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Samuel Wycough, a carpenter and cabinetmaker, arrived in Batesville from North Carolina in 1835.  He built a two-story frame store building near the corner of Main and Broad Streets, and when the Methodist church held its first annual conference in the state in 1836, he offered them the use of his building.  The building was characterized at the time as the town’s ‘main store building.”  Wycough became a successful politician, serving 5 terms as Independence County treasurer and also serving in the Arkansas legislature.  His son Mark married the daughter of the property owner, William McGuire, in 1866.  Catherine McGuire Wycough later inherited all of the lots on Main Street that her father had owned, dying herself in 1872.  In September of 1897, Mark and his daughter Monnie mortgaged their lots on Block 16 of the plat of Old Town Batesville to build a new two-story brick and stone building (currently named The Royal On Main).  When Mark died, just one year later, he left his downtown property to Monnie, the wife of C.W. Mayfield, a prominent merchant and scion of a pioneer family in the town.  The first Maxfield's in Batesville were Uriah and Leah Maxfield and their two young sons, George and Will.  They arrived in June of 1842 by steamboat from Cincinnati, Ohio, where they had moved in 1837 from Maryland.  In their new home, where he operated a prosperous boot and shoe manufacturing business and a mercantile store, Uriah was the first of a long line of successful Main Street entrepreneurs.  Son Charles Wesley (C.W.) was born in 1856 and spent his life in Batesville, where he died in 1940.  He was one of the first 8 graduates from Arkansas College (now Lyon College) in 1876.  His son, Charles Wycough Maxfield, who died in 1978, was the last of the Maxfield's to operate a downtown business (in the next block to the east of the Wycough-Maxfield building), bringing to an end 108 years of a Batesville tradition.


The upper level of the Maxfield-Wycough building was home in the years before World War I to the local Arkansas National Guard unit, which drilled here.  In 1929, the ground floor became the home of a Sterling store, an Arkansas company that was formed in 1921 and was headquartered in Little Rock.  In the late 1970s, Sterling was a challenge to newcomer Wal-Mart’s regional dominance with its Magic Mart discount stores, one of which occupied a large building at the foot of Batesville’s Main Street.  The business were mainstays of the downtown until 1983, when Sterling Stores shut down permanently, following the 1979 death of three company vice presidents in a plane crash at Locust Grove, just a few miles from Batesville, and the growing strength of rival Wal-Mart.


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