Some Local History of Van Buren County Arkansas


Located in the North central part of the State, sixty miles North of Little Rock, State capital of Arkansas, and about seventy miles from the geographical center of the State, is Van Buren County. It lies between 35* and 36* North latitude and between 92* and 93* West longitude. It is bounded on the north by Searcy and Stone Counties, on the east by Cleburne, on the south by Faulkner and Conway Counties, and on the west by Pope County. The county contains more than seven hundred square miles of territory and a population of about fourteen thousand.

The territory now occupied by Van Buren County was acquired by the United States in 1803 as a part of the Louisiana Purchase. In 1805 the territory of Louisiana was organized, the lower portion of the area forming the district of New Madrid was cut off to form a new trust called district of Arkansas. Six years later, 1812, the district of Arkansas was incorporated into the newly established Territory of Missouri. In 1819 the territory of Arkansas was created.

In 1833, the territory legislature of Arkansas created a new county which was named for Martin Van Buren, then Vice President of the United States. The thirteenth county created in the state of Arkansas, Van Buren was formed out of the territory taken from the counties of Izard, Conway and Independence. Boundaries were first defined November 04, 1846, after which time a part of the county was attached to Pope County. The boundary between Searcy and Van Buren counties was defined January 12, 1853, while the one between Pope and Van Buren was fixed four years later. A part of the county was taken to form part of Stone County in 1873. Cleburne, the last county of the Arkansas counties formed, was created February 20, 1883, out of the territory taken from the county of Van Buren, Independence and White with Van Buren contributing some three hundred square miles.

The county was first divided into seventeen townships; Cadron, Craig, Davis, Giles, Griggs, Hartsugg, Holly, Liberty, Mountain, Peter Creek, Piney, Red River, Sugar Loaf, Turkey Creek, Union, Valley and Washington. In 1880 Giles, Mountain, Peter Creek, Piney, Sugar Loaf and Valley townships and part of Cadron Township were taken to form Cleburne County. Cargile, Choctaw, Cleveland, Culpepper and Sulphur Springs were formed in 1890. Then later, in 1906, Barnett Township was organized from part of Bradley; and in the same year Bloodworth was formed from part of Union. By 1900 The county was divided once again, this time leaving twenty townships they are as follows; Archey Valley, Cleveland, Bradley, Cadron, Cargile, Choctaw, Craig, Culpepper, Holly, Davis, Griggs, Hartsugg, Liberty, Mountain, Red River, Union, Sulphur Springs, Washington, Wheeler and White Oak.

When Van Buren County was created, the temporary seat of justice was at the house of Obadiah Marsh, a pioneer settler, until the permanent county seat could be selected. In the following year commissioners chosen for that purpose selected a settlement called Bloomington, on Little Red River, which is about eight miles east of the present town of Clinton. There the county seat remained until 1844, when it was removed to Clinton, its present location as of today 2005. Clinton was founded by George Counts in 1842. It was formerly a Cherokee Indian Village.