At 834 feet above sea level, Mt. Judea sits snuggled up against the foot of Kent Mountain at the junction of Arkansas State Highway 123 and State Highway 74, in Newton County, Arkansas. Mt. Judea once was a thriving town that had as many as five stores, a barbershop, blacksmith shop, hotel, doctor’s office, post office, canning factory, sawmill, gristmill, school and a newspaper. Like so many other small towns in this part of Arkansas, many of its inhabitants moved away in order to find work to support their families. Nothing has changed the beauty of the countryside - the craggy bluffs, the beautiful mountains and deep valleys with clear streams of water flowing peacefully through them. Buffalo National River is a scant three miles away.
Called simply Judy by the locals, the small hamlet now has a store, a cafe, post office, clogging studio, elementary school, high school, and lots of room for growth. In the outlying areas,there are sawmills, many small home based businesses, and several vacation rental cabins. The Mt. Judea School is the area’s single largest employer.
In 1853, Ephraim B. Greenhaw set up a trading post and a shoe shop at the present site of Mt. Judea. Mr. Greenhaw, a shoemaker by trade, built the first road from the Cave Creek valley to the Big Creek valley in order to reach his destination, his wagon being the first to cross the mountain between the valleys. Mr. Greenhaw suggested the name Mt. Judea for the post office when the US Postal Service established it in May of 1856. Jesse Brewer became its first postmaster. Other early settlers in the Mt. Judea and Big Creek area were Sam Davis, John Nichols, and Thomas Nichols.
From Mt. Judea, Highway 123 continues south and climbs Kent Mountain to a height of almost 2,200 feet by way of a winding route with five turn backs so sharp you almost meet yourself coming. Motorcycle enthusiasts from all over the United States know this stretch of road as the “Little Dragon’s Tail." South of these switch backs, and four miles south of Mt. Judea, is a popular attraction known as “Sam’s Throne." The “Throne” has a bluff line reaching over seventy-five feet in height which joins the eastern side of Kent Mountain. Rock climbers come here to take the challenge offered by this beautiful yet rugged area.
The legend of Sam’s Throne, handed down from generation to generation, tells about Sam Davis standing atop his mountaintop throne preaching hellfire and damnation to the Big Creek valley. It seems that ole Sam was born somewhere around 1795 and came to this area in the 1830s following the trail of Indians who had kidnapped his sister. The trek brought him up the Mississippi River to the White River, up the White to the Buffalo and up the Buffalo River to Big Creek and up Big Creek to Dry Creek, where he lost the trail. Here he settled and one day while out looking for a lost cow, a woman’s voice answered his call for the cow. The two kept calling to each other and as they came nearer each other, the legend says that Sam recognized the woman as his long-lost sister, who was now the wife of an Indian chief who lived on Cave Creek.
Highway 74 goes east from Mt. Judea toward Cave Creek and traverses what the locals call the North Pole, so called because of the cold and icy conditions there during the winter months. The view from the Pole is fantastic. One can see the water tower at Hasty (and further) to the north and Lick Mountain, which some call the Charlie Bolin Mountain, and the Cave Creek valley to the east. To the northwest lie Red Rock Point and the Judea Mountain.
Ricketts Mountain lies to the west of Mount Judea, the Dry Creek settlement lies to the southwest, and to the north are the communities of Vendor and Piercetown.