County: Newton

B-25 Bomber Crash of 1948

During a period of about three months in the winter of 1947 and 1948, Arkansas was the site of the crash of two military planes on routine flights. On November 17, 1947, a B-25 crashed into Mount Magazine in Logan County, and on February 6, 1948, a B-25 crashed into Round Top Mountain near Jasper (Newton County). A total of eleven people died in the two crashes, with five dying in the 1948 crash. On February 6, 1948, a B-25 bomber lifted off from Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio, en route to Little Rock (Pulaski County). The plane was scheduled to land in Little Rock a little after 8:00 p.m. When it did not arrive, calls were put out to …

Big Buffalo Valley Historic District

aka: Boxley Valley Historic District
Located in Newton County near Ponca (Newton County), the Big Buffalo Valley Historic District (also known as the Boxley Valley Historic District) includes a number of historic structures dating between 1879 and 1930. Also included in the district are a number of archeological sites representing prehistoric peoples. The sites in the district are scattered across the entire valley, which measures more than 8,000 acres. The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 29, 1987, with the original application amended on November 7, 1990. When created in 1987, the district included about 250 structures. Of the fifty residential structures in the district, only about twenty were occupied at that time. Structures included in the district fall …

Boxley (Newton County)

Located in the Buffalo River valley in the Boston Mountains of northern Arkansas, the unincorporated community of Boxley has a long and colorful past. A key strategic area during the Civil War, Boxley is now associated with conservation efforts of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Northern Arkansas was claimed by the Osage when the United States first acquired the land from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Although they lived in scattered communities in southern Missouri, the Osage frequented Arkansas for hunting and fishing. After a treaty removed the land from Osage control, the United States granted what would become Newton County as part of a Cherokee settlement. That treaty lasted approximately ten years, from …

Buffalo National River

aka: Buffalo River
The Buffalo National River, which runs through Newton, Searcy, Marion, and Baxter counties, became the first national river in the United States on March 1, 1972. It is one of the few remaining free-flowing rivers in the lower forty-eight states. The Buffalo National River, administered by the National Park Service, encompasses 135 miles of the 150-mile long river. President Richard M. Nixon signed Public Law 92-237 to put the river under the protection of the National Park Service 100 years after the establishment of Yellowstone National Park, the first national park. The law begins, “That for the purposes of conserving and interpreting an area containing unique scenic and scientific features, and preserving as a free-flowing stream an important segment of …

Buffalo River Bridge

aka: Pruitt Bridge
Formerly located in Newton County north of Jasper (Newton County), the Buffalo River Bridge spanned its eponymous stream. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 9, 1990. The historic bridge was torn down in 2021 after a replacement bridge was constructed to the east; it was removed from the National Register on January 3, 2022. The area along the Buffalo River where the bridge was located is known as Pruitt (Newton County). The site of the Buffalo River Bridge was occupied by another bridge in 1931 when discussions began about replacing it. Although the bridge present at that time was not dilapidated, engineers requested that a three-ton limit be placed on the structure. Engineers at …

Cecil, John

John Cecil was the first elected sheriff of Newton County. He joined the Confederate army at the beginning of the war and later led dangerous guerrilla units in northwest Arkansas. The Union army wanted to capture him badly enough to burn down the city of Jasper (Newton County), and they enlisted Cecil’s younger brother Samuel to help snare him. John Cecil was the eldest son of Joseph and Margaret (Buttram) Cecil, born on April 10, 1822, in Morgan County, Tennessee. He had three brothers and five sisters. Joseph Cecil and his family migrated to Arkansas prior to 1837 and settled in Carroll County, part of which became Newton County in 1842. Three of John Cecil’s uncles also migrated to Arkansas …

Diamond Cave

Diamond Cave, one of Arkansas’s many noteworthy caves, is located on Henson Creek, three miles from Jasper (Newton County). Diamond Cave is an underground natural wonder, containing a display of stalactites, columns, and stalagmites running many miles into the mountain. The discovery of Diamond Cave is credited to Samuel Hudson, a veteran hunter, an early settler in Newton County, and a member of the eleventh Arkansas General Assembly. Folklore has it that he and some companions discovered this cave while hunting bear early in the nineteenth century; he followed his dogs into the cave, discovered two of them dead from a battle with bears, and then killed one of the bears. The name Diamond Cave probably came from the abundant …

Dogpatch USA

Dogpatch USA operated from 1968 to 1993 as an amusement park based on characters and locations in Al Capp’s popular “Li’l Abner” comic strip. The town of Marble Falls (Newton County) between Jasper (Newton County) and Harrison (Boone County) changed its name officially to Dogpatch to help promote the park. The name was changed back in 1997. Harrison real estate broker Oscar J. Snow conceived the park when Albert Raney Sr. listed his Ozark trout farm for sale in 1966. Snow and nine other investors formed Recreation Enterprises, Inc. (REI) and approached Bostonian Al Capp with the idea. Capp, who had rejected such offers in the past, agreed to be a partner in the enterprise. The partners acquired 1,000 acres, …

Fallsville (Newton County)

Fallsville is an unincorporated community in Boston Township in the southwestern corner of Newton County. The community was also historically called Loafer’s Glory, a nickname applied to several sites in the broader Appalachian region that were known for being places of meeting and informal discussion; in Arkansas, the community of Morning Star (Searcy County) has also sometimes been known as Loafer’s Glory. Population estimates from various gazetteers, business directories, and newspapers have ranged from ten to 100 at various points in the community’s history. The 1898–1899 R. L. Polk’s Arkansas State Gazetteer and Business Directory listed Fallsville’s population at fifty, with commercial enterprises and services including distillers, a druggist, general stores, two lawyers, a blacksmith, masons, a flour mill, a …

Jasper (Newton County)

Jasper was established as a village along the Little Buffalo River by 1840. Today, it is the hub for outdoor enthusiasts enjoying the Buffalo National River, one of the last free-flowing waterways in the United States, and the Ozark Highland Trail. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood At least three different stories are told about the origin of the name Jasper. One oft-repeated legend says that Cherokee Indians traveling west on the torturous Trail of Tears gave the town its name after being surprised by the village’s warm hospitality. A second version of this same story tells of a precious ring, containing a jasper stone, given to the postmaster in gratitude for care given to the Cherokee travelers. Yet another account …

Jasper Commercial Historic District

Centered on the Newton County Courthouse, the Jasper Commercial Historic District in Jasper (Newton County) includes twenty-six buildings. The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 2010. With early settlers arriving around 1825, Jasper became the seat of newly formed Newton County in 1843. The population of the community grew slowly over the next several decades, but a timber boom in the years after the Civil War led to a major influx, with the population of Newton County more than doubling between 1880 and 1900. Jasper was incorporated on May 8, 1896, and while it never experienced strong population growth, it did serve as the largest town and commercial center of Newton County. As …

Limestone Valley, Skirmish at

A small skirmish between Arkansas Federals and Confederate-leaning guerrillas in the rugged Ozark Mountains, this engagement was part of an effort to keep Confederate forces both from attacking Union units and from terrorizing the local population. This engagement is typical of the type of fighting at this point of the war between Union forces and irregular units. On April 14, 1864, Colonel John Phelps of the Second Arkansas Cavalry (US) ordered Major James Melton to take 110 men and move against a guerrilla force nearby under the command of a man known as Sissell (quite likely John Cecil). Melton and his men departed the next day. Captain John Bailey and his company were ordered to work with Melton’s unit in …