Counties, Cities, and Towns

Entries - Entry Category: Counties, Cities, and Towns

Trumann (Poinsett County)

Trumann is a city in northeastern Poinsett County located along U.S. Highway 63. It lies in the “sunken lands” region of northeast Arkansas. Gilded Age through Early Twentieth Century In the early 1890s, a collection of rough timber camps were established in the area along the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway (Frisco) to harvest the thousands of acres of virgin timber in the region. Within a few years, the camps were to the point of being recognized as a small village. On April 27, 1896, the village of Mosher was established, named after an official in one of the local lumber companies. In 1902, the name of the town was changed to Weona, after the Weona Land Company that owned most of …

Tuckerman (Jackson County)

Situated on higher land several miles east of the Black River, Tuckerman was bypassed by the construction of the four-lane Highway 67 in 2009. Charming, well-preserved older houses still line the old highway, which was designated “Rock ’n’ Roll Highway” by the Arkansas state legislature that same year because of the many star performers who honed their skills in the small towns up and down this road—performers including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Sonny Burgess, Conway Twitty, and many more. When European explorers and settlers first came to Arkansas, the north shore of the White River was included in land claimed by the Osage as hunting grounds, although they lived farther north in what would become the state of Missouri. When …

Tulip (Dallas County)

The town of Tulip, which flourished between 1842 and 1862, at one time was regarded as a center of higher education. Destruction of property during the Civil War and the changed economy of Reconstruction brought a halt to the community, which today consists of a few houses, several churches, three abandoned commercial buildings, and the ruins of one plantation. After Arkansas became a state in 1836, many people came from the eastern United States—especially Tennessee and North Carolina—to settle in the area. For a time, the settlement was called Brownsville, after Tyre Harris Brown; then it was known as Smithville, after Colonel Maurice Smith. The colonel reportedly said that the town should be called Tulip rather than Smithville because, “There …

Tull (Grant County)

  Tull is a town in northwestern Grant County. Incorporated in 1966, Tull had already been an established community for more than 100 years. It is best known as the location of Old Folks’ Singing, an annual event that has been held every May since 1885. Tull is named for the John, Arch, and Abe Tull family, who made their homes in the area by 1841. Other early settlers include Henry Bennett, George Keesee, James Cox, Isma Kellum, Lott Williams, and Eli Lindsey, a pioneer in Arkansas Methodism. Charlie Jordan operated a horse-powered cotton gin in the area between 1836 and 1860. Ephraim Burrow operated a water-powered mill between 1845 and 1860. Jim Barnes had a tanning yard said to …

Tupelo (Jackson County)

  Tupelo is an incorporated town located in the southern tip of Jackson County along a sandy ridge that runs along the edge of the White River bottoms from Augusta (Woodruff County) north to Jacksonport (Jackson County). Located about eighteen miles south of Newport (Jackson County), the town was at one time a station on the narrow gauge Batesville and Brinkley Railroad (B&B). The railroad allowed local crops, especially cotton and timber, to be shipped to market. Micajah B. McCoy came to the area from South Carolina in the early 1840s. Acquiring both land and influence, McCoy represented Jackson County in the Arkansas House of Representatives in 1844 and 1845, and his plantation was called “Tupelo.” McCoy obtained land patents granted under …

Turkey Creek (Stone County)

Turkey Creek is a valley of rugged, rocky soil, isolated in the hills. It is located at the intersection of Highway 9 and Brushy Creek Road, almost nine miles southwest of Mountain View, the seat of Stone County. Fox (Stone County) is five miles north-northwest, and Rushing (Stone County) is about four miles southwest. The community is named for the creek that flows nearby and joins Brushy Creek. Settlers began subsistence farming along Turkey and Brushy creeks following the Civil War. The passage of the Homestead Act in 1862 encouraged a few hardy farmers to make claims along the Little Red River at Meadowcreek (Stone County) about ten miles away. Gradually, some of the farmers inched their way up the …

Turrell (Crittenden County)

