Entries - Entry Category: Cities and Towns - Starting with W

Wabbaseka (Jefferson County)

Wabbaseka is a town in northern Jefferson County. It is on the conjoined highways U.S. 63 and U.S. 79 between Humphrey (Arkansas and Jefferson counties) and Altheimer (Jefferson County). When Arkansas became part of the United States, the land where Wabbaseka would later be founded was a forested swamp that attracted few settlers. Antoine Barraque visited Quapaw chief Heckaton at what was referred to as Wadittesha Wattiska, or Black Clay Bayou, in January 1826. Surveyor William Pelham noted “Bayou Wabbaseekee” in 1836, calling it “a stream with a gentle current.” High land next to the bayou was noted during a flood in 1844, leading Jordan Embree to purchase the “island” in 1853. On his map of Jefferson County in 1872, …

Waldenburg (Poinsett County)

Waldenburg is an incorporated town in Owen Township of Poinsett County. Located west of Crowley’s Ridge, the town lies at the intersection of State Highways 14 and 49. It is located south of Weiner (Poinsett County) and approximately twenty-five miles from Jonesboro (Craighead County). Originally known as the German Settlement, then Bern, and later Youngville, Waldenburg was incorporated in 1958. Early in its settlement, the town was a small milling community predominately settled by German immigrants whose descendants still make up the majority of the population. The construction of the St. Louis Southwestern Railway (commonly called the Cotton Belt) in 1881 established a firm foundation for the town, and many businesses began to appear. Waldenburg’s milling and agricultural economy soon …

Waldo (Columbia County)

Like many small cities throughout the state of Arkansas, Waldo (Columbia County) owes its existence to the construction of the railroad through the area in the 1880s. With a connection to the outside world, it soon became a thriving commercial area with as many as seven lumbering operations located in the immediate vicinity. Waldo owes its founding and development to the construction of the St. Louis, Arkansas and Texas Railroad into the surrounding timberlands in 1883. At that time, Lamartine (Columbia County) was a thriving town in the area. But when the tracks were put down approximately three miles to the south, citizens began to move there, with businesses soon to follow. Once the Lamartine post office was relocated along …

Waldron (Scott County)

Surrounded by forested ridges and wide fertile valleys, Waldron is located fifty miles south of Fort Smith (Sebastian County), near the Oklahoma border in Scott County. It is situated on the South Fork of the Poteau River in the Ouachita Mountains. The town, the seat of Scott County, is centrally located on the north-south highway artery on the western side of the state and is within easy reach of air, train, or truck shipping facilities. Louisiana Purchase through the Gilded Age The founder of Waldron, William Grandison (W. G.) Featherston, moved to the area in 1832 with his mother, wife, and four children. He built a store/tavern on his property where Main Street was later constructed. A post office named …

Wallaceburg (Hempstead County)

Wallaceburg is an unincorporated community located in northeastern Hempstead County. The community is about two miles northeast of Blevins (Hempstead County) and sixteen miles north of Hope (Hempstead County). It is located in Wallaceburg Township. Early landowners in the area include William Hasley, who obtained eighty acres as part of a land patent in 1837. Other early landowners include the Philip Graves family, who obtained forty acres in 1854, and James Wood, who received a patent for 160 acres in 1856. The name of the community may come from Stephanus Wallace, who obtained eighty acres of land in the area in 1875, or Marcus Wallace, who acquired forty acres the same year. The first courthouse in Hempstead County stood about …

Walnut Grove (Independence County)

The Walnut Grove Cemetery on Walden Road just north of Cord (Independence County) is all that is left of the historically important community of Walnut Grove, located on the Jackson Military Road (named for President Andrew Jackson) built parallel to the old Southwest Trail in the early 1830s. A main road ran nearby from the county seat of Batesville (Independence County) to Elgin (Jackson County), seven miles southeast, where a ferry crossed Black River. Before it was called Walnut Grove, the area was referred to on the census reports as Black River Township. The Military Road then ran through Hazel Grove (Independence County) to Walnut Grove along Curia Creek, where the marker is located today at the entrance to the …

Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County)

