Counties, Cities, and Towns

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Entry Category: Counties, Cities, and Towns - Starting with D

Daisy (Pike County)

Daisy is a town in Pike County, located on U.S. Highway 70 and on the shores of Lake Greeson. Daisy State Park is adjacent to the town of Daisy. The region that would become Pike County was sometimes visited by Caddo, although no permanent Native American settlements were established. Pike County was created in 1833, and in 1860 Henry J. Walston purchased land south of what would become Daisy, land that today is under the waters of Lake Greeson. Walston made additional land purchases in 1885, including the land where Daisy was established. Other families joined Walston, including the family of William Carroll Gentry, who homesteaded on Walston’s property. In 1888, a post office was established that was known as …

Dallas County

Dallas County is a rural county, dominated in its early days by farming, mostly cotton, and then railroads and timber; these industries have accounted for the majority of economic sustenance for residents and landowners throughout its history. Many communities that exist in the county today owe at least some part of their development to the construction of either a nearby railroad, mill, or both. Pre-European Exploration Just prior to European exploration and settlement, Native American tribes, primarily Caddo and Quapaw, lived, traveled, and hunted in the area now known as Dallas County. Several sites identified as burial or other sacred sites have been identified in southwest Arkansas, and some were explored by archeologists earlier in the twentieth century, including some …

Damascus (Van Buren and Faulkner Counties)

  Damascus is a town located on U.S. Highway 65 on the county line between Faulkner and Van Buren counties. It is most known for its proximity to the Titan II missile base that operated from 1963 until 1980, when a missile explosion killed one person and injured twenty-one. Damascus is located on a plateau between Pine Mountain Creek and Batesville Creek. Heavily timbered until the later part of the nineteenth century, the area was lightly populated for many centuries. Prehistoric stone tools are still found by farmers plowing the soil near the town. Land records show that Elijah Cagle, Hosea King, Thomas King, and Jacob Hartwick all purchased land in northern Faulkner County in the years immediately prior to the Civil War. Local …

Danville (Yell County)

Danville, one of two county seats of Yell County (the other being Dardanelle), is situated near the center of the county where Highways 80, 10, and 27 converge. The city is located in the Arkansas Valley natural division on the south side of the Petit Jean River and north of the Fourche Mountains subdivision of the Ouachita Mountains. Danville has often been overshadowed by the more populous Dardanelle, which has grown larger due to its situation along the Arkansas River and proximity to Interstate 40. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Cherokee settled in the Arkansas Valley, including the area that is now Yell County, in the late 1790s and early 1800s; however, they ceded these lands to the U.S. government …

Dardanelle (Yell County)

Dardanelle, adjacent to the Arkansas River in northeast Yell County, was platted in 1847 and incorporated on January 17, 1855. The origin of the town’s name is open to conjecture. Perhaps the 300-foot-high rock face at the river’s edge reminded early explorers of the Dardanelles in Turkey, or perhaps the early French coureur de bois and holder of a 600-acre Spanish land grant in the area, Jean Baptiste Dardenne, is the source of the town’s name. European Exploration and Settlement Several Native American tribes hunted in or inhabited the area, including the Osage, Caddo, and Cherokee. Thomas Nuttall’s 1819 journal described Cherokee people living in log cabins along the Arkansas River south of the Dardanelle Rock surrounded by cotton fields …

Datto (Clay County)

Datto is a town in Clay County situated just north of U.S. Highway 67. Created when the railroad was built through the area at the beginning of the twentieth century, Datto is five miles from Success (Clay County). Although most of Clay County is farmland today, it was once heavily forested. Four rivers flow through the county, providing early transportation corridors. Osage, Shawnee, Delaware, and Quapaw tribes—as well as French explorers—are all known to have visited the area. A military road known as the Southwest Trail was constructed through the area during Arkansas’s territorial period, linking Missouri to the southwestern corner of the territory, which was then Fulton (Hempstead County). Isaac Day came to the area late in the nineteenth …

Davidsonville (Randolph County)

