In 1870, land developer Alexander A. Arthur moved to the area from Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He laid out a town, based on consolidated land parcels. In 1876 the area was called Butcher Springs and with the creation of a post office the town became known as Arthur in 1890. Alexander Arthur was key in having a railroad from Knoxville to Middlesboro, Kentucky be installed through Arthur, allowing his namesake to develop into a railroad town. The town shipped coal, ore and other minerals.