Prairie

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Entries - Entry Category: Prairie

Biscoe (Prairie County)

aka: Fredonia (Prairie County)
  Biscoe, also known as Fredonia, is located on Surrounded Hill between the White River and the Cache River in eastern Prairie County. It is on U.S. Highway 70 a few miles east of DeValls Bluff (Prairie County). Surrounded Hill was surveyed by the federal government in 1849. Edwin Burr was the first settler to claim title to the land, registering his deed in Batesville (Independence County) in 1853. The area remained relatively unpopulated through the Civil War but gained significance with construction of the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad, which was completed through the Surrounded Hill area in 1871. A depot was built on flat land near the hill, and a post office was established in 1872 with the …

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, …

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, …

Hazen (Prairie County)

Hazen is located near the center of Prairie County, approximately forty-three miles directly east of Little Rock (Pulaski County) on Highway 70 and Interstate 40. It is in the northern part of the Grand Prairie, land once thought good only for growing prairie hay and wild animals. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The town is named for Dr. William Cogswell Hazen, who came to the area from Covington, Tennessee, with his family and twenty-one slaves in 1854. He settled in a spot 1.3 miles north of present-day Highway 70 and one mile west of Highway 63, in a place where the prairie ends. Hazen persuaded family friend the Reverend John W. Hudson to come with them. Hudson settled three miles …

Slovak (Prairie County)

Slovak (originally called Slovactown or Slovaktown), an agricultural community founded in 1894, still endures and is home to the Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius, who are also known as the Apostles of the Slavs. Slovak is the result of the promotional efforts aimed at encouraging immigrant settlement in Arkansas in the 1890s. Various Slovak fraternal and nationalistic organizations, such as the National Slovak Society, translated advertisements promoting the favorable agricultural areas of Arkansas into the Slovak language at presses in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois. Following such advertisements, the Slovak Colonization Company was organized in 1894 in Pittsburgh by Peter V. Rovnianek. The company bought 3,000 acres of Arkansas land for settlement in the southern portion of Prairie County. This …

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 …