Peaceful town of Wiville in Woodruff County is home to "hidden" river
by: Tracy L. Crain
Arkansas Democrat Gazette
Sunday, August, 2000
Located in the heart of east Arkansas, off
of Arkansas 17, the community of Wiville
In this quiet area that seems almost
forgotten by the hands industry, there's no
commerce-not even a post office. And, for
the 10 or so residents of the town, there's
only one way of life, and that is a life of
The town is comprised of four modest houses,
where hired farmers reside. To them, Wiville
is a rustic, rural paradise--the kind of
place where man, the land, and its natural
resources share a common bond.
If anything is known about Wiville, it's
that cotton, rice, soybeans, wheat and fish
are farmed here and that Donald Cain of
McCrory owns most of the natural resources,
including the land.
The Woodruff County Historical Society
describes Wiville as a part of Woodruff
County, which was formed in 1862 after
Arkansas seceded from the Union and joined
The Woodruff County area, including Wiville,
encompasses land from both St. Francis and
It's believed that Wiville first earned its
named in the mid-1800s because the Rock
Island Railroad branched off there and
traveled to the west from the main line,
which ran north and south of the town.
Since the community was so famous for its
"Y" in the railroad line, the town became
known as "Wiville."
Steven Young, a police officer for the
Cotton Plant Police Department, was born in
Wiville. He describes the area as "the
community settled where the roads split."
Young has lived his entire life in the small
communities of Woodruff County and has made
a hobby of studying the history of the area.
"My dad was a farmer here, and that's what I
did before I became a police officer," he
said. "I love living in this county. That's
why I enjoy studying the history of these
When it comes to Wiville today, Young says
there's not much to know.
"There are a few houses and a handful of
people who work the farms. Donald Cain also
has a fish farm there," he said.
Young describes Wiville as the closet point
to the center of the county. "It used to be
a much larger community when the railroad
was here. There were a lot of people who
lived around here back then," he said.
"Cotton was a very big crop in Wiville in
1950. Timber and hardwood tree crops were
also farmed here at one time. I believe the
community has changed a lot since then."
He continued, "They don't farm trees or
In addition to its railroad and agricultural
history, Wiville has another attraction
known as the Cache River. Since Wiville is
adjacent to the town of Cotton Plant, off of
Arkansas 38, it provides convenient access
to what Young describes as the Cache River
"There used to be a spur on the river at one
time that people used to travel this area,"
Many of the area's first tourists visited
Wiville as they traveled alongside the
lowlands of the Cache River at the edge of
the county according to the Woodruff County
Historical Society. It seems the Cache
River, which is French for "hidden" river,
appealed to many of tourists because of its
"The town may change as far as industry and
farming is concerned, but it will always be
home to me," Young said. "I love it out
(Wiville is an excerpt from Road Trips; a
weekly feature of small towns in Arkansas
written by Tracy Crain and published by the
Arkansas Democrat Gazette.)