Martin's Milk Truck and School Bus, circa 1930 (Courtesy of the FCHS and UCA Archives)
Martin’s Milk Truck and School Bus, circa 1930 (Courtesy of the FCHS and UCA Archives)
by Luther Holloway and A. E. Pearson

This tiny village, located eight miles north of Conway on Highway 25, dates back to 1869 when Nathan and Elizabeth Pearson moved into this area from Alabama. Nathan Pearson purchased a section of land January 10, 1870 and settled one and one-half miles east of Wooster.

This land later was passed on to Nathan’s widow and on to her son, G.D. Pearson, July 3, 1882. This acreage of land was first taken up by patent November 27, 1820 by Robert Robertson as a military bounty. He was a veteran of the War of 1812.

On October 27, 1881 the W.E. Adams store was sold to J. P. Wooster for $25. When the town began to develop the store was the nucleus and his name became the name of the village. The post office was opened March 20, 1883 with J .H. Smith as its first postmaster. Other postmasters have been James H. Patton, Hymon D. Jones, Joseph Richardson, John W. Cantrell, William H. Lindsey, John L. Pearson, Hensley Robinson, and Deanie Smith.

James S. Lane was born near Wooster in 1868 to Joe and Vina Dickens Lane who had moved to this area in 1848. James M. Clifton was born in Cherokee, Alabama in 1841 and came to Wooster about 1866 and married Sally Tyler, the daughter of Brinkley H. Tyler who had moved to this area from Kentucky in 1823. James Clifton had been a Confederate soldier captured by the Union Army. Lewis W. Wofford, of the Stone Point community, was born near Greenbrier December 3, 1865, a son of Jimmy Lee and Lucinda Luster Wofford, who had settled on Cadron Creek in 1859, three miles west of present-day Wooster.

School district No.10 was created at Wooster July 9, 1893 on the brow of a hill on the James Carter farm, one-half mile north of the King’s Bridge over East Cadron Creek. Another school in this area was known as Walnut Grove. In 1881, Burks school opened and was the first in the immediate area of Wooster. A.J. Burks gave the land and it was located at the bend of the road and thus “traffic” could be viewed all three directions. The teacher painted the lower panes of glass at the windows to keep the children’s attention if someone should happen by. As a result of the teacher’s action the glass was broken mysteriously.

Early teachers at this school were James A. Lee, Socratus Hendrickson, John R. Huie, Lydia Smith, J.A. Batson, A.M. Ledbetter, J.R. Giddens, John H. Jones, Henry Lankford, J.A. Reynolds, Wiley Beene and Cicero Bennett. John H. Jones raised a community controversy when he insisted on reading the Bible and having daily prayer in school.

The Burks one-room school was destroyed by tornado in 1911. The school was rebuilt but in a new location. The Odd Fellows bought a lot and built a two-story building. The lower part was to be a two room school.

Luther Holloway moved into the community about this time and became a salesman for H. Robinson mercantile business. He found Wooster had three stores, a post office, a blacksmith shop, one doctor’s office, and the Masonic building. There were seventeen dwellings, no churches, no school building and none of the houses had a coat of paint. There was only one bridge between Conway and Damascus – the King’s Bridge over East Cadron. Luther Holloway was a civic minded Christian leader and set about to bring better life to the community. He was elected to the school board. Little money was available so he suggested, and patrons approved, a fund drive by having plays and planting a cotton patch. Things were going pretty well until the building was destroyed by wind and rainstorm. The insurance adjuster was prevailed upon to give full amount for the loss and the lumber was salvaged and a new building was started. During this time the Odd Fellows let the community use their building.

The community, under Holloway’s leadership, located a new school to the north of town and west of the new highway from Conway to Martinville. The building had six rooms and an auditorium. A Smith-Hughes building was erected as well as a Home Economics building. These were made of native stone. The school board saw an opportunity to make use of their nearness to Arkansas State Teachers College in Conway, and have the availability of practice teachers. The Wooster system was one of the first in the county to use the teacher training program from ASTC. The training students (practice teachers) were transported by bus from the college to the school each day. The college used a teacher for supervision. The Wooster district employed a full-time principal for the four-year high school.

Another incident that demonstrated Holloway’s civic-mindedness occurred when the school system realized absentees indicated a lot of children had infected tonsils. He wrote to the medical school in Little Rock and asked them to come out with their students and take tonsils out. An agreement was worked out and the auditorium and classrooms were set up with cots and what other facilities were needed and available. A survey of the surrounding communities was made and 114 agreed to use this service. After doing 56 they had to stop due to the loss of power furnished by the Delco system.

A Primitive Baptist Church was established very early in Wooster. On foot-washing days wagons, buggies, and horse-back riders filled the grounds. Some came out of curiosity. A Baptist Church was organized in 1917.

Wooster had a sawmill, grist mill, and cotton gin under the ownership of N.L. Lee. A blacksmith shop dates back to 1890. Later a drugstore came. Village doctors who served the community were: Dr. Wear, Dr. Cantrell, Dr. McMahan, Dr. Wood, Dr. Hutto, Dr. Joe Hutton, and Dr. Cicero Burnett. Hensley Robinson and L. T. Patton were competitive in the mercantile line. The Robinson store burned in 1930.

Highway 65, one of the county’s first hard-surfaced roads, cut across the Cadron bottoms to Wooster in 1923 and continued northward to Bono, Martinville, Damascus, and Clinton. This gave a real boost to the economy of Wooster. In 1942 the road was re-routed through Greenbrier. This changed the life of the community and it has not completely recovered. Residents enjoy all major utilities and fire protection.