Amity was founded in 1847 by several pioneer families from the Mount Bethel area of Clark County under the leadership of William F. Browning, who served as the Clark County surveyor during the years of 1846 until his death in 1854. The group settled along the Caddo River, drawn to the area by an abundance of rich bottomland and fresh water. Browning constructed a two story log house just west of Caney Creek, which soon became the center of the expanding community. It was Browning who gave Amity its name.
Together with other citizens, Browning formed the Caddo Valley Baptist Church of Christ, which before several other names would later develop into the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Glenwood and First Baptist Church in Amity. It is thought to be the first religious organization in the area, though Dr. A.B. Clingman, a physican and minister associated with the Church of Christ was in the area before Browning’s group arrived. Browning’s group built a large log house that would serve as both the church and the school house. The first school teacher was Captain Robert S. Burke, a former military officer and Browning’s brother-in-law. A few months later, the first Amity Post Office was established nearby.
With the outbreak of the American Civil War, the community saw dark times. Initially in support of the Confederacy, soon the community became divided, with the men of Amity leaving to fight in both the Confederate Army and the Union Army. In several cases, families were split by their loyalties, causing turmoil within the small community. Midway through the war, Union soldiers burned the Burke schoolhouse and the Browning cotton press.