A FEW NAMES OF THE EARLY RESIDENTS
OF LITTLE NORTH FORK
By S. C. Turnbo
Little North Fork of White River has its source in Douglas County, Missouri and after flowing through the western part of Ozark County it enters Marion County, Ark. and empties into the river just above the little town of Oakland. Little North Fork is a beautiful water course. The ripling water of the creek and the numerous springs of water as found along this stream attracts a great deal of attention. The precipitous bluffs with over hanging Cliffs, deep gulches, and rough hollows form a variable scenery from head to mouth. The most important tributaries streams are Brattons Spring Creek, Upper Turkey, Little Creek and Barren Fork which flow In from the east. Pond Fork, Lower Turkey and Otter Creek come in on the west side among some of the noted hollows known to the old time hunters are the Bear, Livingston, Turkey and Wells hollows which come in on the east side and the Caleb, Peter Gave, Mahan, Pine Branch, and Cow Pen which empty into the creek from the west side. It is not accurately known at present who was the first settler but it is known that John Petty a very old man and John Petty John his son-in-law lived on Little North Fork as early as 1822. Paton Keesee located here in 1823. Let us take a view of the creek and refer to some of the early settlers along this stream. We are seated on the highest part of the bluff below the mouth of Brattons Spring Creek and just below the mouth of the hollow locally known as the Onyx Hollow which puts into the creek at the canoe landing. It is interesting to view the creek from the summit of this bluff and see the water as it flows along and hear it roar as it runs swiftly over the rough rocky shoal. From this shoal to the mouth of Brattons Spring Creek Little Fork reminds us of a beautiful river. Opposite this bluff on the west side of the creek is the farm which was settled by Peter Graham son of old Peter Graham, father-in-law of Paton Keesee. Many years afterward John Nave lived here. Mr Nave was a brother of Abe Nave who lived below here on the creek. These men and Jacob Nave were brothers. Just below this bluff on the east side of the creek is the old William Ford land some times called the Dan Burness Place. The first farm in the creek bottom on the west side above the mouth of Spring Creek was settled by Isaac Weaver. A number of years afterward Isaac Mahan located here and as we observe the hollow that bears his name we are reminded of this pioneer family. I am told that Jake Swinger was the first settler at the mouth of upper Turkey Creek and that Sam Grigsby settled the Tempy Hutchison place above the mouth of Pond Fork. Jim Lantz son of Moze Lantz informs me that his father settled the upper Phine Smith Place and cleared a small piece of land in the creek bottom and as he had no way to break the ground he dug holes in the rich loose soil with a hoe and planted corn and cultivated the crop with a hoe. Elijah Ford and Steve Graham are among the early settlers who lived on the lower Phine Smith Place. Tomps Pumphrey lived on the east side of the creek one mile above the mouth of Barren Fork as early as 1841. John Petty John was the first settler at the mouth of Brattons Spring Creek. Among other old timers who have lived on this farm is Sam Johnson father of Carroll Johnson the farmer and stock dealer who lives on Brattons Spring Creek. Jim Stanfield settled the Bob Gilliland Place and Herrod Halet bought the improvement from him. Pleas McCollough settled the farm at the mouth of Bear Hollow. It is said that Pond Fork was first occupied by Peter Marsh and Billy Cowan the latter of which was a famed bear hunter and lived near the big pond or lake which gave rise to the name of the creek. This fine lake of water is 4 miles above the mouth of the creek and is fed by a fine spring of water which flows out of the ground at the head of the lake. I was told by the early day residents that Sugar Jones built the first mill on Little North Fork which stood some 3 miles above where Jimmie Forest built his mill a few years afterward. Jones mill was a small affair and ground about 6 bushels of corn a day. Before Jones built this mill the people who lived in that locality patronized a small mill on Big North Fork at the mouth of Little Creek.
Springfield-Greene County Library