U S Highway 71
West Fork AR 72774
Some early settlers of the West Fork area, Benjamin Hardin and Robert
McPhail recorded land entries in April 1836. Eli Bloyd, who was born
in Maryland and lived in Virginia and Kentucky, is said to have settled
in the neighborhood of West Fork as early as 1828, but did not register
a claim to his land until 1840. At the time of early settlement, the
nearest store was in Missouri, the nearest mill at Natural Dam and
nearest neighbor was John Billingsley probably at Cane Hill some seven
miles to the west. Other early settlers of West Fork were Zadok Winn,
Ambrose and Strangeman Hutchinson, Dicke Dye, John Rutherford and
The settlement, about ten miles south of Fayetteville,was likely always
known as West Fork after the West Fork of the White River. As early as
1838 Gilstrap's Mill was built some four miles south, and was used for
both grinding grains and sawing lumber. Several steam driven mills also
In 1838 the first post office was opened. The West Fork Christian Church
was started in 1837. Citizens of the town passed a resolution in April
1861 opposing secession and any act that united them with the Confederacy.
Like all towns in this area, West Fork suffered from the War, especially
from bushwhackers or guerilla forces.
The St.Louis & San Francisco Railway was built through West Fork in
1881 and the town was incorporated in 1885. Commercial development
continued for a number of years with a large canning operation
starting for tomatoes and evaporating apples in the 1890's.
Early Days at West Fork by Bernice Karnes Flashback November 1956
Goodspeed's History of Washington County 1889
Washington County History by Shiloh Museum 1989
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Click here for a map to West Fork