Arkansas Counties and Historical Facts

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AR Counties List
AR Extinct Counties
AR Burned Courthouses
State Counties Guide

Arkansas County records can vary widely from county to county both in quality and also quantity. Some happen to have been very carefully preserved while some have been much misused and uncared for. A number of Arkansas records have purely vanished. For genealogists doing research in Arkansas there is no valuable replace for an on-site research of county courthouse records. For Definitions of all court terms see the Genealogy Encyclopedia.

Arkansas Map of Counties

Arkansas Map of Counties

Arkansas Counties – Arkansas is divided into 75 counties. There are 10 Counties with 2 County Seats. The county clerk in each Arkansas county holds vital records, probate records, and land records. Researchers should note, however, that there are two courthouses in some Arkansas counties. County clerks may also have some court records on file, but those records are more likely to be found at the circuit court clerk’s office.

Generally, there are no online services for most counties in the state. However, the county judge’s office can be contacted for information on county records.

Researchers should keep in mind that the 1914 death and birth registration requirement wasn’t followed well for nearly a decade after it was passed. Boundary changes and divisions of counties over the years may also have a large impact on whether or not records exist and, if so, where they can be found.

See also a list of links to county and county seat government run websites.

List of Arkansas Extinct Counties

Arkansas seems to have counties that no longer exist. They were set up by the state, provincial, or territorial authorities. Many of these counties were established and disbanded within the 19th century; county borders have adjusted very little since 1900 in the vast number of states. These counties need to be investigated when doing ancestry and genealogy research. Pay attention where the courthouse records went to if the county was abolished or merged with another county.

  • Dorsey County, AR: Renamed Cleveland County in 1885
  • Lovely County, AR: Lovely County was Formed on October 13, 1827, from Crawford County and the Lovely Purchase. Lovely County included more of present day Oklahoma than present day Arkansas. The Oklahoma portion of the County was lost to Arkansas in 1828 with the Cherokee Treaty of that year. Most of the remainder became Washington County on October 27, 1828. Parts of Lovely County was used to form the following counties: Washington Other county boundry changes occured when According to D.Y. Thomas, “In 1816, William and Peter Lovely purchased a tract of land from the Osage Indians, which was included within the western boundary of Arkansas, as laid down in 1824, and was a large part of the county of Lovely, created in 1827. Unfortunately, this same region had been granted to the Cherokee Indians in 1818, creating difficulties which were not settled until 1828, when the present boundary of the State was established, and the most of Lovely County made a part of the Indian Territory. Such land as was left by this decision was included in Washington County, October 27, 1828, and the county officials were directed to take over the affairs and moneys of Lovely County.”
  • Old Miller County, AR: Formed on 1 April 1820 from Hempstead County. In 1828 a boundary change left old miller County entirely in Texas. In 1838, it was abolished to create Red River County, Texas. Extant records are at Arkansas History Commission includes Probate (1830-1838), Circuit Court (1830-1835), and Tax records (1832-1837). There was a courthouse fire in 1828. Available records for Old Miller County are in the George T. Wright Collection, Miller County Records, Territory of Arkansas, July 20, 1835 – March 17, 1838, University of Texas, Austin. Probate records have been published – see Old Miller County under books for sale
  • New Madrid County, AR: Now located in Missouri
  • Sarber County, AR: Formed on March 22, 1871 as Sarber County, Name changed to Logan in December 15, 1875

List of Arkansas Counties with Burned Courthouses

burned county courthouseThe harm to Arkansas courthouses considerably has a bearing on family historians in each and every way. Not only are most of these historic structures torn from all of our lifetimes, so are the documents they housed: marriage, wills, probate, land records, among others. Once destroyed they are lost forever. Although they happen to have been put on microfilm, computers and film burn as well. The most tragic side of this is the reason that virtually all of our courthouses are destroyed at the hands of arsonist. However, you cannot assume all records were damaged or lost. A number of Arkansas counties have suffered a loss of records due to courthouse fires, floods, and theft.

