History and Facts of Arkansas Counties
Today’s Arkansas counties did not always exist in the present form. They went through many different changes in the space of a few short years. Arkansas Counties were first formed while part of the Missouri Territory, and after that the Arkansas Territory.
Arkansas Territory Counties
On October 1, 1804 all of present Arkansas became part of the District of Louisiana; the District was not fully organized and was attached to Indiana Territory for administrative and judicial purposes.
The State of Arkansas entered the union as the 25th state on June 15, 1836.
Arkansas Counties Today
Today, Arkansas is divided into 75 counties which vary from Delta farmlands to rolling hills to the Ozark and Ouachita mountains. States bordering Arkansas are Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.
Arkansas counties are governed at the local level. Each county has a county judge, who is the chief executive officer of the county, as well as several other countywide office holders including a quorum court (legislative body) made up of justices of the peace elected from single-member districts.
There are some Arkansas counties that no longer exist because they were discontinued, renamed or merged with another county. These are important for genealogy research purposes.
Fun Facts about Arkansas Counties
Arkansas is tied with Mississippi for the most counties with two county seats, at 10.
The only American Revolutionary battle fought west of the Mississippi (1783), was fought in Arkansas County.
The oldest records in Arkansas are kept in the (Stuttgart) courthouse. They date from 1796 and are written in Spanish.
Counties by Year
- Arkansas County was the first county created on December 13, 1813.
- The last county to be formed was Cleburne County on February 20, 1883.
County Size Facts
- Union County (1,055 sq mi) is the largest county in Arkansas.
- Lafayette County (545 sq mi) is the smallest county in Arkansas.
County Population Facts
- Pulaski County (382,748) is the most populated county in Arkansas.
- Calhoun County (5,368) is the least populated county in Arkansas.
Arkansas City Facts
Arkansas’s 10 largest cities (2010.) are:
- Little Rock (196,188) is in Pulaski County
- Fort Smith (87,193) is in Sebastian County
- Fayetteville 77,264) is in Washington County
- Springdale (73,789) is in Washington County and Benton County
- Jonesboro (70,217) is in Craighead County
- North Little Rock (64,731) is in Pulaski County
- Conway (62,455) is in Faulkner County
- Rogers (58,944) is in Benton County
- Pine Bluff (47,058) is in Jefferson County
- Bentonville (38,572) is in Benton County
Boundary Changes of Arkansas Counties from 1813 to 1925
This Interactive Map of Arkansas Counties show the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county, extinct county and unsuccessful county proposal from the creation of Arkansas in 1813.
List of Arkansas Counties
|County||Created||Population (2017 Est.)||Created From||Named For||County Seat||Record Loss||Remarks|
|Arkansas County||13 Dec 1813||1st County (Eastern Arkansas)||A variant pronunciation of the Quapaw Native American people||De Witt and Stuttgart|
|Ashley County||30 Nov 1848||Drew and Union counties||Chester Ashley (1791–1848), a U.S. Senator from Arkansas||Hamburg|
|Baxter County||24 Mar 1873||Fulton, Izard, Marion, and Searcy counties||Elisha Baxter (1827–1899), a governor of Arkansas||Mountain Home|
|Benton County||30 Sep 1836||Washington County||Thomas H. Benton (1782–1858), a U.S. Senator from Missouri||Bentonville|
|Boone County||09 Apr 1869||Carroll and Marion counties||Some historians say Daniel Boone (1734–1820), the American frontiersman||Harrison|
|Bradley County||18 Dec 1840||Union County||Hugh Bradley, a soldier in the War of 1812 and early area settler||Warren|
|Calhoun County||06 Dec 1850||Dallas and Ouachita counties||John C. Calhoun (1782–1850), 7th Vice President of the United States and a Senator from South Carolina||Hampton|
|Carroll County||01 Nov 1833||Izard County and later by Madison County (1870)||Charles Carroll of Carrollton (1737–1832), a signer of the Declaration of Independence||Berryville and Eureka Springs|
