Tollette Arkansas

A Place in History

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Tollette Homecoming will be held August 8-11 2012       Stay tune for more info


incorporated effective January 1, 1971

Less than twenty years after slavery, several Negro families succeed in acquiring several hundred acres of rich farm land around what is now Tollette.   In the old days, the State of Arkansas was divided into Townships. Tollette was a part of Blackland Township.   Before 1870, it was a part of Saline Township, and located in Hempstead County

Tollette is unique because it comprises only African American citizens. There is a unique way of spelling Tollette. The following is the different ways it can be spelled: Tolett, Toilet, and Tollette.

By 1885, the community was well established with a population of over 600 industrious home-owning inhabitants.  With a view of making the community permanent, a petition urging the establishment of a Post Office was drawn by the illustrious Mr. Sanford Jackson Washington Tollette. This petition was forwarded to Washington, D.C.

In 1887, the Post Office was granted and the community named Tollette in honor of Mr. Sanford Jackson Washington Tollette. This was Memorial to the splendid service rendered to the community by Mr. Tollette. He was the first Postmaster and the father of the town.   Mr. Tollette's wife, Mrs. Caldonia Crofton Tollette also served as Postmaster, (appointed February 21, 1900) after Mr. Tollette's death.

One of the first settlers of this community was Steve Tollette.  Mr. Steve Tollette owned a large iron salt kettle and made salt for the surrounding area. The kettle weighed about 250 pounds. Some of these kettles are still in the area. They are now used for watering

stock. They came from a salt factory on the Saline River. Mr.  Sanford Jackson Washington Tollette had two brothers, Steve Sanford mentioned above and John.  He also had six sisters.

Other families whose pioneering efforts helped to shape the destiny of this town include: the Croftons, Burts, Turners, Browns, Goodloes, Deloneys, Alexanders, Thomases, Hills, Greens, Johnsons, Whites, Jeans, Smiths, Hendricks, Wessons, Drapers, McGhees, Belchers, Graves, and many, many more.

Since 1887, Tollette has witnessed innumerable changes. Each change has served not only to enrich the lives of its fortunate inhabitants, but also to add status to the town's position of leadership.

Two churches nourish the spiritual growth of the community. The Methodist Church: Floyd Toland Jeans Memorial C.M.E. formally Mount Zion Colored Methodist Church.  The church site was purchased February 20, 1884. The church name was changed to Mt. Zion C.M.E.  In 1954, again, after the General Conference, the word "Colored" was changed to "Christian." In 1978, the current building was constructed and renamed Floyd Toland Jeans Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in honor of the illustrious Mr. Floyd Toland Jeans who served the Connectional Church as Secretary of Finance from 1947 until his death in 1970. The church is currently under the leadership of Rev. Orlando Sutton.

There was a Baptist church in Tollette many years ago. It was listed a Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church. The church was abandoned. Later, members of the former church organized the Zion Holiness Church. The Zion Holiness church became

disorganized because of certain beliefs and practices in the early 1930's. It was later abandoned. The Church of God was organized at the old location. In 1938, Rev. Betty Morrison was called to lead the church. Under the leadership of Rev. T.C. Banks, the church added "First" to its name. It is now The First Church of God. Currently, the church is under the leadership of Rev. Gerald Scott.

The greatest pride of Tollette was its school. The Howard County Training School served African American students from Hempstead, Howard and Sevier counties.

Tollette was incorporated effective January 1, 1971, and swore in its first mayor James A. Stewart in 1972.

The first slate of officers included Bobby D. Turner, Recorder/Treasurer; Aldermen: Chester Cheatham, Jasper Brown, George Young, Tyrone Porter and Duvall (Pete) Clark. Under this administration, the first treated water system was constructed.

More than one hundred houses were connected. Zebedee White served as the first Water Superintendent under the supervision of Larry Green, Nashville's Water Superintendent. The Fire Department was established with Nathaniel Turner serving as Fire Chief.

A grant to remodel homes for qualified applicants was approved and several homes were remodeled. A softball park was built and some remodeling was done to the old school (City Hall).

 In 1983, our second mayor, Catherine Thomas was elected. Under her administration, plans to construct a sewage system

were put into action. Plans were hampered when land could not be purchased (from Dillard's) for the completion of the project. This project was funded by grants and loans from FMHA, RDA, AIDC and Soil and Water Conservation. Also, additional low income homes were either built or remodeled. During this administration specific pieces of playground equipment were added to the kiddy park.

In 1987, our third mayor, Martha R. Hendrix was elected. Her council consisted of Ricky Gamble, Duvall (Pete) Clark, Chester Cheatham, James Turner, James Porter, and Dorothy Walker as Recorder/Treasurer. Under this administration, the water system project was completed and dedicated July 8, 1993. Through loans to low income families, additional houses were constructed. Later a new water tank and well funded by a combination of grants and loans, were installed. The land for the new well was graciously donated by Mrs. Lillie B. Draper and son Cecil T. Draper.

In 2006, our fourth and current mayor, Charles Miller was elected. His council consists of Chester Cheatham, Hazel McGhee, Fred Piggee, James Porter, James Turner and Dorothy Walker, Recorder/Treasurer.

Tollette has made an indelible mark in its history. Long live the memory of this unique little town, Tollette.


Website is sponsored by The Arthur Rupert (Banks) White Family

Webmaster Ronald A. Gordon Sr.

Great Grandson of Arthur Rupert White

To keep this website a blessing for all to see, we are accepting donations. We greatly appreciate your thoughtful donation. God Bless!

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