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History of the Old Wire Roads in Arkansas



It started in Saint Louis, Missouri

They came from the east by riverboat, down the Ohio River to the Mississippi, and others came the river from New Orleans. At St. Louis they might have worked awhile to save a little money, then purchased wagons, horses and food and set out down old Indian trails to settle Missouri and Northwest Arkansas. 

South into Arkansas

In 1836 the old trail was opened through southwest Missouri from the town of Versailles to what is now known as Benton County, Arkansas. In 1839 several other roads were built connecting St. Louis with Fayetteville, Arkansas. It was the road from St. Louis to Fayetteville that was known as the first Old Wire Road.  

Original stage and mail route.

The Butterfield Stage Line eventually reached San Francisco, California, but it made several stops in Missouri before it got to Arkansas. The first unofficial stop in Arkansas was Elk's Horn Tavern. This tavern would later be the site of a great Civil War battle.