Local History

This page is a work in progress.  For starters, here's a history of some area place names. 

Also, you'll find a variety of local history topics on our permanent exhibits pages and online exhibits pages.


Formed in 1836. Named for Missouri senator Thomas Hart Benton, who had a key role in persuading Congress to admit Arkansas to the Union in 1836.

Avoca - Albert Peel, who laid out the town, is believed to have selected this name after hearing an Irish railroad worker recite lines from a poem by Thomas Moore. "Sweet vale of Avoca" is part of that poem.

Batie Prairie - named after Adam Batie, a settler who came here in the 1830s.

Bella Vista - Italian for "beautiful view."

Bentonville - the county seat; named for Thomas Hart Benton.

Centerton - because it is located near the center of the county.

Cow Face Hill - a man walking through this area one night reportedly saw a ghost. It turned out to be a white-faced calf.

Hiwasse - Cherokee for "meadow."

Little Flock - religious settlers here probably drew on the verse in Luke 12:32, "Fear not, little flock."

Lost Bridge - a bridge was built here, but the road to it was never completed. Today, the site is under Beaver Lake.

Maysville - named for early pioneer Martin Mays.

Monte Ne - Monte is Italian for "mountain," Ne is Indian for "water."

Pea Ridge - named for the native pea vines growing on a ridge in the area.

Rogers - named for C. W. Rogers , general manager of the St. Louis, San Francisco Railroad which had a construction camp on the present town site.

Siloam Springs - originally called Hico. When the town site was laid out in 1880, Siloam was chosen from the Biblical pool of Siloam.

Spavinaw - a corruption of a French word meaning young tree sprouts.

War Eagle - may have been named for an Osage chief. Legend claims the area was named for a Cherokee, War Eagle, who died on the river while searching for his stolen sweetheart.

BOONE COUNTY Online exhibit
Formed in 1869. Named in honor of Daniel Boone. Some say the county was named because its formation was seen as a "boon" to the area.

Bergman - named for the first postmistress, Edith Bergman.

Cricket - named for nearby Cricket Creek.

Gaither - named for early pioneer Colonel Beal Gaither, who settled here around 1832.

Harrison - the county seat; named after the surveyor who laid out the town, M. Larue Harrison. Harrison was also a Union commander at the Battle of Fayetteville.

Lead Hill - in honor of the lead mines in the area.

Zinc - in honor of zinc mines in the area.

Formed in 1833. Named in honor of Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Beaver - for Wilson A. Beaver, an early farmer, mill owner, hotel owner, operator of a ferry and quarry, justice of the peace, and Confederate soldier. He was also the first postmaster.

Berryville - the county seat, along with Eureka Springs; after early pioneer Blackburn Henderson Berry.

Blue Eye - for either the postmaster, Elbert Butler, or his little daughter, both of whom had very blue eyes.

Eureka Springs - the county seat, along with Berryville; the word "Eureka," which means "I found it," was chosen since so many people came to the area in search of the region's healing springs.

Green Forest - Homesteader John J. Grim decided to leave a small grove of trees on his cleared land, and the area, situated in a largely prairieland setting, became known as "Green Forest."

Hogscald Hollow - residents of the area used the natural basins in the rocks of a nearby creek for scalding hogs before butchering. Civil War soldiers reportedly used the area for the same.

Osage - after the Indian tribe.

Rule - named by postmaster Alfred Webb. He was looking through an arithmetic book and the word struck his fancy.

Formed in 1836. Named in honor of President James Madison.

Alabam - named in honor of Alabama.

Clifty - for the cliffs in the area.

Forum - named for the gathering of residents who met to discuss the name for a post office.

Hindsville - named for the pioneer Hinds family.

Huntsville - the county seat; after Huntsville, Alabama.

Japton - for Jasper Monroe Neal, the first store owner. His nickname was "Jap." It was first called Jap's Town.