Walnut Ridge, county seat of Lawrence County, is located in northeast Arkansas. In response to World War II, the United States government opened the Walnut Ridge Army Flying School in 1942 on the northern outskirts of the town. The flying school was essential in the training of World War II pilots and in the dismantling of planes and other military equipment at the end of the war. Today, Walnut Ridge is the home of Williams Baptist University and is located on a major railroad line. The town also recently opened a museum dedicated to the World War II Army Flying School. Pre-European Exploration Earliest inhabitants in Lawrence County were Native Americans. During the Mississippian Period (approximately AD 900–1600), the Osage, …

Ward (Lonoke County)

The town of Ward is a farming community located in northern Lonoke County on the western edge of Arkansas’s Grand Prairie along the old Southwest Trail, today known as U.S. Highway 67. It is bisected by the Missouri-Pacific Railroad tracks. The railroad first reached the town in the 1870s as the Cairo and Fulton Railroad Company, and it was the main reason for the town to prosper as a prime shipping point for the area’s corn, wheat, cotton, strawberries, and other crops. The lush hardwood forests, rich alluvial soil, abundant game, and ample water supplies found here in this part of the state drew settlers to this area. Ward is believed to have been named for W. D. (probably William) …

Warren (Bradley County)

Warren has been the Bradley County seat of justice since the county’s organization on December 18, 1840. Located in the southeastern part of the state, the town continues to be the county’s commercial, educational, and health care center. It is located on what was variously called the Chicot Trace, Gaines Landing Road, Fort Towson Road, and Washita Road. Early Statehood through Reconstruction Warren once served as the official center of the territory now composed of Calhoun, Cleveland, Ashley, and Drew counties. The first circuit court met on April 26, 1841, at Hugh Bradley’s house. The naming of Warren remained clouded in conjecture for a long time; according to local family tradition, the town was named for Hugh Bradley’s slave, Warren …

Washington (Hempstead County)

Once the county seat for Hempstead County, and the last Confederate capital of the state of Arkansas, Washington is now dominated by the Historic Washington State Park. Still a second-class city with a population of 180 in 2010, Washington was overtaken by Hope (Hempstead County) as a regional center in the late nineteenth century due to changes wrought by the railroad industry, but the annual Jonquil Festival still draws large crowds from surrounding states. The Southwest Trail was built during Arkansas’s territorial period, linking St. Louis, Missouri, to Texas and crossing Arkansas from northeast corner to southwest corner. William Stevenson, a Methodist preacher, established the Ebenezer Campground for revival meetings on a sandy hill that would soon become the site of …

Watson (Desha County)

Watson (Desha County) is a second-class city twenty miles north of McGehee (Desha County) and fourteen miles east of Dumas (Desha County). Its location has always been somewhat isolated by the Arkansas River a few miles to the north and the Mississippi River to the east. The nearest bridge over the Arkansas River is at Pendleton (Desha County) ten miles northwest. The nearest bridge over the Mississippi River is forty miles south at Lake Village (Chicot County). The White River is also nearby. When Watson was first settled, the proximity to the rivers was an advantage. Since Henri de Tonti established what would become Arkansas Post in 1686 across the Arkansas River from present-day Watson, early French trappers plied the …

Weeks (Scott County)

Weeks is an unincorporated community located in northwestern Scott County south of Highway 28. Weeks was established circa 1882 just south of the Poteau River. Agriculture has traditionally been important to the area. Prior to European exploration, Weeks was a wilderness lush with native vegetation and numerous species of wildlife. Archaeological evidence from the Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods has been discovered throughout the area. Additional archaeological evidence has indicated that the Caddo tribe had a strong presence along the Poteau River and other prominent waterways. Throughout the early seventeenth and late eighteenth centuries, French trappers and explorers traveled west from Arkansas Post along the Arkansas River. From there, they began traversing smaller tributaries such as the Fourche La Fave …

Weiner (Poinsett County)

The town of Weiner in Poinsett County is recognized principally for its rice farming, duck hunting, and unusual name. Since 1977, the town has annually sponsored the Arkansas Rice Festival on the second Saturday of October. The first known settlers on record were members of the John P. Phillips family, who arrived from Macon, Georgia, in 1866. Other families located nearby, forming the earliest settlement about one and a half miles west of present-day Weiner. In the early years, settlers made their living by hunting, fishing, and raising cattle. The Scott-Raybourn settlement was established a few years later near the site of the present-day Weiner schools. Weiner, a prairie land surrounded by forest, was originally known as West Prairie, and …