|Chicot County||15 Oct 1823||Arkansas County||Point Chicot on the Mississippi River||Lake Village|
|Clark County||15 Dec 1818||Arkansas (1818)||William Clark (1770–1838), explorer and Governor of the Missouri Territory||Arkadelphia|
|Clay County||24 Mar 1873||Randolph and Greene counties, and originally named Clayton before 1875||John Clayton, a State Senator; later shortened to Clay to avoid misassociation with Powell Clayton||Piggott and Corning|
|Cleburne County||20 Feb 1883||White, Van Buren, and Independence counties||Patrick Cleburne (1828–1864), a Confederate General in the Civil War||Heber Springs|
|Cleveland County||17 Apr 1873||Bradley, Dallas, Jefferson counties, and formerly named Dorsey County (from 1885)||Grover Cleveland (1837–1908), 22nd and 24th President of the United States (formerly Stephen Dorsey, U.S. Senator from Arkansas)||Rison|
|Columbia County||17 Dec 1852||Formed from Lafayette, Hempstead, and Ouachita counties||Columbia, a female personification of the United States||Magnolia|
|Conway County||20 Oct 1825||Pulaski County||Henry Wharton Conway (1793–1827), territorial delegate to the United States House of Representatives||Morrilton|
|Craighead County||19 Feb 1859||Mississippi, Greene, Poinsett counties||Thomas Craighead (1798–1862), a state senator who ironically opposed the creation of the county||Jonesboro and Lake City|
|Crawford County||18 Oct 1820||Pulaski County||William H. Crawford (1772–1834), a politician who served as Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of War||Van Buren|
|Crittenden County||22 Oct 1825||Phillips County||Robert Crittenden (1797–1834), Governor of the Arkansas Territory||Marion|
|Cross County||15 Nov 1862||St. Francis, Poinsett, and Crittenden counties||David C. Cross, a Confederate soldier in the Civil War and local politician||Wynne|
|Dallas County||01 Jan 1845||Clark and Bradley counties||George M. Dallas (1792–1864), 11th Vice President of the United States||Fordyce|
|Desha County||12 Dec 1838||Arkansas, Union counties, then from Chicot County (prior to 1880), and Lincoln (prior 1930)||Benjamin Desha, a soldier in the War of 1812||Arkansas City|
|Drew County||26 Nov 1846||Bradley, Chicot, Desha, Union counties||Thomas Stevenson Drew (1802–1879), 3rd Governor of Arkansas||Monticello|
|Faulkner County||12 Apr 1873||Pulaski and Conway counties||Sanford Faulkner (1806–1874), a Confederate soldier and the composer of the song "The Arkansas Traveler"||Conway|
|Franklin County||19 Dec 1837||Crawford and Johnson counties||Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790), founding father of the United States||Ozark and Charleston|
|Fulton County||21 Dec 1842||Izard County and then later from Lawrence County (prior 1850)||William Savin Fulton (1795–1844), the last Governor of the Arkansas Territory prior to statehood||Salem|
|Garland County||05 Apr 1873||Montgomery, Hot Springs, and Saline counties||Augustus Hill Garland (1832–1899), U.S. Senator and 11th Governor of Arkansas||Hot Springs|
|Grant County||04 Feb 1869||Jefferson, Hot Spring, Saline counties||Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885), 18th President of the United States||Sheridan|
|Greene County||05 Nov 1833||Lawrence County and later on by Randolph||Nathanael Greene (1742–1786), the Revolutionary War General||Paragould|
|Hempstead County||15 Dec 1818||Arkansas (1818)||Edward Hempstead (1780–1817), Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives from the Missouri Territory||Hope|
|Hot Springs County||02 Nov 1829||Clark County and later from Montgomery County (prior 1880)||Naturally occurring hot springs within the county||Malvern|
|Howard County||17 Apr 1873||Pike, Hempstead, Polk, Sevier counties.||James H. Howard, an Arkansas State Senator||Nashville|
|Independence County||20 Oct 1820||Lawrence County (1820)||The Declaration of Independence||Batesville|
|Izard County||27 Oct 1825||Independence, Crawford counties, and later from Fulton (prior 1880)||George Izard (1776–1828), Governor of the Arkansas Territory and a General during the War of 1812||Melbourne|
