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Revised 27 December 2010

ARKANSAS

After the United States completed negotiations with the French for the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the Indians wandered freely in Arkansas.  The French explorers had wandered through the area for the past two hundred sixty two hears and had come to the region with their parties in search of treasure.  They did not stay long.

As soon as the land came into United States ownership, it was immediately thrown open for settlement at very attractive low prices.  The first to come were mainly of English, Irish and Scottish stock.  Many moved into the area from nearby Kentucky and Tennessee.

Arkansas as we now know it, became part of the Missouri Territory in 1812.  When Missouri applied for statehood in 1819, Congress created the Arkansas Territory, which included what is now Oklahoma.  On 15 June 1836, Arkansas became the twenty-fifth state in the union.  Because of the territorial  changes, people searching for records in Oklahoma and Missouri, may need to also search the documents of Arkansas as well.  Your records could be in any of these three states depending on the time period involved.

In 1837, a financial panic drained most of the settlers in the older southern and eastern states and many of them set out for the new state of Arkansas to make a new start in life.  By the 1860, the rich lands between the Arkansas and White Rivers attracted several large groups of Southern European emigrants.  Pulaski County was established by a group of people from Poland.  Many Italian families moved into the northwestern section of the state, where they set up fruit farms.  The first two counties to be settled were Lawrence County in the northeast and Arkansas County in the southeast corner.  

Name Date formed Parent County County Seat
Arkansas 1813 Original County Stuttgart & De Witt
Ashley 1848 Union, Drew Hamburg
Baxter 1873 Fulton, Izard, Marion & Searcy Mountain Home
Benton 1836 Washington Bentonville
Boone 1869 Carrol, Madison Harrison
Bradley 1840 Union Warren
Calhoun 1850 Dallas, Ouachita Hampton
Carroll 1833 Izard Berryville & Eureka Springs
Chicot 1823 Arkansas Lake Village
Clark 1818 Arkansas Arkadelphia
Clay 1873 Randolph, Green Corning & Pigott
Cleburne 1883 White, Van Buren, Independence Herber Springs
Cleveland (Changed from Dorsey 5 March 1885) 1873 Dallas, Bradley, Jefferson, Lincoln Rison
Columbia 1852 Lafayette, Hempstead, Ouachita Magnolia
Conway 1825 Pulaski Morrilton
Craighead 1859 Mississippi, Greene, Poinsett Jonesboro an Lake City
Crawford 1820 Pulaski Van Buren
Crittenden 1825 Phillips Marion
Cross 1862 Crittenden, Poinsett, St. Francis Wynne
Dallas 1845 Clark, Bradley Fordyce
Desha 1838 Arkansas Arkansas City
Dorsey (see Cleveland) 1873 Name was changed to Cleveland on 5 March 1885  
Drew 1846 Arkansas, Bradley Monticello
Faulkner 1873 Pulaski, Conway Conway
Franklin 1837 Crawford Charleston and Ozark
Fulton (Part attached from Fulton 1855) 1842 Izard Salem
Garland 1873 Montgomery, Hotsprings, Saline Hot Springs, National Park.
Grant 1869 Jefferson, Hotsprings, Saline Sheridan
Greene 1833 Lawrence Paragould
Hempstead 1818 Arkansas Hope
Hot Springs 1829 Clark Malvern
Howard 1873 Pike, Hempstead, Polk Sevier Nashville
Howard 1873 Pike, Hempstead, Polk, Sevier Nashville
Independence 1820 Lawrence, Arkansas Batesville
Izard (Line between Izard and Sharp changed 9 March 1877. 1825 Independence Melbourne
Jackson 1829 Woodruff Newport
Jefferson 1829 Arkansas, Pulaski Pine Bluff
Johnson 1833 Pope Clarksville
Lafayette 1827 Hempstead Lewisville
Lawrence 1815 New Madrid, Missouri Powhatan Walnut Ridge
Lee 1873 Phillips, Monroe, Crittenden, St. Francis Marianna
Lincoln 1871 Arkansas, Bradley, Desha, Drew, Jefferson Star City
Little River 1867 Hempstead Ashdown
Logan 1871 Pope, Franklin, Johnson, Scott, Yell Booneville & Paris
Lonoke 1873 Pulaski, Prairie Lonoke
Lovely 1827 abolished in 1828  
Madison 1836 Washington Huntsville
Marion 1836 Izard Yellville
Miller 1820 abolished in 1836 & returned to Arkansas.  Re-established in 1873 Texarkana
Mississippi 1833 Crittenden Blytheville & Osceola
Monroe 1829 Phillips, Arkansas Clarendon
Montgomery 1842 Hotsprings Mount Ida
Nevada 1871 Hempstead, Columbia, Ouachita Prescott
Newton 1842 Carroll Jasper
Ouachita 1842 Union Camden
Perry 1840 Conway Perryville
Phillips 1820 Arkansas, Hempstead Helena
Pike 1833 Clark, Hempstead Murfreesboro
Poinsett 1838 Greene, St. Francis Harrisburg
Polk 1844 Sevier Mena
Pope 1829 Crawford Russellville
Prairie 1846 Pulaski Des Arc & De Valls Bluff
Pulaski 1818 Arkansas Little Rock
Randolph 1835 Lawrence Pocahontas
St. Francis 1827 Phillips Forrest City
Saline 1835 Pulaski, Hempstead Benton
Scott 1833 Pulaski, Crawford, Pope Waldron
Searcy 1838 Marion Marshall
Sebastian 1851 Scott, Polk Fort Smith & Greenwood
Sevier 1828 Hempstead, Miller De Queen
Sharp (Line between Sharp & Izard changed in 1877.) 1868 Lawrence Evening Shade & Hardy
Stone 1873 Izard, Independence, Searcy, Van Buren Mountain View
Union 1829 Hempstead, Clark El Dorado
Van Buren 1833 Independence, Conway, Izard Clinton
Van Buren 1833 Independence, Conway, Izard Clinton
Washington 1828 Crawford Fayetteville
White 1835 Pulaski, Jackson Searcy
Woodruff 1862 Jackson, St. Francis Augusta
Yell 1840 Pope, Scott Danville & Dardanelle

ARKANSAS RESEARCH LINKS

ARKANSAS GENWEB PROJECT ARKANSAS GENEALOGY AND HISTORY
ARKANSAS HISTORY COMMISSION ARKANSAS STATE ARCHIVES