Weldon (Jackson County)

Weldon is a town in Jackson County, south of the county seat, Newport (Jackson County). It is on State Highway 17 between Auvergne (Jackson County) and Tupelo (Jackson County); the White River valley lies to the west of Weldon, and the Cache River plains lie to the east. Archaeological evidence indicates that Jackson County has been inhabited for up to 10,000 years. The first white explorers and settlers entered the county by way of the White River, creating such settlements as Newport and Jacksonport (Jackson County). In 1831, Alvin McDonald moved from Tennessee to Jackson County, first purchasing land northeast of Newport but later farming near the present site of Weldon. McDonald raised cattle and hogs, and grew corn, potatoes, …

West Fork (Washington County)

West Fork is a small community in Washington County lying south of Fayetteville along Interstate 49, Highway 71, and the White River. It functions primarily as a suburb of Fayetteville, with local churches, businesses, and a school system that serves many square miles of rural property. Established with the arrival of the railroad in 1885, West Fork has maintained a small-town existence without a significant role in Arkansas history. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The name West Fork applied to at least two early settlements along the spring-fed headwaters of the west fork of the White River. Settlers arrived by 1828, creating self-sufficient homesteads farmed by extended family groups. The 1850 census for West Fork Township listed ninety-six households with trades …

West Memphis (Crittenden County)

West Memphis is the largest town in Crittenden County. Located on the west bank of the Mississippi River where I-55 and I-40 meet, West Memphis has been referred to as the crossroads or mid-point of the United States and is one of the largest trucking centers in the nation. Memphis, Tennessee, is located just across the Mississippi River. Pre-European Exploration through European Exploration and Settlement Native Americans lived in the Mississippi River Valley for at least 10,000 years, although much of the evidence of their presence has been buried or destroyed. The Indians of the Mississippian Period were the last native inhabitants of the West Memphis area. Mound City Road, located within the eastern portion of the West Memphis city …

West Ninth Street (Little Rock)

aka: West 9th Street
West Ninth Street in Little Rock (Pulaski County) emerged as a predominately African-American neighborhood during the Civil War. In 1863, the Federal army, which occupied Little Rock, began constructing log cabins in the area for freed slaves. After the war, many stayed and settled there. By 1870, what was originally known as Little Rock’s West Hazel Street was renamed West Ninth Street. More African Americans settled west of Mount Holly Cemetery between 9th and 12th streets. As the population grew, a four-block section along West Ninth Street, between Broadway and Chester, became the center of the black business district. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, African Americans created fraternal organizations, one of the most prominent of which was …

West Point (White County)

  The incorporated town of West Point is located in central White County, about five miles southeast of Searcy (White County). West Point thrived in its early days as a bustling river port and overcame the ravages of the Civil War, but the arrival of local railroads in the 1870s overshadowed the supremacy of trade via steamboats and diminished its importance as the commercial hub of White County. The earliest evidence of human habitation around West Point is a burial mound constructed sometime after AD 1300. From the mid-seventeenth century onward, the West Point area was part of a hunting ground under the dominion of the Osage until the arrival of white settlers to White County, beginning in 1789. The foundation for a …

Western Grove (Newton County)

  Western Grove is located on U.S. Highway 65 in the northeastern corner of Newton County. Travelers along the highway have made it possible for Western Grove to support a larger number of businesses than is typical of rural towns in the Ozark Mountains region of Arkansas. Joseph Holcombe was the first to claim land in the area that would become Western Grove. As early roads were developed, the area gained a trading post. The community was originally established before the Civil War under the name of Marshall Prairie. Among the early settlers in the area were William O’Daniel (1849), Edward Potts (1854), and Lewis M. Potts (1861). The post office, established in 1854, was named for postmaster John H. …

Wheatley (St. Francis County)

