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Bits and pieces about my ggg-grandfather.

Data on James Dorris from The Heritage, Hot Spring County, Ar Hist.
Society Vol X 1983

"From the written information found concerning James Dorris, he must
have been a rugged frontiersman of the caliber of Kentucky
frontiersmen such as Daniel Boon and James Kenton. From the "scrapbook" of Dr. Willis Smith we learn that James Dorris after serving as Sheriff of Hot Spring County started a new settlement with Wm T. Scarborough of Union County in Clark County, Manchester, the first settlement having ended due to the "feroucious animals (panthers) so bold that they would run the dogs in the cabin". Dorris and Scarborough built a cabin each in the winter of 1835 or spring of 1836 and named the place Manchester.
Scarborough soon returned to Union County leaving James Dorris and his
family there.

Another source says that when settlers started coming to this area,
the ony white man was a Mr. Dorris and his sons who were bear hunters.

Dr. Smith relates that James Dorris was primarily a bear hunter and
native of Kentucky. In one season, he skinned and dried 20,000 pounds
of bear meat and another time got 30 gallons of bear oil from one
bear. Bear oil was highly prized and brought good profits. In Wm
Dunbar's report of his exploration of the Quachita River in 1804 he
wrote that: "The hunters count much of their profits from the oil
drawn from the Bear's fat, which at New Orleans is always of ready
sale, and is much esteemed for it wholesomeness in cooking being
preferred over butter or hog's lard: it is found to keep longer than
any other oil of the same nature without turning rancid: they have a
way of boiling it from time to time upon sweetbay leaves which
restores it or facilitate its conservation".

James Dorris settled several farms, helped survey roads and according
to Goodspeed's History of Southern Arkansas in the sketch of John
Ragin Broughton (page 751) who married Mattie Lee Holloway, daughter
of James Dorris that Mrs. Broughton's "grandfather Dorris assisted in
ferrying the Indians across the Ouachita River when they were being
moved into Indian Territory".

In spite of all the references to him in print the parents of James
Dorris have remained elusive as has the maiden name of his wife,
Susan. Since they named (what I believe is) their first son Wilson W.
Dorris, I strongly suppect that Susan was a Wilson prior to her
Marriage. Most of the children were born in Tn but James H. was
probably the last one born there in 1832 as James came to HOt
Spring Co. with his family where he served at least two years as

Dr Smith described James Dorris as a kind and warm hearted man with
many friends, full of hospitality and died at an honorable age.
(DorrisNet publication gave his death as Jan 1849, St Francis Co. Ar.)

The 1840 census lists five males between the age of 5 and 10 and one
male 40 to 50 and 4 f bet 5 and 10 and one 30 to 40. In 1850 census
at Dallas Co Ar Susan his wife is age 50 and James is not listed."


My Note: The maiden name of his wife, Susan, was STARK.

Premium Member
504 Posts
Capt Hamp Cox,

I really enjoyed reading about your ggg-grandfather James S. Dorris. Looking forward to reading more about your family.

Faye aka Mrs Graybeard
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