Richwoods (Clark County)
The earliest settler in the area was Benjamin Dickinson, who purchased land in 1836. Dickinson moved to Clark County the previous year and was a native of North Carolina. Over the next decade, Dickinson acquired hundreds of additional acres of land to become one of the largest planters in the county. He owned two steamboats that transported his cotton down the Ouachita River, and according to the 1840 census, he owned forty-eight slaves. Upon his death in 1845, his estate was valued at approximately $40,000.
The same day that Dickinson obtained his first parcels of property from the land patent office, John and Daniel Morrison obtained 560 acres in the Richwoods area. Other families moved into the area over the years, but the population remained low.
Richwoods Baptist Church was founded in 1877, with the first building constructed in 1891. It continues to operate today, though in a twentieth-century building. The Richwoods Cemetery was established by 1902. In 1909, the community was connected to the Arkadelphia (Clark County) telephone exchange.
In 1966, the nearby town of Gum Springs received a federal grant to install a public water system. Several years later, the water system was extended to Richwoods. In 1979, the first land was purchased to create the Clark County Industrial Park in Gum Springs. The Richwoods Cemetery marks the southern border of the park.
The community was never very large, consisting of farms and timberland. No school or post office operated in the community. In the twenty-first century, the community consists of Richwoods Baptist Church, several homes, and a private event center.
For additional information:
Arnold, N. S., and H. B. Arnold Jr. “Old Clark County.” Clark County Historical Journal (1986): 1–63.
Richter, Wendy, et al. Clark County Arkansas: Past and Present. Arkadelphia, AR: Clark County Historical Association, 1992.
Henderson State University
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