Wheatley is a town in the southwestern corner of St. Francis County. Its northern portion is crossed by Interstate 40, and its southern portion is crossed by U.S. Highway 70 and by the tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad. During the time between the Louisiana Purchase and the Civil War, the area was not attractive to American settlers. Surveyors passed through the area planning a railroad to connect Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Memphis, Tennessee. Although work was done on the eastern and western portion of the railroad before the Civil War, the central portion of the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad was not built until after the war was over; it was completed in 1871. Nineteenth-century trains required stops …

Whelen Springs (Clark County)

Whelen Springs is a small town located along state Highway 53 twenty-two miles south-southeast of the Clark County seat of Arkadelphia. It was once a main hub for powerful lumber companies. The initial settlement of Whelen Springs began in September 1881 as a result of lumber companies coming to the area. The town’s proximity to the Camden (Ouachita County) line of the Iron Mountain Railroad also played a role in its origin. The name of the town can be traced to Henry Whelen, the owner of the land that would become Whelen Springs. In 1882, Southern Lumber Company began construction of a sawmill, under the direction of a Mr. Thompson. In February 1882, a post office was established, with Francis …

White Hall (Jefferson County)

White Hall (once called Grenshaw Springs and Grenshaw “Hall” Springs) is on Arkansas Highway 365 North in Jefferson County. The city developed slowly—first as an early nineteenth-century rest stop for early settlers who were drawn to the pristine water that flowed freely in pools above the ground, then later, during the early twentieth century, as the most direct route for the early Dollarway Road, the first paved (concrete) road in Arkansas, which ran approximately 22.2 miles from the city limits of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) to Little Rock (Pulaski County). During World War II, the United States Army’s Chemical Warfare Division began construction of the Pine Bluff Arsenal on December 4, 1941, near the future city’s northern boundaries. The 6.8 …

White Sulphur Springs (Garland County)

White Sulphur Springs was a resort area in Garland County constructed close to a number of mineral springs near the southern slope of Indian Mountain. The area eventually became part of Hot Springs (Garland County). The earliest residents of the area were Native Americans. Novaculite located on the west end of Indian Mountain was useful to them. Early white settlers of the area arrived in the 1820s and established a small community along Gulpha Creek. The ruggedness of the area made large-scale agriculture impossible, but small-scale farms were successful. The Houpt family constructed a grist mill next to the creek in 1827. Novaculite quarries on the south side of the mountain provided early settlers with a ready supply of the …

Whittington (Garland County)

Whittington is a community in eastern Garland County located about three-quarters of a mile southwest of Fountain Lake (Garland County) and ten miles northeast of Hot Springs (Garland County) along Arkansas Highway 5. Whittington is not to be confused with Whittington Park located in Hot Springs. Whittington is likely named for early settler Hiram Whittington, who moved to what would become Garland County in 1832. He obtained hundreds of acres of land in the 1830s in the area that would become Whittington, as well as other locations in Garland and Saline counties. Upon his death in 1890, Whittington was buried with other members of his family in the Whittington Cemetery located on Mill Creek Road. After the cemetery experienced vandalism …

Wickes (Polk County)

  Wickes is a city in southern Polk County. Built along the Kansas City Southern Railway (KCS) around the beginning of the twentieth century, Wickes is now dominated by the poultry industry. The 2010 census noted its population as more than fifty percent Hispanic. Western Arkansas was heavily forested and sparsely populated until late in the nineteenth century, when the growth of railroads promoted the success of the timber industry. In the last decade of that century, Arthur E. Stilwell was head of the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad (later the KCS). His company created and acquired a network of railroads linking various locations in Missouri, Oklahoma (then still called Indian Territory), Arkansas, and eventually Texas and Louisiana. The …

Widener (St. Francis County)

Widener is a town in St. Francis County between Crowley’s Ridge and the St. Francis River. It is on State Highways 38 and 50 and is crossed by the Union Pacific Railroad. Widener was the birthplace of blues legend Luther Allison. Between the Louisiana Purchase and the Civil War, the area around present-day Widener was not attractive to American settlers, being swampy lowlands. Surveyors passed through the area while planning a railroad to connect Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Memphis, Tennessee. Although work was done on the eastern and western portion of the railroad before the Civil War, the central portion of the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad was not built until after the war was over; it was completed …

Wiederkehr Village (Franklin County)

