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Rison: A Product of the Railroad

many years. He was a well known musician
and played the fiddle. He attended school at
the Academy at Toledo and in Nashville,
Tennessee. He was married to Katie 0. Dark
of Jackson, Mississippi. He had two children,
E. L. and Bessie. He died in 1943 and is
buried in the Greenwood Cemetery.

Rison's First Mayor
When Rison was incorporated in 1890 it was
required by law to elect a mayor and a city
council. J. T. Renfrow was elected the first
mayor and took office in 1890. He served
from 1890 through 1892, and again 1906-
1910, and one more time from 1915-1916.
He was born in Cleveland County February 3,
1852, about two miles north of Rison. His
father was the Reverend Joseph Renfrow who
was one of the first Methodist ministers in south
Arkansas. He moved to Arkansas Post in 1833
where he served the Methodist church before
settling in Cleveland County. Mr. Renfrew
began his career as a deputy county clerk in 1873.
In 1874 he was postmaster at Toledo. In 1878 he
was elected county clerk serving through 1884. In
1884 he went into the mercantile business in Rison.
He was one of the founders of the Bank of Rison
and was its cashier in 1902. He was also cashier
of the Farmers & Merchants Bank until it merged
with the Bank of Rison in 1912. In later years he
was a deputy sheriff under Sheriffs Dave Cash
and John E. Smith. He was married in 1879 to
Sarah Antoinette Galloway. They had four children.
He died December 4, 1929 and is buried in the
Greenwood Cemetery.

photograph is believed to have been taken shortly after or
perhaps on the day the present day courthouse was
opened in 1911.

DOWNTOWN RISON, CIRCA 1920s - The scene
looking south down Main Street from near the location
of the present-day railroad tracks. Many of the buildings
seen on the right side of the photgraph were eventually
destroyed by fire.

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