Entries - 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 Statehood In 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 …

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 now …

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 the …

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 Settlement Artifacts 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 …

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 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 R. Harrington dug into several sites along the Ouachita River. At some locations, he found burned buildings buried under low mounds that were built …

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 …

Greene County

  For many years, Greene County’s main attraction, Crowley’s Ridge, was isolated because of swamplands on three sides: the St. Francis River bottoms to the north and east, and the Cache and Black River lowlands on the west. But drainage of the swampland led to growth in the area and, in recent years, many industries have located to the county. Its county seat of Paragould has been labeled as the safest city in Arkansas by the Arkansas Crime and Information Center. Pre-European ExplorationBeginning about 18,000 years ago, the melt water from the Laurentide glacier that covered much of North America created a sluiceway that “washed out” much of the soft sedimentary soil of the old Gulf of Mexico in the …

Hempstead County

  Hempstead County, located in the southwest corner of the state, was organized in 1818, before Congress established Arkansas Territory. The Missouri territorial legislature had created three counties from Arkansas County—Hempstead, Clark, and Pulaski. The county was named for Edward Hempstead, the first delegate to Congress from Missouri Territory. It has been the home of four Arkansas governors: Augustus H. Garland, Daniel Webster Jones, William Jefferson Clinton (later a U.S. president), and Michael Dale Huckabee. European Exploration and Settlement Early Spanish and French explorers traded with the Indians, and it is possible that Hernando de Soto’s 1539–1542 expedition visited this area. Archaeologists have found evidence of Caddo Indian villages and mounds. The Caddo were known to hunt along the Red …

Hot Spring County

  Hot Spring County was established by an act of the territorial legislature in 1829 with land taken from Clark County. Located southeast of the Ouachita National Forest, Hot Spring County is bisected by the Ouachita River and includes landforms ranging from mountains to lowlands once covered in hardwood and pine forests. The combination of rock types and fault lines is responsible for the hot spring that provides the name for the county. This county, located in the southwest region of the state, has a diverse economy based on timber, manufacturing, mining, and agriculture (corn, cotton, and some rice). Ironically, the spring for which Hot Spring County is named is no longer within the county limits. Garland County was created …

Howard County

Howard County encompasses the Ouachita Mountains to the north and the Coastal Plain to the south. It was created in 1873 from portions of Pike, Polk, Hempstead, and Sevier counties. Nashville in eastern Howard County was the birthplace of the Dillard’s department store chain. Howard County was also the location of one of the state’s most notorious race riots. European Exploration and Settlement The first accounts of the inhabitants from this area come from the chronicles of the Hernando de Soto expedition in the sixteenth century. The area is known to have been inhabited by the Caddo tribe. By the mid-1800s, however, the U.S. government had relocated the Caddo to what is now Oklahoma. This area was also part of the …

Independence County

Independence County, one of the “mother counties” of Arkansas, originally contained all or part of fifteen modern counties of Arkansas. The county’s history is tied closely to its strategic location—it sits astride the White River where it flows from the Ozark upland into the Mississippi Alluvial Plain; the river bisects the modern county from west to east, and the original Southwest Trail crossed it from northeast to southwest along the Ozark escarpment. Independence County was a dominant cultural force in Arkansas from its beginning through the nineteenth century. Pre-European Exploration The White River, which lies between the Arkansas and Missouri Rivers, is one of two major drainages of the Ozarks region. That crucial geographic trait made the Independence County area, …

Izard County

  In the nineteenth century, Izard County served as a gateway to settlement across northern Arkansas and was the parent county of seven other counties. Later, Izard County’s virgin yellow pine forests provided lumber to other parts of the state. Today, the county houses a state prison and is a tourist and retirement destination. Izard County has not changed a great deal since the settlers first arrived. Then and now, oak and pine forests cover much of the southern Ozarks hills. The county’s highest elevations are in the Boswell and Sylamore area. These include Brandenburg Mountain (1,099 feet), Thompson Mountain (1,124 feet), and Pilot Knob (1,123 feet). The county has sixty-eight named streams, all of which flow eventually into the …

Jackson County

  Jackson County is in northeast Arkansas. Although the land rises somewhat in the west, most of the county is flat, low river bottom. Since the late 1800s, the county’s largest town has been Newport, the county seat. No single event of great importance has thrust Jackson County into a place of prominence, but it has nonetheless proven to be a crucial component of Arkansas history and culture. European Exploration and SettlementNative Americans called this area home as far back as 10,000 years ago. Evidence of their existence is found in the nearly 600 archaeological sites known to exist in Jackson County. Some researchers have claimed that famed explorer Hernando de Soto passed through the area that would become Jacksonport …