Davidsonville, founded in 1815, was perhaps the most important frontier settlement in northeast Arkansas. Though abandoned by the 1830s, it was the site of several Arkansas “firsts.” While a part of Missouri Territory’s Lawrence County, it was the location of the first post office in what would become Arkansas. In 1820, Arkansas Territory’s first federal land office was also established there, and the first Arkansas courthouse was built in 1822. For approximately fifteen years, the town was an important gathering place for local politics and commerce. The area was first occupied during the Archaic Period (9500–650 BC) and as late as the early 1700s by the Osage, Shawnee, Delaware, and others. Modern archaeological evidence confirms that the town was built …

De Queen (Sevier County)

De Queen, a railroad town founded just a few years before the start of the twentieth century, is the county seat of Sevier County and also the county’s largest city. De Queen is located at the intersection of two major U.S. highways: U.S. 71, which runs north to south, and U.S. 70, which runs east to west. Post Reconstruction through the Gilded Age De Queen owes its existence to the arrival of what eventually became the Kansas City Southern Railroad, which connects Kansas City, Missouri, with Gulf Coast ports at Port Arthur, Texas. The railroad was the vision of Arthur E. Stilwell, a Kansas City businessman who wanted to build a line from Kansas City to the Gulf of Mexico …

Decatur (Benton County)

Decatur is a second-class city in Benton County, not far from the northwestern corner of Arkansas. About fifteen miles west of Rogers (Benton County), Decatur is in the Ozark hills about halfway between Sulphur Springs (Benton County) and Siloam Springs (Benton County) on State Highway 59. The first known white settler on the land that would become Decatur was William F. Burrow, who was farming in the area before Arkansas became a state in 1836. Burrow chose the land because of its proximity to a fresh-water spring, later given the name St. Elmo Spring. He received a formal deed to his forty acres of land from the U.S. government in 1854. Burrow and his neighbors grew various crops, including tobacco …

Delaplaine (Greene County)

Delaplaine is a town in the northwestern corner of Greene County. State Highways 34, 90, and 304 intersect in Delaplaine, and several drainage ditches flow through the town to empty into the nearby Cache River. Delaplaine was formed by the railroad and the lumber industry, but agriculture, hunting, and fishing are the mainstays of the town’s economy in the twenty-first century. The area had been inhabited for centuries before Euro-American settlement, with nearby Indian mounds containing artifacts such as stone tools, pottery pieces, bones, and charcoal from campfires. The Osage hunted and camped in the region prior to the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, and some local historians believe that a French trading post and mission were established where Delaplaine stands …

Delight (Pike County)

  Delight is located in the southeast corner of Pike County. It was a center for the timber industry in the early twentieth century. White settlers began moving into the area near the end of the eighteenth century, settling along Wolf Creek, which flows from northwest of Delight in a southeasterly direction. The settlement became known as Wolf Creek and was granted a post office on January 18, 1832, and became a mail stop between Little Rock (Pulaski County) and the Hempstead County Courthouse, then at Washington. Samuel Hasley purchased about forty-three acres of land from the United States for $1.25 an acre. This acreage is now the town of Delight. Hasley later sold the property to Abner Hancock for …

Dell (Mississippi County)

Dell is a town in Mississippi County, a few miles southwest of Blytheville (Mississippi County). State Highways 18 and 181 pass through Dell. When Arkansas became a state, the region around Dell was swampy and forested. Pemiscot Bayou runs into the Little River near Dell, so travelers passed through the area by flatboat and by steamboat. The first landowner in what would become Dell was Thomas J. Blackmore, who acquired about 160 acres of swampland in 1855 through the Swamp Land Act of 1850. Blackmore may not have even visited the land before he sold it, as the land went through several absentee owners until it was purchased by W. B. Sizemore in 1878. During the Civil War, a skirmish …

Denieville (Independence County)

The historic community of Denieville was located on Spring Creek less than a mile from Limedale (Independence County) on Limedale Road. It was about five miles west-northwest of the county seat, Batesville (Independence County). The White River and the Missouri Pacific railroad tracks run about two miles south of Denieville. Following the Civil War, mining interests in the eastern United States attempted to develop the white lime deposits of Independence County for commercial use, establishing kilns near Batesville. (Quick lime is used for a number of purposes, including mortar, plaster, and the manufacture of paper.) The production of lime in Independence County began in earnest in 1887, emerging on a small scale at Denieville on the Cushman (Independence County) branch …

Denning (Franklin County)

