Ouachita

Subcategories:
  • No categories
Clear

Entry Category: Ouachita

Bearden (Ouachita County)

Bearden, originally founded as a railroad town, has been an important center for the timber industry in Arkansas. It is home to the annual Gazebo Festival. Post Reconstruction through the Gilded Age Bearden was founded as one of many whistle-stop communities along the Cotton Belt Railway Line during the steam engine years. The city limits for the town of Bearden were set in 1882 by the Southwest Improvement Association, an agency of the Railway Land Office. This office was part of what would become the Cotton Belt Railway Line. Bearden was named after one of the lawyers for the agency, Judge John T. Bearden. Among the first settlers were the Byars, Clemmons, Hollingsworth, and Shaddock families. The small town soon …

Buena Vista (Ouachita County)

Buena Vista (Ouachita County) is an unincorporated community located about nine miles southwest of Camden (Ouachita County) and eight miles northeast of Stephens (Ouachita County). The name of the community is likely a reference to the Battle of Buena Vista fought near Monterrey, Mexico, in February 1847, during the Mexican War. Former Arkansas governor and U.S. representative Archibald Yell was killed in the battle while leading the Arkansas Regiment of Mounted Volunteers. It is also possibly in reference to a nearby hill that is the highest point in Ouachita County, leading to the adoption of the Spanish translation of the phrase “good view.” The area surrounding Buena Vista belonged to Union County when Arkansas joined the union in 1836. With …

Camden (Ouachita County)

Camden is the county seat of Ouachita County and is located in south-central Arkansas on the Gulf Coastal Plain, about fifty miles north of Louisiana. Since it began life as Ecore a Fabre, a French trading post, its history has been closely tied to the Ouachita River. At the head of practical navigation, Camden was the “Queen City” of the Ouachita during the steamboat era. In 1864, it became the unintended focus of a major Civil War effort called the Red River Campaign, resulting in several significant battles. With the development of railroads, Camden was able to exploit its rich timberlands and remain an important transportation hub. Camden has also been important in both industry and education. Politically, Camden has …

Chidester (Ouachita County)

Chidester is a second-class city located in northwestern Ouachita County. Like many Arkansas cities that emerged in the nineteenth century, Chidester is a result of the railroad construction that brought many changes to the state. Jefferson Smith acquired land in the area that would become Chidester in 1858 and established a farm; he added an additional parcel of land to the west of his farm in 1860. Moses K. Robertson also owned land adjacent to Smith’s farm. During the Civil War, Smith served as a sergeant in Company D of Arkansas’s Thirty-third Confederate infantry between 1862 and 1864. His unit was active at Prairie Grove (Washington County), in the defense of Little Rock (Pulaski County), and also in the Red …

East Camden (Ouachita County)

  East Camden is the only city in Arkansas that was constructed by the U.S. Navy. It is located on Highways 274 and 278, several miles from Camden (Ouachita County). A remnant of the Shumaker Naval Ammunition Depot, East Camden is now recognized largely as the home of the Highland Industrial Park. The Ouachita River valley of southern Arkansas has been inhabited for centuries. During the historic era, the Caddo lived in several villages near the river. The expedition of Hernando de Soto traveled along the river in 1542, and French explorers and settlers later frequented the region. The settlement first known as Ecore Fabre later became the city of Camden, the county seat of Ouachita County and a major mercantile center of …

Frenchport (Ouachita County)

Frenchport (Ouachita County) is an unincorporated community located about eight miles southeast of Camden (Ouachita County). The current channel of the Ouachita River is located about two miles east of the community. Originally based close to the river, the community moved west as better roads linked the community to Camden. Arkansas Highway 7 runs to the west of the community. Early settlers in the area included the Fogle, Labeff, and Peveto families. Originally residents of France, the families traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana, and moved up the Mississippi, Red, Black, and Ouachita rivers to the area. Finding a logjam on the river that prevented further movement, the families settled in the area. The name of the community comes from the …

Lester (Ouachita County)

Lester (Ouachita County) is an unincorporated community located about six miles northwest of Camden (Ouachita County) and about seven miles southeast of Chidester (Ouachita County). It is also about four miles west of the Ouachita River. The community is also known as Lester Junction. The Gee family owned land throughout Ouachita County before the Civil War, including two plots of at least eighty acres east of Lester, although they resided in Camden. They were the largest landowners in the area. Early settlers in the area included Calvin Warren, who obtained 120 acres as part of a federal land patent in 1882. Robert Lester obtained eighty acres in 1888. A post office opened in the community in 1881 and operated until …

Louann (Ouachita County)

Louann is a town on State Highway 7 in southern Ouachita County, a short distance north of the Ouachita River. Although it began to be settled late in the nineteenth century, it was incorporated in the midst of the oil industry boom of the 1920s. With the onset of the Depression, the oil industry lost its momentum in southern Arkansas, and Louann gradually dwindled in size. Quapaw from the north and Caddo from the west sometimes visited the Ouachita River valley. The river became a corridor for French explorers and trappers before the land became part of the United States through the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Gradually, the pine forests were removed, and cotton plantations were established. William Deason, John …

Miller’s Bluff (Ouachita County)

Miller’s Bluff is an unincorporated community located in Ouachita County along the Ouachita River. Located in the southeast corner of the county, Miller’s Bluff is about five miles north of Norphlet (Union County), six miles northeast of Smackover (Union County), and seventeen miles southeast of the county seat of Camden (Ouachita County). The community is directly across the river from Calhoun County. The Hunter-Dunbar Expedition passed the future site of the community while exploring the Ouachita River valley in 1804 and 1805 but did not make any special notes of the area. The community is named for an early settler (although the exact details including the settler’s first name are not recorded). Early settlers in the area include Anderson Farris, …

Ogemaw (Ouachita County)

Ogemaw is an unincorporated community located in Ouachita County about four miles northeast of Stephens (Ouachita County) and fourteen miles southwest of Camden (Ouachita County). The community was founded to support timber operations in the area, but the local economy evolved in the early twentieth century with the discovery of oil nearby. Early settlers in the area included Thomas Meredith, who obtained more than 200 acres from the land patent office in 1859. Thomas lived with his wife, Mary, and their ten children on the property. They were served by the post office in the nearby community of Seminary (Ouachita County). The Cotton Belt Railroad began operations in the area around 1882. With the construction of the railroad and the …

Shumaker (Ouachita County)

Shumaker was a naval ammunition depot established in 1944 in Ouachita and Calhoun counties. After the closure of the depot in 1957, the land was declared government surplus and auctioned. The residential area constructed for the staff of the depot and their families became part of East Camden (Ouachita County). The remainder of the depot is used for various business ventures, while much of the accompanying land has been abandoned to the elements. Early landowners in the area included Daniel Williams and Robert Delph. Williams received a land patent in the area in 1860, and Delph received one the following year. The area remained heavily forested, with some farming. The location of the land near the Ouachita River and other …

Stephens (Ouachita County)

  Stephens is an important city in the oil-producing region of southern Arkansas, home to four oil fields that are still producing in the twenty-first century. It is also noteworthy for a number of “firsts” in state and local history, such as having the first and only bank in the nation organized with a GI loan from the federal government. Post Reconstruction through the Gilded Age Stephens is laid out on one of the oldest tracts of settled land in Ouachita County. The original land grant was issued on February 19, 1846, through the Internal Grant Act of 1841 for 320 acres to Benjamin Bell. After Bell’s death, his heirs sold the land to M. J. Gentry, who, in 1882, …