  With a population of thirty-eight citizens, Wiederkehr Village is the smallest city in Arkansas. Incorporated in 1975 to prevent the area from being annexed by nearby Altus (Franklin County), Wiederkehr Village is best known as the home of Wiederkehr Wine Cellars. The Arkansas River Valley of western Arkansas remained sparsely populated until after the Civil War. For a time, the land was given by the U.S. government to the Cherokee, who had been removed from eastern states. Later, the Cherokee were moved farther west, and the land was opened for settlement by families of European origin. The population did not begin to grow, though, until the railroad industry and the coal mines attracted working men. Particularly in Franklin County, many of …

Williford (Sharp County)

Williford is a small community located in the eastern part of Sharp County near the Spring River, one of Arkansas’s most popular streams for recreational floating. During the early twentieth century, it was one of the county’s largest and fastest-growing towns, but since then it has experienced a steady decline resulting in an almost nonexistent business district and a population of fewer than eighty citizens. While the earliest inhabitants of the area were Native Americans, the first white settler, Jeremiah Pitt Baird, established his homestead on the banks of the Spring River in 1841. Shortly after he settled his family on the opposite side of the river of the present-day town, others began to move into the area. Among those …

Willisville (Nevada County)

Willisville is a town in southern Nevada County. It is located on U.S. Highway 371. Caddo Indians were living in what would become Nevada County when the land was acquired by the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Gradually, white settlers moved into the area to farm cotton and other crops. Thomas Mendenhall purchased land south of the future location of Willisville in 1855 and 1856. Nathan Ray purchased land just north of that location in 1860. After the Civil War, Jason Tyson opened a general store where Willisville is now located. Tyson had moved from Alabama to Arkansas in 1860 and had served in the Confederate army. In 1883, his son John was named postmaster of a …

Wilmar (Drew County)

  The city of Wilmar, in western Drew County, was once home to a school known as Beauvoir College. A center of the southern Arkansas timber industry, Wilmar flourished in the early part of the twentieth century but is now mostly a suburb of Monticello (Drew County), the county seat. The history of Wilmar is generally said to begin with James Thomas Dionysius Anderson, who bought 700 acres of land in Drew County for a dollar an acre in 1859. Earlier landowners in the area were Andrew Govan, who purchased his land in 1848, and Collins Hemingway, a landowner since 1856. Anderson cleared five acres of land and planted corn, which was tended by five slaves: Simon and Lizza Taylor, …

Wilmot (Ashley County)

  Although it was not incorporated until 1898, Wilmot is one of the older settlements in eastern Ashley County. Situated just east of Lake Enterprise, which was once part of Bayou Bartholomew, Wilmot was a steamboat stop long before the railroad came through, built a depot, and renamed the community. Twenty-first-century Wilmot is located on Highway 165 between Parkdale (Ashley County) and the Louisiana state line. Evidence of prehistoric habitation of the area includes a mound north of Lake Enterprise that was excavated by the Arkansas Archeological Survey in 1997. The mound is thought to have been built around 1500 BC, possibly making it the oldest mound in Arkansas. Much of the dirt and many of the stone tool fragments found by the …

Wilson (Mississippi County)

Wilson is located on U.S. Highway 61 in southeastern Mississippi County. It was founded as a company town around the sawmill and logging camp of Robert E. Lee Wilson, for whom it is named, and his father-in-law, Socrates Beall. It is an unusually attractive town with its entire downtown commercial district constructed in the English Revival, or Tudor, style and its streets all lined with large cottonwood trees. R. E. Lee Wilson was a Mississippi County native who, after being orphaned at the age of thirteen in Memphis, returned to Arkansas at fifteen to work as a wage laborer on a farm near Bassett (Mississippi County). He began farming a portion of his late father’s land a year later. By …

Wilton (Little River County)

  Like many of the cities of southwestern Arkansas, Wilton was created alongside railroad development. Although the city was at one time a candidate for the county seat of Little River County, Wilton’s current condition is exemplified by its four properties on the National Register of Historic Places: a strip of highway, an abandoned store, a railroad depot, and a cemetery. Allen Scott was the first owner of the land where Wilton would be established, but Scott sold his land to Paschal S. Kinsworthy prior to the arrival of the railroad. Sergent Smith Prentiss Mills, a Sevier County farmer, was also investing in Little River County land. Mills owned a hotel, a store, and a newspaper in Richmond (Little River County) …

