A celebration of 150 years for the Hinkle cabin located at the Stone/Van Buren County line is scheduled for Saturday.
The public is invited to the Hinkle Homestead Homecoming from 10 a.m. to noon on the grounds of the log cabin. Living history presentations on the front porch with Hinkle descendants portraying their ancestors will be part of the celebration. Music will be provided by the talented Parker family whose own ancestors, Ella Bellamy and Gordon Parker, married and homesteaded near the cabin. A dedication of the Hinkle homestead will be given by a great-great granddaughter of John and Lucy Hinkle, Susie Carter Wiggins, associate pastor of Germantown Presbyterian Church near Memphis.
A restoration of the 150-year-old log cabin took place this summer. It had been a “bucket list” item for Rodney Rushing to acquire his great grandparents’ homestead from his cousin, Wendell Hinesley, and have it restored. After Rodney’s passing in 2020 and then his wife, Angalee, in 2022, the couple’s children – Phillip, Terry, Renee, and Rachelle – took on the project to fulfill their father’s wish.
Dave Smith, a local man of many talents, provided his log cabin expertise by shoring up the structure, reinforcing walls and doorways, replacing doors and windows, and re-chinking all the logs. Several relics were found in the process including small fragments of old newspaper print dating to 1883, an old skeleton key, square nails, wooden pegs, a shoe heel, glass fragments, and old plowshares.
Wendell Hinesley, the former owner of the property and a great-grandson of the settlers, was born in the cabin in 1932. He and his parents, Clarence and Winnie Hinesley, and older brother, Carson, lived there for a few years. Now 91 and living in Illinois, Wendell is an important source of information and is just a phone call away to reminisce about stories he was told as a child and those he experienced first person. He and his wife, Juanema, lived within a few hundred yards of the log cabin in 2008 when the long tracking EF-4 tornado demolished their house, then ripped the roof off the log cabin before wiping out other homes on its track toward Mountain View. That the old log cabin weathered the storm is a marvel.
Local residents who lived in the area from the 1970s to 1991 will remember Roy Hinesley as the last person who lived in the log cabin. Not only did he have a unique home, he walked everywhere and was a very effective hitchhiker, arriving at ballgames, church, Shirley, Mountain View or anywhere he was going in record time.
The builders of the cabin, John Weaver Hinkle and Lucy Kenner Hinkle, moved to Rushing about 1873 and homesteaded 160 acres. They moved from northern Alabama, attracted by the availability of land in Arkansas through the U.S. land patent homestead process, and they likely wanted to put the devastation of the Civil War behind them. John Hinkle, along with his four brothers, served in the Confederate army.
John Hinkle, (born 1832 in Hall County, Georgia) and Lucy Kenner, (born 1842 in Morgan County, Alabama) married in Blount County, Alabama on May 24, 1859 and were living in Winston County when they had their first child, William, in 1860. Mary Jane was born in 1862, Eliza Ann in 1864, Frances “Fannie” in 1865, Simeon “Sim” in 1867, Nioma “Nome” in 1869, Isaac “Ike” in 1872, and their youngest, Dan, was born in the log cabin in 1876. It’s hard to imagine a family of 10 living in such a small space.
The 14 x16 cabin was built of hand-hewn logs with a stone fireplace in the south wall. The children slept in the attic which is now removed and open to the rafters. The covered back porch provided the cooking area for the large family. John Hinkle was an enterprising man and devised a way to trap deer under a bluff that he could then butcher and sell the venison while also feeding his family. Even today the area around the Hinkle homestead has an abundant deer population.
In researching the paternal line of John Hinkle back to his immigrant ancestor, it was found that Anthony Jacob Henckel was born in Germany, baptized in 1668 and ordained a Lutheran pastor in 1692. He immigrated to Philadelphia in 1718 as part of the German migration encouraged by William Penn to settle his colony.
Anthony Jacob Henckel is credited with being the first minister in the oldest Lutheran church established in North America. Research also revealed that Anthony Jacob Henckel is the common ancestor of the Hinkle family of Rushing and the Hinkle family of Mountain View. The Hinkles of Mountain View moved to Arkansas earlier that the John and Lucy Hinkle family and the families were unaware that they were related.
