Winthrop, AR. A small community in the North West part of Little River County was so named from a Native American named Winthrop Winship, when the railroad came, it named its depot and siding after the Native American land owner, calling it “Winthrop”.
Winthrop sprang up in 1894 due largely to the building of the Railroad. W.C. Merrit, contracting engineer for the railroad company, surveyed the town site in the spring of 1894. The Alleene to Winthrop segment of the railroad was completed later that same year, as the tracks were laid through during Christmas week. Fifteen acres that were occupied by the railroad camp were given to the town by Mrs Z.T. Morgan. W.R. Golden sold the town site company 160 more acres and 40 acres were purchased from Ben Davis of Chapel Hill. The business district of the town now stands on these 40 acres. H.M. Bates bought the first town lots, property where the post office now stands. The post office at Little River was discontinued by the Post Office Department Dec. 3, 1894. It was reopened at Winthrop the next day with J. A. Sessions Sr. as postmaster. All routes from Little River Post Office were changed to Winthop and two additional ones were established, on going to Bivens in the Black Land (area north of Little River) and another to Jannis in Indian Territory.
Winthrop’s first residence was built by G.W. McDaniels and later occupied by Mrs. Annie Mansell. The first store in the area was opened by Anderson and Cooper. Dr. W.M. Lambert gave up his practice in Wilton to establish a permanent office in Winthrop. He homesteaded about a mile west of town and later moved into town. Where he resided until his death in 1931.
Winthrop house, the town’s first hotel, was built by Sanford Wright and destroyed by fire in 1907. Hogs, cattle and poultry were bought and sold at the town market, operated by Mr. Nemire. A.L. Perry ran the first saloon and pool hall, while J.A. Brilbrey opened the first livery stable. Rev. Cochren of Ben Lomond organized the Methodist & moved their church from Camp Ground Cemetery into Winthrop. The Drake brothers opened a sawmill and operated a planning mill, a shingle mill and a grist mill, The first blacksmith shop, run by Nelson and McCarroll, was later moved to the corner lots of the school ground block. The first cotton gin in Winthrop was built and operated by W.G. Reed of Louisburg, kansas in 1897. He also constructed a three story grain mill.
During the early 1900’s Winthrop boasted two hotels, a bakery, barber shop, meat market, ice house, telephone exchange, blacksmith shop, livery, sawmill, 5 doctors, drug stores and a bank. Along with a river generated electric light system. Population grew to around 750 by 1922.
Today Winthrop is a small community of around 200 citizens. Winthrop is off the main highways within the county. Most motorist who travel State highway’s 41 or 71 will miss this small community on State highway 234.