Grant County History

Discovery : 1541

The first white man to enter Grant County was a Spaniard named Hernando DeSoto. With about 500 men, several hundred horses, blood hounds, 
hogs, and cattle, DeSoto had sailed from Cuba to Florida in 1539. He spent the next two years roaming through the south. In May of 1541 
DeSoto reached the present city of Helena on the Mississippi River. He had found no gold or silver and had lost many men and horses to the 
Indians and the elements. He made his way to present day Benton and followed the Saline River south. It was during this part of his journey 
that he entered Grant County. He probably followed the river to the Jenkins Ferry area and from there headed west to Hot Springs. They then 
proceeded south to Camden and Calion on the Ouachita River. From here the ill-fated expedition entered Louisiana where DeSoto died of a 
fever. The remainder of his expedition made their way back to Cuba. They had found no gold or silver but they had discovered new territory. 
DeSoto is important to Grant County in that he was the first white man to cross its boundaries. It was 400 years before white men would 
enter the county to stay.

Forming The Boundaries : 1803 - 1869

After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 Napoleon's commissioner handed the region over to the Americans. Arkansas and Grant County was now a 
part of the District of Louisiana. After Louisiana became a territory Arkansas was made a district. In 1812 the name of Louisiana Territory 
was changed to Missouri Territory. In 1813 the Missouri legislature changed the District of Arkansas into Arkansas County. It included all 
the present state of Arkansas except the northeast and extreme north. Henry Cassidy was elected the first representative from Arkansas 
County to the Missouri lower house. In 1815 the Missouri legislature established four new counties. Grant county was then a part of Clark 
county and would remain so until 1829 when it became a part of Hot Spring and Jefferson counties. In 1835 it became a part of Saline county 
and would remain so until 1869 when the official county was created.

First Settlers : 1841 - 1869

Francis Posey was one of the first white settlers to come to Grant County. He was the son of Samuel and Ruth Posey of South Carolina. In 
1841 Ruth Posey and her children came to this area and cleared land. Samuel Posey had been killed in Louisiana in l840. Francis Posey 
married Frances J. Ratcliff in 1844. She died in 1845 in Grant County. In 1848 Francis married Sarah L. Worthen. Posey had come to Grant 
County when he was seventeen. He, as did almost every other settler, chose farming as an occupation until 1869. He then began the first 
mercantile business in the new community of Sheridan. Posey came to the county forty-eight years before its creation and to him can be 
given credit for the act or passage of the act creating the county in 1869.

After the arrival of Posey in 1841 other white settlers began to arrive in this area. In Calvert Township with their families were Edward 
Calvert, Seth Atchley, Squire Henry Carr, John B. Hester, James Hester, Merrie Alley, Hugh Berry, James Rogers, Squire Ben Hubbard, and 
Jonas Black. In Merry Green Township was the Porter family. In Tennessee Township were the Blands, Guests, and others. The Tulls, both Arch 
and Abe, were in DeKalb Township. An old German family by the name of Fenter, the Brachiers, and Pages, who were hunters and trappers of 
note, were in what is now Fenter Township. The Rateliffes, the Williamses, the Logans, the Ledbetters, and the Jenkins were in Davis 
Township, the Ledbetters being among the earliest. The territory covered by Davis and Calvert Township was the most thickly and rapidly 
settled.

Taken from "A Centennial History of Grant County 1869 - 1969" by Elwin L. Goolsby