Winchester (Drew County)

Winchester is a town in northeastern Drew County, near U.S. Highway 65. Winchester is most notable as the home of Robert L. Hill, the African-American founder of the Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America. Drew County is crossed by the Bayou Bartholomew, which was long a principal transportation route of southeastern Arkansas. John Martin Taylor, a wealthy physician and farmer, purchased land near the bayou in 1848 and built a plantation house. In 1860, Winston J. Davie purchased farmland to the east of Taylor’s plantation, near the present location of Winchester. In the late 1870s, the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad built a line that crossed Drew County near Davie’s farm. The railroad depot and post office …

Winfield (Scott County) [Northeast]

The Winfield community located northeast of Waldron (Scott County) is a historical town in central Scott County. Very little structural evidence of the town remains. Agriculture was likely important in the area, which was settled in the late 1830s. For a time, Winfield also served as the county seat. It is one of two communities to bear that name in Scott County. The area’s first inhabitants included natives from the Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods. Archaeological discoveries have provided evidence that suggest natives of the Caddo tribe made their homes along the East Fork of the Poteau River and other prominent waterways in the area. Throughout the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, French trappers and traders traveling west from the Arkansas Post likely traversed the Poteau River …

Winfield (Scott County) [West]

Winfield is an unincorporated community in west-central Scott County located along Highway 248. Winfield was established in 1882 near the junction of Jones Creek and Ross Creek. Agriculture has traditionally been an important part of Winfield’s culture and economy. It is one of two communities in Scott County to have the name of Winfield. The area’s first inhabitants included natives from the Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods. Archaeological evidence suggests that natives of the Caddo tribe made their homes along the Poteau River and other prominent waterways in the area. Throughout the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, French trappers and explorers traveled west from the Arkansas Post along the Arkansas River. From there, they began traversing smaller tributaries such as the Fourche …

Winslow (Washington County)

Winslow (Washington County) was reported to be the highest railroad pass on the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway line between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains. The elevation helped make Winslow a popular summer resort area for decades. Pre-European Exploration though Louisiana Purchase Southern Washington County has been inhabited for roughly 12,000 years. In the 1700s, the Osage claimed the land from the Arkansas River north into what is now central Missouri. Their main villages were in Missouri, but they traveled to north Arkansas to hunt. In the early 1800s, settlers began to move north from the river and south from Missouri Territory into the mountains of what is now northwestern Arkansas. Reconstruction through the Gilded Age The stage lines became an …

Winthrop (Little River County)

Winthrop is located in Little River County, in the extreme southwestern portion of the state of Arkansas. It is situated on Highway 234, approximately eight miles north of Foreman (Little River County) and fifteen miles northwest of Ashdown (Little River County). Winthrop does not lie on any main traffic route, since most traffic passes through on Highway 71 to the east and Highway 41 to the west. Winthrop is perhaps best known as the 1964 and 1966 kick-off headquarters for Winthrop Rockefeller’s campaigns to serve as governor of Arkansas. In April 1860, Kinion Whittington obtained a patent from the United States for the area that would later become the central portion of the town of Winthrop. Early records indicate that …

Wirth (Sharp County)

Wirth is a small, isolated community located on an approximately fifteen-mile-long north-south plateau rising from the Spring River in northern Sharp County. At its peak, the community was a commercial and social center that attracted a number of German settlers. The first non–Native American settlers to the area may have come as early as the 1700s, with one source reporting a Spanish family by the name of Munz settling there. More likely, the first to settle were Buck Baldridge and Dee Arnold, who established themselves by 1848. No significant settlement occurred until the 1880s, when a substantial number of German immigrants were enticed to move to the area. Apparently, many people read glowing accounts published by railroad companies in German-language …

Witherspoon (Hot Spring County)

