From 1818 until 1828 what is now Marshall and Searcy County was included in a Cherokee Reservation.
The first white settlers came to the region in the 1830’s and built homes in this area because of the large
number of springs. They called the settlement Raccoon Springs. The area continued to grow and by 1856
it became the county seat. At this time the name was changed to Burrowsville, in honor of D.N. Burrows.
In 1867 the name was changed to Marshall in honor of John Marshall, one of the most influential men
in American history. Marshall was secretary of state under President John Adams and was appointed as
chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The pain of the Civil War was felt throughout the region. The county was very divided about the war.
A secret peace organization was formed but later exposed and many arrested by the Confederate AR
Militia. A total of 78 members were jailed in Burrowsville and later marched to Little Rock as a part of a
“Chained Gang” to stand trial for “Jayhawking”.
Recovery from the war was a long and slow process. It was not until the early 1900’s and the coming
of the Missouri & North Arkansas Railroad that Marshall experienced real prosperity. During this time,
Marshall had numerous hotels, multiple newspapers, and a thriving and diverse economy.
However, by the 1930’s this all changed. The railroad was in financial distress, the mining industry had
played out, the fruit industry had moved west, and the depression hit, forcing the foreclosure on farm land
and the closing of many businesses.
The 1950’s saw hope and improvement return to the local economy in the form of strawberries. Local
farmers developed and promoted “Flintrock Strawberries”. This variety of strawberries was grown on the
local hillsides in flint rocks causing them to be cleaner and sweeter than those grown in flatland sand.
This grew into a huge and successful business causing Marshall to be the “Strawberry Capital of the
World” during the months of April and May each year. Marshall was flooded with hundreds of migrant
workers, buyers and businessmen every spring during harvest time. But during the 1970’s this began to
change. The rise of mega farms in California with multiple harvests each year and the change in laws that
prevented migrant workers coming from Mexico killed the local strawberry industry. After the strawberries
were gone, timber and cattle remained, as they still do today, two of the area’s most vital economic
producers. But again, change is happening around Marshall.
Today, tourism, retirement relocations, and the vacation home industries are capitalizing on the area’s
attractions such as the beautiful Ozarks, the Buffalo National River, and nearby Branson, Missouri. In
addition, the Kenda Drive-In movie theater is a significant regional attraction bringing in big crowds every
Today’s Marshall square is home to Roten’s Furniture Co., winner of the Northwest Arkansas District
Furniture Dealer of the Year for 2013-2014 and Arkansas Furniture Dealer of the Year for 2010-2011.
Searcy County is the Chocolate Roll Capital of the WorldTM and Marshall is home to the annual Marshall
High School Art Club Chocolate Roll Festival held each March to recognize this heritage. You can also
find the Searcy County Library in Marshall. It was named a “Star Library” in 2011, only one of two in the
entire state. In addition, Highland Court Rehabilitation & Resident Care Facility is a five star state-of-the-
art equipped healthcare facility to meet the needs of the area.
As a part of attracting new people and jobs, a new modern airport has been built. Marshall is also home
to Marshall High School that in 2012 received the title of “Exemplary.” In 2013 Marshall High School was
listed as a Bronze School by U.S. News and World Report.