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Scatterville Cemetery

The Scatterville Cemetery is located northwest of Rector in Clay County.  It is composed of fifty-two recorded burials, of which approximately thirty are marked.  The burial dates range from 1857 to 1931 with the majority occurring in the 1870s.

Although a few people trickled into Clay County while Arkansas was still a territory, serious settlement did not begin until the 1830s.  At that time Clay County did not yet exist, and the western portion of the county was part of Randolph County while the eastern section belonged to Greene County.  Earlier settlement of this region had been hindered by swamps on either side of Crowley's Ridge.

According to Robert T. Webb in his 1933 History & Traditions of Clay County, the first Clay County communities, defined by having five or six families settled in a five mile area, were Chalk Bluff, Oak Bluff, Scatterville, and a settlement near the present community of Peach Orchard.  Webb notes that Scatterville received its name because:

". . . one man put a store at the foot of a hill, another put one at the peak, still another put one at the foot on the other side.  The few stores and cabins were scattered about over the hills in a careless way."

The first families to locate in the Scatterville community were the McNiels, Allens, Copelands, Mobleys, Snowdens, Waddells, Nortens, Mitchells, Golbys, Whites, Bradshaws, Deans, Rayburns, Whitakers and Simmons. They were mainly subsistence farmers; however, the Allen, Knight, Simmon, Bradshaw, McNiel and Mobley families brought a few slaves with them when they emigrated from Kentucky and Tennessee.

Cotton was grown during the antebellum period, but it was only used to make clothing for personal use.  A gin in Scatterville eased this task somewhat by removing the seeds from the boll.  After the war, cotton was raised as a cash crop.  In 1855 the first horse-powered sawmill was brought to Scatterville and a frame school building was erected in 1859.  In that same year the town welcomed Major Rayburn's new steam-powered sawmill.  Other industries in Scatterville included a tanyard for show making and a hand-powered sorghum mill.

Scatterville also owns the distinction as the scene of the first "battle" of the Civil War in Clay County.  According to Webb in 1860, "Little Bill" Johnson and Tom Holifield differed as to presidential merits of Abraham Lincoln and agreed to meet and fight it out, "fist and skull."

Apparently Scatterville was a meeting place for many of these events, which were called pitched battles, and the preparations emulated dueling formalities.  The fight ended when one admitted defeat or if the contest was too one-sided.  The Holifield-Johnson battle is said to have ended with both men exhausted and unable to raise an arm.

On a more serious note, actual Civil War skirmishes were fought in the Scatterville vicinity on August 3, 1862 and March 28, 1863.

Although information on Scatterville during and after the Civil War is scarce, it is known that the community remained stable until the arrival of the St. Louis and Texas Railroad about two miles to the south in 1881.  The railroad company laid out a new town named Rector, and the population of Scatterville gradually migrated to the new and booming town.

As there are no known structures that are extant from that period in the Scatterville vicinity, the Scatterville Cemetery is locally significant under Criterion A as the best surviving link to this important early Clay County settlement which faded from view in the post-railroad era.


  • Dalton , O.L. " Old Scatterville Cemetery has been Adopted." Clay County Democrat, August 8, 1963.
  • Dalton , O.L. " Scatterville Cemetery Gravestones." Clay County Democrat, August 15, 1963.

James Glasgow submitted on 30 Sep 2007 his reminiscences of Scatterville Cemetery:

"I am James E Glasgow. I was born in 1929, just NE of Marys Chapel School at my daddy's place on the Old Military Trail.  My information on Scatterville is anecdotal, as related to me by my father, Luther Columbus Glasgow, b. May 2, 1886, and the home of is father Marion Columbus Glasgow, on the "old Home Place, which was on the front hill of Crowley's Ridge, just South of the Old Military trail where it veered at Mary's Chapel, to the West, and up into the hills, and actually on to Scatterville.

My father, was born and died in Clay County. On a visit with him in circa Early 1960s, we drove up this old military trail. Daddy showed me visually the location of 'the old home place' or Elijah Glasgow, father of Marion Columbus Glasgow; to wit just on the south side of this still existing road, and on the front hill of Eastward facing Crowley's Ridge.

We drove on to Scatterville Cemetery, which then was located in a pasture, with just a worn wagon type of trail to it from now Hwy 90.  The cemetery was overgrown with brush; mostly (cedar?) shrubs and trees.  Daddy told me that the custom at that time was to plant a cedar sapling at the head of a grave (they thrived and multiplied over the years), and also to place some kind of rock or stone at the head of the grave.

We located what he 'thought' or 'hoped' was a round dinner plate flat rock that had been placed at the head of his grandmothers grave, as had been identified for him years ago by his father.

His grandmother was "Jane Jeans Glasgow."  She died in 1954, after the Glasgow family arrived from Weakley County Tennessee in 1853.  I had the impression that there were already earlier burials in this cemetery.  This all after the date beginning of Scatterville Cemetery."

re: The Naming Of Clay Count.

James E Glasgow still speaking: "I saw this in some history many years ago; (although I cannot authenticate the information).  The gist was that Clay County was first named Clayton County, for the then GOP Governor of Arkansas.  As soon as the damn Yankees left Arkansas, the name was changed to Clay, just to get rid of the Clayton.  This saved money on stationery too etc.  The Clay name could have also honored Henry Clay or somebody; though I an not sure in the 1870s that these people were ready to honor anybody other than Robert E. Lee.

Incidentally, my paternal grandfather, Marion Columbus Glasgow, (1843 - 1916) served in the Confederate Army twice.  Wounded once."

"Also incidentally, slavery was not encouraged in Clayton/Clay County. In my 1930s youth, on the streets of Rector, one Saturday night early, my brother and I met the only black then in Clay County.  He stopped us and introduced himself; "I'se Nigger Mose."  Mose was the most famous celebrity in Clay county.  Billy and I had both heard of him.  He as a celebrity that outshone, Paris Hilton, or Bill Clinton then.  Later on a visit to the Mobley family, of which my father was related by marriage, Mose (still 1930s) took Bill and me down to see his cabin home on the Mobley farm.  The walls were covered with souvenirs and artifacts.  My memory is vague on details."

Jimmy Glasgow

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