Bernice Historical Society
By Cathy Buckley
Many years ago news from our local paper in Bernice appeared in area newspapers under the column heading of “Bernice Dots”. It is our intent to publish some of our Bernice history under this same heading and share with our community some of the history of the early years of Bernice.
We all know Bernice came into being when the Arkansas Southern Railroad made its way south out of Arkansas headed to Alexandria. What some of us may not know is that Shiloh had been working toward acquiring the railroad since 1892 and that 3 routes for the railroad had been surveyed through the area; one through the town of Shiloh; one route one mile west of Shiloh; and a third route five miles west of Shiloh.
The company building the railroad made certain demands on the town of Shiloh requiring the town to provide two miles of grading; one above town and one below. In addition the citizens of Shiloh were to donate one thousand dollars yearly for ten years.
Due to these demands Shiloh led by merchants Fuller, Hamilton and Heard passed on the opportunity to acquire the railroad. Then, the path 5 miles west of Shiloh was chosen; land was donated north of what is now the town of Bernice and the railroad began its southern march to Alexandria and in the process the town we call home was created.
Next Week: Town of Shiloh burns; town lots sold in Bernice; First impressions