A Brief History of Waldron, Arkansas

Downtown Waldron in 1908

Waldron is located fifty miles south of Fort Smith, near the Oklahoma border in Scott County. It is situated on the South Fork of the Poteau River in the Ouachita Mountains (Gray, 2018). The founder of Waldron, William Grandison (W. G.) Featherston, moved to the area in 1832 with his mother, wife, and four children. He built a store/tavern on his property where Main Street was later constructed. A post office named Poton Valley was established at this location in 1838, with W. G. Featherston as the first postmaster. In 1843, his brother Edward wrested the post office from him and moved it northeast to a new community called Winfield. In 1845, W. G. Featherston donated ten acres of land to establish a town and county seat at Poton Valley and hired engineer W. P. Waldron to survey and lay out the town. The town of Waldron was named in his honor (Gray, 2018).

The village of Waldron was incorporated as a town on December 17, 1852. The original log courthouse, Featherston’s barn, was located on Main Street and was used until a new courthouse was built next to the barn in 1859. The production of raw material on the surrounding farms and forests sustained the early economy. The landowners sold cotton, corn, and lumber, enabling them to buy or barter for processed or manufactured goods. The businessmen of Waldron provided cotton gins, lumber mills, and grist mills for the yeoman farmers and sawmill operators. Early boarding houses and hotels provided accommodations for travelers along the Fort Smith/Red River Road, the major western Arkansas corridor passing through the center of Waldron (Gray, 2018).


Gray, Wanda M. (2018, Oct. 9). Waldron (Scott County). Retrieved from encyclopediaofarkansas.net.

%d bloggers like this: