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ROBERT E. HURST. A well-known and prominent citizen of Baxter County, Arkansas, is he whose name heads this sketch. He was born in Franklin County, Ala., December 13, 1845. a son of William R. and Annie (Devaney) Hurst, natives of Burke County, Ga., and Franklin County, Ala., respectively.
When a boy William R. Hurst was taken to Alabama by his parents, grew up in Franklin County and there made his home until about 1876, when he came to Baxter County, Arkansas, and located near Lone Rock, where he still resides. He has always been an extensive farmer and is the owner of large tracts of land in Baxter County and northern Alabama, in fact, he is supposed to be the owner of more real estate than any other one man in the county.
When the subject of this sketch was about twelve years old he was left motherless, and he grew up and received his education in northern Alabama, being for some time an attendant of the Military College of La Grange, Ala. He made a special study of engineering and surveying, in which branches he became quite proficient. In April, 1861, he laid aside his books to take up arms in defense of the Southern cause, and became a member of Company G, Twenty-seventh Alabama Infantry, with the rank of orderly sergeant. The last year or two of the war he was with Gen. P. D. Rody’s command of cavalry With which he served until captured near Athens, Ala., and taken to Camp Morton, from which he was paroled at the close of the war. He was at Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, was captured in the last engagement and taken to St. Louis and being ill was in the hospital there for some time. From there he was taken to Camp Douglas, Chicago, where he was kept a prisoner for seven months, and was finally exchanged at Vicksburg. He was at Chickamauga, Baker’s Creek, Antietam, and was in various cavalry skirmishes. When the war closed his sole possessions consisted of some land in Alabama, all the improvements that had been made thereon having been swept away, but on this place he began to labor as best he could, but during this time he did not lose sight of the fact that a good education is a most necessary adjunct to a successful business career, and for two years he attended a night school.
In 1869 he came to what is now Baxter County and located at the rapids on the White River, and there he has successfully tilled the soil. In 1877, about seven-teen years ago, he was elected county surveyer of Baxter County, in which capacity he served three terms, and while thus employed acquired a large fund of valuable information regarding the locality of mineral lands, in this and adjoining counties, where he also did considerable surveying. He was appointed deputy United States mineral surveyor for Arkansas under President Cleveland, also under Harrison and has held the position with marked ability ever since. He has been quite an extensive dealer in mineral lands, has located many mines, and is now one of the most extensive claim owners in the State. He is well fixed financially, and is a man of excellent reputation and a favorite with his fellows.
In 1864 he was married to Miss Mattie J. Sugg, of Alabama, who died in 1886, having become the mother of four children, only one of whom is now living, Hattie. Those deceased are Clara Annie, who died at the age of four years; Jessie Lillian, who became the wife of Charles Hull, and died at the age of twenty-one years, and Lulu who was eighteen at the time of her death. Mary Frances Adams of this county became Mr. Hurst’s second wife and she died in 1890, leaving one daughter, Nellie. In 1891 he married Maggie Horn, by whom he has one daughter, Lorena Agnes. Mr. Hurst is a member of the A. F. & A. M., the K. of H. and is a Democrat in politics.