Entry Category: Counties

Arkansas County

Arkansas County, located in southeast Arkansas, has two county seats—DeWitt and Stuttgart. It is one of the state’s original counties and lies in the Delta. Arkansas County is an agricultural county; rice and soybeans are the main crops. European Exploration and Settlement Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto traveled the Mississippi River from 1541 to 1543. At one point, he and his party reached Anilco, a village on the Arkansas River that may have included the Menard-Hodges Site in the southeast corner of Arkansas County. On the same river were the villages of Cayas and Utiangue. In 1682, the La Salle expedition reached Kappa, the largest village of the Quapaw Indians; it stood on the west bank of the Mississippi River. …

Ashley County

  Ashley County is located in southeast Arkansas and is part of both the Mississippi Alluvial and West Gulf Coastal plains. Soil in the eastern Delta region of the county is conducive to the cultivation of the great cash crops of the state: cotton, rice, and soybeans. The western part of the county, being mainly upland forests, developed into the city of Crossett in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, becoming home to one of the largest industrial enterprises in Arkansas: the Crossett Lumber Company, later to become Georgia-Pacific Corporation (GP). At its peak, GP owned some 800,000 acres in southeast Arkansas and northeast Louisiana, and Crossett billed itself as “The Forestry Capital of the South.” Ashley County—formed out …

Baxter County

  Governor Elisha Baxter formed Baxter County just prior to the Brooks-Baxter War. It is a county important to Arkansas history because of its flood control projects and its early educational institutions. Most of the land in Baxter County is hilly and rocky, typical of the Ozark Plateau on which it lies. Pre-European Exploration and Settlement Hundreds of prehistoric sites, representing various time periods and traditions, are found in Baxter County. By the time of the Louisiana Purchase, the Osage claimed control over the area, but they relinquished their claims in an 1808 treaty with the United States government. Louisiana Purchase through Early StatehoodThe Jacob Wolf House in Liberty (now Norfork) was the territorial seat of government from 1828 to …

Benton County

 Located in the northwest corner of Arkansas, Benton County borders Missouri and Oklahoma and is part of the Ozark Plateau. The county has grown from a Native American hunting ground and a timberland and fruit resource to one of the fastest-growing and most economically vibrant counties in the country. Louisiana Purchase through Early StatehoodIn the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the Osage Indians in Missouri made forays into the area for seasonal hunting. After the Louisiana Purchase, the U.S. government obtained major land cessions from the Osage, especially by an 1808 treaty. Cherokee agent Major William Lovely negotiated the cession of more Osage land in 1816 (renegotiated in an 1818 treaty), and all Osage land in the region had …

Bigelow (Perry County)

Bigelow is located in the eastern part of Perry County, near the confluence of the Fourche La Fave and Arkansas rivers. The town’s past is tied to the lumber industry, and it has seen its population surge and fall with the state of the local lumber economy. An early settler in the area was Gustave Klingelhoeffer, a German immigrant who came to Arkansas in the early 1830s and eventually settled in Perry County, first near the county seat of Perryville and then later near the mouth of the Fourche La Fave River. Klingelhoeffer featured prominently in the stories of Friedrich Gerstäcker, a German writer who traveled through Perry County and visited the Klingelhoeffer home. In 1880, an application to establish …

Boone County

  Located in the Ozark Mountain highlands, Boone County has endured struggles from its creation. Political, racial, and union conflicts have drawn national attention, often overshadowing the contributions of the county’s residents and businesses. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Although they had no communities in the area, the Osage had claims to what would become Boone County until an 1808 treaty, and they often hunted there. Part of Boone County was in a Cherokee reservation which existed from 1818 to 1828. Most of the Cherokee lived further south in the reservation, away from the Osage presence to the north. During this time, many name and boundary changes occurred. Becoming part of the United States with the Louisiana Purchase, the area …

Bradley County

  Bradley County, located in south Arkansas in the West Gulf Coastal Plain, has become known nationally as one of the prime production areas for tomatoes. The “Bradley Pink” variety is the standard for quality for the entire tomato market in the United States. The tomato has been labeled “Arkansas’s gift to the nation,” and the pink tomato is the official fruit and vegetable of the state. The Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival draws thousands of visitors each year. The county is bounded on the west by Calhoun County, with Moro Bayou the dividing line, and on the north by Cleveland County. To the east is Drew County, the dividing line being the Saline River. The Ouachita River divides the …