  Turrell is an incorporated city located along Interstate 55 in northern Crittenden County, about five miles south of the border with neighboring Mississippi County. The town first coalesced in the 1880s around timber-cutting operations owned by Wisconsin native Fletcher E. Turrell, for whom the town is named. Turrell ran the Turrell-Lily Lumber Company, among other local business ventures, and also served as the first postmaster. Aided by the presence of a railroad constructed in 1883, other timber-related businesses thrived at Turrell throughout its history until the cleared forest acreage was utilized as farmland, as it is today. Well before the construction of the railroad, Native Americans once had an established village and built several mounds at what is now …

Twelve Corners (Benton County)

The community of Twelve Corners, which contains one of the oldest established Baptist churches in Benton County, was pivotal to Arkansas’s history. Located three and a half miles northeast of Pea Ridge (Benton County), Twelve Corners was notable for its location on the Bentonville Detour, the former bypass from Telegraph Road in Missouri to the county seat. It was also located close to the Arkansas–Missouri state line, the Pea Ridge Plateau, and Elkhorn Tavern, which made it a significant area for a Confederate camp during the Battle of Pea Ridge. Settlement in the northwest corner of Arkansas Territory began around 1828. In 1842, some of the earliest homesteaders in the area formed the Benton County Baptist Society in an upper …

Twin Groves (Faulkner County)

  Twin Groves is a town in northern Faulkner County on Highway 65 between Greenbrier (Faulkner County) and Damascus (Van Buren and Faulkner counties). Twin Groves was formed in 1991 by the combination of two unincorporated communities, Solomon Grove and Zion Grove. Solomon (or Solomon’s) Grove was founded by a group of free African Americans from the Memphis, Tennessee, area before the Civil War. Solomon was the last name of one of those families. Apparently, the group remained at the location even after Act 151 of 1859 required all free blacks to leave the state or risk being sold into slavery. The national Homestead Act of 1862 allowed former slaves to own land, and after the Civil War ended, more …

Tyronza (Poinsett County)

Tyronza is located on U.S. Highway 63, midway between Jonesboro (Craighead County) and Memphis, Tennessee, in southeastern Poinsett County. It is best known as the birthplace of the Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union (STFU). Pre-European Exploration through European Exploration and Settlement The town site was home to an earlier community existing at least as far back as AD 1300–1400. An 1884 archaeological survey conducted by the Smithsonian Institution’s Bureau of Ethnology reported that as many as forty-nine Native American mounds had existed in the immediate vicinity. At that time, only seventeen remained; most of the others were destroyed either by early settlers preparing the land for farming or by the crews who constructed the railroad bed in the early 1880s. The …

Ulm (Prairie County)

  Ulm is a town in southern Prairie County, on U.S. Highway 79 between Clarendon (Monroe County) and Stuttgart (Arkansas County). Although the town is named for a city in southern Germany, the pronunciation differs from the German, with Arkansans speaking the name of the town as a two-syllable word (“Ull-im”). The Grand Prairie region of Arkansas was sparsely settled until after the Civil War. According to local tradition, German immigrants who had settled in Illinois and served in the Federal army during the Civil War were awarded land grants in Arkansas. The first veteran to view the land returned to Illinois and traded his land grant for several gallons of whiskey, but other German immigrants made the trip and chose …

Union County

At more than 1,000 square miles, Union County is the state’s largest geographically. Ninety percent of the county is forested. Forage and hay are raised for livestock, but no row crops are cultivated. Nearly one-quarter of the work force is employed in manufacturing, primarily in petrochemical, poultry processing, and wood products operations. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood In November 1829, the territorial legislature formed Union County from parts of Hempstead and Clark counties. The next spring, the county court convened at the former colonial trading post of Ecore Fabre (now Camden in Ouachita County) on a bluff overlooking the Ouachita River. In 1837, county officers anticipated that a pending division of the county would slice away the Ecore Fabre region …

Union Hill (Independence County)

