Fontaine Richard Earle was born in 1831 in Kentucky. In 1858, he moved to Cane Hill, where he became president of Cane Hill College and a minister at local Cumberland Presbyterian churches. The Greek Revival Earle House was constructed in 1859.
When the Civil War began, Earle closed Cane Hill College and left to lead the Confederate Company B of the 34th Arkansas Infantry. He was promoted to Captain and then Major in 1863, and at the Battle of Jenkin’s Ferry in 1864, he commanded the 34th Arkansas Infantry until the war ended.
When the Rev. Maj. Earle returned from war in 1865, Earle and Amanda Buchanan were married. Amanda Buchanan was the oldest daughter of Reverend John Buchanan and was born in Cane Hill in 1834. She graduated from Union Female College in Oxford, Mississippi in 1858 and returned to Cane Hill to teach. She taught art and literature at Cane Hill College. Sometimes the Earles were the only two instructors at the school. Amanda Buchanan Earle died in 1894.
F. R. Earle continued to serve as president of Cane Hill College and Cumberland College (now University of the Ozarks) in Clarksville, Arkansas after Cane Hill College closed. F.R. Earle also elected to serve as a member of the state legislature in 1866, where he championed legislation related to free public schools and he served as Arkansas’ first Secretary of Education (then Superintendent of Public Instruction). F.R. Earle spent his last years in Cane Hill preaching at the local Presbyterian congregations until his death at his home in 1908.
The Earle Home fell into severe disrepair after its 1982 listing on the National Register of Historic Places. All that is left of the homesite is the foundation and chimneys, part of a spring house, and a barn.