A Brief History of Nashville, Arkansas

Wagons in front of Hutchinson feed store in Nashville in 1915. Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Archives.

Nashville is the county seat of Howard County in southwest Arkansas. A regional center for agriculture and transportation, it has also become the location of several manufacturing enterprises and was the location of the first Dillard’s department store. Isaac Cooper Perkins, a farmer and Baptist missionary, was the first to settle in the place that would become Nashville. Although his earliest land grant is dated 1836—the year Arkansas became a state—local tradition asserts that Perkins had built a house in the area in the 1820s. At some point in the mid-1830s, Perkins moved to the area with his wife, Hannah, and five daughters. Perkins was a traveling preacher who served congregations from Little Rock to Jefferson, Texas. At first, the settlement was named Mine Creek, but it also acquired the name Hell’s Valley for unknown reasons. Early settlers cultivated corn and cotton and also raised vegetables and watermelons for family consumption. The first post office was established in 1848. In 1856, the name of the post office was changed to Nashville at the request of new resident, Michael Womack, who felt that the name Hell’s Valley was inappropriate for a community consisting largely of Baptists. Although it is not known why he chose the name Nashville, many speculate that he named the settlement for Nashville, Tennessee. By that time, two Baptist congregations had been established, one planted by Perkins in 1835 and another that broke away from that congregation in 1853 (Teske, 2018).


Citation

Teske, Steven. (2018, Jul 24). Nashville (Howard County). Retrieved from encyclopediaofarkansas.net.