Delta Roads and Travels - Humphrey

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James Dean

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Friday, April 28th 2023
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Arkansas Delta Arkansas History Delta Roads and Travels
Humphrey is one of those unique American towns located on a county line, being divided between Jefferson and Arkansas counties. The land where the town is now located once belonged to William D. Anthony, who was a merchant and second postmaster of the new settlement. In 1882, the St. Louis Southwestern Railway surveyed this region for a rail line to connect Stuttgart and Pine Bluff. After a rail stop was established and named Humphrey after the surveyor, the post office was opened on November 19, 1884, operated by Jeremiah Edwards. A town quickly grew, with a cotton gin and small school.

Because Humphrey was under two jurisdictions, it was the site of several noted crimes shortly after being created. In 1890, a local farmer killed a young man who was paying too much attention to his daughter just over the line in Jefferson County. Then, in July 1891, two intoxicated men invaded the post office and threw the postmaster out the door. This was followed by the assistant postmaster being arrested in August 1891 for embezzlement.
The city of Humphrey was incorporated on April 19, 1905, with Frank M. Quertermous becoming its first mayor. He was a popular merchant and son of a prominent family from DeWitt, Arkansas. With growth came the need for a bank. After much discussion and fundraising, the Bank of Humphrey was established in April 1906. The Merchants and Planters Bank was also started about the same time.
On January 11, 1907, the Daily Arkansas Gazette published a description of the successful town.
“Humphrey has today a population of 700, with good schools embracing seven grades, and Baptist and Methodist churches for both races. It has also two banks, two large lumber mills, a hardwood factory for handles and wagon materials and two modern gins. There are also some dozen stores and several attractive, homelike residences.”
With the coming of World War I, the town of Humphrey once again made statewide news, when Cliff H. Stewart was able to enlist in the military after being twice rejected because of poor vision. This patriotic member of the Boy Scouts managed to get the Arkansas Governor to intervene on his behalf and Stewart was inducted into the service as an auto mechanic.
In 1931, the eyes of the state focused on Humphrey when it looked as though women would be elected to every government office. No men had qualified, but enough male candidates were written in for men to take all seven positions.
The city of Humphrey contains several businesses and churches today. It is also located near the Bayou Meto Wildlife Management area.
Arkansas Democrat (Little Rock, Arkansas) 23 July 1891, Thur. Page 1
Arkansas Democrat (Little Rock, Arkansas) 24 August 1891, Mon. Page 4
Arkansas Democrat (Little Rock, Arkansas) 17 May 1905, Wed. Page 7
Daily Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock, Arkansas) 21 April 1906, Sat. Page 2
Daily Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock, Arkansas) 11 Jan. 1907, Fri. Page 3
Pine Bluff Daily Graphic (Pine Bluff, Arkansas) 16 Feb. 1918, Sat. Page 2
Pine Bluff Daily Graphic (Pine Bluff, Arkansas) 21 Feb. 1918, Thu. Page 5
Hope Star (Hope, Arkansas) 13 March 1931, Fri. Page 2
Teske, Steven. CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Humphrey (Arkansas and Jefferson Counties) 2023.

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