Benton County Timeline
1541 - Spanish conquistador Hernando de
Soto, traveling from Florida, discovered
the Mississippi River.
- His party journeyed up the Arkansas to
the west as far as present-day Oklahoma.
1682 - French explorer La Salle traveled from
Mackinac Island on the Great Lakes to
the upper Mississippi, thence descending
to the Gulf of Mexico. La Salle claimed
the entire Mississippi Valley, named
Louisiana, for France.
1762 - France ceded Louisiana to Spain by the
secret Treaty of Fountainbleau
1800 - Spain ceded Louisiana back to France.
1803 - Louisiana Purchase doubled size of the
United States by transferring c. 828,000
sq. mi., including future Benton County,
- New lands (all located to the west of
the Mississippi) designated as Louisiana
Territory, with headquarters at St. Louis.
1806 - Territorial legislature created District
of Arkansas as one of five districts; it
included present AR and most of OK.
1812 – Louisiana Territory renamed Missouri
Territory; Arkansas District became
Arkansas County, with its seat of
government at Arkansas Post.
1819 - Arkansas County separated from
Missouri, becomes Arkansas Territory.
1827 - Major William Lovely, an Indian
Agent, purchased land from the Osage
Indians that later became Benton County.
1828 - Washington County established by
Territorial Act. Included future Benton
County, plus parts of Madison and
- Osage Indians are moved west from the
area that would become Benton County.
- Adam Batie, first white settler, moved
to area near where Maysville is today.
1831 - Influx of white settlers from Carolinas,
Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia
1832 - Tobacco cultivation introduced from
1833 - John Keith of Maysville is reported to
be the first white child born in what
became Benton County.
1836 - Arkansas admitted as 25th state of the
union, on September 30.
- Benton County is established as 34th
county, on the same day.
1836 - Benton County and Bentonville named
in honor of long-time Missouri Senator
Thomas Hart Benton, who promoted
- Bentonville chosen to be County Seat.
- First General Store opened in
1837 - Cherokee Indians forced to migrate
from Eastern States through Benton
County to Indian Territory (now
Oklahoma). The route has been named
"The Trail Of Tears."
1839 - First school in Benton County opens at
1840 - First Commercial apple orchard is
1846 - Abraham Whinnery of Spavinaw enlists
for the Mexican-American War and later
becomes the first Army General from
1857 - Bentonville establishes the county’s
first "Poor Farm" for the indigent.
1858 - Butterfield Stagecoach Line, from St.
Louis to San Francisco, establishes stops
at Elkhorn Tavern and Callahan Springs,
in what is today Rogers.
1860 - U.S. Army constructs Telegraph line to
Fort Smith along Stagecoach Road
which is today known as Old Wire Road.
- Federal Census reports Benton County
has 1,486 households composed of 8,905
Whites, 380 Blacks, and 16 Indians.
1862 - Battle of Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern),
the largest battle fought west of the
Mississippi River. It prevented
Confederate forces from advancing into
- Downtown Bentonville is largely
destroyed by fire related to Civil War
1872 - Bentonville establishes first free Public
Grade School in Benton County.
1873 - Bentonville is re-incorporated.
1874 - Pea Ridge Academy opens with high
school and vocational courses.
1875 - Benton County Medical Society
established with five members.
1881 - St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad
(Frisco) reaches Benton County.
The first passenger train arrives in Rogers on May 10.
Rogers is named in honor of Captain C. W. Rogers, manager of the Frisco.
Avoca is moved to present location; Avoca's old location becomes Brightwater.
Lowell (formerly Mudtown) is established along the Frisco Route.
Post office and newspaper opened in newly incorporated town of Rogers.
James H. Berry, of Bentonville, is elected Governor of Arkansas.
1883 - Bentonville Branch Railroad opens
May 1; linked Bentonville with Frisco's
main line in Rogers.
1885 - Town of Sulphur Springs laid.
1886 - Much of downtown Rogers is
destroyed by fire. - Stroud's General
Merchandise Store opens for business in
1888 - Bentonville establishes school for blacks that operates until 1932.
Rogers opens its first free public School.
First Benton County Fair held in Bentonville.
The town of Garfield is incorporated. Formerly known as Blansett.
- Bentonville is site of the Bentonville
Evaporating Company whose plant used
800 bushels of apples a day to make
1889 - Kansas City, Ft. Smith & Southern
Railroad reaches Sulphur Springs. It
would later become the Kansas City
Southern Railway that operates today
through Western Benton County -
Sulphur Springs, Gravette, Decatur,
Gentry, and Siloam Springs.
1892 - Rogers holds first local Chautauquatype
1893 - Henry Starr gang robs the People's
Bank of Bentonville.
- The Macon-Carson Distillery, the
largest west of the Mississippi River,
opens in Bentonville.
1894 - The town of Gentry is established.
- Post Office renamed Orchard in 1897.
- Town incorporated in 1898 as Gentry.
Post Office re-renamed Gentry in 1900.
- William Jennings Bryan, two-time
Democratic Presidential candidate and
famed orator, is featured speaker at
- Large commercial shipments of apples
from Benton County commenced with
Rogers shipping 287 carloads.
1898 - Rogers telephone office opens.
- Electric arc lights and board sidewalks
are installed in Rogers.
- The Arkansas & Oklahoma Railroad of
Bentonville starts building new line
from Bentonville that reaches Grove,
Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) by
- Two young men from Bentonville see
fighting in the Spanish-American War
with Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders.
1900 - Extraction of pearls for buttons from
White River mussels becomes major
- William “Coin” Harvey, famed
financial writer, arrives Benton County
and begins creation of the Monte Ne
1901 - Benton County produces 2.5 million
bushels of apples - the most of any
county in the United States.
