Fulton County, Arkansas

    Viola

    City Hall | 200 Highway 223 South | Viola, AR 72583 |

    Viola is located in the western part of Fulton County. There were several early settlers before the first Post Office was established. The first Federal Population Census for Fulton County was taken in 1850, and the Viola area was in the Union Township.

    The first settler that is known was William Cook in about 1864. Then came other families such as Hill Barker, Zackey Barker, John Sherman, W.E. Watson, Felix Staggs, Tom, Jack & Redmond Franks, R.D. Jackson, Joe & James Weisman, and many others.

    Newton B. Barker was the first Postmaster. The Post Office was established on June 12, 1860. A name had to be furnished for the Post Office, and since the Barkers had come from Viola, Graves County, Kentucky, they decided that the name of their fromer home town would be suitable for the new Post Office here at their new home. So the name Viola was sent into the Post Office Department, was accepted, and Viola, Arkansas, came into being. Newton B. Barker had a daughter named Viola which influenced the name Viola also. The Post Office was located by a large spring on the Wenslow Ray farm, south of the present site of Viola.

    The present location of Viola came into being on March 25, 1872, when Henry W. Cook became Postmaster near the site of the old Goetcher home, and from that day until the present time, the Post Office has been located on the present site of town.

    In 1872, the mail came & was sent out once each week. J. W. Richmond, the great great grandfather of Zane & Tommy Richmond, was the first mail carrier. He was about 60 years of age, but rode horseback to carry the mail from Salem to Gainesville, Missouri, some 60 miles.

    The Wiseman Brothers were the first to open a store in Viola and almost immediately thereafter Bob Hiner put in a stock of goods in the north end of town. Stone & Dodd put in a grist mill which greatly benefitted the surrounding farmers.

    In the late 1880s the town contained two general stores, a drug store, a flouring mill, two cotton gins, blacksmith shops, a school house, a church and a Masonic Hall.

    A log school house was built about 1872. In 1891 the high school was established and has continued until this day. There have been five different school buildings.

    In 1905, Viola school with P.A. Oliver as head teacher and with his brother, Tom, as a teacher. They had 65 to 70 pupils, who sat on homemade benches without desks. This school met in the Methodist church and used the Masonic room upstairs as a class room. The term was three months in summer with no winter term. Later, J.D. Oliphant came to teach a six month term for $50 per month. About 1908-09, a three room frame school building was erected just north of the present site, with P. C. Goodwin as a teacher. The school became known as a teacher training school, where young men and women could come to prepare to take the teacher’s exam.

    In 1884 a community church was built and was used for school. The Methodist Church had been established in 1874. The Baptist Church was established in 1884, the Church of Christ was built in 1890, and the Assembly of God came along during World War 1. The first preacher to live in Viola was Rev. David McDonald, a North Methodist.
    The first cemetery was the Barker Cemetery, located south of Viola. The oldest dated monument being that of Mary Elizabeth White, wife of Shelby H. White, daughter of John and Jane Procter Jenkins. She was born December 23, 1839, and died March 11, 1862. The Viola Cemetery came into being when Henry W. Cook died, as he was the first person buried there. He was born July 22, 1822, and died March 17, 1877. “Uncle” Shub White made his coffin.

    The first doctor in the town was Dr. Towell. Dr. C. E. Roe was the last doctor to live in Viola. Another doctor who practiced in Viola was Dr. Sutton.

    In 1884, the Tack-Hammer became the first newspaper to be established in Viola. It was started by George Haun of Wisconsin, who sold out to E. R. Weisman, who sold out to W. T. Barnhouse in 1886. It was disbanded soon after. In 1893, the Telephone came into existence, published by H. B. Hawkins, but it didn’t last long. The Viola Ledger came along about 1895, published by I. T. Franks, but was disbanded in 1901. The Viola News began publication in 1920 and lasted for about one year.

    A town with roller mills, cotton gins, several stores, churches and a high school was large enough to need a bank. So on January 20, 1913, the Bank of Viola was chartered and began business with J. D. Cochran as president and G. R. Lancaster as cashier. That bank closed in 1928. On February 15, 1929, the Viola State Bank was chartered with J. D. Cochran as president and E. R. Carroll as cashier. It continued until November 15, 1934. A new branch bank came into existence in 1982.

     

    City Contacts

    Name Position Phone/Fax
    Jackie Estes Mayor Phone: 870-458-2704
    Fax: 870-458-2704
    Mike Beaver Recorder/treasurer
    Jim Short City Attorney
    Darrell Zimmer Water Superintendent
    Dwayne Barber Council Member
    James Collins Council Member
    Dennis Harber Council Member
    Amber Williams Council Member
    Robert Wray Council Member

    City Demographics

    Population: 340
    Square Miles: 1.301