Denning is a town in southern Franklin County. Its northern border is the southern city limit of Altus (Franklin County). Denning was at one time the largest city in Franklin County, with six coal mines providing jobs for more than 1,000 miners. Osage used to come from the north to hunt and to fish in the Ozark Mountains. From 1819 to 1828, the area was part of a Cherokee reservation. Various treaties moved both nations farther west, opening the land to white settlement. In 1839, Samuel Davis acquired a land patent for part of the land where Denning would be established. Coal was discovered south of Altus around 1890, and the Western Coal and Mining Company, based in St. Louis, …

Dennison Heights (Independence County)

Dennison Heights of Independence County began as a housing development in the 1950s and 1960s on the bluffs overlooking the White River. It was named for the Dennison/Denison family (different branches of the family spelled the name differently) who had a large farm south of the White River and across the river from Eagle Mountain. Dennison Heights is located three miles south of Batesville (Independence County), the county seat. It sits atop Ramsey Mountain (a.k.a. Ramsey Hill), just off Highway 167, also called Batesville Boulevard. At the time of Dennison Heights’ formation, three roads made a triangle at the “top of the hill,” as the Dennison Heights area is commonly called: Highways 14 and 25 led to Desha (Independence County) …

Denton (Lawrence County)

In the mid-1830s, at the intersection of the Powhatan-Smithville Road and Military Road, one of Lawrence County’s earliest unincorporated communities developed. If it still existed today, Denton would be located about six miles west of Powhatan (Lawrence County) on State Highway 117. The nearby Black River and the fertile land of the Flat Creek valley attracted many settlers to the area prior to the Civil War. In about 1818, a Baptist church known as Bethel was organized as a missionary meeting house. Disagreements among the congregation resulted in a split. As a result, the New Hope Baptist Church was founded on July 22, 1844, with a building constructed in 1853. A new building was constructed in 1940. The church has …

Departee (Independence County)

The historic community of Departee in Christian Township of Independence County is located on Blackland Road (Highway 157) near Departee Creek, about three and a half miles southwest of Oil Trough (Independence County) and two miles northwest of Thida (Independence County). Departee is close to Major Harris Mountain in the Oil Trough Bottoms near the Blackland community. The White River bottomland is a fertile area for farming, although cotton has been largely replaced by other crops such as soybeans and rice. Flooding, often disastrous, frequently occurs in the bottoms. The community was named for Departee Creek, a small bottomland creek that most likely received its name from the French who were in the area by the beginning of the nineteenth …

Dermott (Chicot County)

Dermott grew from a bayou settlement, which had its beginning in the early 1840s, to a thriving railroad town in the 1880s. With an economy based largely on agriculture and timber, it flourished until the Depression. While many other small Delta towns did not survive that period, Dermott prevailed. Although it never regained its former stature, it remains a substantial town populated by many descendants of early settlers. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The first settlers chose the rich and heavily timbered land along the bayou. John Smith and his wife, Sarah Bowden, arrived in 1811 and opened the first settlement in the vicinity. The town was named after Dr. Charles McDermott, who first visited in 1834. He bought land …

DeRoche (Hot Spring County)

DeRoche is located in the area of Arkansas Highway 84 between state highways 128 and 7. Located just south of Jack Mountain, the township lies about fifteen miles south of Hot Springs (Garland County) and eight miles east of Bismarck (Hot Spring County). The DeRoche community is enclosed on three sides by the Caddo and Ouachita rivers. Although the DeRoche Creek name appeared on maps in 1806, development of the area did not begin for another twenty-five years. “De Roche” is French for “of rock,” a possible reference to the rocky bed of DeRoche Creek, for which the community was named. Squatting was the primary way to obtain land in the area. Some worked the land for many years but then moved …

Des Arc (Prairie County)

Des Arc is one of two county seats serving Prairie County. It was one of the earliest settlements in eastern Arkansas as well as an important shipping point for lumber and agricultural goods. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Des Arc was the earliest settlement in Prairie County, taking its name from the Bayou des Arc two miles north of city; the bayou’s name is derived from a French term meaning “bow” or “curve.” Francis Francure, a Frenchman, was reportedly one of the first settlers in the area, testifying, upon receipt of a Spanish land grant, that he had lived on the land since 1789. Goodspeed’s history of the area credits as the first residents two Creoles named Watts and East, …

