Romance (White County)

Romance is an unincorporated community in White County. The area was settled around 1850 by pioneers from Kentucky before the Civil War. The families, who traveled in a caravan of about five or six wagons, included the Pruetts, the Owens, and the Hills. Looking for land suitable for building and farming, they settled in the fertile valley along the Des Arc Creek.

Because the families had come from Kentucky, they called the area Kentucky Valley. In 1884, the residents petitioned for a post office, but the U.S. Post Office rejected the name of Kentucky Valley, wanting to avoid confusion. Local belief differs on how the current name was chosen. The most common story says that a schoolteacher named J. J. Walters chose the name, saying the town had a “romantic” look to him. Another story holds that the town is named after the area by a local spring, a popular place for young couples to meet. Regardless of how it came about, the name stuck, and Romance was established as a town, with Ben Crossland serving as its first postmaster.

In its early days as Kentucky Valley, Romance was home to several family farms, including the Ben Pruett farm. One of Pruett’s sons, Philip Halker Pruett, fought for the Confederates in the Civil War and was injured in the siege of Port Hudson, Louisiana, after which he was held prisoner for eighteen months and released at the end of the war in 1865. After returning home, Pruett married and lived on his father’s farm for one year, then bought and rebuilt a broken-down sawmill in the area and ran a successful lumber business from 1868 to 1875.

From the post–Civil War era into the early twentieth century, Romance was a small but active community, home to a blacksmith, a cotton gin, a grist mill, and several stores. Cotton farming was the largest source of income during this time. Romance is home to three buildings on the National Register of Historic Places: the Scott-Davis House, Roy Harper House, and Pence-Carmichael Farm. All three are examples of vernacular architecture in the area built during this time period, though the Pence-Carmichael farm includes a root cellar built later (1935).

Arguably the most famous feature of Romance is its name, which has brought attention to the town’s post office. In 1990, Romance was formally honored when the U.S. Postal Service chose the town as the place from which it issued that year’s Love Stamp. The town of Romance has also inspired many people to request Romance post office cancellation stamps for Valentine’s Day cards or other significant letters, such as wedding invitations. Romance’s cancellation stamp design changes each year with a different love-themed motif. In 2020, the post office stamped approximately 12,000 Valentine’s Day cards.

The early-twenty-first-century population in Romance was a little more than 1,900. While Romance no longer has much industry, it is home to a few businesses, including Romance Christmas Tree Farms, which was founded in the early 1980s. Romance is also home to a few churches, including Romance Church of Christ and Landmark Baptist Church.

For additional information:
Garner, T. R. “Glenn Belew Interview: Rose Bud Postmaster.” White County Historical Society. (accessed April 19, 2024).

Pruett, Jess A. “How The Pruetts Helped Settle Romance, We Called It Kentucky Valley: The Life of P. H. Pruett.” White County Heritage 43 (2005): 80–87. Online at (accessed April 19, 2024).

“Romance.” Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. (accessed April 19, 2024).

“Romance Cemetery.” White County Historical Society. (accessed April 19, 2024).

Schnedler, Jack. “Romance Post Office Lives up to Its Name.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, February 8, 2022, pp. 1E, 6E. Online at (accessed April 19, 2024).

Van Zandt, Emily. “Romance Christmas Tree Farm Looks to Seasons to Come.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, November 22, 2012. Online at (accessed April 19, 2024).

Sarah Jane Rawlinson
North Little Rock, Arkansas


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