Dumas, Arkansas

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Dumas, Arkansas
Entering Dumas from the north on U.S. Route 65
Entering Dumas from the north on U.S. Route 65
Location in Desha County and the state of Arkansas
Location in Desha County and the state of Arkansas
Coordinates: 33°53′12″N 91°29′19″W / 33.88667°N 91.48861°W / 33.88667; -91.48861Coordinates: 33°53′12″N 91°29′19″W / 33.88667°N 91.48861°W / 33.88667; -91.48861
Country United States
State Arkansas
County Desha
 • Total 3 sq mi (7.7 km2)
 • Land 3 sq mi (7.7 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation 164 ft (50 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 4,706
 • Density 1,600/sq mi (610/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 71639
Area code(s) 870
FIPS code 05-19990
GNIS feature ID 0048697
Website http://www.cityofdumasar.net/

Dumas is a city in Desha County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 4,706 at the 2010 census.[1] Dumas proudly proclaims itself as "Home of the Ding Dong Daddy", a reference to the Vaudeville song "I'm a Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas" by Phil Baxter.[2]

Geography and climate[edit]

Dumas is located at 33°53′12″N 91°29′19″W / 33.88667°N 91.48861°W / 33.88667; -91.48861 (33.886626, -91.488544).[3] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total land area of 3.0 square miles (7.8 km2). The city is located in the Delta Lowlands sub-region of the Arkansas Delta with a topography that is largely flat.

The climate in the area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Dumas has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[4]


As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 5,238 people, 1,977 households, and 1,399 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,768.0 people per square mile (683.2/km²). There were 2,177 housing units at an average density of 734.8 per square mile (284.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 26.62% White, 70.02% Black or African American, 0.08% Native American, 0.50% Asian, 2.00% from other races, and 0.78% from two or more races. 3.19% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 1,977 households out of which 36.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.9% were married couples living together, 23.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.2% were non-families. 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.19.

In the city the population was spread out with 30.1% under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 24.9% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 13.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 83.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,754, and the median income for a family was $32,255. Males had a median income of $28,396 versus $19,363 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,727. About 22.6% of families and 28.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 39.9% of those under age 18 and 23.4% of those age 65 or over.

2007 tornado[edit]

On February 24, 2007, Dumas was struck by a tornado at around 3 p.m. CT (4 p.m. ET). More than 40 people were injured and many homes and business were damaged or destroyed. The local Dumas police stated on CNN that "the feed mill was the local employer and now it is gone". [6] Following the storm, U.S. Senator Mark Pryor had criticized the Federal Emergency Management Agency's response to the recovery and cleanup efforts.[7]


The Dumas Public Schools system operates public schools.[8] Its schools include Central Elementary School,[9] Reed Elementary, Dumas Junior High School,[10] and Dumas High School.[11]

Notable residents[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

In September 2011 the feature film Mud, written and directed by Jeff Nichols and starring Reese Witherspoon and Matthew McConaughey, was filmed in and around Dumas. “It is a coming of age drama centered on two 14-year-old boys (Ellis and Neckbone) who encounter a mysterious fugitive (Mud) on an island in the Mississippi River,” according to www.theagencyinc.com. “Intrigued by this man, the boys enter a pact to help him escape capture. A friendship evolves as Mud teaches the boys as much as he learns from them.” Several of the towns people are served as extras in the film, with a few having acquired small speaking roles.

The song, "Ding Dong Daddy From Dumas", written by Phil Baxter, is claimed by two towns. One being Dumas, Arkansas, the other being Dumas, Texas. It remains a mystery as to which town he was referring to, when the song was written. Due to this, there has been somewhat of a "rivalry" between the two places, as to who can actually lay claim to which the song is about.

According to Dumas, TX history, Phil Baxter, chanced upon Dumas, TX. He spent a few weeks in Dumas getting acquainted and after he had a steak continued his journey. Less than a year later Baxter penned the words and tune to a song which he named “I’m a Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas.”

The tune’s writer, Phil Baxter, was born in Navarro County, Texas and recorded twice, once in St. Louis in 1925 and once in Dallas in 1929. His band, Phil Baxter and His Texas Tommies, became the house band at the El Torreon Ballroom in Kansas City from 1927 until 1933. In addition to “Ding Dong Daddy,” Baxter also composed the popular Ted Weems novelty, “Piccolo Pete,” as well as “Have a Little Dream On Me,” a tune recorded by Fats Waller. [12]

Today, the Moore County Historical Museum, in Dumas, TX, has on display the original artwork of the “Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas”, along with an autographed copy of the sheet music by Phil Baxter. Also a copy on tape of the portion of a radio broadcast interview with song writer Phil Baxter and KDDD’s Ken Duke made during the Dumas Dogie Day celebration in June, 1957.[13]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]