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Goodspeed’s 1891 Biographical Memoirs


Ashley County was formed November 30, 1848, with Hamburg as the selected seat of justice.  The line between Ashley and Chicot Counties, by an act of the Legislature, was changed January 19, 1861, and a part of Ashley was restored to Bradley January 1, 1859. 

The county was taken from Drew County.  In order of formation it is the fifty-third, and had, in 1850, a population of 2,058 souls.

At a meeting of the first county court held after the county was organized the boundary lines were fixed of the five original townships- White, Egypt, Carter, DeBastrop and Union; ten road districts were also defined.  This court convened on the third Monday in April, 1849.  Hon. William E. Willis presiding as judge, with Lamarcus Deal and Joseph Adams assisting justices.  The first business transacted being presented and passed upon by the court.  The magnitude of the county revenue can readily be imagined, as the sheriff's bond was $5,000; that of the treasurer, $2,000; the clerk's bond as circuit clerk, $3,000, and as county clerk, $2,000.  Robert Willis is the first man mentioned to whom a warrant on the county treasurer was issued, the sum being $1 for services as bailiff to the jury at the preceding term of the circuit court.

County and circuit court was held at the residence of Isaac Denson for several terms, and for the use of his house he was allowed the sum of $5 for each session.  The county court issued its first citation, commanding William Daniels to appear at the next term of court, to be holden Monday, April 30, 1849, "then and there to show cause, if any, why he should not be dealt with according as the law directs, for allowing his Negroes to live without some free white person with them, to the annoyance of the neighborhood."  The following named men were drawn as grand jurors: Moses Thompson, Ambrose Bull, Jacob Silers, Argile Heslep, Thomas Thompson, Henry C. Roberts, John Stewart, Stoaks Allen, John L. Hawkins, Ruben Denson, David Hinkson, James L. Holloway, David Suddeth, Thomas Wadkins, George B. Gregory and Malachi Willis.  For the petit jury: Isaac Denson, Thomas C. Denson, Green Smith, Michael Hill, Laughlin Stewart, Demsey Watson, Calvin Griffith, William Lee, John P. Fisher, Washington Lee, Hiram B. Kenedy, Rufus Denson, Johnson Bull, Madison Denson, James Jourden, G.W. Denton, John W.P. Doyle and Robert Thompson.