Researchers have traced John Hinkle’s maternal Weaver line back to Pocahontas. Lucy Kenner Hinkle’s forebears include Revolutionary War soldiers on the Kenner side. Her twin brother, William Winston Kenner, was a Civil War veteran and moved to the Rushing area about the same time. Will’s wife, Martha Kenner, was a respected midwife who delivered Hinkle and Rushing babies as well as other babies in the community.
Nioma Hinkle married Philip Malanthy “Lanthy” Rushing in 1888. Lanthy had moved from southern Illinois with his parents to the community in 1872, and his father, E.O. Rushing, would start the Rushing Post Office which subsequently became the name of the community.
Ephraim O. Rushing was a Union soldier in the Civil War. He lived within one mile of the Hinkle family. It was noted by their grandchildren that the two men from opposing sides of the conflict made their peace and did not talk about the war, making it possible for their children to court and marry.
Four of Lanthy and Nioma’s children, Lucy Rushing Taylor, Winnie Rushing Hinesley, Clay Rushing, and Blake Rushing, married and stayed in the community while most of the Hinkle children and grandchildren moved away after starting their families. School records and photos show that some of John and Lucy Hinkle’s grandchildren attended school at the Lewis School, located about a mile into Van Buren County.
Many of the Hinkles landed in Oklahoma at Byars, near Shawnee, including William who married Lucy Jane Gibbons of Shirley, and Ike who married Mary Magdalene Crouch of Shirley. Several of Dan’s children also landed in the Shawnee area. Sim and his wife, Margaret, homesteaded south of the log cabin on what was later known as the Beckham place.
They had no surviving children though they helped raise some of Dan’s children after his wife died. The couple eventually moved to Rose Bud where they are buried. Mary Jane married William Marion Lowrance and died soon after their only child, Robert Franklin Lowrance, was born. He died at age 20 with no children. They are buried at Fox.
Eliza married Waldo Whitaker. The couple had two children, Cora Whitaker Linn and Gay Whitaker, and Eliza died soon after the second was born. Their descendants are mostly in Oklahoma, Texas, and California.
The youngest child, Dan Hinkle, was a colorful and well-known character around Rushing and Shirley and beyond. A moonshine still was part of his livelihood. He was a respected deputy serving the town of Shirley. Dan died in 1950 and is buried at Rushing Cemetery. Dan and Sally Hinkle have a large number of descendants in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, and a grandson, Charlie Hinkle, living in northern Alabama near where his Hinkle great grandparents moved from 150 years ago.
Fannie Hinkle married Jim Carter and moved to Cleburne, Texas, where railroad work was the apparent draw. Fannie’s grandson, Robert “Bob” Carter, landed back in Arkansas after the Texas all-state quarterback was recruited to play for Arkansas State Teachers College (now UCA) in Conway. After a successful college career, he continued with a 40-year volunteer stint as the official football timekeeper at UCA, later having the press box named after him. Bob also worked as the manager of the bookstore for 14 years. His wife, Lib, was the campus postmaster and switchboard operator over a 34-year career. Bob was inducted into the UCA sports hall of fame posthumously.
The Hinkle matriarch, Lucy Kenner Hinkle, died in 1911 after a lifetime of pioneering and raising eight children. John remarried and moved to another home with his new wife, Ida Morris. At the age of 83, John fathered his last child, George Hinkle, in 1915. John died in 1925 and Ida in 1926, leaving young George to be raised by his half-sister, Nioma Rushing.
Like his father and so many other Hinkle descendants, George served in the military. He was a P.O.W. in WWII and was also a veteran of the Korean War. He lived in Washington State and that is where he is buried. John and Lucy Hinkle are buried in Rushing Cemetery.
Today, the John and Lucy Hinkle descendants – now stretching to eight generations – are found coast to coast, but most do not know one another beyond second cousins. The search to locate all of them is ongoing. Renee Rushing Carr, a great-great granddaughter of John and Lucy Hinkle, initiated the search for living descendants and was aided by tools such as FamilySearch, Ancestry, DNA matches, Facebook, Google searches, and most importantly, other cousins. The Hinkle descendants connect through a Facebook group and share photos and stories.
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