Cherokee Homesteaders in Polk County Arkansas

A search through the genealogy room at the Polk County Library in Mena Arkansas rewarded me with plat maps showing the exact locations of Cherokee Homesteaders in Polk County, Arkansas in the 1800s.  In addition to maps that showed the Township and Range of each homestead, there were maps that showed the topography of the land and maps that showed the county roads.

Township 2-S Range 32-W Polk County

Township 2-S Range 32-W Polk County

 

Polk County Rivers, Lakes and Streams

Polk County Rivers, Lakes and Streams

Polk County Homestead Roads

Polk County Homestead Roads

With maps in hand I started driving the county roads of Polk County.  Rather than head directly to the site of my great grandfather Moses Crittenden’s homestead which I had driven past that morning, I explored some of the rest of Township 2-S where extended family members had homesteaded.

I stopped and took photos of land owned by many of Moses’ Quinton, Winton and Phillips in-laws. My goal was to find a little road marked as Evans, off of Polk Rd 135.  It appeared to me that if I drove to the end of that road I would be almost due West of Moses’ land and North of the homestead of Elijah Phillips.   According to my plat map listing current owners, the land I was heading towards, owned by Levi N Hill in 1890, was now owned by the Evans family.

My goal in driving to the end of Evans Road was to have a clear view of the old Elijah Phillips homestead.  My grandmother’s half-brother Anthony Crittenden, son of the Phillips’ slave Emily Crittenden and my great grandfather Moses Crittenden, was most likely born on that land.  In two days I would be meeting Anthony’s grandson and great granddaughter in Warner, Oklahoma and wanted to be able to tell then that I had seen where Anthony was born.

When I reached the end of Polk Rd 135 I was rewarded by a small sign saying Evans Rd.  I headed down Evans Rd, a narrow gravel road with a high center and ditches on either side.  In my low riding compact rental, and with no cell phone coverage, I questioned the wisdom of continuing. However, I had not come that far to be put off by a little adventure, in spite of wondering how I would turn around when I got to the end of the road!

The road ended looking over beautiful farm land with trees in the distance.  I could tell from the compass in my rental car that the old Elijah Phillips’ homestead was straight ahead.  It was rewarding to be able to tell my Crittenden cousins a few days later that I looked out over the land where Emily Crittenden and her son Anthony had once lived.

To the left was a long dirt road leading up a hill with a new home at the top. I got out of my car to take photos of the land to the south and noticed a man standing on the side of the house looking down on me. Soon he was on a small tractor and heading my way.

I had brought a copy of the cover of the Family Maps of Polk County book with me.  I retrieved that from my car and greeted the man with, “You probably wonder what I am doing on your property.  My great grandfather owned the land to your east in the 1860s and I wanted to see it.”

Luckily the very welcoming current owner of the property was full of questions about how I found out the original owners of the land in the area.  I showed him my cover page (which he took a photo of with his phone so that he could do his own research at the library) and explained that I was researching my Cherokee heritage.  He was surprised to hear that any Cherokees had ever lived on this land.

I pulled out my homestead maps and pointed out all the names that I had highlighted on plats that I knew belonged to Cherokee family members.  He did not know that any Cherokees had ever lived in Polk County. He had grown up in the area and said it was never mentioned in Polk County history classes in school.  Given the denial that I had encountered throughout Arkansas of Cherokees having ever lived in the state, I was not surprised that he had never been taught this history.

He was full of questions, as was I.  When he saw the number of Quintons that I had highlighted on my plat maps he pointed to a mountain to the east of us and told me that it had always been known as Quinton Mountain and he never knew why (of course, that has been added to my list of things to research).

So far I have found very little information.  What I did find lists the location as Quentin Mountain, a different spelling from my ancestors.  I hope to find more information about how that mountain got its name and whether or not it has any connection to my family.

Next Mr. Evans told me about an old log cabin from the mid to late 1800s that sits next to his house.  He told me that I was welcome to drive up the driveway to his house and take a look at the cabin.

Log Cabin from 1800s on Neighboring Land

Log Cabin from 1800s on Neighboring Land

I was lucky to be greeted by the open and welcoming Mr. Evans.  He took me inside of the cabin built from hand hewn logs.  Later that day, after returning to my motel, I emailed my cousin John in Hulbert.  John commented that it was very likely that my great grandfather Moses had helped build that cabin or had at least visited there. It gave me chills to think that I may have stood in the same small house as Moses.

