Peel

Notes on Peel, Arkansas (formerly Need More)
by Shirley Ashton

In 1813 the Cherokee Indians had a large encampment on the right bank of White River where they made beads, moccasins, etc. The fame of this Indian trading post spread far and wide. It was located just below the mouth of Trimble's Creek in Franklin Township, Marion County, and extended down to the mouth of Becca's Branch. An old landmark in this area is the Tom Brown place, named for one of the first farmers prior to the departure of the Indians from this area.

Jess Yokum lived on this same land above the slough and Trimble lived below. It is on record that Yokum visited the Indian camp and gambled with them, winning deer hides, beads, and moccasins from them at a game called Chuckalude. At times the White River would flood. The greatest flood in this river during the 19th Century occurred in September of 1824.

Another event of some magnitude occurred on November 13, 1833. It was called the Great Meteoric Display and took place at White River. The whole sky was suddenly filled with thousands of shooting stars which seemed to disappear before hitting the ground. The brilliant illumination was visible for hundreds of miles ... as far away as Kansas City, Memphis, and St. Louis. Many people had the impression that the world was coming to an end. These flying meteors were gradually obscured by the light of day.

Just before entering the valley or town of Peel is Short Mountain, located in the northwest part of Marion County. The length of the crest is approximately 600 yards. It is the highest point of land in this section and can be seen for many miles. It is the dividing crest between the heads of Trimble, Coon, and Locust Creeks and Lead Hill Mine Hollow. Before Bull Shoals Lake was established, Trimble and Coon Creeks emptied into the White River.

At one time the summit was covered with black oak trees, with a scattering of white oaks. At the base of Short Mountain there was a cabin built by John Knight, an early settler. After the outbreak of the war between the states (Civil War), the then deserted cabin became a famous refuge for Rebel soldiers.

George Weaver established the first settlement on Bull Bottom, White River, Marion County (now Bull Shoals Lake) in 1824. It was known as Cedar Creek Township. He sold the improvements on this land to Old Man John Terry, who gave it to his sons. They enlisted in the Union Army and, in 1860, the families abandoned their homes in fear of Rebel harassment.

On the right bank of White River, Franklin Township (Peel), Marion County, above the mouth of Trimble's Creek, Old William Trimble first built a small hut on the point of the hill above the spring. He employed a man by the name of Campbell Stacy to clear the cane off of six acres of land in the river bottom. In May of 1844 Mr. Trimble had 10 acres of land cultivated in corn. Trimble Creek overflowed and he lost his entire crop.

In 1848 a man by the name of George Simmons spotted 50 deer at Long Bottom at Peel. In 1872 Oliver Risley killed a 5 point buck weighing 96 pounds on Coon Creek Point. It had blue hair mixed with white, an exceptionally rare breed for this area.

The following account of the first settlement established at Need More (Peel) was given by a Yokum:

Mr. Yokum and his brother and a man named Bob Hollis built a small log cabin for Mr. Yokum's brother near the present site of Peel and near the road that leads from Peel to Coon Creek.

A few months later a man named Jim Jones built a log cabin between the Lead Hill Road and where Peel Cemetery is now located.

Some time after Jones built his dwelling on the Yellville Road (now Highway 125), John Fee taught a public school in the first house that Jones built.

A man named Hodge was the first preacher at Peel and he preached in the same cabin in which Fee taught school.

A new school/church house was built by the community a few years later. The first preacher, Gus Crawford, was shot and killed one night in this building.

Music Creek at Peel (then Need More) was named for Leander Music, who started building a cabin in March 1849. He was shot and killed there during the War Between the States.

Peel got its name from a man named Sam Peel, who came here after the war to build a post office and store. At one time there were three general stores, two gristmills, a blacksmith, a cotton mill, and two saloons, one run by a man named Billy O'Tool.

To illustrate how costs have risen, my Great Great Grandfather, John Weaver, brought his family from Georgia to the White River to farm. The 1850 Census listed the value of his real estate to be $500.00. At this time (1850) he was considered to be a prosperous man!


Reprinted with permission from History of Marion County edited by Earl Berry, copyright 1977.


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