Rev. James Wiseman Honnoll was a Methodist preacher by calling, and he was a very gifted man when it came to getting along with people. He was born November 6, 1836, in Hardeman County, Tennessee. His parents was Peter A. and Molly Savage Honnoll. He was of German lineage and reflected to the last the sturdiness and immobility of the type. Four generations back of him his people came, in 1770, to America. Shortly thereafter commenced the Revolutionary War, and they took the part of the American Colonists. in some brief notes of his life, which he left for his children, he wrote with evident pride,
"Peter A. Honnoll, Jr. after the lose of his beloved Mollie found
companionship with Miss. M. C. Hartsell they were married on June 1, 1877,
in Itawamba Co., Miss.
In the war of 1776 my great-great-grandfather fought under George Washington. My grandfather was in the war of 1812."
Thus we see he was born of a martial people who were true to their ideals. He married his childhood sweetheart, Jane Elizabeth Rogers and wrote of her:
"She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, a good Christian girl, and made me a faithful wife."
He and Jane (b. ca. 1841 in Surry Co., N.C.) were married Mar. 15, 1857, in Tishomingo Co., Mississippi. Rev. Honnoll was known to have carried just two books--the Holy Bible and his hymnal, and when he was on horseback they rode in his saddlebags. In his own works he stated,
"I have read my Bible through more than forty times."
James Wiseman Honnoll had just begun his preaching duties when the Civil War broke out. Of his first appointment he wrote,
"I traveled my circuit until the Southern army retreated from Corinth, when I left, having received just eight dollars."
Then he joined the army by serving in the 1st Battalion Cavalry Mississippi State Troops in 1862. He later served under Gen. Gholshon in the cavalry--Company C, Ham's Battalion- Mississippi State Cavalry-along with his brother William Cacy Honnoll, He was commissioned to the rank of Second Lieutenant. William Cacy Honnoll was killed at Richmond, Virginia, in January of 1864.
He enlisted at Boonville, Miss, Company C, Eleventh Mississippi Cavalry, Armstrong's Brigade, Jackson's Division, Forrest's Corps. Firsts Captain J. Sut. Burns and first Colonel, T.W. Ham in General Sam Gholson's Brigade: They were charged to Wheeler's Corps for about six months and was then returned to Forrest where they served till the close of the war. Battle's that Col. Ham's men took part in were Okolona, Miss; Jackson, Miss., and Selma, Ala.
Ham's Regiment Mississippi Cavalry was organized May 4, 1864, by the addition of Captain William P. Curlee's Unattached Company Mississippi Cavalry and Captain J.R. Wallis' Company Cavalry, Mississippi State Troops, to the 1st (Hamm's ) Battalion Mississippi State Cavalry, which was also known as the 16th Battalion Cavalry, Mississippi State Troops.
A friend who in his boyhood days was a member of the Rienzi church spoke of Rev. Honnoll's going to war saying,
"My earliest recollection of brother Honnoll was when I was a mere lad. He was visiting in my mother's home as our pastor. We were at the dinner table when we heard our soldiers' bugles on retreat from Corinth. He immediately aroseand said, 'That retreat means that I must become a soldier.'
Without finishing his dinner he went out, saddled his horse and was off to join the army." following the war, Rev. Honnoll returned to the business of the Lord, and he held many positions with the Methodist church through the years.
The children of James Wiseman and Jane Elizabeth Honnoll were: Mary Elizabeth "Mollie" Honnoll. Peter Ambrose Hamilton Honnoll, John Frederick Karr Honnoll, James A. Fletcher Honnoll, Tuggle Hafford Howell Honnoll, Sarah E. ("Sallie") Honnoll, Muncey Raiford Honnoll, Rogers Honnoll, and two other children who died in infancy.
On December 6, 1876, James Wiseman Honnoll took a second wife, Mary E. Thompson, of Iuka, Mississippi, to this union were born four children: Elizabeth Honnoll, Morgan James Honnell, (Note Morgan changed the spelling of his last name using Honnell.), Hodges Hafford Honnoll, and one other child died in infancy he served for seven years, until 1898. This was a Methodist women's college.
He traveled all over northeast Arkansas during his ministry. He preached at revivals in Forrest City, Brinkley, Jonesboro, Hancock, Monette, Paragould, and many other churches.
