Local myth claimed the town's name "Fredonia" was for the Republic of Fredonia movement of Mexican Texas in the 1820s by a group of Arkansas Cherokee Indians settled near Nacogdoches, Texas. The settlers backed by white Southerners from the U.S. wanted to establish an independent Indian nation but the dream ended in an armed conflict by Mexican troops.
"Biscoe" was the town's official name for most of its history, being written in parentheses. It was founded in the 1810s by several thousand Cherokee settlers from Tennessee in a piece of land set aside for the Western band of Cherokee, who lost their sovereignty when Arkansas became a state in 1836. The town has an African-American majority from a history of slavery in the antebellum era and agricultural labor afterwards.