  • Adair County Courthouse – Courthouse was destroyed by fire in 1889. Most Court Records were destroyed.
  • Adams County Courthouse – The Courthouse was destroyed by fire on February 1, 1888. Some early records were destroyed.
  • Benton County Courthouse – The Courthouse was destroyed by fire in 1853. The county records were rescued by three courageous men who were seriously burned and died from their injuries three months after the blaze.
  • Buena Vista County Courthouse – On January 1, 1877 the courthouse was destroyed by a fire. Most records were destroyed
  • Calhoun County Courthouse – The Courthouse was destroyed by fire in 1884.
  • Carroll County Courthouse – In 1886, this courthouse was damaged by a fire
  • Cass County Courthouse – In March 1932, a fire destroyed the courthouse, but the county records were saved
  • Chickasaw County Courthouse – The Courthouse was totally destroyed in a fire on March 26, 1880. Many irreplaceable documents were lost, but many more were saved with the help of the “Hook & Ladder Co.,” and concerned citizens.
  • Decatur County Courthouse – The Second Courthouse was destroyed by a windstorm before it could be finished. The 3rd Courthouse was destroyed by a fire on March 31, 1874 (One book from the auditor’s office and one book from the clerk’s office survived). The 4th Courthouse was blown up on April 1, 1877 destroying the entire west side of the courthouse.
  • Des Moines County Courthouse – The Courthouse, along with some of the county records, was destroyed by a fire in 1873.
  • Dickinson County Courthouse – The Courthouse was destroyed in a fire in November of 1871, some of the county records were destroyed.
  • Fayette County Courthouse – The Courthouse burned in 1872 when a prisoner set fire to the courthouse during and escape attempt.
  • Floyd County Courthouse – One June 7, 1874, a terrific thunderbolt struck the courthouse (The important county records were saved). The courthouse burned down in 1881, destroying nearly all county records.
  • Fremont County Courthouse – The 2nd Courthouse was damaged by a gunny sack full of dynamite in 1863. In 1888, vandals poured Coal oil throughout the building and set a fire (A steel vault saved most of the records).
  • Guthrie County Courthouse – In 1857, in the cabin of the county clerk, a keg of gunpowder blew all the county records to pieces. This Courthouse burned to the ground on March 3, 1882 (A heroic clerk saved most of the court records). In November of 1963 courthouse was destroyed by fire (some records were destroyed).
  • Hardin County Courthouse – The first courthouse was destroyed that same year by in 1856.
  • Harrison County Courthouse – The first courthouse was destroyed in a fire in September 1854, all of the county records were destroyed.
  • Howard County Courthouse – The courthouse at Cresco burned down on December 1, 1876. Few records survived.
  • Ida County Courthouse – On January 12, 1877, the courthouse burned, along with most of the county records.
  • Jones County Courthouse – The courthouse built in 1848 and vacated in 1864 was destroyed by fire in 1875.
  • Lee County Courthouse – In 1911, fire damaged the courthouse
  • Madison County Courthouse – In 1875, a fire destroyed the building in less than four hours.
  • Muscatine County Courthouse – The courthouse was destroyed by fire in 1864 (No records were lost in the fire, as far as can be determined).
  • Page County Courthouse – The Courthouse and the records were destroyed in an 1858 fire.
  • Ringgold County Courthouse – On June 8, 1858, a cyclone blew down the courthouse and many records disappeared.
  • Sac County Courthouse – The Courthouse burned down in 1888.
  • Story County Courthouse – The courthouse was destroyed by fire on New Year’s Day, 1864.
  • Union County Courthouse – The first courthouse was destroyed by fire in 1893.

List of Arkansas Counties

List of Arkansas Counties

CountyDate FormedParent CountyCounty Seat
Arkansas18131st County (Eastern Arkansas)De Witt and

Stuttgart
Ashley1848Drew and Union countiesHamburg
Baxter1873Fulton, Izard, Marion, and Searcy countiesMountain Home
Benton1836Washington CountyBentonville
Boone1869Carroll and Marion countiesHarrison
Bradley1840Union CountyWarren
Calhoun1850Dallas and Ouachita countiesHampton
Carroll1833Izard County and later by Madison County (1870)Berryville and

Eureka Springs
Chicot1823Arkansas CountyLake Village
Clark1818Arkansas (1818)Arkadelphia
Clay1873Randolph and Greene counties, and originally named Clayton before 1875Piggott and

