Ogden was a boom town in
1890, another of the small southwest Arkansas communities whose fortunes were tied to
those of the railroads. As in Foreman, cotton was king in Ogden, and most of the residents
spent numerous hours in the fields. The Texarkana and Fort Smith Railroad provided a much
needed source of transportation for the cotton farmers, who now had a means to get their
crop to market in Texarkana, Ashdown and Wilton. The Texarkana and Fort Smith line was
purchased by the Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Gulf railway in 1895 and was
reorganized in 1900 as the Kansas City Southern Railway Co.
John Nunnely and his family
lived on the present site of Ogden in 1838, where he owned several acres of land farmed by
his slaves. he and his wife were buried on the hillside near what is now called Hopson's
Spring. Judge M.W. Bates came in 1878 and christened the town Ogden, the maiden name of
his second wife. he owned the first cotton gin, sawmill and store and his son-in-law. Dr.
Bright, was the town's first physician. Early residents included the W.S. Couches, the
W.J. McDowells and the Paul Hamilton, and these families were followed by others around
the turn of the century. The first school sessions were taught in an old Methodist Church
by Miss Gabrielle Avondeigner. A brick building was constructed and two new teachers hired
in 1915. Ogden high school students were bussed to Ashdown beginning in 1927, and a brick
structure was built for the elementary school, which burned in August, 1963. In May, 1947,
the entire school district consolidated with Ashdown.
The first black - owned
cotton gin in the area was built in 1897 in the Johnson Township and was owned by Mr.