Union Hill (Scott County)
Union Hill is an unincorporated community located in eastern Scott County. The community was established on the banks of Dutch Creek, along present-day Highway 80. Agriculture has historically contributed to the culture and economy of Union Hill.
Prior to European exploration, the area surrounding Union Hill was an unexplored wilderness. Several species of wildlife that no longer inhabit the area, such as elk and buffalo, were present throughout the region. Numerous archaeological sites and burial mounds can be found along the banks of prominent waterways. Archaeological findings have provided evidence of early inhabitants dating to the Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods. Further archaeological evidence has indicated that the people of the Caddo tribe later inhabited the area.
Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto is credited by some with being the first European to explore the area. One of de Soto’s proposed routes through western Arkansas potentially led him through eastern Scott County several miles from present-day Union Hill. During the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, French hunters and tradesmen traveled west from the Arkansas Post exploring portions of western Arkansas. These Frenchmen often traversed rivers and streams throughout the region. Several rivers that flow through Scott County were likely named by these French explorers, including the Petit Jean, Poteau, and Fourche La Fave.
Settlers began arriving in the area near Union Hill by the late 1830s. The area continued to be settled from the 1840s to the late nineteenth century. Most families participated in a wide variety of agricultural practices.
Daniel Hunt was one of the first settlers to arrive in the area. The Hunt family arrived in 1851 from Indiana. Several locations carry the Hunt name, including Hunt Cemetery located two miles east of Union Hill and Hunt Township, in which Union Hill is located.
During the Civil War, men from the region fought for both the Union and the Confederacy. Women, children, and the elderly were often left to care for farms and homesteads.
After the Civil War, an influx of settlers from various war-torn regions of the South moved into the region. After settlement, cemeteries became a necessity. The oldest marked grave in Union Hill Cemetery dates to 1860; however, it may have been an active cemetery prior to then. There are several stories concerning the origin of the name of Union Hill. One of the more likely is that a group of Union soldiers camped where present-day Union Hill is located while marching from Waldron (Scott County) to Danville (Yell County). Another holds that after bushwhackers killed a large number of Union troops, a woman who lived nearby buried them all on a nearby hill.
On April 6, 1886, Thomas W. Tate and twenty other citizens from the Little Star, Dutch Creek, Mount Moriah, and Tate school districts petitioned the county court for the creation of a new school district. The Union Hill school district (number 61) was created, with Thomas W. Tate, J. A. Kennon, and D. A. Wilson being appointed as school directors. In 1917, H. N. Millard was appointed director of the Union Hill School District. The district was consolidated with the Waldron School District in 1947. The community eventually declined due to the absence of infrastructure and industry.
Agriculture continues to be a prominent way of life in Union Hill, mostly in the form of cattle and chicken farms. The Union Hill Freewill Baptist Church serves as a place of worship and as a community center for nearby residents.
For additional information:
Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Western Arkansas. Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1891.
Cate, Michael. History of Scott County, Arkansas. Dallas: Curtis Media Corporation, 1991.
Goodner, Norman. A History of Scott County, Arkansas. Siloam Springs, AR: Bar D Press, 1941.
McCutcheon, Henry Grady. History of Scott County, Arkansas. Little Rock: H. G. Pugh and Company, 1922.
Richardson Preservation Consulting
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