Wheatley is a town in St. Francis County that is midway between West Memphis and Little Rock. It is crossed by both Interstate 40 and U. S. Highway 70, as well as the tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad. The town was established when a depot was placed there after completion of the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad in 1871. At that time, stops were necessary every few miles for fuel and water. The depot, originally called Britton, was renamed Wheatley in 1872 in honor of Wheatley Dennis, a resident of the new community.
Growth and changes in the railroad system through the area led to a population growth in Wheatley, and the town was incorporated in 1907. In 1909, a rice dryer and storage facility near the railroad crossing was established, which today is part of Riceland Foods.
In the 1920s, U.S. Highway 70 was established to cross the United States, with the Arkansas route paralleling what had become the Rock Island railroad. Eventually the track was acquired by Union Pacific, which still operates through Wheatley.