- Bentonville celebrates orchard business
with its first Fruit Fair.
- Rogers is noted as being the largest
town in Arkansas that is not a county
1902 - Coin" Harvey opens 4.11 mile long
Monte Ne Railway.
1904 - Rogers fails in its effort to move the
County Seat from Bentonville.
- First Public Library opens in Rogers.
1905 - Kruse gold mine opens in Rogers but soon fails due to lack of Gold.
Large vinegar plant opens in Rogers to process cull apples unfit for shipment.
The Rogers White Lime Company begins operations in Cross Hollows section of Rogers.
1906 - U. S. Weather Bureau opens in Bentonville, the smallest town in the U.S. to have a Weather Bureau Office.
1908 - Confederate Memorial monument in Bentonville is unveiled.
1909 - First Automobile Agency in Benton County opens in Rogers.
1912 - New York City orphans and foundlings arrive on "Orphan Train" in Rogers for possible adoption.
1913 - Ozark Trails Assn. formed to promote travel and tourism in four-state area.
1914 - Bank of Rogers collapses and creates severe hardship in that area.
Arkansas Northwestern Interurban
Railroad starts short-lived operations between Rogers and the Park Hotel in Bentonville.
1915 - Rogers builds new water and sewerage plant following severe typhoid epidemic.
1918 - Influenza epidemic sweeps the world
and kills 7,000 in Arkansas: more than
three times the number killed from
Arkansas in World War I, then in
The Linebarger brothers begin
development of Bella Vista resort.
1919 - John Brown University (originally
Southwestern Collegiate University)
founded in Siloam Springs by Methodist
evangelist John Brown, Sr.
Benton County apple crop peaked at five million barrels, worth $5,000,000.
Arkansas General Assembly grants women the right to vote.
1920 - Captain Field L. Kindley, a World War I Flying Ace from Gravette, is killed in aircraft accident.
1921 - Large-scale broiler chicken production begins in Benton County.
Benton County ranked as largest egg producing County in Arkansas.
Allen Canning Company begins operations in Siloam Springs.
1923 - First Apple Blossom Festival is held in Rogers.
1924 - John Brown purchases almost the entire town of Sulphur Springs, including several historic hotels and spa buildings, to establish another JBU campus.
1927 - Heavy floods hit Arkansas and
devastate its agricultural economy.
First 4-H Club established in Benton
1929 - First golf course built at Bella Vista.
1930 - Highway 71 constructed between
Rogers and Bentonville.
Wonderland Cave nightclub opens in Bella Vista.
1932 - William "Coin" Harvey of Monte Ne
runs unsuccessfully for President on Liberty Party ticket.
The First Girl Scout troop in Benton County is founded in Rogers.
Federal Government's WPA Program offers Benton County men the chance to earn up to $12.00 a week on roadwork.
William Sullivan, last Bentonville Civil War Veteran, dies at 86.
1935 - Pet and Carnation Milk Companies establish milk processing plants in
1936 - Rogers's Lake Atalanta constructed as WPA Project.
Bentonville's Louise Thadden, a famous aviatrix, is first woman to win the Bendix Transcontinental Air Race.
1937 - Carroll Electric Cooperative established to bring electric power to rural areas of Benton County.
1942 - Bates Memorial Hospital, the first modern hospital in Benton County, opens in Bentonville.
1945 - Rogers Municipal Airport opens with a 50-foot (wide) sod runway.
1947 - Munsingwear plant opened at 4th and Oak in Rogers (the round-top building, now part of Tyson’s operation).
1948 - Hastings chicken hatchery, then the world's largest, opens in Rogers.
1950 - Sam Walton opens Walton’s Five and Dime store on Bentonville Square.
1954 - Rogers Tool Works opened (as TRW/Wendt Sonis Co.).
- Benton County Historical Society (BCHS) is founded in Bentonville.
1956 - Television comes to Northwest Arkansas.
1960 - Army Corps of Engineers begins work on Beaver Dam, which will impound a major part of the White River and create
1962 - The First Wal-Mart store opens in Rogers.
1963 - Pea Ridge National Military Park
Cooper Industries, Inc., purchases much of Bella Vista and begins large scale resort development.
The Frisco discontinues rail passenger service in eastern Benton County.
1968 - Shiloh Farms Community, founded in New York State by E. Crosby Monroe, moves to its historic 117-acre site in the Sulphur Springs town center.
1969 - The Kansas City Southern ends passenger service in western Benton County.
1972 - President Nixon signs bill establishing the Buffalo National River, after a long struggle led by Dr. Neil H. Compton of Bentonville.
1975 - Rogers Historical Museum opens in downtown Rogers.
1978 - Volunteer-run recycling center is opened in Rogers.
1989 - Bekaert tire cord plant opens in Rogers as first foreign-owned (Belgian) plant.
1990 - Benton County has 97,499 residents including 24,367 in Rogers.
1992 - Sam Walton, Founder of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., receives the Medal of Freedom from President George Bush.
Two weeks after receiving the nation's highest civilian award, Mr. Walton died.
1995 - Northwest Arkansas Community College opens Central Education Facility at Bentonville.
1998 - President Clinton dedicates Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA) at Highfill.
1999 - Interstate 540 completed from Benton
County to I-40 west of Alma.
“Two-ton Loop” pipeline carries badly needed
water from Beaver Lake to western parts of Benton and Washington Counties, ensuring active development.
2005 - John Walton dies when his ultralight aircraft crashed after taking off from an airport in Jackson, Wyoming
For more Information contact the
Benton County Historical Society
P.O. Box 1034
Bentonville, AR 72712
479-273-3890 or 479-756-1901