Read more about the Blackburn Family
Historic War Eagle
War Eagle Farm History (Credit for Info: http://www.wareaglefair.com)
Sylvanus Blackburn was born in Hickman County, Tennessee in 1811. At age 16, he married Catherine Brewer, also 16. Leaving Catherine with her parents, young Sylvanus left in 1832 to seek out new lands opened up to the west for homesteading. He stopped in Missouri before moving southward into Arkansas. The beautiful valley he found along the War Eagle River offered an abundance of water, timber, wild game, and fertile soil for farming. He homesteaded 160 acres.
In the spring he returned to Tennessee for his wife. He also persuaded his parents and three sisters to also return to Arkansas with them. Three Brothers traveled to Arkansas later. By 1833, their two story log home was completed. This home, now a part of the Elliott home, still stands at War Eagle. Sylvanus and Catherine raised eight children on their farm, five boys and three girls. A hardy and industrious family, the Blackburns soon had not only cleared the valley, but also built a thriving trade center near their home. This new community adopted the name of War Eagle after the river which ran through the farm. By 1838 a grist mill, blacksmith shop, carpentry shop, and saw mill had been built.
He formed Benton County's first school in the community. War Eagle had primarily been developed as a result of agricultural enterprises until Peter Van Winkle came to the region in 1850. Building his home near War Eagle he pioneered the lumber industry in the region and like Blackburn, became quite influential. The new settlers that the new lumber industry attracted contributed further to the growth of the War Eagle community.
As the Civil War was declared, all five of the Blackburn boys joined the Confederate forces. Sylvanus took his wife and older members of the family to Texas to wait out the war. The Blackburn home was taken over by the Confederates and used for a time as a general's headquarters. The Blackburn mill was burned by Confederate forces to prevent the structure from falling into the hands of Union troops.
James, a son of Sylvanus, had learned that Union troops were taking over the War Eagle region. Fearing for his wife's safety, he returned to protect her. Entering their home, Union soldiers found James hiding behind a door and shot him. When they left, his wife learned that he was only wounded. Realizing the sobbing had stopped suddenly, the soldiers returned, killed James, and tied his wife in a bed alongside the body of her dead husband.
After the war, James Austin Cameron Blackburn, another of Sylvanus' sons, married the daughter of Peter Van Winkle. James rebuilt the grist mill in 1873. The mill remained until it accidentally burned in 1924. James also built a successful general merchandise store near the mill. Along with the new mill in 1873, the community got its first U.S. post office. Postal authorities first designated the town as War Eagle Mills, Arkansas. Later the name was to be changed to one word spelling, Wareagle. Its final designation was to be War Eagle. The post office remained until May 5, 1967.
Catherine Blackburn died March 13, 1890. Sylvanus gave instructions to his family to dig her grave wide and he further instructed them to dig his grave as well, he knew he was close to follow her. Spending the next five days in meditation and prayer, he then died in his sleep and was buried alongside his beloved wife who had helped him build his farm and community.
The huge Fall Fair is held the 3rd Weekend of October; four days, usually Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The fair typically draws 60 - 80,000 people each day to the event; be prepared for slow car speeds as you approach the area. An early start to your craft fair day is a good idea.
The farm is host to the area's largest and one of the oldest handmade craft fairs in the Ozarks... read more on their website here.
Large Fall Craft Fair