This name is derived from probably the largest of Washington County springs, and is a settlement six miles west of Springdale, located among great springs of such power that, not far from their openings, John Ingram, in 1844, found them strong enough to run a water-mill. This was the earliest mill in this part of the county, and was the nucleus of the village.

From the entries given in connection with the Springdale land entries, it is seen that Mr. Ingram made the first entry on the site of Elm Springs, in 1840, and that in that region Thomas M. McLain entered land as early as January 2, 1831. William Barrington, Jacob Pearson and John P. Hamilton made entries in 1849, 1851 and 1840, respectively. A Mr. Rose was a very early settler there, but no record of his having entered land exists. After the location of the mill Mr. Ingram was joined by William Barrington, who also opened a store, and gave the name Elm Springs to the new settlement. His miller was W. F. Deaver. Mr. Barrington bought out Mr. Ingram, and some time afterward sold a half interest in the mill to B. J. Deaver–the firm then bearing the name Deaver & Barrington. After 1852 a blacksmith shop was added, and soon the schools under Rev. and Mrs. Jesse McAllister were opened. At this period the population of the place had probably reached its highest. A few years later an epidemic broke up the school. One of the first stores opened was owned by Barrington, Shelton & McAllister, and a pioneer named “Hosey” Moses had a small establishment. Early church buildings will be mentioned in the pages devoted to those subjects. Among the business men since the war have been Dr. Christian, F. F. Webster, James Pollock, Trotter & Wasson, B. J. Davis, Farrar & Reed. Elm Springs post-office was established in 1848, W. Barrington, postmaster. In 1852 W. S. Deaver was postmaster, and was followed by John Reavis, who held the office until the discontinuance of mails, in 1861. The postmasters since 1865 have been Miss M. W. Pearson (now Mrs. Wasson), J. R. Pollock, James Grimsly, James Trotter, T. F. Webster, R. L. Ritter, W. T. Farrar, R. L. Ritter, B. J. Beaver and W. V. Steele, the present incumbent.

The war almost depopulated Elm Springs, and its business has not since risen above its present condition. The mills, which once made the place a center of trade, have long since disappeared, and what remains is general business, represented by the following firms: In general merchandise–M. D. Steele, R. L. Ritter, G. A. Wilkerson and W. V. Steele deal in drugs, notions, etc.; Garrison & Pearson manage the marble trade; Smith & Robinson are blacksmiths; E. M. Hilsabeck holds the shoe trade; Drs. T. G. Welch, D. C. Summers and G. A. Wilkerson are the physicians; J. M. Robinson, J. P., and B. J. Deaver, N. P., are the sources of legal light. One lodge is also in operation, the F. & A. M.

Back to: Washington County, Arkansas History

Source: History of Benton, Washington, Carroll, Madison, Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian Counties, Arkansas. Chicago, IL, USA: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1889.