Duffie (Hot Spring County)

Duffie is an unincorporated community in Hot Spring County, located about one and a half miles northeast of the entrance to DeGray Lake Resort State Park and about four miles southwest of Bismarck (Hot Spring County). The community is about nineteen miles southwest of the county seat of Malvern (Hot Spring County).

Early settlers in the area included Zacheriah Prince, who obtained a federal land patent for 160 acres in 1856, with an additional 160 acres in 1860. Born in North Carolina, Prince appeared in the 1860 federal census with his wife, Suseanah, and their four sons and two daughters. The family lived in Alabama before moving to Arkansas. Zacheriah Prince owned about $3,000 of real estate and $800 of personal property. In the 1880 census, Prince appears with his second wife, Ellen Prince, and her three children from a previous marriage. At the age of seventy-two, Price continued to work his land.

Martha Hardage was also an early landowner in the Duffie area. She obtained a land patent in 1859 for eighty acres, while Cain Hardage obtained eighty acres directly to the north the following year. Martha appeared in the 1860 census as the head of her household, which included six sons ranging in age from seven to nineteen. Married to the Reverend William Hardage, Martha had moved with her family to Arkansas in the mid-1850s. William died in 1854 and is buried in DeRoche Cemetery. None of Martha’s sons were named Cain, although it was her maiden name, so it is unclear exactly who obtained the land to the north of her acreage.

The area around Duffie is heavily forested, and early settlers cleared the land to plant row crops. A post office opened at Duffie in 1901 and operated until 1917. Service had moved to the Bismarck post office by the twenty-first century.

The origin of the name of Duffie is unknown. The Duffie family was prominent in Hot Spring County, with Alexander Duffie serving as a circuit judge on the Seventh Judicial District Court and his brother Matthew Duffie being a lawyer. Alexander also served as mayor of Malvern in 1889–1890. The family resided in Malvern, making any connection with Duffie unclear.

Members of the community conducted business in Malvern, as well as in Arkadelphia (Clark County)—about twelve miles away. News from the community appeared in an irregular column published in the Southern Standard newspaper published in Arkadelphia. News included in the column mostly focused on the social life in the community, with multiple references to the Caney Missionary Baptist Church located east of Duffie.

By the twenty-first century, much of the land had been returned to timber production, with some pasture acreage in the area. Timber management companies and investment groups bought large tracts of land in the Duffie area. Residents of the area commute to other nearby cities, including Hot Springs (Garland County) and Arkadelphia, for employment. Children in the area attend school in Bismarck.

For additional information:
“News from Duffie Printed in Arkadelphia’s Southern Standard.” The Heritage 24 (1997): 142–143.

David Sesser
Southeastern Louisiana University


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