Van Buren was founded in 1828 but wasn't incorporated until 1842, on Christmas eve. The first white man to come to the site of today's Van Buren was David Boyd and that was in 1818. Shortly thereafter Thomas Martin arrived and he was the first settler. In 1819 Daniel and Thomas Phillips started a wood yard close to Martins Claim and the community was called "Phillips Landing" since the Phillips supplied fuel for the steamboats that passed by on the Arkansas River. And in 1831 the first post office was opened. it got the name Van Buren, in honor of the new secretary of state, Martin Van Buren. After Arkansas had been admitted as a state in 1836 the town site was bought from Philips by John Drennen and David Thompson. From about 1837 the town started to grow and became an important trading town in north west Arkansas. The first train to ever enter Van Buren was on June 24 1876 and was from Little Rock. Van Buren court house caught on fire in 1877 and a lot of records were destroyed. Today Van Buren is a town of c. 19 000.