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Egypt (Craighead County)

Latitude and Longitude

35°52'05"N 090°56'44"W

Elevation:

243 feet

Area:

0.349 square miles (2010 Census)

Population:

112 (2010 Census)

Incorporation Date:

May 24, 1984

Historical Population as per the U.S. Census:

1810

1820

1830

1840

1850

1860

1870

1880

1890

1900

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1910

1920

1930

1940

1950

1960

1970

1980

1990

2000

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

123

101

2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

112

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Egypt is a small town located approximately sixteen miles west of Jonesboro (Craighead County) on State Highway 91 near the Cache River. Today, little remains of the once prosperous farming and timber town.

Early settlers to the area included W. R. and Lucinda Cureton, as well as C. T. Downs, who settled there by 1850. Others were attracted to the area after the establishment of Logan’s Ferry across the Cache River. No real town began to develop until about 1898. About that time, New York businessmen Will Smith and Van Lane traveled to the area with interests in the abundant timber. The area was being described as “a promised land” by the promoters. In 1902, the local township was given the name Promised Land township. The developing town was already named Egypt by this time. Some claim that the name came from a trader who compared the abundance of corn grown in the area to that described in ancient Egypt by the biblical book of Genesis.

George Sedgwick, after whom Sedgwick (Lawrence County) was named, contributed to the growth of the area when his Sedgwick Tie and Timber Company constructed a narrow gauge railroad connecting the Egypt timberlands with the major line of the Kansas City, Fort Scott and Memphis Railroad. Timber, which became the major export of the area, stimulated the growth of the town; its absence led to the town’s eventual demise. In 1910, only one merchant was listed in the township. All other citizens were listed as farmers or laborers.

The first post office was established just across the Lawrence County line on December 19, 1889, with William C. Smith as postmaster. It was briefly relocated to Craighead County then back to Lawrence County in 1893. A petition was again submitted to relocate the office to Craighead County. It was moved back to Craighead County on April 12, 1900. The post office is the only business that survives today.

A school was established as early as 1890. By 1892, classes were being held in a makeshift building. The first school building for what was known as District 17 was constructed in 1896. At peak enrollment, the school is said to have had approximately 600 students. In the late 1960s, Egypt, Bono (Craighead County), and Cash (Craighead County) schools were consolidated into the Westside Consolidated School District. The last class to graduate at Egypt was in 1968. Elementary grades remained for a few years following consolidation. In 2010, the ruins of two of the school buildings could still be seen.

By the 1930s, the town was described as having several stores, a gin, a school, and churches. The churches were probably of Church of Christ and Baptist denominations. In the 1950s, the thriving town included a hotel, several grocery stores and cafes, two cotton gins, and a one-lane bowling alley.

Located far from the main railroad line and serviced by no major highways, the town never experienced major growth. Once the timber was cut and the school consolidated, it began a slow decline. Now chiefly a farming community, it was not incorporated as a town until May 24, 1984. The 2010 census recorded the population at 112.

For additional information:
Fugate, Larry. “Egypt More Than Just the Promised Land to Residents.” Jonesboro Sun. January 25, 2004, pp. 1C, 12C.

Jones, J. R. “Reminiscences of Western Craighead County.” Craighead County Historical Quarterly 1 (Summer 1963): 26–28.

Statler, Jim C. “The Community of Egypt, Arkansas.” Craighead County Historical Quarterly 33 (October 1995): 17–20.

Stuck, Charles. The Story of Craighead County: A Narrative of People and Events in Northeast Arkansas. Jonesboro: 1960.

Mike Polston
Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture

Last Updated 3/31/2017

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