Some Shady History for Marked Tree - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Marked Tree, Keith Boles reporting

Some Shady History for Marked Tree

MARKED TREE (KAIT) Marked Tree Arkansas is the only town in the whole world named Marked Tree. Another unique feature is that it's the only town with two rivers that run in opposite directions.

So how did Marked Tree get its' name?

 When it comes to naming towns look for a founding father or geographic point.

 Marked tree is named after, you guessed it a marked tree, but the question is, who marked the oak tree?

 Joan Brewer Thompson, "The story I grew up with is between the two rivers here, the Little River and the Saint Francis. The Indians marked a tree when they were coming down one river. They would pull their canoe out and the tree was their focal point to get from one river to another. "

Sounds plausible, but not much fun. On the other hand.

  Sally Ann Hazel, "There was a famous gang of bad people and they were called the Murrell gang. They also figured out that little shortcut was great. And so what they did, they probably marked it with the m."

 Whatever story you believe the town was named Marked Tree when the need arose to find a name for the post office in 1883.

The townsite was originally created by the railroad.

 It's true that the town did have a railroad run through it but the true foundation of the community where it really began was based on the river.

 Fur traders had used the rivers for years to bring their pelts to market but before the railroad came.

 Sally Hazel, "There were little steam boats on all these little rivers here. So the few people that were here. Anything either had to be brought in overland or the steamboats would bring in things."

 The river was also a home, to the local hot spot. The Floating Palace.

 Sally Hazel, "On Friday and Saturday nights it got so many people inside the Floating Palace.  It would sort of sink a little bit and they would say water would come in."

 A couple of names are strongly associated with Marked Trees' history.

The first was Kohn Bray a mover and a shaker in the 50's.

 Sally Hazel, "He was very involved with industrial development and as a consequence of him working with the state people we had several industries that came in under the time that kohn bray was really involved in that. "

 Another name that is a driving force in Marked Tree today is Ritter. Starting with Ernest Ritter who opened up a mercantile business and began to branch out into agriculture.

 Hazel, "He started buying up land and clearing the land and it was that process then began clearing the land because until then it was floody and swampy there was no levees there was no anything."

 Of course the Ritter name now is big in agriculture and telecommunications.

 Flooding is tied in strongly with Marked Trees' history and you can see a relic in flood control that still works and it's really cool.

 About 3 miles from town sits the siphons, 9 feet across these huge pipes built in the 30's were considered state of the art when they were built for flood control. On the historic register since 88, they still do their job keeping the waters of the St. Francis in check.

Indians, outlaws, steamboats, railroads and farming and of course the people all make Marked Tree what it was, and what it will be tomorrow.

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