History of Water Valley Escape (Eagle Bluff Properties, LLC), which is a part of the former Black’s Ferry Farm
Water Valley Escape is located in the community of Water Valley, which includes much of the land in the surrounding valley along the Eleven Point River. Passing though Water Valley was a road that at various times was called the Nacogdoches Trail, The Southwest Trail, The National Road, and the Old Military Road. In the late 1700s this was the road from Missouri into Arkansas, Texas and other parts of the United States. In 1831 this route became the first federally sponsored road in Arkansas.
In 1815 David Black who was from South Carolina and the grandfather of William A. Black settled on the Eleven Point River. The Black family operated the Black’s Ferry on the Eleven Point River. (The name Blacks Ferry Road originated from the ferry.) In 1836 there were three ferry boats in Randolph County. Thomas Black operated the Black’s Ferry.
In 1838 the Cherokee Tribe was forced to relocate on the Trail of Tears. About 1,200 Cherokees and their slaves passed through the area on the Trail of Tears Benge Route. Because they did not pay the ferry fee, the group crossed the Eleven Point River at a shallow place just south of the Black’s Ferry (present day bridge). Water Valley Escape is about one-half mile north of the ferry site.
The Black’s Ferry stopped operating when the bridge on Black’s Ferry Road over the Eleven Point River was built (approximately 1904).
The land was bought and sold many times. Various members of the Black family owned land in the area for many years. In 1907 the court determined that Flora E. Black was the owner of the Black’s Ferry Farm. Also, in 1907 Flora E. Black and others sold the farm containing 733.87 acres to L.E. Williams. In 1917 W.M. Counts bought the farm from L.E. Williams and wife Cora Williams.
A button factory operated in Water Valley. Buttons were made from mussels at a location just below the present day bridge.
There was a Post Office in Water Valley. Now, the Post Office in Black Rock via Imboden delivers the mail to Water Valley Escape.
There was a public school in Water Valley to about 1948. The school only had grades 1 through 8. The school system did not provide school buses so most Water Valley students were not able to attend High School unless their families moved away to another community that had a High School or the children left home and lived with a relative or someone else so that they could attend High School. In 1948 there were school buses that took students to Ravenden Springs to a school that had grades 1 through 12. The WPA built the school in Ravenden Springs in 1942 or 1943.
In 1941 the Game Refuge released deer in Water Valley. At that time there were few deer in the area. Today, the number of deer is numerous and seen frequently on the farm. They have a much used trail through the backyard.
Around 1951 or 1952 electricity came to the farm.
Around 1972 telephone service came to the farm. At first most people were on party lines so other people would listen to conversations, and could not use the phone until the line was clear.
Eventually Black’s Ferry Road was blacktopped all the way from Hwy 90 to just across the bridge over the Eleven Point River
In 1992 the dirt road to Water Valley Escape was given a name, which is Eagle Bluff Trail. Roads were given names for the establishment of the 911 national emergency number. Prior to 911 most of the roads in Water Valley did not have a name. Maps of the area showed roads without any names. Directions were given using landmarks such as turn at the red barn.