----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Dell--Ekron--Half Moon--Little River--Lost Cane--Perry--Pettyville--Roseland--Shonyo--Whistleville

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Very Brief History of Late 19th Century Dell

Between 1878 and 1902, the Dell community was located north and west of the Pemiscot Bayou. The settlement had a population of approximately two hundred people. The Hectors were the first to settle east of Big Lake in 1828. The township is named after them. Other neighbors included the Perrys, the Sizemores, the Petersons, the Richardsons, the Rays, the Daughterys, and others. Many of the original families were of Cherokee descent, including the Hectors. Their houses were built on the many Indian mounds along the Pemiscot Bayou, for the area was very swampy and subject to flooding each year. A number of the early settlers are buried on one of the old cemetery mounds approximately 1/2 mile north of present-day Dell. Descendents of these early families still live in the area. In fact, a descendent of Sam Hector lived on the Magers-Duncan farm until his death in 1995. His name was Curtis Hector Perry.

The community depended on the Pemiscot Bayou as access in and out of the area. There were no roads, only trails. The swampland was flooded much of the year, which made ground travel almost impossible. The Dell community was on somewhat higher ground. A post office has been there since 1889, but the postal service records states the first official post office was in 1897, located in J. B. Richardson’s store, on the south side of the bayou. Mr. Richardson also owned a loading dock there, where goods could be brought in and cotton, wood, furs, fish, and game could be sent south to the Mississippi River or north to St. Louis, Missouri. A wooden bridge crossed the Pemiscot Bayou at Richardson’s store. In 1896, School District #23 was formed. The first schoolhouse was built not too far from the cemetery mound. The building was also used as a community church.

Sources: US Postal Service Records, MsCo Dept of Education Records, MsCo Property Deeds, Blytheville Courier News, U of A Archeological Survey Maps & History, Miscellaneous Papers
Photos: John Thomas Holt and Dru Duncan, Parkin Archeological State Park 2012