Boxley Valley Historic District and Boxley Baptist Church is Between Harrison, AR, and Hawksbill Crag

Boxley Valley Baptist Church was built in 1877 in Kingpin, AR, which is near Ponca. The building originally served as both a church and a schoolhouse. The area around the church building is called Boxley Valley, and among other things, Boxley Valley is noted for its herds of elk, but I have never been in the area when the elk were roaming.

I spotted the old Boxley Valley Church when I was en route to find Hawksbill Crag.

Boxley Baptist Church is about 5 miles South of Ponca, and Ponca is where the Boxley Valley Historic District is located.

“James A. Villines, born in 1854, grew up to be a fur trapper known as ‘Beaver Jim’. He married Sarah Arbaugh and built this homestead in 1882. The cabin and a variety of outbuildings remain, built by Beaver Jim or added or changed by succeeding owners. For instance, Beaver Jim had a stone and log cellar as early as 1898 that was used to store fruits and vegetables. The concrete version in place today replaced his cellar. The concrete outhouse, built in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) replaced an earlier version.”

“Behind the house sits a smokehouse, chicken coop, root cellar and an outhouse. Farther behind the house is a former sorghum field and former peach orchard.

“Make your way down the hill, or take the fork to the right. That’s where you’ll come to the barn and corn crib, which are both open and easy to get a peek inside.

“Apparently, James Villines moved to this farm with his bride, Sarah Arbaugh, in 1882. All who knew James knew him as Beaver Jim because of his skill at trapping. A fact I find fascinating is that as far as we know, not one single picture of Beaver Jim exists. He was born and raised in Boxley Valley, and he lived out the rest of his life on this homestead. According to one sign, he liked to take summer naps in the cool of his root cellar.

Hike Villines Homestead Trail on the Buffalo River

Hawksbill Crag is just a few miles past Boxley Valley Baptist Church, but the terrain gets steep at that point. The final few miles to Hawksbill Crag are a slow go.


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