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The Captain Isaac N. Deadrick House is a two-story, Greek Revival–style residence constructed in 1850 in the Levesque community of Cross County. The Deadrick House is considered one of the oldest extant buildings in Cross County and the last physical building of the antebellum period in that area. The house and family cemetery are located several miles north of Wittsburg (Cross County), which was the closest population center at the time the house was built. Historians suspect that the house was constructed by slaves owned by John D. Maget (or Maggett) as a wedding present for Isaac N. Deadrick (sometimes spelled Deaderick) and Maget’s daughter, Virginia. Isaac Deadrick, his wife, and his father-in-law are buried near in the Deadrick Cemetery at the summit of a hill near the house. In the twenty-first century, the Deadrick House is abandoned and in serious disrepair.
Isaac N. Deadrick was born on September 5, 1828, and died on April 29, 1884. Deadrick, a prominent historical figure of Cross County, was a charter member around 1848 of the Mount Zion Methodist Episcopal Church near what is now Vanndale (Cross County). Deadrick, along with other prominent members of the Wittsburg community, were active in Arkansas’s Confederate forces. Several Civil War companies were formed out of Wittsburg, including two commanded by Deadrick. Deadrick commanded, as captain, Company A of the Twenty-ninth Arkansas Cavalry Regiment, which was organized in 1864, and a Home Guard company alongside James M. Levesque, after a return from regular duty. After the war, Deadrick was an important member of local politics in Reconstruction-era Arkansas.
After Cross County became a recognized county, the county seat was moved to Wittsburg, a short distance from the Deadrick House. One of the first priorities of the new county seat was the construction of a jail. In 1870, Deadrick was appointed commissioner of public buildings for Wittsburg after Judge Leonidas N. Rhodes ordered that a jail be built in Wittsburg. The jail was finished in mid-1871, under Deadrick’s leadership. Interestingly, Deadrick’s jail was widely known for escapes by several notorious criminals, including Charles Carr (who was hanged in Wittsburg in October 1878) and Martin Mitchell (who was killed in a shoot-out in 1887 near Wittsburg).
The Deadrick House has been renovated multiple times since Deadrick’s ownership, including the addition of new rooms, bathrooms, and other modern upgrades. Several different families have inhabited the Deadrick House, but it was abandoned at some point. It currently stands empty and derelict. The Captain Isaac N. Deadrick House was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 16, 1993.
For additional information:“Captain Isaac N. Deadrick House.” National Register of Historic Places nomination form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/CS0004.nr.pdf (accessed March 9, 2016).
Chowning, Robert W. History of Cross County, Arkansas. Wynne, AR: The Wynne Progress, 1955.
Hartness, Richard L. Wittsburg, Arkansas: Crowley’s Ridge Steamboat Riverport, 1848–1890. Little Rock: Rose Publishing Company, 1978.
Jordan, Sandy. “Visiting County’s Oldest Home.” Wynne Progress, August 22, 1973.
Zachary Elledge Jonesboro, Arkansas
Last Updated 3/15/2016
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