Date Original



This collection contains a diary that includes monthly accounts of the weather in Tulip Ridge and Des Arc, types and numbers of wild game hunted, list of crops planted, slaves sold and purchased, account of farm animals, William’s opinion of the Civil War, stories of slave maltreatment, bible verses, and advice written from William for his children.

Biographical/Historical Note

Dr. William Bethell was born in North Carolina on July 23, 1810 and in 1831 he married Elizabeth Adkins Brown in Stokes, North Carolina. William moved his family to Memphis, Tennessee, sometime in the 1840s where he faced personal tragedy. According to his diary, he and his wife lost two small boys and several slaves due to illness. After the loss of his children, he was determined to leave Tennessee and he moved his family to Tulip Ridge, Dallas County, Arkansas, in February of 1845. Two years prior he had sent James Benton, along with two slaves, to build his homestead. Sometime before 1860, William moved his family to Des Arc, Prairie County, Arkansas, were he became involved in the local mason lodge. He died in Des Arc on February 23, 1867. William was a physician and a plantation owner in his lifetime.

Physical Description

Document, 8.5" x 11"

Geographical Area






Resource Type



William Bethell diary, MS.000776


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

William Bethell diary, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


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United States History