Corning
Cleburne1883White, Van Buren, and Independence countiesHeber Springs
Cleveland1873Bradley, Dallas, Jefferson counties, and formerly named Dorsey County (from 1885)Rison
Columbia1852Formed from Lafayette, Hempstead, and Ouachita countiesMagnolia
Conway1825Pulaski CountyMorrilton
Craighead1859Mississippi, Greene, Poinsett countiesJonesboro and

Lake City
Crawford1820Pulaski CountyVan Buren
Crittenden1825Phillips CountyMarion
Cross1862St. Francis, Poinsett, and Crittenden countiesWynne
Dallas1845Clark and Bradley countiesFordyce
Desha1838Arkansas, Union counties, then from Chicot County (prior to 1880), and Lincoln (prior 1930)Arkansas City
Drew1846Bradley, Chicot, Desha, Union countiesMonticello
Faulkner1873Pulaski and Conway countiesConway
Franklin1837Crawford and Johnson countiesOzark and

Charleston
Fulton1842Izard County and then later from Lawrence County (prior 1850)Salem
Garland1873Montgomery, Hot Springs, and Saline countiesHot Springs
Grant1869Jefferson, Hot Spring, Saline countiesSheridan
Greene1833Lawrence County and later on by RandolphParagould
Hempstead1818Arkansas (1818)Hope
Hot Springs1829Clark County and later from Montgomery County (prior 1880)Malvern
Howard1873Pike, Hempstead, Polk, Sevier counties.Nashville
Independence1820Lawrence County (1820)Batesville
Izard1825Independence, Crawford counties, and later from Fulton (prior 1880)Melbourne
Jackson1829Lawrence and St. Francis countiesNewport
Jefferson1829Arkansas and PulaskiPine Bluff
Johnson1833Pope County, and a small portion from Madison County (prior 1890)Clarksville
Lafayette1827Hempstead County and later from Columbia County (prior 1910)Lewisville
Lawrence1815Arkansas and New Madrid (MO) in 1815Walnut Ridge
Lee1873Phillips, Monroe, Crittenden, and St. Francis counties.Marianna
Lincoln1871Arkansas, Bradley, Desha, Drew, and Jefferson countiesStar City
Little River1867Sevier CountyAshdown
Logan1871Franklin, Johnson, Pope, Scott, and Yell counties (Formally named Sarber County)Booneville and

Paris
Lonoke1873Prairie and Pulaski countiesLonoke
Madison1836Washington CountyHuntsville
Marion1835Izard CountyYellville
Miller1874Lafayette CountyTexarkana
Mississippi1833CrittendenBlytheville and

Osceola
Monroe1829Phillips and Arkansas countiesClarendon
Montgomery1842Hot SpringMount Ida
Nevada1871Columbia, Hempstead, Ouachita countiesPrescott
Newton1842CarrollJasper
Ouachita1842UnionCamden
Perry1840Conway CountyPerryville
Phillips1820Arkansas and Lawrence CountyHelena
Pike1833Clark and Hempstead countiesMurfreesboro
Poinsett1838Greene, Lawrence countiesHarrisburg
Polk1844SevierMena
Pope1829Crawford CountyRussellville
Prairie1846Arkansas and Pulaski countiesDes Arc and

DeValls Bluff
Pulaski1818Arkansas and Lawrence counties (1818)Little Rock
Randolph1835Lawrence CountyPocahontas
St. Francis1827Formed from Phillips CountyForrest City
Saline1835Independence and PulaskiBenton
Scott1833Crawford and Pope countiesWaldron
Searcy1838Marion CountyMarshall
Sebastian1851Crawford and ScottGreenwood and

Fort Smith
Sevier1828Hempstead CountyDe Queen
Sharp1868Lawrence CountyAsh Flat
Stone1873Izard, Independence, Searcy, Van BurenMountain View
Union1829Clark and Hempstead countiesEl Dorado
Van Buren1833Conway, Izard, and IndependeceClinton
Washington1828Lovely CountyFayetteville
White1835Independence, Jackson and Pulaski countiesSearcy
Woodruff1862Jackson and St. Francis countiesAugusta
Yell1840Hot Spring, Pope, and Scott CountyDanville and Dardanelle

State Counties Guides