Union Hill of Independence County is located on Union Hill Road, which connects with Highway 167 (Batesville Boulevard) at Pleasant Plains (Independence County) and Thida Road. Union Hill has historically had close ties with Jackson and White counties and to Pleasant Plains and Oil Trough (Independence County). Most of the land in Thida (Independence County) and Union Hill was owned by Roswell Beebe, his wife, and their lawyer, a Mr. Turner. Beebe was born in 1795 in Hinsdale, New York, to a wealthy English family; he later settled in Arkansas. In pre–Civil War Arkansas, Beebe was one of the most influential businessmen and politicians in the state. Union Hill was placed on the map in 1904 when a post office …

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 …

Uno (Poinsett County)

Uno, at one time a thriving timber and farming community, is located in western Poinsett County near the Jackson County and Craighead County lines at the intersection of State Highways 18 and 214. All that remains of the community in the twenty-first century is a cemetery. All other physical reminders have been claimed by farm fields. Several western Poinsett County communities were established in the late 1800s and early 1900s during the exploitation of the area’s vast acreage of timber. Millions of board feet of lumber and railroad ties were processed from the virgin timber. Soon, communities such as Cash (Craighead County), Pitts (Poinsett County), and Grubbs (Jackson County) were attracting settlers, with Uno being one of the last to …

Vaden (Clark County)

Vaden is a community located in the southeastern corner of Clark County. Located near the Ouachita River, the community was established by several families in the late nineteenth century. Woodson Vaden, a former resident of North Carolina, purchased eighty acres in the area in 1849 and an additional 160 acres in 1861. The community that grew in the area adopted his name and eventually consisted of several homes, churches, a school, and a store. Families in the area farmed, raised cattle, and worked in the timber industry. The Vaden Post Office opened in 1888. When it closed in 1905, mail service was given to the nearby settlement of Hebron (Clark County). The post office was reestablished in 1908, but it …

Valley Springs (Boone County)

Valley Springs is located on U.S. Highway 65 in southeastern Boone County. Long a center of education, Valley Springs is a rural, agricultural town. Many of its residents work in Harrison (Boone County). For centuries, people have traveled from the north to hunt and fish in Arkansas’s Ozark Mountains. The Osage were traveling to the area at the time of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Later, the Cherokee and other Native Americans were granted land in the area, but a subsequent treaty moved them farther west. A military road ran through the area, connecting Valley Springs (then known as Double Springs) to the cities of Harrison and Yellville (Marion County). A post office was established in 1843 near the two …

Van Buren (Crawford County)

Van Buren began as a port and trade center on the Arkansas River and served as a major starting point for prospectors of the 1849 gold rush. A border town linked to Indian Territory, it was the site of Arkansas’s first federal district court and a Civil War battle town. River traffic, railroad commerce, and mercantile trade dominated Van Buren’s early economy; manufacturing and tourism developed a strong presence in the last half century. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The area that became Van Buren began as a land claim on the Arkansas River owned in the 1820s by Revolutionary War veteran James Phillips and his two sons, Thomas Phillips and Daniel David Phillips. The site, named Phillips Landing, became …

Van Buren County

Formed in 1833, Van Buren became the twenty-ninth county in Arkansas Territory and preceded statehood by three years. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The area that is now Van Buren County, nestled in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, has been inhabited for roughly 10,000 years. Osage and Cherokee Indians are the first historic tribes known to have a connection to the area. Hunters from Ozark villages in southwest Missouri, and later in northeast Oklahoma, often visited the area, although they had no permanent settlements in the county. No official records are available to tell who the first European or American settlers were or where they came from, but indications are that they began making their way into the hill …

Vandervoort (Polk County)

Vandervoort was a key stop for the Kansas City, Pittsburg, and Gulf Railroad (later the Kansas City Southern). Francis Marion Cecil, with his wife Rhoda Lebow Cecil and thirteen children, owned and farmed the land in southern Polk County where Vandervoort now stands. When the town site was first laid out, it was known as Janssen, taking its name from the maiden name of Jan DeGeoijen’s wife. Jan DeGeoijen was a Dutch coffee merchant who was involved in financing the construction of the railroad. There was another town in Arkansas called Jansen, however, and mail between the two towns was constantly being mixed up. In 1907, the town’s name was changed to Vandervoort in honor of the mother of Jan …

Victoria (Mississippi County)

