A Brief History of Marshall, Arkansas

Main Street in Marshall, Arkansas, ca. 1910

Marshall is the county seat of Searcy County, Arkansas. Present-day Searcy County was created on December 13, 1838, from the southern part of Marion County, and the county seat was later established at Lebanon on Bear Creek. In 1856, voters elected John H. Marshall, James W. Gray, and Littleton Baker as commissioners to locate another site for the county seat, though their exact reasons for doing so are unknown. The proposed site was on a bench of the Devil’s Backbone Mountain at Raccoon Springs. On December 31, 1856, the legislature approved the site, and it was named Burrowsville after Napoleon Bonaparte Burrow, a Crawford County planter and politician. Burrowsville was mostly destroyed during the Civil War, and after the Civil War, the political situation was still so volatile that U.S. troops were stationed in Burrowsville for a few months to keep peace. County Unionists pushed to change the town’s name to Marshall after U.S. Chief Justice John Marshall, and the legislature approved the change on March 18, 1867 (Johnston, 2017). The Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad sped the growth of the town during the early 20th century. However, the post-World War I slump hit the area economies hard. Between spurts of economic activity and a series of celebrations, such as the Strawberry Festival from the late 1940s to mid-1980s and a genealogy fair for North Arkansas since 1990, Marshall has become a quaint place for quiet retirement (Wikipedia, 2019).


Johnston, James J. (2017, Nov. 9). Marshall (Searcy County). Retrieved from encyclopediaofarkansas.net.

Wikipedia. (2019, Sep. 17). Marshall, Arkansas. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org.

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