ABOUT WOODRUFF COUNTY ARKANSAS
This material is taken in part from articles in Rivers and Roads and Points in Between, a publication of the Woodruff County Historical Society, in particular a talk published in Fall 1972 quoting Dallas T. Herndon, and one published in Fall 1974 by James Logan Morgan.
Woodruff County is in the heart of east Arkansas, approximately half way between Little Rock, Arkansas, and Memphis, Tennessee. It's an area of rich land and natural resources.
Many early travelers entered the area on the White River, which flows on one border of the county, and the Cache River (French for " Hidden " River) flows through the county. Today Woodruff County is known for its cotton, rice, soybeans, wheat, and other farm commodities, and some industries have found a home there.
The community names have changed over the years, and while these names may no longer be on the map, they are sometimes still used by local residents and give clues as to the history. Many of these names came from the early settlers.
The rich history of Woodruff County has been well-documented by the efforts of the Woodruff County Historical Society, which began in 1972 and publishes regularly on county history and families.
Woodruff County was formed in 1862, after Arkansas seceded from the Union and joined the Confederacy. It was formed out of land taken from St. Francis and Jackson Counties. The county initially proposed by Robert Anthony (of Augusta) was "Mallory County," to honor the St. Francis County representative in the legislature.
The permanent name selected, however, was Woodruff County. It's unclear who the final name was intended to honor. One popular suggestion is William E. Woodruff, Sr., who originally brought the printing press to Arkansas and started the Arkansas Gazette newspaper. Other possibilities are either William E. Woodruff, Jr. or Alden M. Woodruff, both of whom were active supporters of the confederacy.
The first temporary county seat was Cotton Plant, and the first permanent county seat was Augusta. At some point court sessions were held in McCrory. After the Civil War, county boundaries were moved, partially due to competition between different factions of the county. At one time (1868) Cotton Plant was moved to Monroe County, just to the south of Woodruff County. Later is returned to Woodruff County, in the late 1870's or early 1880's.