Arkansas

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Entries - Entry Category: Arkansas

Almyra (Arkansas County)

Located half-way between Stuttgart (Arkansas County) and DeWitt (Arkansas County) on state Highway 130, the town of Almyra has a history similar to its larger neighbors. Sparked by railroad construction and fueled by the farms of Arkansas County, Almyra has diminished in size but has maintained its identity as an eastern Arkansas community. When Arkansas was first settled, the Grand Prairie seemed untamable to cotton farmers who preferred the rich soils of the Delta region or new land claimed by clearing away the forests. Following the Civil War, though, newcomers to the state made their home on the Grand Prairie, and rice farming succeeded where other kinds of agriculture had seemed unpromising. The Stuttgart and Arkansas River Railroad (later part …

Arkansas Post

Arkansas Post was the first and most significant European establishment in Arkansas. In the colonial and early national periods, from 1686 to 1821, it served as the local governmental, military, and trade headquarters for the French, the Spanish, and finally the United States. In return for serving in René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle’s 1682 expedition, Henri de Tonti, a French officer born of Italian parents, received land and a trading concession at the juncture of the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers. In the summer of 1686, he arranged with the local Quapaw for Jean Couture, Jacques Cardinal, and four other Frenchmen to establish a trading post, where they would exchange French goods for beaver furs. They founded this first Arkansas Post …

DeWitt (Arkansas County)

DeWitt, one of the two seats of Arkansas County, is located in the center of Arkansas’s rice industry and is a minor center of rice milling and processing. The town got its start as a compromise and its name out of a hat. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The settlement of Arkansas Post (Arkansas County) served as the capital of Arkansas Territory until 1821, when the seat of government was moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County). After that date, the seat of Arkansas County remained at Arkansas Post. As the county’s population grew, Arkansas Post’s importance dwindled, and a new county seat, closer to the center of the growing population, became desirable. After much debate, a site near the center …

Gillett (Arkansas County)

  Gillett, a small city in southern Arkansas County, Stanley Township, is located on the west side of U.S. Highway 165 between DeWitt (Arkansas County), the county seat, and Dumas (Desha County). Gillett was founded on the rich prairie soil of the area and is the home of the renowned annual Gillett Coon Supper. The first white people to inhabit the area known as Gillett came in 1881 from Fulton County, Illinois. In 1883, the first German immigrants came, some directly from Germany, though most were from the Danville, Illinois, area. The first school was built in 1886; it also served as the first church and community meeting place. In 1888, the town was platted on land owned by the …

Hagler (Arkansas County)

The community of Hagler was likely not populated until after the Civil War, though the Hagler family, after whom the community was named, came to Arkansas in the late 1840s, settling throughout Arkansas County. By 1878, tax assessments list W. G. R. Hampton, William A. Crockett, Robert Hagler, and Jacob Hagler as living in the Hagler community. Deeds indicate that William Graves purchased much land around the Hagler community after the war; he established the first known store in the area. In 1888, a petition was circulated by Robert L. Hagler for a post office, and he became the first postmaster. The store established by Graves closed in the late 1880s, and its clerk, John Scott, bought eighty acres up …

Humphrey (Arkansas and Jefferson Counties)

Humphrey is one of the few cities in Arkansas to exist in two counties. A second-class city located on the county line between Jefferson County and Arkansas County, it appears on the census records for both counties. Before its consolidation with DeWitt (Arkansas County) in 2004, the Humphrey school district also included students from both counties. The land that now is Humphrey was a farm belonging to William D. Anthony in 1882 when the St. Louis Southwestern Railway (the Cotton Belt) surveyed the area for its line running between Stuttgart (Arkansas County) and Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). The rail stop, which quickly became a settlement, was named for the railway surveyor. The first school classes in Humphrey were held in …

St. Charles (Arkansas County)

St. Charles, a town in Arkansas County, is located on a bluff over the White River. The most destructive single shot in the Civil War was fired at St. Charles. Louisiana Purchase through Early StatehoodPierre Pertuis, fur trader, arrived after purchasing a 1797 Spanish land grant. By 1839, Charles W. Belknap owned the site, known briefly as Belknap’s Bluff. He built an adobe house, one of only a few found on the Arkansas frontier. The house served as a hospital for both sides in the Civil War and was a longtime landmark. The name St. Charles first appears with Belknap’s appointment as postmaster in 1850. He platted the town and began selling lots. St. Charles flourished during the 1850s with …

Stuttgart (Arkansas County)

Stuttgart, one of the seats of Arkansas County, is a predominantly agricultural community situated on the Grand Prairie. Begun as a colony of German immigrants in the late nineteenth century, it became over the years one of the centers of rice farming in Arkansas and is also known for the quality of the duck hunting available in the area. Post Reconstruction through the Gilded Age The Reverend George Adam Buerkle is considered the founder of Stuttgart. Buerkle was born in Plattenhardt, Germany, and immigrated to America with his family in 1852. He was working as a Lutheran minister in Woodville, Ohio, when he first came to Arkansas and bought over 7,000 acres of prairie land in 1878. He brought his first colony …