Ashdown was first known as Keller and was located in a area that the locals called Turkey Flats. The town lay by the crossing of the Peytonville- Richmond Road and the Texarkana- Fort Smith railroad. A railroad lawyer, Lawrence Alexander Byrne, realized how valuable the land would be from a transport point of view, so he bought 80 acres. On his land he built several sawmills in the area. The sawmill that he owned in Keller burned down, and according to the legend Byrne said: "The mill has burned down and is in ashes, but I am going to build a town here and call it Ashdown". And that is how the town got its name. It should also come to knowing that Byrne's mother was from Ashdown, England.
Keller Officially changed name to Ashdown in June of 1892 and after that families and businesses started coming to the little town. Just nine years later the town already had a population of 400 and its own brick bank and steam gin.
In the beginning of the 20th century Ashdown was a gathering point for a lot of loose people and it was becoming a big problem, as the town got a reputation as lawless. The Saloons were forbidden in 1903 which helped a lot. In 1910 Ashdown had a population of 1,500 and kept growing to 2,200 by the time the great depression. As the Nekoosa-Edwards Paper Plant was established in Ashdown in 1968 new job opportunities were brought to the town which led till yet another growth of the population and in 1990 the population of Ashdown was about 5,200.