Kingston - probably for Henry King, an early pioneer from Alabama. The King's River is also named for him. He died on its banks in 1827.

St. Paul - named by postmaster John Sumner, who came to the area in 1837.

Withrow Springs - for early pioneer T. J. Withrow, from Tennessee, who came to the area in 1831. He owned a mill nearby.

NEWTON COUNTY online exhibit
Formed in 1842. Named in honor of Thomas W. Newton, a U.S. Marshal in Arkansas.

Bass - from the abundance of fish in Big Creek.

Boxley - named after William Boxley, a merchant from Springfield, Missouri. The settlement was originally called Whitely's Mill.

Buffalo River - after the buffalo in the area.

Compton - after the postmaster, John T. Compton.

Deer - for a pet deer owned by resident E. B. Jones.

Hasty - the first postmistress, Joanna Morrison, suggested the name since the area was growing rapidly.

Iceledo - resident Mary Brown chose the name because this part of the county is so isolated.

Jasper - the county seat; after rock deposits in the area, or possibly after a Trail of Tears legend: local pioneers were treated kindly by the Cherokees upon their arrival here in the 1830s. In return, when the Trail of Tears passed through here, local settler Frank Villines helped feed the Cherokees. Chief John Ross gave Villines a stone ring, and told him that a town would grow there and he should call it Jasper. The ring was traded back and forth between the whites and Cherokees for many years.

Low Gap - named for the natural feature of the area: a low point between mountains.

Nail - probably a misspelling of the name of the first postmaster, Neal. Either that or a bunch of fellows sitting on the porch of the store saw a rusty nail and suggested the name.

Sam's Throne - Uncle Sam Davis lived in the area in the late 1800s. He would preach from a hilltop, all alone. He said that he would live a thousand years, and then sit on his throne and preach. Local folks started calling the hilltop Sam's Throne.

Formed in 1828. Named in honor of President George Washington.

Arnett - after postmaster Luke Arnett.

Budd Kidd Lake - after a resident of the area, Bob Kidd. The name has been mistakenly changed to Budd.

Bug Scuffle - A circuit riding preacher known for giving a boring sermon was preaching one Sunday, and several of the men stayed outside. They became interested with a fight between two tumble bugs over a piece of manure. Betting ensued. The men never did make it into the church house.

Cane Hill - for the cane that grew there.

Dutch Mills - for the German settlers there, who were called Dutch.

Evansville - after the postmaster Lewis Evans.

Farmington - originally called Engels Mill, the name was changed to honor the good farmland surrounding it.

Devil's Den - from pioneer accounts of hearing the roar of the Devil coming from the caves.

Fayetteville - the county seat; named after Fayetteville, TN, after Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette.

Health - Situated on a hilltop, the area escaped the malaria that came with lowland territory. John Brannon, the first postmaster, moved his family from the lowlands near Greenland to this hilltop where conditions were better.

Hog Eye - A drunk asked a traveling gypsy to play Hawk Eye, but it came out Hog Eye; could be a corruption of the Biblical name Haggai; the town was no bigger than a hog's eye.

Kessler Mountain - for the Germans Phillip and Catherine Kessler, who bought the mountaintop in 1866. He owned a vineyard and winery.

Lincoln - originally called Black Jack, for the oaks nearby, then Georgetown, then to honor President Lincoln the name was changed in 1885.

Morrow - for early pioneer George Morrow, who was in the area by 1830.

Mount Sequoyah - for the Cherokee leader.

Rhea - for postmaster William Rhea.

Scull Creek - for William Scull, an Army chaplain who lived on Mt. Nord in Fayetteville in 1840.


Sulphur City - for the springs there; originally the name was to be Sulphur Springs, then Mankins.

Summers - for postmaster John Summers.

Tontitown - for Henry de Tonti, explorer with LaSalle, and founder of Arkansas Post.

Winslow - first called Summit Home; changed to honor Edward Winslow, president of the Frisco Railroad.

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