Calhoun County

Located in south-central Arkansas, with its southernmost border about twenty-five miles from the Louisiana state line, Calhoun County has the smallest population of Arkansas’s seventy-five counties, with a population density of fewer than nine persons per square mile compared to fifty-six for the state. Hampton is the only town with more than 1,000 residents. Thornton, Harrell, and Tinsman are the only other incorporated communities. The economic base is timber, sand, and gravel. Sixty-eight percent of the workforce is employed in manufacturing. Pre-European Exploration There are about 350 archaeological sites known in Calhoun County, testifying to the habitation of Native Americans in the region for thousands of years. Two prehistoric mounds—Boone’s Mounds and the Keller Site—believed to be from the Coles Creek …

Carroll County

  Changing boundary lines, the massacre of a California-bound wagon train, and the power of healing springs have extended Carroll County’s impact far beyond its borders. While retaining its rural status, Carroll County has successfully merged its history with the changing times to create a county that draws a diverse group of residents as well as tourists. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Louisiana Territory, Missouri Territory, and finally Arkansas Territory were names given to the land that became Carroll County. The Osage hunted the land until they ceded their rights to northwest Arkansas in an1808 treaty. In 1818, the United States government established a reservation for the Western Cherokee. The northwest boundary of the reservation ran diagonally through what is …

Chicot County

    Chicot County is the southeasternmost county in Arkansas. It is bounded by Louisiana to the south and the Mississippi River to the east. The county is located in the heart of the Mississippi Delta; therefore, it is a prime location for agriculture, with some of the richest soils in the state. Because of this, the county continues to have strong ties to the land and is consistently one of the largest producers of cotton in Arkansas. With Lake Chicot as the largest natural lake in Arkansas and the largest oxbow lake in North America, the county provides residents and tourists with ample opportunities for year-round fishing. According to the 2010 Census, the county had a population of 11,800, …

Clark County

Clark County was founded on December 15, 1818, as part of Missouri Territory. One of the original five counties composing Arkansas Territory when the territory was established in 1819, Clark County included all or parts of at least fifteen counties in present-day Arkansas and parts of six counties in what is now Oklahoma. The county was named for Missouri territorial governor William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The county is part of two of Arkansas’s natural regions—the Ouachita Mountains and the Gulf Coastal Plain—and its physical characteristics made the area ideal for farming and hunting. Before Europeans arrived, Native Americans, particularly the Caddo, inhabited the land containing heavy forests, abundant game, rich soil, clear streams, and salt. Archaeological …

Clay County

  Clay County is a predominantly rural area with small cities and towns. Light industry in the area supplements the agriculture-based economy. Hunting, fishing, and boating are the area’s primary recreational offerings. Clay County lies within the Mississippi River Alluvial Plain. The county is divided into unequal halves by Crowley’s Ridge, following a northeast to southwest direction. In general, soils in the county range from sandy to clay and gravel, and lignite deposits can be found along Crowley’s Ridge. Eastern Clay County has petrified wood, pieces of which can be seen outside the courthouse in Piggott and have even been used to make tombstones. The St. Francis, Cache, Black, and Current rivers flow through the county. Approximately twenty-two percent of …

Cleburne County

Although it was the last of Arkansas’s seventy-five counties to be formed, Cleburne County has proved to be a tourist mecca for the state. Thousands of Arkansans and visitors are attracted to Greers Ferry Lake and the Little Red River for fishing, swimming, and other water sports. Even before the lake was formed, summer visitors were attracted to the mineral springs in Spring Park in Heber Springs, the county seat, and to the waterfalls and unique rock formations in the surrounding hills. Cleburne County has a generally rugged terrain with elevations ranging from 270 feet above sea level in the river bottomland of the southeast part of the county to 1,400 feet in the northwest section. The valleys have some …

Cleveland County

Cleveland County was formed in 1873 as Dorsey County, named after Republican congressman Stephen Dorsey, but the name was changed to honor President Grover Cleveland on March 5, 1885. The Saline River bisects the county from near the northwest corner to near the southeast corner. Moro Creek forms much of the western boundary. When the area was first explored, trees covered a major part of the county. Much of the economy centered on their harvest. The timber industry is still fairly important to the county. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Fossils of sea crustaceans have been found along Salty Branch, as it is known locally, which crosses Arkansas Highway 8 just east of Highway 97. According to an 1818 Quapaw …

