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Located along the White River, DeValls Bluff is the county seat for the southern district of Prairie County and was incorporated in 1866, although Jacob DeVall settled the location around 1850 according to county records.
At the beginning of the Civil War in April 1861, the area was simply a settlement with a store, a house and a boat landing. After Little Rock fell to Union forces in September 1863, DeValls Bluff would often be used as a port in instances when the Arkansas River was too low to navigate. After realizing the importance the town played in transporting troops, Union forces heavily fortified the port at DeValls Bluff until the end of the war. Federal troops were also stationed at DeValls Bluff throughout the remainder of the conflict.
The town is located along three historic Civil War trails. U.S. Generals Steele and Davidson's Approaches during the Little Rock Campaign and Confederate General James Fleming Fagan's approach to Helena all passed through DeValls Bluff. These journeys, along with other historic Civil War routes and significant movements as the Trail of Tears, are now part of the Arkansas Heritage Trails System.
Following the end of the Civil War, the town's population began to decline. In the years that followed, railroads caused a downturn in river traffic.
Agriculture is a major part of the economy of DeValls Bluff. The geology and the soil of the region are especially conducive to rice farming. The town's proximity to the White River, Wattensaw Wildlife Management Area and Cache River National Wildlife Refuge make it a haven for anglers, hunters, boaters, and outdoor enthusiasts.
American country singer/songwriter, producer, publisher, disc jockey, and record label owner, James Calvin (Jim) Minor was born in DeValls Bluff and is buried at Peppers Lake Cemetery south of town. He recorded country music for labels including Mercury and United Artists and managed the careers of other significant recording artists. Minor recorded under the name Jimmy Minor until 1960, when he recorded for United Artists as Jim Minor.
On a culinary note, DeValls Bluff has received regional, national and international attention for several of the town's eateries. Craig's Brothers Café has received raves for their barbecue, ribs, and sauce. Ms. Lena's Pies and the Family Pie Shop are both touted for their sweet confections.
DeValls Bluff is located approximately 50 miles east of Little Rock and 60 miles northeast of Pine Bluff. As of the 2010 census, DeValls Bluff had a population of 619.
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