Dumas is located approximately 90 miles southeast of Little Rock and 45 miles southeast of Pine Bluff. Located along the Great River Road National Scenic Byway, the locale that would later become Dumas was settled in 1870 by William Dumas, a planter and merchant. The town was incorporated in 1904 and the moniker of Dumas remained.
With an extension of the Missouri Pacific Valley Line Railroad running into the town, Dumas continued to grow economically and ethnically. The railroad allowed immigrants moving into the area to easily make the town their home; bringing with them a wonderfully diverse mixture of culture, foods and customs.
Agriculture has been one of the primary economic stimuli since William Dumas settled the location. Local lore claims that it was a plantation owner from Dumas who had the distinction of being the first person to sell $1 million in cotton on the New Orleans Stock Exchange. Dumas became a recognizable name in the late 1920s and 30s when a song written by Phil Baxter became popular. “I'm a Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas” became a fan favorite, especially after Louis Armstrong recorded the tune.
In 1980, the community started an annual festival and decided to embrace their history with the song, and Ding Dong Days of Dumas was born. The popular annual event features live music, activities for kids, the Ding Dong Daddy 5K run/walk, a parade, great food, the World Championship Ding Dong eating contest and the annual crowning of the Ding Dong Daddy and Mama.
To experience the history of Dumas, plan a visit to the Desha County Museum. Here you'll gaze upon artifacts and memorabilia that tell the story of Dumas and the entire county.