History Of McGehee

The history of the City of McGehee and the history of the railroad through McGehee are intricately interwoven. The history
of the railroad dates back to 1870 when a railroad was constructed from Pine Bluff southeast through Varner, to Chicot.

In April 1923, the Gulf Coast Lines and the International-Great Northern were acquired, forming the Missouri Pacific Lines.

Important in the history of the town of McGehee is the McGehee family which came to the area from Alabama in 1857.
Benjamin McGehee, his wife, Sarah, a son, Abner and daughters Laura and Mary settled on land that is now a part of
McGehee.

Abner McGehee, son of Benjamin and Sarah McGehee purchased 240 acres of land on July 1, 1876, on which the town
of McGehee was later to be located.

When the railroad came into McGehee in 1878 and continued south and southwest, people began to move into the area. Abner McGehee constructed a large commissary building and entered the mercantile business to accommodate the new arrivals.

One of the first buildings in the area was a saw mill. The lumber cut in this mill was used to build shotgun type rent houses.

A post office was established in the McGehee commissary, and in 1879 Abner McGehee became the first postmaster. The post office was named McGehee and served between 400 and 500 people.

An order of incorporation was signed March 5, 1906. The first meeting of the town council was held July 21, 1906.

Today the enonomy of the area is largely dependent upon agriculture. The railroad has been largely replaced by the trucking industry which hauls farm products from the gins and grain bins of the area to their destination. From a population of 400
in 1879, McGehee has grown into a community of about 5,000 citizens. The citizens are proud of their hospital, their schools, their recreational facilities, their churches and their city government. As port facilities on the Mississippi River are developed and as the present highway system is rebuilt to accommodate increased traffic, McGehee will continue to grow.