I so grateful to the owner of the land for being so welcoming to this trespasser. Viewing all of the land from the end of Evans road instead of the highway allowed me to really get a picture of what this land was like over a hundred years ago when my great grandfather and many other Cherokee families established a community here.

 

13 Comments

Filed under Cherokee History in Arkansas, Cherokee Roots, Journal, Land

13 responses to “Cherokee Homesteaders in Polk County Arkansas

  1. Joan Quonton Ingle

    I am distantly related to the Joel Quinton on the map

    • Joan, I am currently out of the country. However, I am anxious to explore our Quinton connection. My great grandfather, Moses Crittenden, was married to Edith Quinton, who was the daughter of Samuel Quinton Jr and Lydia Crittenden, who was Moses’ aunt. Kathy

  2. Pat Hill Powell

    I live in Polk County. I am the great grand daughter of Mary Jane Quinton Hill, born in Polk County, in 1861. She was the daughter of Samuel Quinton and Mary Jane Quinton. This Samuel Quinton was later married to Martha Elizabeth Jacobs. Please add me to your list of Polk County Quinton contacts: pdpowell@arkansas.net

    • Pat Hill Powell

      I need to clarify something in the previous message. Mary Jane Quinton, (actually her name was Jane Quinton) b between 1831 – 1836, was first married to Hiram Nix. They lived in Cherokee County, GA. but married in Lumpkin County, GA. She came to Polk County AR and is on the 1860 census, listed as Jane Nix , with son George Nix, age 8. Hiram is no longer with her, must have died? She then had two daughters with Samuel Jacob Quinton. So far, we have not been able to find a marraige license. One of these daughters was my Great grandmother, Mary Jane Quinton b 1861 in Polk County, AR. She married Richard H. Hill in 1876 in Scott County, AR. The other daughter was Elzira Quinton, who married Ross Rueben Johnson in Scott County. After these two daughters were born, Samuel Quinton deserted Jane Quinton Nix.

  3. Pat,
    Was Richard Hill related to the Levi Hill hat owned the property that the cabin I photographed sits on?

    • Pat Hill Powell

      I have not found a connection so far. Richard’s father was Andrew Jackson Hill, b TN abt 1822. We do not know who his parents were, or his siblings. He is on the 1860, 70, 80 census living in Sebastian County, AR. However, we were told by older relatives, that he came through Polk County, from Alabama (via TN) about the time the log cabin in the park was built, and the man who built it, wanted to trade the cabin to him, for 2 mules. Andrew refrained, saying he was going further North to settle…which he did near the Poteau Mtn in Sebastian county…Big Creek township.

  4. Pat Hill Powell

    Kathy, do you know who Levi Hill’s parents were? Was he from TN?

    • No, I have no information on Levi. He is listed as the first homesteader on the property next to my great grandfather Moses Crittenden. The log cabin pictured in my post is on what was Levi’s property.

  5. Arick Quinton

    My name is Arick Quinton. Five days ago I only knew my grandfather’s first name, Lawrence. Who is Father to JL Quinton my father. Now I know Lawrence is the son of Samuel Quinton. Who is the son of Samuel B. Quinton Confederate Veteran and Elizabeth (Jacobs) Quinton. Here is where I where I’m not exactly sure. Samuel B. Quinton is the son of Samuel Jr. Quinton who is the Son of Samuel Quinton Sr. Revolutionary War Veteran brother to James Quinton Revolutionary war Veteran. They are the sons of John Quinton Colonist. Can anybody verify this?

    • Thrilled to find Quinton descendants. I am in the middle of moving, give me a few more weeks and I will be in touch.

    • Arick, please send me your email address. I will not approve the comment to be visible to others on the site. That way I can contact your directly. Certainly I will post any conclusions we reach on the site. I am just settling in from my move to Portugal and am making a list of research questions to work on this month. Your is number 2!

      • Arick Quinton

        arickquinton@hotmail.com

        Wow Portugal. I take it you speak Portuguese. If not learning fast.

        I have scattered information from all sorts of centuries. One thing I came across you might find interesting or already know if you’ve done Quinton research in the past. Is the origin of the “Quinton” Sur Name in England. The name was brought to the island by Herbert de St. Quentyne. He was a Norman Invader and close friend to William the Conqueror. For his efforts at the Battle of Hastings and in capturing the Throne of England was awarded a royal title and land near Wales in England. For many generations his descendants were knighted by the king.

        Funny you would write as it was just yesterday I was thinking about you and your move. I can’t wait to make the connection to my early American Ancestors. Thank you.

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