Fielder House

The Fielder House is a historic home located in Fordyce (Dallas County). The original structure was constructed around 1875, making the home the oldest building in the city. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 28, 1983.

Created in 1845, Dallas County is located in south-central Arkansas. Most early settlement in the county took place in the western and central areas. In the southeastern corner of the county, early settlers included Henry Atkinson, an African-American man who purchased the land in the 1870s that would become the core of Fordyce. Incorporated in 1884, Fordyce was laid out by the Cotton Belt Railroad and served as a stop on the line. Growing quickly, the town became the leading settlement in Dallas County and replaced Princeton as the county seat in 1908.

Another early settler in the southeastern corner of the county was James Ragus Fielder. A native of Alabama, he moved to Arkansas and began farming with his wife, Martha, and their children. In two transactions in 1859 and 1860, Fielder obtained a total of 160 acres of land northwest of the future site of Fordyce. Over the decades, the Fielder family continued to grow, and James constructed a new home around 1875.

Originally constructed as a single-pen log structure, the home received an addition in the 1880s to create a dogtrot. Facing north, the house is topped with a gable roof over the central hall. A rear shed addition on the west side of the home and an ell topped with a gable roof on the east expanded the footprint of the building. After the construction of the second pen, the center dogtrot was enclosed to create a central hallway. The last major modifications to the home occurred around 1910 when the Pollard family, who then owned the building, added a rear ell and covered the exterior of the building with weatherboard. An exterior brick chimney is located on the west side of the home. The exact dates of ownership of the property are unclear.

Martha Fielder died in 1885, and James Fielder later married Nancy Jones. James died in 1888 and is buried alongside both of his wives in the Stony Point Cemetery in Bucksnort (Dallas County), just outside of Fordyce and near the family’s original land grants.

The house received extensive modifications over the decades and remains in private hands.

For additional information:
“Fielder House.” National Register for Historic Places registration form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Office, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/DA0046.nr.pdf (accessed November 19, 2020).

David Sesser
Henderson State University

Last Updated: 11/19/2020