flowerpots, known as Eagle pottery, and the one-of-a-kind swirled art pottery called Niloak, which is collected the world over (Laster, 2019).


(2018). Niloak Pottery. Retrieved from niloakpottery.com.

Laster, Patricia Paulus. (2019, Jan. 30). Benton (Saline County). Retrieved from encyclopediaofarkansas.net.

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