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When describing the town of Gurdon, Arkansas there is always one legend that is brought up, The Gurdon Light. Throughout this paper we will be looking into the beginnings of Gurdon, what made it possible for a legend that is over 70 years old to still be told, and the court case that is the basis of this legend.

The first known people to live in present day Clark County were the Caddo Indians. They would hunt and roam these parts but never claim any land. Later, there were the Spanish who traveled throughout what is presently known as Arkadelphia and Gurdon as early as 1541. De Soto stopped at the salt wells in Arkdelphia, with his men. From there he went from the Ouachita River to the Red River. It was at the mouth of the Red River that De Soto died.1

During the War of 1812 Captain Dick Tate was fighting alongside General Andrew Jackson in the Battle of New Orleans. It was in the course of the war that Captain Tate travelled up the Ouachita River from New Orleans and found the land beautiful and vowed to come back when he could. He would later travel back and settle there with his family, but not until the war had ended. 2


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