Daleville (Clark County)

Located on the east bank of the Ouachita River directly across from Arkadelphia (Clark County), Daleville was a community in Clark County. Formerly a populated location, it recorded no residents by the twenty-first century.

The area around Daleville was used by Native Americans to make salt. The Hunter-Dunbar Expedition visited the salt-making site during their expedition up the Ouachita River in 1804. Early white settlers also made salt in the area, including John Hemphill and his family. The Hemphills arrived in the area in 1811. Settling across the river from the small community of Blakelytown (now Arkadelphia), the family operated the saltworks and farmed. Hemphill purchased salt kettles in New Orleans around 1815 and operated the business until his death sometime before 1820. That year, his widow Nancy Hemphill obtained title to just over ninety-eight acres in the area. William Blakely, the namesake of Blakelytown, obtained almost 149 acres of land at the same time. Samuel Hemphill obtained about eighty-seven acres of land in 1837, and James Hemphill obtained about forty-eight acres nearby in 1839. Both men were sons of Nancy and John Hemphill.

The area was not heavily settled, as the proximity to the Ouachita River led to somewhat frequent flooding. During the Civil War, a Federal army under the command of Major General Frederick Steele arrived in the area in the spring of 1864 before crossing the river into Arkadelphia. A ferry operated between the two communities, allowing citizens of Daleville the opportunity to shop.

Economic growth came to the area in 1886 when the Arkadelphia Lumber Company began operations of a major lumber mill in Daleville. Robert W. Huie founded the company and served as the president. By 1902, the business was producing more than 150,000 board feet a day. Raw lumber and finished products utilized the Iron Mountain Railroad, which crossed the river at Daleville. Most workers lived in Arkadelphia and crossed the river on the ferry while utilizing railroad trestles in times of high water.

A Baptist church operated in the community in the 1890s, supported by the congregation of the First Baptist Church of Arkadelphia. A post office operated in the community from 1889 to 1905. Service later transferred to the post office in Arkadelphia. Few retail businesses operated in the community, as many workers lived in Arkadelphia, but a commissary provided by the mill offered some supplies to the few workers who lived nearby.

The Ultima Thule, Arkadelphia and Mississippi River Railroad connected the community with Dalark (Dallas County), with a maintenance shop located in Daleville. The narrow gauge railroad brought timber directly to the mill. The railroad later became the Memphis, Dallas and Gulf Railroad but ended operations after World War I. The tracks were then removed to be used in new railroads. One engine remained in Daleville until World War II when it was scrapped to support the war effort.

In 1902, William Grayson became the president of the Arkadelphia Lumber Company and served until 1912, when it shut down. The mill moved to Graysonia in western Clark County and operated as the Grayson Lumber Company. Even with the shuttering of the Arkadelphia Lumber Company, multiple other mills operated at Daleville. The final mill to operate in the area was under the ownership of the Sturgis family. The mill burned in 1955 and was not rebuilt.

In addition to the lumber mills, Daleville is notable due to the community’s connection to transportation. The first Arkadelphia Airport operated in the area on leased land belonging to Hugh Ross. The first plane landed at the facility on April 24, 1934. The facility operated as a community airport and also offered aviation instruction to students at Henderson State Teachers College and Ouachita Baptist College. The field included two runways and served Arkadelphia until the construction of a new airport south of the city in the 1950s.

A bridge linking Arkadelphia to Daleville was constructed in the early twentieth century. A single-lane Parker Truss bridge, it was replaced by a larger steel and concrete structure in 1960. The bridge carries Arkansas Highways 7 and 51 into Arkadelphia where the road is named Caddo Street.

Daleville remains heavily agricultural. The majority of the land in the area is either part of timber cultivation or row crops. Few businesses operate in the area, and no residences are located in the community in the twenty-first century.

For additional information:
Berry, Trey, Pam Beasley, and Jeanne Clements, eds. The Forgotten Expedition: The Louisiana Purchase Journals of Dunbar and Hunter, 1804–1805. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2006.

Richter, Wendy, et al. Clark County Arkansas: Past and Present. Arkadelphia, AR: Clark County Historical Association, 1992.

David Sesser
Southeastern Louisiana University


No comments on this entry yet.