Rev. James Wiseman Honnoll named the city of Leachville, Arkansas, after his good friend and business partner Joshua Giles Leach. These two men along with Sam McNamee started the Leach, McNamee Land and Development Company, in Leachville, Arkansas. All three of these men were members of the First Methodist Church of Holly Springs, Mississippi. Rev. Honnoll was the minister of the church. The parsonage that he and his family lived in is located behind this church in the center of Holly Springs, MS. This company purchased several sections of land around the present area of Leachville.
Sunday before Thanksgiving, 1897, the two Honnoll families traveled from Garland County to Jonesboro and met J. W. Honnoll. The two families was Tuggle and Peter Honnoll's. Peter "Uncle Bud" Honnoll was injured during this trip. He badly broke his lower leg and as a result he walked with a limp the rest of his life. Honnoll accompanied the families to their new home -- a high spot in a slough thirty miles east of Jonesboro. Preacher Honnoll gave his sons forty acres of land a piece to settle.
When Honnoll met his sons, he had the name Leachville, already painted on a board and nailed to a sapling outside a make-shift cabin at the new home site. These make-shift houses were shed-like shelters, sometimes having only two sides.
Leachville soon became a town known as a tent city. The town was laid out and the first streets were named for Honnoll and McNamee. This land is located in the middle of Buffalo Island and was covered with all types of hardwood, ripe for harvesting by the newly formed company in Leachville. The first church service was held Thanksgiving Day under big cypress trees. The first church was named Honnoll's Chapel for J.W. Honnoll.
In 1898, parts for the sawmill were hauled by wagon. The Cannon family was next move to Leachville. Mr. Cannon helped build the mill. At first mill products had to be hauled to Cardwell and Ardyrd, Missouri to be shipped to market. Mill hands numbered forty. It was hauled 200 yards northwest of where the Frisco Depot now stands. The first boards cut were used to erect the Methodist Church. Rev. James W. Honnoll built the oldest church in Leachville, the building still stands today. It is located at the South end of Church Street on the left side of the road.
Tuggle, Muncey and Peter Honnoll and their families were pretty well settled when their brother John "K" Honnoll moved to Leachville in 1901, with three of his children, Mary Etta Honnoll remained at Ben Lomand, Arkansas to take care of her grandmother and grandfather, Edward Virgil Bryan and Eliza Ann (Horan) Maxcy.
K. Honnoll was a good with grafting trees. He learned the trade and Mississippi and perfected it in Sevier County around the Ben Lomand area. Most of the Honnoll's that have moved away from the Ben Lomand community had good memories of the area. They talked about the rolling hills and friendly folks that lived in the hills.
John was the son of Rev. James Wiseman and Elizabeth Jane (Rogers) Honnoll "K" met, fell in love with and married Ida Lee Maxcy of Ben Lomand. Ida was born May 7, 1869, in Itawamba Co., Miss., and died Nov. 14, 1896, in Ben Lomand. She was the daughter of Edward Virgil Bryan Maxcy (see E.V.B. Maxcy). Maxcy was a Civil War Veteran being captured at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863. Maxcy, a corporal, with the 2nd Mississippi Infantry and fought in many battles during the WAR. He spent the remainder of the War at Fort Delaware Prison.
Rev. Honnoll passed away on March 20, 1912, in Memphis. He was laid to rest in Holly Springs, Mississippi, there to await the resurrection of the just.
Here is a list of churches that he served:
1859: Hinkle's Creek in the Rienzi Circuit
1860: Blythe's Chapel in the Rienzi Circuit
1861 : East Port Circuit
1862 : East Port Circuit - Chaplain * Confederate Service
1863 - 65 : Chaplain * Confederate Service
1865 : Ponotoc Circuit
1865-67: Marietta Circuit
1868-69: Kossuth Circuit
1870-71: Corinth Station
1872: Rienzi and Booneville
1873: Corinth Station
1874-76: Byhalia Station
1877-78: Corinth Station
1879: Marshall Circuit
1880-82: Wood Street, Water Valley, MS
1883: Greenville Station
1884: Friar's Point and Austin
1885-88: Greenville District * Delegate to General Conference of 1886
1889: Holly Springs District
1890-91: Holly Springs Station
1892: Coahoma and Duncan & President Malone College
1893: Holly Springs District
1894-97: President Malone College
1898: Corinth District
1899-1900: Holly Springs District
1906-07: Hillhouse and Deeson
1909: Hillhuse & Deeson
1910-12: Tunica and Robinsonville.