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The unincorporated community of Camp, settled in the early 1800s, was home to some of Fulton County’s earliest settlers. Located near present-day State Highway 9, the somewhat isolated community became a typical rural gathering place for trade and commerce.
Settlers were attracted to the area by available land and a plentiful water source provided by Camp Creek and several springs, which were said to never go dry. North Carolina brothers Joe and Nathan Benton, who arrived there in the early 1800s, were the first white settlers. Though more settlers moved to the area, a town did not begin to develop until the 1870s.
In 1877, the man who was responsible for the development of the area’s commercial interests arrived. Within three years, B. F. Sutherland established the first mercantile store, followed by a grist mill and cotton gin. Sutherland assisted in establishing the Methodist church by allowing services to be conducted at his gin and by heading the effort to locate a building for the church in 1878. Several rural schools existed in the area, but school sessions commenced in about 1880 in the Methodist church, where they were held until a new school building was constructed in about 1914. The school was consolidated with Salem (Fulton County) in the 1930s.
The settlement was originally called Indian Camp, a name said to have been derived from the use of the area by Native Americans. The name had been shortened to Camp by the time the post office was established on February 12, 1884.
Though located on the main road connecting Mammoth Spring (Fulton County) and Batesville (Independence County), the community saw little growth until the turn of the twentieth century. By the early 1900s, it was home to three general stores, a restaurant, a cotton gin, two blacksmiths, and a barber shop. Two additional churches had been established: a Church of Christ and a Holiness church.
With the commercial growth of the county seat of Salem to the southwest and Mammoth Springs to the northeast, Camp began to decline. When Highway 9 was paved in the 1950s, it was straightened, leaving the Camp community on what is called Camp Circle. Today, the area has a few residential homes and pasture land. The Camp Methodist Church was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.
For additional information:Cain, Noah. “More Camp History.” Fulton County Chronicles 2 (Spring 1984): 6–7.
Clanton, C. T. “History of Camp Community.” Fulton County Chronicles 2 (Spring 1984): 2–3.
Fulton County, Arkansas: History and Families. Morley, MO: Acclaim Press, 2008.
Williams, Vester. “Camp: A Very Old Settlement.” Fulton County Chronicles 2 (Spring 1984): 4–5.
Mike PolstonEncyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture
Last Updated 1/8/2013
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