Witherspoon is an unincorporated community in southwestern Hot Spring County. Located about four miles west of Brown Springs (Hot Spring County) and six miles southwest of Donaldson (Hot Spring County), the community was founded as a railroad stop. Originally part of Clark County, the area became part of Hot Spring County when the county was created in 1829. One of the early settlers in the area was Archibald Brumbelow. In 1860, he received forty acres of land near the future location of Witherspoon and farmed it with his family. The opening of the Cairo and Fulton Railroad in 1873 led to the establishment of a railroad stop in the area. A post office opened in Witherspoon in 1875; it operated …

Wittsburg (Cross County)

Located on the eastern slope of Crowley’s Ridge in the St. Francis River watershed, Wittsburg developed near the intersection of the roads on Crowley’s Ridge, the St. Francis River, and the Congressional (Military) Road from Memphis, Tennessee, to Little Rock (Pulaski County). Incorporated in 1848, the town functioned as the Cross County seat from 1862 to 1865 and again from 1868 to 1884. Rebounding after the Civil War and surviving a major fire in 1874, the town grew due to the trade in cotton and dry goods. Wittsburg began to fade after being bypassed by two railroad lines in 1882 and 1887 that drew trade to the west side of Crowley’s Ridge and Wynne (Cross County). European Exploration and Settlement Due …

Wolf Bayou (Cleburne County)

Wolf Bayou is located on the Wolf Bayou Cutoff Road (Highway 90) near Concord (Cleburne County) and Drasco (Cleburne County). According to local historian Louie Clark, French explorers called the local runoff-fed creek a “bayou,” and when the post office was established in 1851 the word “wolf” was added because the timberland along the creek was the home of many wolves. The area was sparsely populated by a few hunters and trappers by 1818. Even with the coming of the post office, not many lived in the area, and only gradually did the region increase in population. The creek later became popular with kayakers. The Old Cherokee Boundary Line goes through the northwestern part of Wolf Bayou and runs diagonally across …

Woodson (Pulaski County)

Woodson is a community in southern Pulaski County, north of Hensley (Pulaski County) and east of Interstate 530. Although it was incorporated on January 17, 1882, as a timber town and a stop on the Little Rock, Mississippi River and Texas Railroad, Woodson continued to operate as an unincorporated area, leading to confusion eighty years later. William D. Pennington acquired land in the area that would become Woodson in 1843. His son, William Q. Pennington, established a post office called Pennington’s Mills in 1855. In 1860, James Jones and John Little also purchased land in the area. The Civil War had little direct impact upon the area during the course of the fighting, but the conclusion of the war reshaped the …

Wooster (Faulkner County)

  Wooster is a city in Faulkner County, seven miles north of Conway (Faulkner County) and four miles west of Greenbrier (Faulkner County). Although it was settled in the later years of the nineteenth century, it did not incorporate until 1958. Land grants were given to Frederick Campbell, Alexander Ferguson, John Lewis, and John Wiser in 1820 for the section of land where Wooster would be developed. Evidently, they farmed the land without developing a community, since the first recorded structure in the area was a store built by N. E. Adams around the middle of the nineteenth century. Adams also maintained a sawmill and a cotton gin. Adams sold his store to J. P. Wooster in 1881. The community …

Wrightsville (Pulaski County)

  The city of Wrightsville, located on Highway 365 in southeastern Pulaski County, existed as an unincorporated settlement for more than a century before it was incorporated late in the twentieth century. Since 1981, it has been home to a major Arkansas Department of Correction facility, which is the principal employer in the city. The area that became Wrightsville was largely wetland, lying in the vicinity of the Arkansas River, when nearby cities such as Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) were developed in the nineteenth century. Although some plantations had been established to the north and west of the site, the actual location of Wrightsville remained unclaimed until construction of the Little Rock, Mississippi, and Texas Railroad …

Wynne (Cross County)

Wynne is located with the west slope of Crowley’s Ridge to the east and the L’Anguille River on the west side of town. Wynne started off as a small railroad town but soon became the county seat of Cross County. In the last 100 years, the city of Wynne has progressed and is now a great attraction for industry, recreation, and is becoming a popular place to reside. The newest attraction to Wynne is the twenty-seven-hole golf course at Village Creek State Park. Reconstruction through the Gilded Age The town can date its history to 1882, when the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad laid tracks in the area. A train derailed and left behind a boxcar, which was turned …