Umsted House: Historic home of South Arkansas oil baron, and its antique furnishings, for sale

In 1905, Sidney Albert Umsted owned and operated a large, successful sawmill in Smackover, Ark. Within 15 years, the mill was the primary source of employment in the area. In July 1922, he became a wealthy, powerful man almost overnight when he struck oil in Smackover. In fact, he became known as “the father of Smackover.”

By the end of the next year, 1,000 producing wells had been completed within 60 square miles. Umsted owned an estimated 3,000 acres of oil leases and an additional 1,000 acres outright.With the rough atmosphere created by the oil boom, Smackover soon became a wild place to live, so in 1923, Umsted began construction on his 4,956-square-foot brick, Mediterranean-style house in Camden, moving his family into their new home in 1924.

Umsted went on to explore for oil in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and other states.

On Oct. 27, 1925, Umsted was returning from a business trip to Tupelo, Miss., when his train derailed near Victoria, Miss. He was seriously injured and died in a hospital in Memphis, Tenn., on Nov. 3, 1925. He was 49 years old.

The Umsted House now is the home of a bed and breakfast at 404 Washington Street. It is filled with quality antiques, bronzes, cut glass and collectibles that will all be sold separately. The home has four bedrooms and 4 1/2 baths and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Adding to its beauty and charm are crystal chandeliers and bevel edge glass doors. It sits on a beautiful, landscaped corner lot.

The house and its contents will be auctioned in a live webcast on Friday, May 1, 2009, at 10 a.m. For more information, contact Wilson Auctioneers, Inc., 929 Airport Road, Hot Springs, AR 71913. Call 501-624-1825 or e-mail