  Victoria is a town in Mississippi County, located on Arkansas Highway 158 about three miles west of Interstate 55. Although it was founded in the late nineteenth century by Robert E. Lee Wilson as part of his plantation empire, which also included Marie, Wilson, and Armorel. Victoria did not incorporate until 1966 and has since steadily declined in size. Wilson earned a fortune in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, acquiring and developing land that other people considered worthless. In 1870, he inherited 400 acres of Mississippi County land from his father. In the following years, he purchased more land, eventually owning roughly 50,000 acres. Wilson harvested the valuable hardwood trees from this swampland and constructed his own rail line …

Villemont (Chicot County)

Villemont, one of the earliest settlements in the Arkansas Territory, was the first county seat of Chicot County, which was created on October 25, 1823. Located on the Mississippi River, it was a thriving river port town until the river itself swept away the town in 1847. The land upon which the settlement was founded was part of an original Spanish land grant issued to Don Carlos de Villemont, commandant of Arkansas Post, by the governor of Louisiana in 1795. The grant measured two leagues wide by one league deep. It is believed that de Villemont owned approximately 14,000 arpens, with each arpen equating to eighty-five percent of a modern acre. Though Villemont never occupied his land grant, it did …

Vilonia (Faulkner County)

Vilonia of Faulkner County was originally known as Vilsonia, the “land of two valleys,” by the pioneers who settled the valleys near the forks of Cypress Creek in the early 1860s. The name was given to the community by members of Masonic Lodge No. 324, which was established early in the town’s history. Members of this lodge originally hailed from North Carolina, Mississippi, and Tennessee and came to the area now known as Vilonia in search of fertile land. When they applied for a post office, the approval came back misspelled Vilonia, but they let it stand. Vilonia is located thirteen miles east of Conway (Faulkner County) on U.S. Highway 64. After the Civil War, families of English, Irish, German, …

Vimy Ridge (Saline County)

Vimy Ridge is an unincorporated community in Otter Township in Saline County, approximately twelve miles southwest of Little Rock (Pulaski County) and three miles southeast of Alexander (Pulaski and Saline counties). Originally known as Germania, the community’s name was changed in 1918 due to anti-German sentiment during World War I. Early settlers to the area primarily farmed, with most of the land that became the Vimy Ridge community later owned by the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway Company in the 1880s. An influx of German immigrants to the area in the late 1870s and 1880s provided a large addition to the original residents. By 1879, twenty-three German families had migrated to the area, and they began a German …

Viola (Fulton County)

Viola is in western Fulton County, located on U.S. Highway 62, a few miles south of the Missouri state line. Established shortly before the outbreak of the Civil War, the town has survived largely due to its schools. For centuries, people from the north have visited Arkansas for its hunting and fishing opportunities. The Osage were engaged in those activities at the time of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. A series of treaties between 1808 and 1825 moved the Osage to the west, opening the lands of northern Arkansas for Euro-American settlement. Even so, settlers were slow to come to the land that would become Viola; the first reported white settler was William Cook, who established his homestead in 1846. …

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 …

Washington County

Washington County is in the northwest corner of Arkansas in the Ozark Mountains. It was established on October 17, 1828, formed from Lovely County, which was part of Indian Territory. Washington County has grown from small settlements of farms, mills, and orchards into one of the most affluent and prosperous counties in the state. The University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville remains the flagship of the University of Arkansas system. Tyson Foods, Incorporated is headquartered in nearby Springdale (Washington and Benton counties) and has become a leading provider of jobs in the region. Given the broad range of manufacturing, industrial, and retail businesses, the population of Springdale is quite diverse, including a large Hispanic community as well as many Marshall …

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 County

White County is the second largest county in land area in the state. Geographically, it is a microcosm of the state as a whole. The southeastern half of the county is alluvial land that today is mostly used for farming and timber production. The northeastern half of the county is rocky higher ground where much of the land is used for dairy and beef cattle ranching. The county seat, Searcy, contains the greatest population and number of industries of any town in the county. Even though the county was formed before statehood, its boundaries have altered little through time. Southeastern White County is mostly farmland and lowland forests. The Little Red River flows northwest to southeast across the county and …

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 …