Van Buren

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Shirley (Van Buren County)

The town of Shirley rests on the Middle Fork of the Little Red River in northeastern Van Buren County. Established by the railroad, the town has become an agricultural center for the region with a focus also on recreation and tourism. The rocky and wooded hills of the Ozarks have been sparsely populated for most of recorded history. When the land that would become Arkansas was acquired by the United States in the Louisiana Purchase, Osage hunters and fishers were the primary visitors to the land that would become Shirley. Changing treaties first recognized the Osage as owners of the land, later gave it to the Cherokee, and ultimately removed both the Osage and the Cherokee west to what is now …