Editor, The Commercial:
Saturday's Pine Bluff Commercial section of the Democrat-Gazette contained a report on the fine work being done by Myron Means of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission restoring the black bear population.
Mr. Means mentioned that the town of Bearden in south Arkansas is named for all the bear dens that used to be found in the Ouachita River corridor.
There certainly were many bear dens before the bear population was decimated by over-hunting, but the Encyclopedia of Arkansas says this about the founding of the town: "Bearden was founded as one of many whistle-stop communities along the Cotton Belt Railway Line during the steam engine years. The city limits for the town of Bearden were set in 1882 by the Southwest Improvement Association, an agency of the Railway Land Office. This office was part of what would become the Cotton Belt Railway Line. Bearden was named after one of the lawyers for the agency, Judge John T. Bearden."
There are about a dozen families with the Bearden surname in Ouachita County today. Thank you.