The White Rock Bluff on Little Sugar Creek North of Town Jane’s historic Post Office
McDonald County was established as a county March 3, 1849 with its county seat in Rutledge; it took till 1857 to move it to Pineville. The first settler in White Rock Prairie according to the ‘Southernland & McEvoy’s Gazetteer’ was James Billingsly in 1834, though significant settlement in the county did not begin until the 1840s. During the years the town was without a post office, a traveling show came to town. Some one jokingly said about the attendance that was poor in Caverna and good at Pineville and Jane; that Pineville “Haddem”, Jane “Gottom” and Caverna “Needham”. These joke names stayed with Jane and Caverna for many years. (by Pauline Carnell) Store buildings in those days had high porches for the loading and unloading of merchandise from wagons. Bo Harmon says the nicknames came from hogs that laid under the porches and their fleas would hop up on people on the porches. The men would swat the fleas and say “Gottom”. Take which ever version you want; but they do say that hogs slept under the porches and at times, fleas were a problem.(by Pauline Carnell thru Gayla Baker)
The well in town that the Sulphur spring feeds, was said to have healing properties (as did many of the springs in McDonald Co). The town was laid out by the well, abstracts stating ‘start at the center of the well and go….’ Also it was said that the well would always have 4 owners so no one person could control the water. There is documentation that during the Civil War, both North and South watered their horses at the well. There they fed their horses sugar cubes and told stories to the neighborhood boys. In the year 1854, the tax roll listed 6 Davenport’s; Joseph, D.M., I.T., Eliza, T.G. and W.A., 3 Coffee’s; Meredith, John, and J.M., 3 Russell’s; J.D., Clarissa, and C.R. and Dr. A.M. Underwood. In 1866-67 the county established the first townships, some of which lasted for a century to come; and in the 1872 redistricting it was decreed that township meetings for White Rock were to be held at Sulfur Springs School building. (Gayla Baker)
The post office was in continual operation for 22 years; from 1854 till 1876 when it was disbanded, having been in continual operation throughout the Civil War years. In 1876 Thomas B. Perkins moved the post office to Caverna, however Samuel L. Ross re-established the post office on August 23, 1882, the same year the village of “White Rock Sulfur Springs” was platted. After submitting several names and being rejected, in honor of his six year old daughter he submitted “Jane”.(Gayla Baker) Though our post office closed in the mid-1980s, the building is being lovingly restored and maintained by the Jane Preservation Society. Maps thereafter called the village “White Rock Prairie”, “White Rock” with the post office of Jane, “Sulfur”, “Jane”, “White Rock Spring”, or simply “White Rock”. (From Place names; State of Missouri, History of McDonald Co p803; also various early maps)
From “the Gazetteer” 1883-1884: Jane had mail service tri-weekly, 3 churches, a district school, and the following businesses: GB Christian–Druggist; JB Davenport–Blacksmith; MJ Davenport–General Store; GA Dean- Shoemaker; Rev RF Downing–Methodist Minister; HT and JH Slinkard–General Store; JB Underwood–Justice of the Peace; and TH White–Wagon Maker. By 1899 the town had grown to 150 and included: JB Melton– Postmaster and Barber; WH Bullard–Meat Market; TB Clark–Hotel; CL Coffee & Co–Blacksmiths and Wagon Makers; John Horner–Physician; WH Horton–Physician; Horton & Sears–Druggists; Melton & Coffee–Dry Goods and Groceries; WA Patton–Music Teacher and Justice of the Peace; JM Sears–Constable; Jake Slinkard–Livery; JH Slinkard–General Store; White & Bunch–Blacksmiths; and TA Yeargain–Cattle Dealer. (Gayla Baker)
Pleasant Grove Baptist Church was organized Sept 6, 1868 and the first minister was Hezekiah Dobbs. Their first building was constructed on Main Street in Jane in 1903-1904. It still stands, but is unoccupied in 2018. Prior to their building’s completion they worshipped in either the school house or Union Church building. They dedicated their new building located at 2938 Rains Rd, after having used the previous building for 75 years, celebrating 150 years as of 2018. (Gayla Baker) Another historical building is currently being used as the Jane Store, and is a mecca for locals and tourists alike.