Columbia County

  Natural resources have been the mainstay of the Columbia County economy, from cotton in the nineteenth century; timber, oil, and gas in the mid-twentieth century; and later bromine. The county’s fortunes have also been closely tied to the evolution of Southern Arkansas University (SAU). Columbia County, named after the female personification of America, wielded significant political influence in Arkansas during the first half of the twentieth century, with family and business ties to governors Thomas McRae, Sidney McMath, and Ben T. Laney, Lieutenant Governor Lawrence E. Wilson, State Auditor T. C. Monroe, U.S. representatives Robert Minor Wallace and Wade Kitchens, and businessman Harvey Couch. Columbia County is typified geographically by low, rolling hills and is heavily forested. Pre-European Exploration …

Conway County

Conway County was established by an act of the territorial legislature on October 20, 1825, from land taken from Pulaski County. It was named for Henry Wharton Conway, a member of the Arkansas Territory’s delegation to Congress. At the time, it comprised 2,500 square miles and included most of the present Conway, Faulkner, Van Buren, White, Cleburne, and Perry counties and part of Yell County. Located in the Arkansas River Valley, Conway County’s geographic structure ranges from the ridges of the Ozark foothills in the extreme northwest to the rich lowlands near the Arkansas River—a quite varied topography. The county’s native hardwood and pine forests have been a resource for the timber and recreation industries. Cotton was grown in the …

Craighead County

  Craighead County is located in northeast Arkansas and was created as Arkansas’s fifty-eighth county in 1859. It is unusual not only in the circumstances of its creation and naming but also in that it has two county seats, Jonesboro and Lake City. The unique formation called Crowley’s Ridge runs through its center. Along with Jonesboro and Lake City, Craighead County also includes the towns of Bay, Black Oak, Bono, Brookland, Caraway, Cash, Egypt, and Monette. It is the home of Arkansas State University (ASU), one of the state’s largest universities. Pre-European Exploration Of significance for early habitation of Craighead County is Crowley’s Ridge, a crescent-shaped outcropping running roughly from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to Helena-West Helena (Phillips County). It rises …

Crawford County

  Crawford County is situated in northwest Arkansas in the Ozark Mountains. The Boston Mountains on the north and the Arkansas River Valley on the south provide a diverse landscape and play an important role in the economy of the past and present. The county is centrally located within the nation, thus allowing desirable north-south and east-west transportation networks to support industrialization, manufacturing, and tourism growth. Pre-European ExplorationThe area that became Crawford County has been inhabited since the end of the Ice Age, about 12,000 BC. Paleoindians hunted and gathered wild plants and other resources, residing in open air campsites and occasionally using rock shelters. Agricultural settlements began to be established during the Mississippian Period (900—1600 AD). Pictographs(paintings on rock …

Crittenden County

Crittenden County is located in east-central Arkansas. Its eastern and southern boundaries are the Mississippi River. To its west are Lee, St. Francis, and Cross counties. Mississippi County and Poinsett County form its northern borders. According to historian Margaret Woolfolk, “Crittenden is entirely on the bottom land of the Mississippi River….Total thickness of the sediment exceeds 100 feet.” Because of its astonishing fertility, the area became an obvious location for agricultural development. In the modern era, it has also become a major transportation thoroughfare. European Exploration and SettlementArtifacts found in Crittenden County—including effigy pipes, stone ear plugs, and ornaments—testify to a long habitation of the area by Native Americans. Some archaeologists place the location of Pacaha, visited by the expedition …

Cross County

Cross County is one of the state’s leading producers of soybeans and rice, the location of the only copper tube mill in Arkansas, and the home of two state parks: Village Creek State Park and Parkin Archeological State Park. Created during the Civil War, the county was largely shaped by railroad development during the Gilded Age, with small industry and tourism becoming more of a focus in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Geologically, the county is divided roughly into thirds. Crowley’s Ridge, a glacial age erosional remnant covered with a unique loessal topsoil, traverses the county north to south, rising seventy-five to 100 feet above ancient deltaic alluvial floodplains on either side. The eastern third is drained primarily …

Dallas County

Dallas County is a rural county, dominated in its early days by farming, mostly cotton, and then railroads and timber; these industries have accounted for the majority of economic sustenance for residents and landowners throughout its history. Many communities that exist in the county today owe at least some part of their development to the construction of either a nearby railroad, mill, or both. Pre-European Exploration Just prior to European exploration and settlement, Native American tribes, primarily Caddo and Quapaw, lived, traveled, and hunted in the area now known as Dallas County. Several sites identified as burial or other sacred sites have been identified in southwest Arkansas, and some were explored by archeologists earlier in the twentieth century, including some …

