A Brief History of Dell by Mrs. Otto Bradberry
Bradberry of the Lost Cane Community in North Mississippi County
gave this brief history of Dell, Arkansas, during the years of 1902-1911,
to her daughter, Mrs. Olive Bradberry Ritter, who wanted to keep the information
for her children and her brother's children and to share it with the Mississippi
County Historical Society:
Mrs. Bradberry moved to Dell from Cave-In-Rock, Illinois, in the spring of 1903, when she was 11 years old. Previously the town was called Rozelle. When the citizens there learned that there was another town in the state named Rozelle, they changed the name to Dell. She does not know why they gave it that name.
In 1902 a new railroad had been built that ran through Dell. It was called the Jonesboro, Lake City and Eastern. It made a round trip from Jonesboro to Blytheville each day. The initials, J. L. C. & E., helped the amateur poets to come up with some rhymes such as:
" J. L. C & C., Pay for you riding, and get your rocking free." The road had been built hurriedly and the riding was quite rough.
The streets were mud, filled with stumps and logs, that spring. The depot was a box car.
There was one store in which the post office was housed. The store owner, J. D. Richardson, was also the postmaster. The post office had been located near the bayou, which runs just north of town, until the trains started running.
There was no church; there was one at Ekron, just a few miles north. The first church, which was built later, was a Methodist church.
Since it was a lumber town and surrounded by virgin timber, except for about 10 or 12 cleared places that were used as farm land, there were several men who came to work for short periods of time, working at timber cutting, sawmills, stave mills and other lumber jobs. There was a hotel which housed these people. It was a wooden, box, two-story building, with about 40 rooms.
As in all frontier towns, there was a saloon.
Teachers during the early part of the century were J. D. Swift, John Shearer, Tom Stubbs, and Mrs. Della Angleton. It was a one-room school for grades one throught eight.
The hotel which had outdoor plumbing and a pump in the kitchen, was operated by John and Martha Riggs and daughter Lou, who had moved there from Illinois.
Early farmers were Augustus Koehler, Mr. Peterson, John, Sam, and Hugh Perry, John, Dick and Clay Lott, Ben Sizemore, George Ray, Joe Nanny, George Nanny, Seth Southwood, and Sam, Don and Will Hector. Dell is located in Hector township, named for this family.
One man was shot and killed on Main Street in 1911. A few years later a man was murdereed on Main Street in front of the saloon.
The town, except for the few farms, was surrounded by heavy forests where there were wolves, bobcats, bears and many kind of small animals, such as squirrels, mink, oposums, coons and rabbits. Wolves howled at night and could be heard in Dell, even as late as 1915.
There were two Indian mounds north of town on the J. F. Mooney farm. No potter or skeletons were ever found in them. One of them was used as a cemetery by the early settlers, because the land was often flooded before the levees were built. The cemetery is still preserved."
from: Dell Town Hall 2001
I'm very glad to report that all is well in our small rural Arkansas Town.
The new millennium has proven to be good for us bringing industrial growth
and possible opportunities for expansion for the future.
The Town of Dell, Arkansas, population 251, is located in the extreme northeast corner of the state in the northern Mississippi River Delta. More specifically, it is located about halfway between Blytheville and Manila on State Highway 18. It almost rests on the banks of the Big Lake Wildlife refuge.
Our area and community boasts some of the richest farmland in the world. Crops include cotton, soybeans, rice, milo and corn. Cotton is the largest crop. Dell's economy is mainly agriculture related. Two cotton gins border the Town on the east and west with a cotton warehouse located within the Town limits. Other businesses located within Dell are Kenny's Carpet Store (located in the old Taylor Freeman store building), Brownlee's Grocery and Home Oil Company. The town also has a private school, Mississippi County Christian Academy.
The Town and surrounding area economy will receive a giant boost soon. TECO Power Services of Tampa, Florida is presently constructing a 300-400 million dollar power plant to be completed in 2003. The jobs for the local residents as well as tax revenue from the plant should allow for a much improved quality of living for our citizens. Myself, and the Town Council negotiated this project for about two years. We are talking with other possible industries and hopefully other good news will follow in the future.