It was located on the south bank of the White River just below the Missouri-Arkansas line near where the community of Diamond City is now situated a few miles north of Lead Hill, except that the actual town site of old Dubuque was covered by the waters of Bull Shoals Lake when the dam was completed in 1951.
During the first half of the nineteenth century, Dubuque was the northern-most point for steamboat travel on the White River, and the town was a receiving point for merchandise headed to Forsyth and other places upstream via the old Dubuque-Forsyth road and a shipping point for furs and other goods headed downstream. Today, much of the old road is likewise covered by Bull Shoals.
During the Civil War, Dubuque was a Confederate stronghold and the site of a lead smelter that supplied bullets for rebel forces. It was the scene of several minor skirmishes, including one in November of 1862 when Captain Milton Burch led an expedition of the Fourteenth Missouri Cavalry (Militia) into southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. In his after-action report on the mission, Burch explained, "I thought it best to visit the vicinity of Dubuque and break up the harbors of the rebels who have with impunity infested that portion of the country." The result of the raid on Dubuque, according to Burch, was twelve Southerners killed and one taken prisoner. Among those killed was a man named Oldham, who was the postmaster at Dubuque.