DeRoche (Hot Spring County)
DeRoche is located in the area of Arkansas Highway 84 between state highways 128 and 7. Located just south of Jack Mountain, the township lies about fifteen miles south of Hot Springs (Garland County) and eight miles east of Bismarck (Hot Spring County).
The DeRoche community is enclosed on three sides by the Caddo and Ouachita rivers. Although the DeRoche Creek name appeared on maps in 1806, development of the area did not begin for another twenty-five years. “De Roche” is French for “of rock,” a possible reference to the rocky bed of DeRoche Creek, for which the community was named.
Squatting was the primary way to obtain land in the area. Some worked the land for many years but then moved away without ever obtaining a land title. Theophilus T. “Offey” Thornton completed a house there in 1835, and Isaac Beason received a land title in 1854. No land titles are recorded in the area prior to 1850. The first school to serve the DeRoche area started as early as 1847. It was located on what is now Highway 84 in the area that is now Burnett Cemetery.
The Civil War halted settlement of the DeRoche township. Most young men who lived in the area joined the Confederate army. Once the war ended, settlement continued.
As the area began colonization again after the Civil War, schools were moved to serve the population better. In 1889, students were educated in a building at the Offey Thornton property. After a community vote, Sim Neighbors tore down the school building and reassembled it near his property. The school district educated children in the old Piney Grove Church and in a new house on Henderson Prince Hill on Highway 84. The DeRoche school remained at this location until merging with the Bismarck district in 1938.
The DeRoche area was served by a community post office for some years. In 1870, the post office is recorded as a Clark County entity, but, by 1881, the DeRoche post office was listed as part of Hot Spring County’s postal service. Today, DeRoche residents receive mail through the Bismarck or Friendship (Hot Spring County) post offices.
Early in DeRoche’s history, farming was the primary economic activity. Corn was a popular crop. Later, the area’s thick pine trees offered an opportunity for the timber industry. A sawmill was located in nearby Midway (Hot Spring County).
While there is little industry or retail to provide jobs in the community in the twenty-first century, DeRoche is attractive for its proximity to Hot Springs, Arkadelphia (Clark County), and DeGray Lake Resort State Park. The community is served by three churches—DeRoche Church, Hickory Grove Church, and Riverside Baptist Church.
DeRoche Creek, lying west of the town, offers 5.5 miles of Class II to III whitewater rafting.
For additional information:
Parsons, John C. “History of DeRoche Township, Hot Spring County, Arkansas.” Heritage 1 (1970) 126–146.
Sullivan, Katherine. “History of DeRoche, Hot Spring County, Arkansas.” Heritage 25 (1998): 160–161.
Thomason, Terry. “Hog Heaven and the Baptizing Hole: Landmarks on the DeRoche Creek.” Heritage 33 (2006): 101–103.
Hot Spring County Historical Society
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