A Brief History of Decatur, Arkansas

William F. Burrow’s deed for forty acres in what is now Decatur, issued Nov. 15, 1854 (Bureau, 2007)

Decatur is a city in the Ozark hills about halfway between Sulphur Springs and Siloam Springs on State Highway 59. The first known white settler on the land that would become Decatur was William Freeman Burrow, who was farming in the area by about 1833, before Arkansas became a state in 1836. Burrow chose the land because of its proximity to a fresh-water spring. The area became known as Corner Spring. He received a formal deed to his forty acres of land from the U.S. government in 1854. The spring known as Corner Spring still exists just off Spring Avenue, but the town became known as Decatur, named after Commodore Stephen Decatur, Jr. Strawberries and peaches were grown in the area and shipped out by rail, but both crops were failing in the early twentieth century. Apple orchards were already succeeding around the Gentry area, and the apple industry enjoyed some brief success in the Decatur area as well (Teske, 2016).


(2007). Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records; Washington D.C., USA; Federal Land Patents, State Volumes.

Teske, Steven. (2016, Nov. 17). Decatur (Benton County). Retrieved from encyclopediaofarkansas.net.

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