Kindley, World War I hero
In 1917, as America was preparing to enter World War I, F.W. Linebarger was frantically working to open the summer resort he and his brothers had just purchased from the Baker family, according to From Vision to Reality by Gilbert C. Fite. The Bakers had put in the dam that formed Lake Bella Vista and they had sold a few lots, but Linebarger envisioned a much bigger resort.
When war was declared in April 1917, the area now known as Bella Vista was mostly farmland.
Eventually 71,862 Arkansans served in the armed forces during World War I. About 3 percent of them did not return, according to
Our Arkansas by Walter L. Brown.
A Centennial History of Arkansas lists disease as the cause of death for 417 soldiers. Some 292 were killed in action and 112 later died of their wounds. Others were killed by suicide, drowning, accidents, murder and some causes were not determined. There were also seven missing and presumed dead.
Benton County had its own World War I hero: Field E. Kindley. According to the website www. encyclopediaofarkansas.net, Kindley was born in a rural area near Pea Ridge. He lived in Gravette and Bentonville, before accepting a job in Coffeyville, Kan., where he joined the Kansas National Guard. He transferred to the aviation branch of the Army Signal Corps and became a pilot. He was among the first American pilots sent to England for flight training.
He received the British Distinguished Flying Cross and an Oak Leaf Cluster for the American Distinguished Service Cross and was ranked third in number of aircraft downed for the United States Army Air Service in World War I. He survived the war but was killed during a demonstration flight in 1920.
He’s buried in Gravette, and the home he lived in there is now part of the Gravette Historical Museum.