Arkansas Highway 59 and 45
NO POST OFFICE
The first settlers in the early 1850's, in what is now known as Dutch
Mills, were a number of German immigrants with names such as Hermann,
Wilhelmi, Dieterich, Ganter, Schmidt, Dannenberg, Weber, Eberle and
Kraft, and others whose names have passed from memory. But it is the
Hermann's who gave the town and post office it's first name of
Hermannsburg. It is said by Lemke that the title "Dutch" was most
likely applied after the Civil War when the Hermann's and most other
of original settlers had fled. It was common to call Germans Dutch and
was a derogatory term used against German Union regiments from the St
Louis area at the Battle of Pea Ridge.
Johann and Karl Hermann had migrated to the St Louis area and married
daughters of a fellow German immigrant, Rev Wilhelm Wilhelmi, in Missouri.
Johann, at least of the two brothers, moved to northwest Arkansas in
1850 and worked for a year at a mill owned by Hermann Freyschlag, which
was west of Fayetteville on Clear Creek and was later known as the
Pegram Mill. The Freyschlags went to California in the Gold Rush and
Johann Hermann bought an unfinished mill on Whitaker Branch near Barren
Fork river near the Indian Territory border. The Hermannsburg post
office was established in September 1853, and was renamed Dutch Mills
after the Civil war.
Most of the early settlers were educated and skilled craftsmen. The
settlement grew as more Germans moved to the area including the Rev
Wilhelmi, father in law of the Hermann brothers. However, the
prosperity and happiness of the German settlers on the Indian border
ended in 1861. They were situated on a route used by both armies, and
vulnerable to bushwhackers, so were in constant danger. The last group
of 19 left in December 1862 after the Battle of Prairie Grove.
Karl Hermann returned to Hermannsburg in 1863 with a Union Army patrol
to attempt to recover gold they had buried before their hasty removal
into Missouri in 1861. His diary tells of finding at least one of the
buried stashes but rumors persisted for years and one man is said to
have paid for his farm in gold after the war.
The Dutch Mills post office continued to serve the area until 1965 when
the Lincoln post office assumed the duties for that area. The Weber
Cemetery near the old Liberty Baptist Church at Dutch Mills contains
markers with names like Wilhelmi and others of the early settler families.
Dutch Mills is located a few miles north of Evansville near the
intersection of Arkansas Highways 59 and 45.
The Romantic Story of Old Hermannsburg (now Dutch Mills)
Flashback Vol 9, No.3
Washington County Postoffices and Postmasters 1829-1976, by Deane
Carter 1965, published by Washington County Historical Society
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Click here for a map to Dutch Mills