Jefferson County

  Named for former president Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson County has survived devastating floods, economic depression, and the Civil War. It is home to the Pine Bluff Arsenal, and it was the home of Willie Mae Hocker, the designer of the official state flag. Jefferson County began as the state’s major entry point for early European explorers and steamboat travel up the Arkansas River, and a major railroad route went through it into the heart of the state. Towns that make up the county are Altheimer, Humphrey, Pine Bluff, Redfield, Sherrill, Wabbaseka, and White Hall. European Exploration and Settlement On June 18, 1541, Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto led the first Europeans into southeast Arkansas. Although the exact location and routes …

Johnson County

Johnson County has been the location of much of the state’s coal mining as well as one of the centers of the state’s peach industry. The northern section of Johnson County is located within the Boston Mountains, which consists of the entire southern boundary of the Arkansas Ozarks, and within the boundaries of the Ozark National Forest. It is characterized by mountains, thickly forested landscape, and streams and rivers. The southern region of the county is located in the Arkansas River Valley and consists of lowland bottom lands. Johnson County has five creeks/rivers: Horsehead, Little Piney, Mulberry, Spadra, and Big Piney. The county is also home to the University of the Ozarks. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood Native American rock …

Lafayette County

  Lafayette County has always been important to the history of Arkansas, but it was particularly so from its first four decades as a territory through the Civil War. This was partly because one of its residents, James Sevier Conway, was the state’s first governor, but his neighbors, family, and friends, as well as the fertility of its soil, have also continued to contribute to the state’s development. European Exploration and Settlement Before the arrival of Europeans, the area’s inhabitants were mostly of the Caddo tribe. The last Caddo village on the Great Bend of the Red River was abandoned around 1778, twenty-five years before the Louisiana Purchase added this land to the United States, though the Caddo continued to …

Lawrence County

The “Mother of Counties,” Lawrence County once covered a majority of north Arkansas, an enormous stretch of land ultimately forming thirty-one counties. Present-day Lawrence County straddles the Black River, a natural boundary separating the lowlands of the Mississippi Delta from the foothills of the Ozark Plateau. Long dominated by cotton production, this agricultural county now produces rice, soybeans, corn, and sorghum. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood The Osage Indians hunted in what would become Lawrence County, although they had no settlements there. The eastern portion of the county may have been visited in 1541 during a side trip of the expedition of Hernando de Soto. Arkansas became United States territory with the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Named for War of …

Lee County

  Located in the Delta, Lee County is bounded on its east by the Mississippi River. Two navigable rivers, the St. Francis and the L’Anguille, flow through the county. Marianna, the county seat and largest town, sits on the L’Anguille. Though the county’s fertile land and timber resources built its rural agricultural landscape, its emphasis on agriculture translated in a severe population decline as agricultural modernization occurred in the middle of the twentieth century. European Exploration and SettlementHernando de Soto and his men were probably the first Europeans to enter what is now Lee County in August 1541. The expedition likely descended the St. Francis River and entered the chiefdom of Quiguate, which the Spaniards described as the largest of …

Lincoln County

Lincoln County lies in southeastern Arkansas, bordered on the northeast by the Arkansas River. Bayou Bartholomew bisects the county from northwest to southeast, dividing the land between the bottomland of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain (the Delta) to the east and the Coastal Plain. The mainstay of the economy is agriculture. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood By the time of European exploration and settlement, very few Native Americans lived in Lincoln County, though the Quapaw technically owned the land that is now Lincoln County. County histories indicate the possible existence of a Quapaw village near the Arkansas River on land that was later settled by the McLain, Lee, and Douglass families, who established homes there in 1827 in a community called …

Little River County

Carved out of parts of Sevier County and Hempstead County, Little River County was established in 1867 by an act of the Arkansas legislature. The new county gave citizens a shorter and easier journey to their county seat of government. Because of the area’s close proximity to the Little River, which flows into the Red River near Texarkana (Miller County), it took the name of Little River County. This county is located in the southwest corner of the state and is surrounded by Sevier, Hempstead, Howard, and Miller counties in Arkansas and by counties in Texas and Oklahoma. The two rivers form major parts of the boundary of Little River County. The land in and around Little River County is …

Logan County

Logan County, located in the Arkansas River Valley in northwest Arkansas, is one of ten counties in Arkansas having two county seats: Paris and Booneville. Other incorporated towns in the county are Magazine, Blue Mountain, Caulksville, Ratcliff, Subiaco, Scranton, and Morrison Bluff. Although Logan County was not created until 1871, the area that is now Logan County has had a significant impact on the development of western Arkansas dating from territorial days. Some of the oldest settlements in western Arkansas were located in what is now Logan County. During territorial days and throughout the century, Roseville, a busy port on the Arkansas River, played a vital role in river transportation of goods and passengers. Settled around 1830, Booneville was the …

