History of Arkansas County
History of Arkansas County
Surrounding Counties:
Prairie, Lonoke, Jefferson, Lincoln, Desha, Phillips, Monroe


History of Arkansas Co., Arkansas

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Arkansas - French interpretation of a Sioux word "acansa," meaning "downstream place."

December 31, 1813 the county of Arkansas was created by act of the legislature.
Boundaries: North by the south line of the county of New Madrid, east by the main channel of the Mississippi, south by the thirty-third degree of north latitude or north boundary of the state of Louisiana, west by the western boundary line of the Osage purchase, thence in direct line to the main source of the Ouachita River, thence south to the northern boundary line of the state of Louisiana.
In 1814, the population was 827, and as entitled to one member in the legislature in the Missouri assembly. Col. Alexander Walker represented the county.

First Judicial Proceeding
June 20, 1814, the will of Louis Gocio was filed for probate before Patrick Cassady, probate Judge

First Mail Route
June 1817, First post office established in the limits of the territory of Arkansas was at Davidsonville, Lawrence Co.
July 1817 the second post office was established at Arkansas Post.
The route was from St. Louis, through Davidsonville and Arkansas Post to Monroe, Louisiana and delivered every 30 days

First Murder Case
March 1, 1838, Constable Elizah Cheatham arrested William Dunn, accused of the murder of William Cordel. Witnesses testified that Dunn was not near the scene of the killing and was acquitted.

Dec 10, 1852 the general assembly passed an act requiring Arkansas County to hold an election and elect 3 commissioners to locate the county seat of Arkansas Co.  On Feb. 19, 1853 the election was held resulting in Charles W. Belknap, Leroy Montgomery, and John A Moorman as the elected commissioners. The above named then selected the northeast quarter of section 4, township 5, south of Range 3 west, the same being vacant and 1/2 belonging to the state with the other 1/2 belonging to the government. Early 1854 Adam McCool, county surveyor, directed the layout of the new county seat. During the survey there were 2 commissioners present, Charles W. Belknap and Leroy Montgomery, could not come to an agreement on which to name the new county seat.  McCool was called in to take the place of Montgomery.  The 3 then decided to write their choices of names on 3 separate pieces of paper and then one would be drawn from a hat and that would be the name of the new county seat. McCool admired DeWitt Clinton, but knowing there was another county seat by the name of Clinton he wrote DeWitt on the paper. Thus became the name of DeWitt.

Town Lot Sales


July 4, 1854 
86 lots were sold
Highest amount paid  $37.50 
lowest amount paid $3.25

C.P. Halley,  Alex Andrews,  John A Moorman,  J T Allen,  V A Marquis,  J W Hall,  Rolly Hughes,  F Montgomery,  A M Dyer, H Ruppell,  L Montgomery,  A M Dyer,  H Ruppell,  L M Montgomery,  J N Halley,  J E McGraw,  C W Belknap,  G W Stahl,  H Bolster,  William McGraw,  James J Dugan,  William Duncan,  Henry C Stahl,  Lewis Swarts,  I L Davis,  E H Willis,  Peyton Roach,  C J Miller,  J H Halley,  and James Elliot

May 4, 1857

R Bunfil,  C J Miller,  J Bringle Jr.,  H K Stephen,  W D Rogers,  H Stahl,  J J McGraw,  G C Taylor,  H Ruppell, and J W Lowe

October 22,1859

J J Gillcoatt,  Henry C Stahl,  B B Raymer,  E Inman,  William T Morris,  A J Jackson,  W E Christian,  James M Barker,  Charles King,  J H Powell,  J H Maxwell,  Enoch Jones,  Jacob Hagler,  Jim Bringle,  H K Stephen,  James H Merritt,  W F Gibson, with deed made to assignee J T Gibson,  William R Hagler,  Abraham Stephens,  William H Grey and D B Quertermous.

July 1, 1867

Exekeel Irelan, Robert C Martin, James C Whaling, R J Wolverton, James A Gibson, J G Quertermous and Exekeel Ireland with deed to William H Frost


R A Garner,  John J Nablock,  C C Godden,  Exekiel Ireland,  W W Drummond,  J B Kennedy,  Wiliam S Quertermous,  J G Robinson,  F K Lyman,  J G Robinson,  M B Brem,  M S Allen,  John Walker,  Jesse Hornbeck,  Merritt Kennedy,  Michael McCarty,  George W Pearman,  James Merritt and J H Merritt.  R A Garner paid $111 for two lots, F K Lyman $161 for two lots, and C C Godden $106 for a couple of lots.

May 16, 1872

First Baptist Church made its first recorded purchase. Buying lots 10, 11 and 12 of Block 24 for $1.50. 

Other land information


Some of the property owners were reselling their lots for a good profit. 


Lots were going for 5 to 10 cents.
Stephens and Merritt bought Lot 1 of Block 17 for 5 cents and lots 5 and 6, block 26 for 10 cents.


Among the other early property purchasers in the town were B B Smith, Henry Holeman, E R Wiley, S J Farrer, J W Blankenship, W S Davidson, Bery Burk, Richard Pearson, Reed Jones Jr, B N Wood, Freeman and Puyear, Mary A Morrison, M A Billingley, John McLauchlun, E G Abbott, George Keulhofer, A B Beeler, W W Halliburton, J McLaughlin, R L Freez, A B Bates, Mrs Mary Bringle, J B Garrisser, M B Brem and Sam McCarty

First Courthouse

In 1855 3 log buildings were erected. In July it was ordered that the clerk move all records of the county to the new county seat before Sept. 1, 1855 and that all courts of the county in the future he held in DeWitt. This was the last term of Court held in Arkansas Post, which adjourned July 17th, 1855. John G. Quartermous, clerk, was ordered to remove the records.
The first term of court in the new court house was held on Oct. 15, 1855

Third Courthouse

Under the direction of  of the Quorom Court in 1891, Judge R. C. Chaney obtained plans for a new courthouse. J. F. Swanson and A. H. Soakland out of Memphis won the bids for construction. John W. Miller and  W. S. DeBerry were to haul the sand and W. J. Royal was the brick maker.
 A clock was placed in the tower a few years later by Judge Shannon.
 In 1933 yet another courthouse was built in DeWitt after the 3rd courthouse was condemned for it's dangerous foundation.

History of Payersville, Arkansas Co., AR,  A town no longer

Payer, A village on the T. & S.t L. Railway, in McFall township, Arkansas County, 24 miles from DeWitt, the county seat. Pine Bluff is the nearest banking point. Settled in 1880, it contains a church and a district school. Live stock is shipped. Mail runs daily.