Desha (Independence County)

Desha is located on State Highways 14 and 25 (a.k.a. Heber Springs Road) in Independence County about six miles southwest of Batesville, the county seat. Desha is closely associated with nearby Locust Grove (Independence County), Jamestown (Independence County), McHue (Independence County), and Southside (Independence County). The White River is about one mile to the north, and Ramsey Mountain (a.k.a. Ramsey Hill) lies about two miles to the east. There is evidence that Hernando de Soto and his men journeyed through the Greenbrier Bottoms (named for Greenbrier Creek—originally spelled Greenbriar) in October and November 1541. Dr. Julie Morrow of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro (Craighead County) began the process of archaeological study and research into the Native American city of Coliqua …

Desha County

 Hardwood forests, alluvial soil, and flooding rivers marked the Native American territory that became Desha County. Lying at the confluence of the Arkansas, White, and Mississippi rivers, fertile land with abundant game provided sustenance for the Quapaw. Today, Delta soil and ample water make Desha County a leading agricultural producer. European Exploration and SettlementExplorers Hernando de Soto; Father Jacques Marquette; Louis Joliet; René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle; and Henri de Tonti visited area Indian tribes. Marquette and Joliet stopped in 1673 at the Indian village of Mitchagama, in the vicinity of the Arkansas River mouth. La Salle, visiting Indians in 1682, set up a cross in the same area. Frenchman Francis D’Armond erected a trading post on the Mississippi …

DeValls Bluff (Prairie County)

DeValls Bluff, in east-central Prairie County, is located on the White River and Highway 70. It is the county seat for the southern district of Prairie County. Excluding Helena (Phillips County), no other town in eastern Arkansas held such strategic importance to the Union army during the Civil War as did DeValls Bluff. Jacob M. DeVall and his son, Chappel S., were apparently the first white settlers in the area. They first appear on Prairie County tax records in 1851. Post office department records indicate the town was named for Jacob. Chappel S. DeVall had a mercantile operation with a warehouse and home on the White River (now White River basin) in 1849. At the beginning of the Civil War, …

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 …

Diamond City (Boone County)

At a site that once was the northernmost steamboat stop on the White River, Diamond City is now a center for tourism on the shores of Bull Shoals Lake, with many lakeside weekend homes belonging to families from Harrison (Boone County) and other parts of Arkansas. Diamond City is also home to many retirees from other states. Aside from Harrison, which is the county seat, Diamond City is the largest city in Boone County. The Osage hunted in the White River valley when the United States first acquired this land in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Even after the Osage signed treaties with the U.S. government, which moved them farther west, the area that would become Boone County remained sparsely …

Diaz (Jackson County)

  The city of Diaz, created by the railroad industry in the late nineteenth century, is just north of Newport (Jackson County) about halfway between Jacksonport State Park and the Newport Municipal Airport. It is bypassed by Highway 67 (the Rock ’n’ Roll Highway) but connects with Highway 367 as well as several state highways. Jacksonport (Jackson County), and later Newport, were important cities built along the White River, but the area that became Diaz was first cleared for farmland. Some residents referred to the incipient community of farmers as Shiloh. Elijah Blansett and George Sink were the first landowners to settle there, shortly before the Civil War began. They were soon joined by several other families, including that of William F. …

Dierks (Howard County)

   The city of Dierks in Howard County rose to prominence due to the thriving timber industry of the early twentieth century. Named for a well-known lumber businessman, the city has maintained its identity with an annual Pine Tree Festival but is also known as a tourist center in the Ouachita Mountains of western Arkansas. The first families to acquire land in the township were Henry Block, John Cesterson, and James Wallen, all of whom arrived in 1848. A few more families gradually bought land in the area, which was then a dense forest of pine, oak, and hickory trees. One wagon trail connected the settlement—which they named Hardscrabble—to the town of Center Point (Howard County), ten miles south. During …

Donaldson (Hot Spring County)

