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Arkansas History

Historic Rush Settlement

During the early 1880s, prospectors came to the Rush area in search of lost silver mines from Indian legends and found shiny metallic flakes believed to be silver concentrated in the rocks. Within a short time, news of the discovery spread like wildfire throughout the Mid-South, making eyes from far away turn to the hills of Arkansas, focusing on the mineral wealth near the Buffalo and White Rivers.

There were a number of reasons why the rush to Rush attained momentum. A few prospectors coming to the area were striving to get as far from the law as possible. Professional men and merchants focused upon an opportunity to provide the needs of a growing community, and land speculators were looking for quick fortune. Most of the settlers coming to Rush were farmers, general laborers, unskilled mechanics, miners, and former soldiers from Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, and the Carolinas, all looking for ways to get rich quick. With the continuous migration, the mining camp soon reached a population of almost 5,000. In 1916, documents were filed incorporating Rush into a city. Rush was recognized as the most prosperous city per capita in Arkansas. In those early days, it was common to find four or five tents pitched in the morning, and then by afternoon additional tents had been added and were stringing in every direction—whereas others made shelters from rocks or packing boxes to protect themselves from the elements of nature.

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