Desha County

 Hardwood forests, alluvial soil, and flooding rivers marked the Native American territory that became Desha County. Lying at the confluence of the Arkansas, White, and Mississippi rivers, fertile land with abundant game provided sustenance for the Quapaw. Today, Delta soil and ample water make Desha County a leading agricultural producer. European Exploration and SettlementExplorers Hernando de Soto; Father Jacques Marquette; Louis Joliet; René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle; and Henri de Tonti visited area Indian tribes. Marquette and Joliet stopped in 1673 at the Indian village of Mitchagama, in the vicinity of the Arkansas River mouth. La Salle, visiting Indians in 1682, set up a cross in the same area. Frenchman Francis D’Armond erected a trading post on the Mississippi …

Drew County

Drew County is located at the edge of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain (the Delta) in the West Gulf Coastal plains region. Bayou Bartholomew, the longest bayou in the world, runs along the eastern edge of Drew County. The Saline River forms the southwestern border. The Monticello Ridge uplands extend from north of Star City (Lincoln County) through Drew County into Louisiana. The county is home to the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM), whose School of Forest Resources is the only such institution in the state, as well as SeaArk Marine, Inc., and other industries. European Exploration and Settlement Native Americans lived in southeastern Arkansas, including Drew County, for many years before European exploration into the region. By the late …

Faulkner County

  Faulkner County was one of the last counties formed in the state of Arkansas. Sparsely populated in its early years, it is now the sixth-most-populous county in the state. Faulkner County is home to the University of Central Arkansas (UCA), Hendrix College, and Central Baptist College. Lake Conway, a large man-made lake, lies in the southern part of Faulkner County. Much of the county consists of rolling hills and river valleys, but flat prairie lands can be found in the northern part. European Exploration and Settlement The first European explorers in the area were the group traveling with Jean-Baptiste Bénard de La Harpe, who traveled up the Arkansas River from Arkansas Post (Arkansas County) in 1722. A fur trader …

Franklin County

  Franklin County, bisected by the Arkansas River into a forested northern section and a southern section primarily of farmland, was formed on December 19, 1837, from Crawford County. It is rich in minerals and had one of the first oil strikes in Arkansas. European Exploration and Settlement The area that became Franklin County has been inhabited since the end of the Ice Age, about 12,000 BC. Paleoindians hunted and gathered wild plants and other resources, residing in open air campsites and occasionally using rock shelters. Agricultural settlements began to be established during the Mississippian Period (900—1600 AD), raising corn and other domesticated plants. The Osage used lands to the north of the Arkansas River as hunting grounds, although their …

Fulton County

  Fulton County, located in the Ozark Foothills of north-central Arkansas, borders the Missouri state line on the north, Sharp County to the east, Izard County to the south, and Baxter County to the west. The population in the 2010 census was over 12,000, while the county seat, Salem, claimed 1,635 residents. The rolling, forested hills of Fulton County are well suited for pasture, moderately suited for woodland use, and poorly suited for cultivated crops. Past residents of Fulton County turned to the timber and livestock industries as substantial sources of income. Fulton County has four incorporated cities: Mammoth Spring, Salem, Cherokee Village, and Viola. Fulton County is home to Spring River, a popular canoeing site, and the famous baseball player …

Garland County

Garland County, in the heart of the Ouachita Mountains, is home to the nation’s first federal reservation, which later became Hot Springs National Park. It has a diverse economy supported by strong tourism, forestry, manufacturing, and regional medical facilities. Pre-European Exploration Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-style-parent:””; font-size:11.0pt;”Calibri”,”sans-serif”; mso-fareast-“Times New Roman”; mso-bidi-“Times New Roman”;} The first inhabitants of the area to be called Garland County arrived about 12,000 BC, and this region was occupied by native people until about AD 1600. Although they had left the area before the first white American pioneers arrived, artifacts indicate that the native residents were related to historic Caddo Indians. Pioneer archaeologist Mark …

Grant County

Grant County, located in central Arkansas, is best known for its timber industry. The county is saturated with logging operators who use modern techniques to harvest pine trees and hardwood saw logs. The logs are transported to the International Paper Company mill in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) and to sawmills in Leola (Grant County), Benton (Saline County), and nearby towns. The county’s largest community celebration, Timberfest, is held each October in Sheridan, the county seat. Other cities in the county include Grapevine, Prattsville, Poyen, and Tull. Sheridan has attracted some large manufacturing plants in the past forty years. Pre-European Exploration through Early Statehood The common occurrence of prehistoric archaeological sites in Grant County testify to the early presence of Native …