The community of Donaldson in Hot Spring County was established in the 1870s. The timber industry and the Missouri Pacific Railroad were important to the town’s development. John Easley was appointed the first postmaster in 1876. There are two local stories regarding the town’s naming. One version posits that the town was named for a Mr. Donaldson who owned a sawmill there. According to another, there was a railroad superintendent named Donald there in the 1870s. His son opened a store for railroad employees, and so when people were going shopping, they were going to “Donald’s son.” A third possibility is that the community was named after William Rhind Donaldson (1843–1917), the son-in-law of Thomas Allen, president of the Cairo …

Dota (Independence County)

Dota (pronounced Doe-dee or Doe-tee) is a historic community near Dota Creek, which runs into the Black River. Dota is located just off the WPA Road between Cord (Independence County), which is two and half miles to the north-northeast, and Charlotte (Independence County), which is about four miles to the north-northwest. Dota Old River is a lake near where Dota Creek empties into the Black River. Dota is a corruption of the French word d’eau, meaning water. D’eau became Doty and then Dota. The old military road ran through D’eau Bayou (which later became known as Dota Creek). The Jackson Military Road was laid out in 1831 from St. Louis, Missouri. It roughly parallels the old Southwest Trail as it …

Dover (Pope County)

Dover was once the county seat of Pope County and the major site of a series of violent post-Reconstruction events known collectively as the Pope County Militia War. Though its influence diminished after it was bypassed by the railroad in the early 1870s, it remains an important community within the county. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Stories vary regarding the origin of Dover and its name. According to one, Joseph Brearley, who migrated to Pope County in the 1830s, settled near present-day Dover and named the site either after his hometown in Delaware or after the city in England. Another story holds that a man named Stephen Rye settled in the area in 1832 and named the city he laid …

Dowdy (Independence County)

Dowdy is located on Highway 25 near the intersection with Upper Lockhart Road about three miles northeast of Cord (Independence County) and about five miles south of Saffell (Lawrence County). Dowdy is about three miles west of where the Lockhart Ferry crossed the Black River and about a mile south of Curia Creek. The Black River bottoms area has rich alluvial soil, and Native Americans made it their home in pre-Columbian times. Prehistoric sites are numerous. At the beginning of the twentieth century, archaeologist Clarence Bloomfield Moore excavated several sites, including Little Turkey Hill, near what is today Dowdy. By 1818, John Milligan II had settled along Reeds Creek in Lawrence County. He became a minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian …

Drasco (Cleburne County)

Originally called Crossroads or Cross Roads (because the Batesville-Clinton and Richwoods-Searcy roads intersected there), Drasco of Cleburne County lies about eleven miles northeast of Greers Ferry Lake and includes the lakeside community of Tannenbaum. Still located at a crossroads—at the junction of Highway 25 (Heber Springs Road) and Highway 92 (Greers Ferry Road)—Drasco lies in a strategic spot for the tourism business, serving travelers to the county seat of Heber Springs (Cleburne County) and to the resort areas of Greers Ferry (Cleburne County) and Prim (Cleburne County). The Osage once hunted in the area. According to local historian Ollie Latch, a branch of the Blackfoot Indians known as Drascos occupied the area in 1793, though the Blackfoot actually occupied parts …

Drew County

Drew County is located at the edge of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain (the Delta) in the West Gulf Coastal plains region. Bayou Bartholomew, the longest bayou in the world, runs along the eastern edge of Drew County. The Saline River forms the southwestern border. The Monticello Ridge uplands extend from north of Star City (Lincoln County) through Drew County into Louisiana. The county is home to the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM), whose School of Forest Resources is the only such institution in the state, as well as SeaArk Marine, Inc., and other industries. European Exploration and Settlement Native Americans lived in southeastern Arkansas, including Drew County, for many years before European exploration into the region. By the late …

Driftwood (Lawrence County)

Driftwood is a historic African-American community located in Morgan Township on Highway 361 about four miles east of Strawberry (Lawrence County) and about two and a half miles south of Lynn (Lawrence County). The Black River and its alluvial bottomland are about two and a half miles to the east. In its early days of settlement, Driftwood was referred to as Morgan Creek; it was also often referred to as “Little Africa,” as it had an estimated fifty farm families, mostly African American, living there at one time in its history. The black farmers in the area, most of whom worked on the Sloan Plantation near Black Rock, were given the proverbial “forty acres and a mule” by James F. …