After the Civil War there was a terrible lawlessness, and drunken behavior led to a flourishing of temperance movements. For a time virtually every member of the county joined the Blue Ribbon Movement and swore temperance.(Illustrated History of McDonald Co. Missouri by J. A. Sturgess) But the movements had largely waned when the election in February 1888 was held in which 1717 people voted whether we should be a “wet” or a “dry” county; wet won by 317 votes—and thus the profusion of liquor emporiums just North of the Arkansas border on U.S. 71 (Until recently our neighboring county in Arkansas was dry). (Goodspeed’s 1888 History of McDonald & Newton Counties)
The Public Water Supply District #1 was established in October 1976. The modern rural volunteer fire department was formed in 1962 and serves an area of 90 square miles with 21 regular fire fighters. The building at the intersection of Rains Road and Highway 90 was formerly a carpentry shop, but today hosts four vehicles. A second fire station was added in 2001 with two vehicles near Simsberry, and on July 1, 2017 they celebrated the completion of their lighted landing strip at fire station no. 2 with the landing of the first helicopter and a dedication ceremony. A bit of the old confusion exists still with the “White Rock Fire Department”, but this is more precisely a regional fire district—not a village organization. The Interstate 49 Corridor was opened in 2012 between Joplin and Pineville with upgrades to the section of Hwy 71 between Pineville and the Arkansas Border. The final completion of the Bella Vista Bypass is scheduled for early 2022 and it now appears Jane will have its own exit ramp on Hwy 90.
In 2005 the village was incorporated as “Jane” and its original borders were expanded to the South in 2006. The first trustee meeting was held April 18, 2005 with Chairman Marv Shippman, Hank Gorman, Ron Breshears, Harry McAfee, & Robert Townsend. Jonell Lawyer was elected City Clerk on a no pay basis.(Gayla Baker)
The old town no longer has the main highway running through its heart, as it was moved in 1967 to its current location about a mile west where it cuts across state highway 90 which is our East-West crossing road. For nostalgia buffs, you can still drive down a portion of highway 71’s predecessor; old ’88 which was the major North-South road from 1922 till the paving of U.S. 71 in 1961 which renumbered the section of ’88 running from the Arkansas state line to Pineville. Back in 1926 Highway 71 ran from Neosho thru Anderson and Noel to Gravette, Arkansas. Rains road winds through Jane following the original highway 71 route most of the way to Pineville, and then to Lanagan and Anderson. (Bill Martin, MoDOT Missouri Highway Map Archive 1918-2014)
Entry to the Jane Cemetery The Church of Christ near the Jane Cemetery
The Jane Cemetery sports an oldest known grave of 1857 and contains nearly a thousand gravesites. Many of our veterans rest here, including those from the Civil War, and on through the modern wars in the Middle East. A peaceful stroll will help acquaint you with our antecedents, and help bring to mind the names of those who made our village’s history. A New limestone Veneer school building was built by the WPA in 1937. The stone mason that supervised the cutting and setting of the stones was Rice Parrish from Elk Springs. The old limestone two story school building is now gone, but Jane still has an elementary school built in 1996, part of the quite successful McDonald County R1 School District.
Marker on highway 90 for the Whiterock School The modern school building est. 1996
The 2010 census puts us at 309 persons. Jane is part of the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO Metropolitan Area, and has over the last few decades become an epicenter of economic development within McDonald County. We have a manufacturer Taylor Targets, several local restaurants, a satellite of Crowder College specializing in nursing, and several other businesses at our Southern border, including Boonslick Lodge, Taco Bell, McDonalds, Orschelins, a car dealership, an auto repair and U-Haul rental office, several liquor stores with gas stations and restaurants, and of course Walmart. Walmart also operates a data center just this side of the Arkansas border. We have adopted a plan to join the Razorback Greenway, which will eventually link Jane to Fayetteville with biking and walking paths and tying into all the parks, trails and facilities down to and including the University of Arkansas. Our local government is striving towards working with our local businesses to bring the future to our fair hamlet, and the horizon looks rosy indeed.
To learn more about Jane’s history, come visit us at ‘The Jane Preservation Society’. Meetings 3rd Monday of each odd month at the Jane Store; meetings beginning at 7:00 pm, or visit us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Nonprofit-Organization/Jane-Preservation-Society-34591792918