Lonoke County

  The county and its seat of government having the same name distinguishes Lonoke County from other counties in the state. Lonoke received its name from a “lone oak” tree that George P. C. Rumbough used for a landmark while surveying for the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad. In 1873, the Arkansas legislature was forming and locating counties, and a petition was introduced to the legislature to form the county of Lonoke. Governor Elisha Baxter signed the act on April 16, 1873, creating Lonoke County from the parent counties Prairie and Pulaski. The existing territorial land is divided into three sections. The northern region, in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, consists of gently rolling hills and valleys; the towns …

Lovely County

Created and abolished because of treaties, Lovely County in Arkansas Territory existed for only a year. While hostilities played a part in the county’s creation, an 1828 change in the western boundary of Arkansas Territory led to its quick demise. Many Native American tribes inhabited the land that became Lovely County. The Osage hunted the hills and fished in the streams and rivers until 1808, when their claims were given up in the Treaty of Fort Clark. The Cherokee traded their land east of the Mississippi River for land in the west in 1809. President Thomas Jefferson offered the Cherokee the former Osage hunting ground in the area between the Arkansas and White rivers in exchange for their land in …

Madison County

Madison County is a beautiful and still largely unspoiled part of the Ozarks. Forests mostly of hardwood trees cover about two-thirds of the county. Rolling hills overlook clear rivers, and open fields and valleys make up the rest of the terrain. Madison County was home to two Arkansas governors: Issac Murphy and Orval E. Faubus. Pre-European Exploration Archaeologists have found evidence of human habitation in Madison County spanning the last 10,000 years. Mark R. Harrington, who did research in the area in the 1920s, wrote of “Ozark Bluff Dwellers,” but more recent research has reshaped historians’ views of these cultures. Early inhabitants lived along river and creek bottoms, in upland sites overlooking hollows, and in temporary shelters. Some of the …

Marion County

Marion County is located in north-central Arkansas on the Missouri border, within the Ozark Mountain range. The White River, the Buffalo River, Crooked Creek, and the Little North Fork of White River are the county’s principal streams. The county’s topography ranges from Kings Prairie in the southwestern portion of the county to the mountainous regions in the north. Chief agricultural products through the years have included cotton, tomatoes, and beef and dairy cattle. Lumber, including pine, cedar, and hardwoods, has also been exported from Marion County. Pre-European Exploration through European Exploration and Settlement Spear point finds indicate that early humans hunted animals native to the Ozark Plateau, including what is now Marion County, as early as 12,000 years ago, although …

Miller County

  Miller County’s location in southwest Arkansas made it the “Gateway to the Southwestern United States” through its rivers, stagecoach roads, and Native American trails. It is an area of flat plains and gentle hills with an abundance of pine and hardwood forests. The northern and eastern border is marked by the meandering Red River, and the climate is moderate with a growing season of 254 days. The rich soil grows cotton, sorghum, rice, corn, and other crops. Pre-European Exploration through European Exploration and Settlement People have lived in the Miller County area for at least 10,000 years. Over 400 archaeological sites known in the county attest to Native American settlement and use. Early records suggest that the remnants of …

Mississippi County

  Mississippi County, in the northeastern corner of the state, is named for the river that forms its eastern boundary. It is noted for its agricultural production (especially cotton, soybeans, rice, and corn), which has contributed greatly to the economy of the area and the state. Eight steel-related industries have located in the county in recent years, making it the largest steel-producing county in the nation. These and other industries have chosen Mississippi County because of its transportation system that combines river, rail, and interstate highway movement. Pre-European ExplorationMississippi County was home to many prehistoric cultures. As of 2007, 800 known archeological sites exist in the county. Numerous Indian mounds can be seen throughout the county, and many artifacts of …

Monroe County

Monroe County, named for President James Monroe, is located approximately halfway between Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Memphis, Tennessee. There were at one time seven incorporated towns in the county—Brinkley, Clarendon, Holly Grove, Indian Bay, Blackton, Fargo, and Roe. The public schools in the county in 2007 are Brinkley and Clarendon. Monroe County is adjacent to Arkansas, Prairie, and Woodruff counties. The White River separates Monroe and Arkansas counties, while the Cache River separates Monroe and Prairie counties. The county’s economic base is farming, and the land is among some of the most fertile in the state. About 1,500 acres in the county’s southeast corner is protected by levee, but much of the remainder is subject to flooding. The area …