3816 W Mt Comfort Rd
Fayetteville AR 72704
Mount Comfort is the name used for what was once an active community
that is located north and west from Arkansas highways 16 and 112. Now
the name only applies to the Presbyterian Church and cemetery located
north of the intersection of Rupple Road and Mount Comfort Road.
According to a story in Flashback by Tom Lavender, the community began
as early as 1828, about the same time Fayetteville was established.
Founding families included the Solomon Tuttle and William D Cunningham
families. Cunningham was Tuttle's son in law. Both are listed as major
land owners in the land patent records. One of their first acts after
settling there was to build a church and donate land for a school.
The present church, built in 1874, dates from that period having been
active almost continuously. The first church buildings did not survive
the Civil War. The cemetery holds many of the original settlers of the
area, including Solomon Tuttle.
Mount Comfort was the second school chartered in Washington County
according to Julia Reed who wrote a family history of Solomon Tuttle
and his descendants. She quoted Walter Lemke from a 1954 book on
Early Colleges and Academies of Washington County. The Far West
Seminary was chartered in 1844. Rev. Cephas Washburn who had been
a missionary to the Cherokees and founded the Dwight Mission in then
Cherokee land near Russellville, was a "leading spirit" of this school
along with Robert Mecklin. Their brick building to house the school
burned before completion in 1845. Mecklin bought out Washburn's
interest and opened a school known as Ozark Institute. This school was
in operation from 1845 to 1857, closed during Civil War and reopened
in 1868, operating until 1872 when a new school, Arkansas Industrial
University in Fayetteville put it out of business.
A school for girls, the Mount Comfort Female Academy was operated
for a brief time in 1849 probably in a church building. It closed
when the founder, a "Miss James", married and left the area with her
husband. Miss James had been an assistant at Sophia Sawyer's Fayetteville
Some of the buildings in Mount Comfort were used as hospitals for
Civil War wounded from the Battle of Prairie Grove and other encounters.
Another historic note is the passing of at least two contingents of
Cherokees who had been removed from the southeast to present day
Oklahoma. One was mentioned by B B Cannon who lead an early contingent
in 1837, and reported that on December 25, 1837 "halted a half mile in
advance of Mr Cunningham's at a branch, 3 o'c P.M.". The next day
Cannon's contingent went to Cane Hill. Cannon's party was made
up of what was called "treaty party" people and not recognized by
Cherokees as part of the Trail of Tears. A second mention was by
Dr. William I I Morrow in his diary "March 21, 1839, passed through
Fayetteville and met detachment at Cunningham's, 3 miles from town".
Morrow was assigned as doctor to Richard Taylor's contingent of some
1,042 which left the southeast in September 1838 and arrived at Woodall's
in Indian Territory on March 24, 1839 with 942 people. From Mount Comfort
they went to Thomason's near old Cincinnati then on to Woodall's.
Taylor's group was one of 13 official Trail of Tears contingents.
The Cunningham House at Mt. Comfort, which was one of the first brick
houses built in the County, survived until just recently when it was
torn down for expansion of a subdivision. Nothing has been built on
the lot as of 2010. It is possible the creek mentioned by Cannon is
Clabber Creek just northeast of the present Church. Other parts of
the land owned by Mt Comfort settlers includes part of the present
University Farm, the Fayetteville Holcombe school and the park area
around the Gary Hampton softball complex.
150 Years of the Mt Comfort Presbyterian Church by Tom Lavendar
Flashback May 1980
Solomon Tuttle of Old Mt Comfort by Julia S Reed published by
Washington Co Hist Society
Journal of B B Cannon
Diary of Dr William I I Morrow
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Click here for a map to Mt.Comfort