Volume 7, Number 3, Spring 1980
Overlooking the White River at Norfork, Arkansas, just twelve miles south of Mountain Home on Highway 5 stands the house that Major Jacob Wolf built in 1809. Major Wolf was appointed by Thomas Jefferson to be Indian agent to the Arkansas Cherokee nation. This old two-story yellow pine log house is considered the oldest house in the Ozarks.
It is a worthwhile place to visit for several reasons. It is the first log house occupied by a white family in Arkansas and is the oldest two-story log mansion west of the Mississippi River. It was the first courthouse in the north half of Arkansas Territory back in 1811 and one of the first six post offices in Arkansas.
The house was a stagecoach stop in the days of Daniel Boone and offered hospitality to such early American heroes as Davy Crockett and Sam Houston. This house was the site of steamboat landings for approximately 50 years, between the years of 1845 and 1905.
Wolf House was built by Indian and Negro workmen who used no nails but dove-tailed the hand-hewn logs into place. It was home for the Wolf family for over one hundred years. The two- story double dogtrot mansion served for many years as the business, social, religious and political center of a vast and sparsely populated mountainous region.
Major Jacob Wolfs brother, John, was a Baptist evangelist and the Majors family and slaves attended the same religious services. During John Wolfs circuit riding absences, the Major did the preaching.
The Sabbath Day was strictly observed by the Wolf household. One time a visiting Cherokee Indian was surprised to find Major Wolf shaving on the Sabbath. He voiced his astonishment with a gentle rebuke. From that time on the Major did his shaving the night before so he might teach by practice as well as precept.
Beginning in 1811 court was held in the upstairs south room of the building and the old-fashioned camp meeting was held in the yard at the same time. This provided refreshment and entertainment for the pioneers on their annual visit to civilization.
Major Jacob Wolf was an early entrepreneur. Besides the Indian Agency, he operated a trading post, the Inn, and ferries across White River and Norfork. History was it that he never charged a preacher to cross on the ferry. This may not sound as if it is any big deal but in one early-day preachers report he wrote: "Preached 65 sermons, traveled 779 miles, received $5.00 from churches, paid $3.25 for ferriage.
Major Jacob Wolf died in 1863, but the house remained in the Wolf family
 until 1938. At that time the family deeded it to the incorporated town of Norfork, Arkansas, and to be known as the Jacob Wolf Memorial. For several years the town maintained a small museum in the house. Now it is under the administration of a county-wide committee The Baxter County Bicentennial Committee provided authentic furnishings appropriate to the time when the Wolf House was built and was really the Jacob Wolf home.
This old house built by Major Jacob Wolf in 1809, and presumably the oldest house in the entire Ozarks, and having served many varied purposes, is located in northcentral Arkansas a few miles south of Mountain Home. It is open daily, May 1 through September 21, for tours. On the tour through the home one can see old kitchen ironware, hats dating from Civil War days, an early parlor, Wolf family photographs, Indian artifacts, and a spectacular view of White River and Matney Mountain, the north cornerstone of Major Wolfs Cherokee nation.
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly
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