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Boone-Murphy-Moore House

The Boone-Murphy-Moore House, now located at 714 West 4th Avenue in downtown Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), was built in 1860 by Thomas A. Boone. The home played a significant role during and after the Action at Pine Bluff in 1863. Serving as the Union headquarters during the Civil War, the Boone-Murphy-Moore House was utilized as the residence of Federal commander Colonel Powell Clayton.

The small wooden-frame home is a one-story, single-pile weatherboard house with one-story additions to the east and west. It is raised slightly above grade on concrete pier foundation (alteration) with a tin shingle gable roof and shed roofs on the additions. The house has flat-roofed porches with turned posts and sawn brackets that flank the building on the northeast and northwest corners, corner boards and cornice molding articulated on principal elevation, oculus-shaped vent in gable, decorative bargeboard with central pendant and iron roof cresting (both added circa 1880), and various sizes of double-hung one-over-one light windows throughout. Originally situated at 702 West 2nd Avenue, the home was relocated to its present location on West 4th Avenue in 1977 to ensure that it would be located in a historic district. Today, it sits in the 5th Avenue Historic District. On February 14, 1979, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The home played a significant role during the Civil War, serving initially as the personal residence of Union commander Colonel Powell Clayton. According to his neighbor, Anabelle Lanktree Wilson, Clayton “is a very gentlemanly man & by his humane & obliging manners has quite won the people, he is now living [as] my neighbor, in [T.A.] Boone’s house establishing headquarters there.” According to one source, prior to the Action at Pine Bluff on October 25, 1863, a band of Confederate spies raided Clayton’s residence, securing intelligence of Federal goings-on in the area. Buck Walton recalled the raid:

"By night I had all our arrangements made and we made a dash for the headquarters of Col. Clayton, who was in command. We captured his headquarters, but the birds were gone, although the nest was warm. Somebody must have leaked, for when we got to headquarters, everybody had left and gone into town. The headquarters were [outside] the town. We got his papers—and some valuables—but Col. Clayton was safe. It was him we wanted. The dash was a water haul, as you might say. We captured nobody—nor lost anybody, killed or wounded."

With Confederate forces on their way, Clayton began making preparations for an imminent clash. It was the fast action by Clayton that prevented his force of less than 600 to be overtaken by an overwhelming Confederate force of more than 2,000 on the morning of October 25, 1863, during the action.

Following the Civil War, Boone had mortgaged the house to Robert S. Thompson and William H. Dupuy, and when the loan was not paid, the property was sold to John P. Murphy. The Murphys resided in the home until John P. Murphy’s death in 1892. Following Murphy’s death, John’s widow married Charles F. Moore.

Today, the Boone-Murphy-Moore House has been restored back to a 1920s appearance and is owned and managed by the Heckatoo Heritage Foundation in Pine Bluff. As of 2012, the home is being used by a Pine Bluff Police Community Watch program.

For additional information:
Boone-Murphy-Moore House. National Register of Historical Places nomination form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas.

Leslie, James. Pine Bluff and Jefferson County—A Pictoral History. Virginia Beach, VA: The Donning Company/Publishers, 1981.

Leslie, James, ed. “Arabella Lanktree Wilson’s Civil War Letter.” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 47 (Autumn 1988): 257–272.

Tucker, Robert. “The Boone-Murphy House.”Jefferson County Historical Quarterly41 (September 2013): 4–8.

Walton, Buck. An Epitome of My Life—Civil War Reminiscences. Austin, TX: The Waterloo Press, 1965.

Worthen, John. “Piece of PB History Revealed.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, November 1, 2010, pp. 1B, 5B.

Ron Kelley
Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Last Updated 10/4/2013

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