Counties

Counties are administrative and political sub-units of a state. Some states, particularly Alaska and Louisiana, use the terms “borough” and “parish,” respectively, to designate the same type of entity. The county government is based within a community designated the county seat and typically consists of a county judge (who serves as the chief executive officer), county clerk, circuit clerk, assessor, sheriff, coroner, and the legislative body known as the quorum court; some counties have or had other positions such as county superintendent, surveyor, or collector. Some counties possess dual county seats due to local geographical conditions making travel to a single county seat difficult at certain times of the year, as with some counties that are divided by a river.

When Arkansas became a territory of the United States, it was home to five counties: Arkansas, Lawrence, Pulaski, Clark, and Hempstead. As the state’s population grew, these counties were divided into smaller and smaller units over the coming decades before eventually arriving at the seventy-five counties that make up the state of Arkansas in the twenty-first century. Article 13 of the 1874 Arkansas Constitution, which remains in force, relates to the creation of new counties. Namely, the constitution specifies that no county then established “shall be reduced to an area of less than six hundred square miles, nor to less than five thousand inhabitants,” and neither “shall any new county be established with less than six hundred square miles and five thousand inhabitants.” In addition, the removal of part of one county for inclusion in another requires “the consent of a majority of the voters in such part proposed to be taken off.” Likewise, the establishment or change of a county seat also requires a majority vote.

A single county, Lovely County, existed for only one year as a part of Arkansas Territory before being abolished as part of an 1828 federal treaty with the Cherokee Nation. Another county, Sarber County, was renamed Logan County. Every county is a member of the Association of Arkansas Counties.

 

Title County Seat/Seats Established Parent County
Arkansas County DeWitt, Stuttgart December 13, 1813 Original
Ashley County Hamburg November 30, 1848 Drew, Chicot, Union
Baxter County Mountain Home March 24, 1873 Fulton, Izard, Marion, Searcy
Benton County Bentonville September 30, 1836 Washington
Boone County Harrison April 9, 1869 Carroll, Marion
Bradley County Warren December 18, 1840 Union
Calhoun County Hampton December 6, 1850 Dallas, Ouachita
Carroll County Berryville, Eureka Springs November 1, 1833 Izard
Chicot County Lake Village October 25, 1823 Arkansas
Clark County Arkadelphia December 15, 1818 Arkansas
Clay County Corning, Piggott March 24, 1873 Greene, Randolph
Cleburne County Heber Springs February 20, 1883 Independence, Van Buren, White
Cleveland County Rison April 17, 1873 Bradley, Dallas, Jefferson, Lincoln
Columbia County Magnolia December 17, 1852 Hempstead, Lafayette, Ouachita
Conway County Morrilton October 20, 1825 Pulaski
Craighead County Jonesboro, Lake City February 19, 1859 Greene, Mississippi, Poinsett
Crawford County Van Buren October 18, 1820 Pulaski
Crittenden County Marion October 22, 1825 Phillips
Cross County Wynne November 15, 1862 Crittenden, Poinsett, St. Francis
Dallas County Fordyce January 1, 1845 Bradley, Clark
Desha County Arkansas City December 12, 1838 Arkansas, Chicot
Drew County Monticello November 26, 1846 Arkansas, Bradley
Faulkner County Conway April 12, 1873 Conway, Pulaski
Franklin County Charleston, Ozark December 19, 1837 Crawford
Fulton County Salem December 21, 1842 Izard
Garland County Hot Springs April 5, 1873 Hot Spring, Montgomery, and Saline and Clark
Grant County Sheridan February 4, 1869 Hot Spring, Jefferson, Saline
Greene County Paragould November 5, 1833 Lawrence
Hempstead County Hope December 15, 1818 Arkansas
Hot Spring County Malvern November 2, 1829 Clark
Howard County Nashville April 17, 1873 Hempstead, Pike, Polk, Sevier
Independence County Batesville October 20, 1820 Lawrence
Izard County Melbourne October 27, 1825 Independence
Jackson County Newport November 5, 1829 Independence
Jefferson County Pine Bluff November 2, 1829 Arkansas, Pulaski
Johnson County Clarksville November 16, 1833 Pope
Lafayette County Lewisville October 15, 1827 Hempstead
Lawrence County Walnut Ridge January 15, 1815 New Madrid, Missouri
Lee County Marianna April 17, 1873 Crittenden, Monroe, Phillips, St. Francis
Lincoln County Star City March 28, 1871 Arkansas, Bradley, Desha, Drew, Jefferson
Little River County Ashdown March 5, 1867 Hempstead, Sevier
Logan County Booneville, Paris March 22, 1871 Franklin, Johnson, Scott, Yell
Lonoke County Lonoke April 16, 1873 Prairie, Pulaski
Madison County Huntsville September 30, 1836 Carroll, Newton, and Washington
Marion County Yellville September 25, 1836 Izard
Miller County Texarkana April 1, 1820; December 22, 1874 Lafayette
Mississippi County Blytheville, Osceola November 1, 1833 Crittenden
Monroe County Clarendon November 2, 1829 Arkansas, Phillips
Montgomery County Mount Ida December 9, 1842 Hot Spring
Nevada County Prescott March 20, 1871 Columbia, Hempstead, Ouachita
Newton County Jasper December 14, 1842 Carroll
Ouachita County Camden November 29, 1842 Union
Perry County Perryville December 18, 1840 Conway
Phillips County Helena May 1, 1820 Arkansas
Pike County Murfreesboro November 1, 1833 Clark, Hempstead
Poinsett County Harrisburg February 28, 1838 Greene, St. Francis
Polk County Mena November 30, 1844 Sevier
Pope County Russellville November 2, 1829 Crawford
Prairie County Des Arc, DeValls Bluff November 25, 1846 Monroe, Pulaski
Pulaski County Little Rock December 15, 1818 Arkansas
Randolph County Pocahontas October 29, 1835 Lawrence
Saline County Benton November 2, 1835 Hot Spring, Pulaski
Scott County Waldron November 5, 1833 Crawford, Pope
Searcy County Marshall December 13, 1838 Marion
Sebastian County Fort Smith, Greenwood January 6, 1851 Crawford, Polk, Scott, Van Buren
Sevier County De Queen October 17, 1828 Hempstead, Old Miller
Sharp County Ash Flat July 18, 1868 Lawrence
St. Francis County Forrest City October 13, 1827 Phillips
Stone County Mountain View April 17, 1873 Independence, Izard, Searcy, Van Buren
Union County El Dorado November 2, 1829 Clark, Hempstead
Van Buren County Clinton November 11, 1833 Conway, Independence, Izard
Washington County Fayetteville October 17, 1828 Lovely
White County Searcy October 23, 1835 Independence, Jackson, Pulaski
Woodruff County Augusta November 26, 1862 Arkansas, Lawrence
Yell County Danville, Dardanelle December 5, 1840 Pope, Scott

 

For additional information:
Arkansas Counties. https://www.arcounties.org/counties/ (accessed December 17, 2021).

Staff of the CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas

Last Updated: 12/17/2021