FITZGERALD'S STATION
2327 Old Wire Road

Springdale AR 72764

      


John Fitzgerald Sr. (1783-1875) and his wife Mary (1794-ca.1865) moved their family from Alabama to Washington County, Arkansas sometime between 1828 and 1833, settling on a farm northeast of present-day Springdale. In 1834, the United States government surveyed the Springdale area. Only one family is mentioned in the survey notes, and that was James Fitzgerald, son of John Fitzgerald Sr. Patent dates do not indicate the time of ownership or first settlement of land, as it was to the settler's advantage not to file until they had taxes levied. The original land grant of 156 acres to John Fitzgerald Sr. and his wife, Mary, was signed and dated at Washington, DC, on September 1, 1846, by President James K. Polk. The Fitzgerald property was located alongside what was then known as the Military Road, which ran from Springfield, Missouri to Fort Smith, Arkansas. The Fitzgeralds took advantage of their location by establishing an inn and tavern on their farm; by the late 1830s it was a well-known stop for travelers.

When the Butterfield stage line ran through Northwest Arkansas as part of the route from Tipton, Missouri to San Francisco (1858-1861), Fitzgerald's inn and tavern became a station on the stage route. The barn that was used for the stage line is still standing and it is one of the very few original buildings in existence along the stage route today.

FITZGERALD FARM AND THE TRAIL OF TEARS
A. Cannon Detachment
On October 14, 1837, a detachment of 365 Cherokees led by B. B. Cannon left Tennessee bound for Indian Territory. This group represented the minority of the Cherokees who supported the Treaty of New Echota, and was one of three detachments organized and supervised by the U. S. Government. Unlike the later detachments whose removal was involuntary, the Cannon party requested and received a military escort. Cannon pioneered the overland Northern Route, which passed through northwest Arkansas. Cannon's journal of the trip mentions the Fitzgerald farm:
Decr. 25th, 1837.
Marched at 8 o'c. A. M., took the right hand road to Cane hill, at Fitzgeralds, halted a half mile in advance of Mr. Cunninghams at a branch, 3 o'c. P. M., Issued corn & fodder and salt Pork. 15 miles to day.
B. Taylor Detachment
On September 20, 1838, a detachment of 1,029 Cherokees led by Richard Taylor left Tennessee for Indian Territory. This detachment was one of 13 parties organized and removed under the supervision of the Cherokee Nation. Of the 13 detachments, 11 traveled on the Northern Route, which passed through northwest Arkansas.
The journal of William Isaac Irvins Morrow, a physician traveling with the detachment, mentions the Fitzgerald farm:
March 20, 1839.
Wednesday 20th Cloudy & cool - traveled 15 miles to the X Hollows, eat dinner at Homeslys & came on 5 miles to Fitzgeralds in company with Cox Fields Hemger [Hinegar?] & George D. Morrow. A mean house.

Other Trail of Tears detachments might have passed Fitzgerald's but documentation is lacking so far.

Bibliography:
Application Draft for submission of Fitzgerald's Station for National Historic Trail designation by Susan Young and John McLarty October 2007
Photos from http://www.uark.edu/campus-resources/archinfo/fitz.html

Click here for a map to Fitzgerald's Station.



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