Special to the Tribune-Courier
Situated four miles east of Benton on Highway 408, just before the eastbound traveler gets to Fairdealing, is the community of Hamlet.
It has all but disappeared today. It doesn’t even have a highway sign marking its existence and some often joke that “if you blink, you are liable to miss Hamlet altogether.” About all that remains to identify it is Hamlet Missionary Baptist Church.
It bears the name of a famous Shakespearean character, but the origin of the name of Hamlet community is not clearly known. Some believe it was derived from a family which was native to the area.
“I have always heard that the name Hamlet came from the Ham family who lived here, but I am not sure,” said Hazel (Ross) Rose, a lifelong resident of the community.
Rose has deep roots in Hamlet and her grandfather Joe York, a cobbler by trade, was a well-known member of the community.
“I never knew my grandfather, but he lived on the Olive-Hamlet Road and worked on shoes and chairs and also did a little farming,” Rose said.
At one time, Hamlet had a general store that sold general merchandise items such as food, clothes and livestock feed. “It was before my time, but the store was located across from Dr. Sam Henson’s old home place,” Rose said.
Dr. Henson, who practiced for