Land was cheap and people were moving further west from Alabama, North and South Carolina and Tennessee, as well as some from Northeastern states. Some of the prominent settlers and businessmen, besides the Nunns and Tates, were Major W. L. Bradley, Ezra Hill, Dan fellows, General Thomas Woodward, the Bragg family, C. C. Scott, Peter McCollom, R. F. Kellum and many others.
In 1860, Camden was the second largest city in Arkansas. Many of the brick store buildings downtown are more than one hundred years old.
Since the growth of Camden was the result of its situation on a navigable river, steamboats occupied a prominent place in its history. John Nunn built The Enterprise in 1824. The Nacogdoches was operating in 1818. Mr. Kellum in his diary reports the following steamboats from January 8 to January 20, 1860: The Lizzie Simmons, the finest steamer on the west cost $50,000.00---carried 4, 000 bales of cotton---Catahoula, Dr. Buffington, Twilight, Moro, Tigress, Paul Jones. Mention is also made of other steam boats operating up to Arkadelphia. Mr. Kellum tells about the arrival on February 21, 1860, of the Steamer, Banjo, with a Negro minstrel and calliope. Low water set in in March. On April 22 Mr. Kellum reports: "Town out of provisions in the line of food only at exorbitant prices, river rising, steamboat Red Chief arrives, also, Steamer Hetty Gilmore."
There is a story told that during a long dry season the merchants ran out of salt. One enterprising operator made plans to bring up a boat load of salt on the first rise in river. When he arrived there were five steamboats at the dock, all loaded with salt. This man then decided to store his salt in the warehouse that was located on the bank of the river so as to be ready to reap a good profit when salt became scarce again. An unprecedented rise in the river put water into the warehouse, and when the water receded all that the gentleman had was a pile of empty sacks.