Sometime before the Civil War, about 1860, a young couple, Arthur and Mary Jane Smith came to Arkansas and bought land in an area called Meg, in Franklin County.  When the War Between the States started, Arthur joined the Confederate troops and left Mary with seven children.  When Arthur came home briefly he fathered her eighth child.  Later he was captured and died in a military prison at the age of forty-three.  Mary remained on the homestead, ran the farm and raised the children.

The youngest boy and eighth child, Arthur McDanel, known as Mac, was born about 1866.  He graduated from the University of Arkansas and then enrolled in and graduated from Tulane Medical School (1892).  He joined Dr. John James in practice.  They used a horse, named Old Ninety, and buggy to go either east or west each day to offer their services to the rural people in the surrounding area.  It was hard to make a living with the poor rural people so an arrangement was made with another brother, Frank, who ran the home farm and owned a general store.  Patients could pay their medical bills at the store while in town on other business.  This arrangement lasted until 1899 when the two doctors moved to Paris, Arkansas and opened their office above the drug store.  The three brothers remained in partnership and combined their earnings to buy additional land and invest in the coal business.  Eventually the two doctors became bankers or owners of coal mines and a cotton seed mill.