Scatterville, Arkansas

Scatterville, Arkansas

Scatterville is an unincorporated community in Clay County, Arkansas, United States, approximately 2 mi (3 km) northwest of Rector.


According to Robert T. Webb in his 1933 "History & Traditions of Clay County", Scatterville was one of the first Clay County communities, defined by having five or six families settled in a five mile (8 km) area. Webb notes that Scatterville received its name because:

". . . one man put a store at the foot of a hill, another put one at the peak, still another put one at the foot on the other side. The few stores and cabins were scattered about over the hills in a careless way."

The first families to locate in the Scatterville community were the McNiels, Allens, Copelands, Mobleys, Snowdens, Waddells, Nortens, Mitchells, Golbys, Whites, Bradshaws, Deans, Rayburns, Whitakers, and Simmons. They were mainly subsistence farmers; however, the Allen, Knight, Simmon, Bradshaw, McNiel, and Mobley families brought a few slaves with them when they emigrated from Kentucky and Tennessee. Cotton was grown during the antebellum period, but it was only used to make clothing for personal use. A gin in Scatterville eased this task somewhat by removing the seeds from the boll. After the war, cotton was raised as a cash cropClarifyme. In 1855, the first horse-powered sawmill was brought to Scatterville, and a frame school building was erected in 1859. In that same year the town welcomed Major Rayburn's new steam-powered sawmill. Other industries in Scatterville included a tanyard for shoe making and a hand-powered sorghum mill.

During the American Civil War, skirmishes were fought in the Scatterville vicinity on August 3, 1862, and March 28, 1863. Otherwise, information on Scatterville during and after the Civil War is scarce. The community remained stable until the arrival of the St. Louis and Texas Railroad about two miles (3 km) to the south in 1881. The railroad company laid out a new town named Rector, and the population of Scatterville gradually migrated to the new and booming town.

Tourist Attractions

As there are no known structures surviving from that period in the Scatterville vicinity, the Scatterville Cemetery is locally significant as the best surviving link to this important early Clay County settlement which faded from view in the post-railroad era.

The Scatterville Cemetery comprises roughly two acres and is set in an impressive stand of largely oak and hickory trees. The cemetery is surrounded on three sides by a barbed-wire fence of indeterminate age, and is further designated by a large cast-iron marker erected at the entrance by the Arkansas History Commission in 1973.

Most of the markers are small, narrow marble slabs, many of which have fallen and/or possibly moved. The inscriptions on many gravestones have been obscured by age and the elements while others were never inscribed. There are a few styled markers, including two four-sided family monuments with obelisks belonging to the Allen and McNiel families. Both were damaged by vandals; the Allen monument has been repaired, while the McNiel obelisk is lying in two parts beside its base. Nearby, the largest gravestone in the cemetery, the square-based, shaft and capital monument to Nancy McNiel, is in worse condition with its shaft lying on the ground and its capital broken into several pieces. There is also a multiple gravestone for three members of the Cook family. It is a tall rectangular monument with an upper-sloped face featuring a sculpted open Bible. Other interesting stones include H. W. Granade's 1870 horizontal cylindrical marker and Captain W. T. Morris's 1902 rectangular monument on base with an open Bible and a knotted stole draped down one side.

Although there is an unsubstantiated story regarding a grave in the southeast corner in which twenty Civil War soldiers are buried, there is no mention of slaves being buried here. It is known that some are buried at the nearby Mobley family cemetery.

The only non-historic component of the cemetery is a dedication marker of pink granite atop a concrete base that is inscribed:

"The privilege of caring for this forest shrine was accepted by the Methodist Youth Fellowship of Rector in 1963. We bequeath its perpetual care to our successors."


*Dalton, O. L.; "Old Scatterville Cemetery Has Been Adopted." "Clay County Democrat", August 8, 1963.
*Dalton, O. L.; "Scatterville Cemetery Gravestones." "Clay County Democrat", August 15, 1963.
*Webb, Robert T.; "History & Traditions of Clay County." Little Rock, Arkansas: Parke-Harper Co., 1933 (reprinted in the "Piggott Times", April 29, 1982.).

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