|Jackson County||05 Nov 1829||Lawrence and St. Francis counties||Andrew Jackson (1767–1845), 7th President of the United States||Newport|
|Jefferson County||02 Nov 1829||Arkansas and Pulaski||Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), 3rd President of the United States||Pine Bluff|
|Johnson County||16 Nov 1833||Pope County, and a small portion from Madison County (prior 1890)||Benjamin Johnson (1784–1849), the first judge of the federal district courtfor Arkansas||Clarksville|
|Lafayette County||15 Oct 1827||Hempstead County and later from Columbia County (prior 1910)||Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette (1757–1834), a Frenchman who served as a General in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War||Lewisville|
|Lawrence County||15 Jan 1815||Arkansas and New Madrid (MO) in 1815||James Lawrence (1781–1813), an American naval officer during the War of 1812||Walnut Ridge|
|Lee County||17 Apr 1873||Phillips, Monroe, Crittenden, and St. Francis counties.||Robert E. Lee (1807–1870), a confederate General during the Civil War||Marianna|
|Lincoln County||28 Mar 1871||Arkansas, Bradley, Desha, Drew, and Jefferson counties||Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865), 16th President of the United States||Star City|
|Little River County||05 Mar 1867||Sevier County||Little River, a tributary of the Red River||Ashdown|
|Logan County||22 Mar 1871||Franklin, Johnson, Pope, Scott, and Yell counties (Formally named Sarber County)||James Logan (1791–1859), an early settler of western Arkansas||Booneville and Paris|
|Lonoke County||16 Apr 1873||Prairie and Pulaski counties||An oak tree that stood on the site of the current county seat||Lonoke|
|Madison County||30 Sep 1836||Washington County||James Madison (1751–1836), 4th President of the United States||Huntsville|
|Marion County||03 Nov 1835||Izard County||Francis Marion (1732–1795), an American general during the Revolutionary War||Yellville|
|Miller County||01 Apr 1820||Lafayette County||Former Miller County, Arkansas Territory (1820-38), which was named for James Miller (1776–1851), first Governor of the Arkansas Territory||Texarkana|
|Mississippi County||01 Nov 1833||Crittenden||the Mississippi River||Blytheville and Osceola|
|Monroe County||02 Nov 1829||Phillips and Arkansas counties||James Monroe (1758–1831), 5th President of the United States||Clarendon|
|Montgomery County||09 Dec 1842||Hot Spring||Richard Montgomery (1738–1775), an American general during the Revolutionary War||Mount Ida|
|Nevada County||20 Mar 1871||Columbia, Hempstead, Ouachita counties||the state of Nevada, which has a similar outline to the county's boundaries||Prescott|
|Newton County||14 Dec 1842||Carroll||Thomas W. Newton (1804–1853), a State Senator and member of the United States House of Representatives from Arkansas||Jasper|
|Ouachita County||29 Nov 1842||Union||the Ouachita River||Camden|
|Perry County||18 Dec 1840||Conway County||Oliver Hazard Perry (1785–1819), a naval officer in the War of 1812||Perryville|
|Phillips County||01 May 1820||Arkansas and Lawrence County||Sylvanus Phillips, a member of the territorial legislature||Helena|
|Pike County||01 Nov 1833||Clark and Hempstead counties||Zebulon Pike (1779–1813), the explorer and discoverer of Pikes Peak||Murfreesboro|
|Poinsett County||28 Feb 1838||Greene, Lawrence counties||Joel Poinsett (1779–1851), a United States Secretary of War and namesake of the poinsettia||Harrisburg|
|Polk County||30 Nov 1844||Sevier||James K. Polk (1795–1849), the eleventh president of the United States||Mena|
|Pope County||02 Nov 1829||Crawford County||John Pope (1770–1845), a governor of the Arkansas Territory||Russellville|
|Prairie County||25 Oct 1846||Arkansas and Pulaski counties||Grand Prairie of eastern Arkansas||Des Arc and DeValls Bluff|
|Pulaski County||15 Dec 1818||Arkansas and Lawrence counties (1818)||Kazimierz Pulaski (1745–1779), the Polish general in the American Revolutionary War||Little Rock|
|Randolph County||29 Oct 1835||Lawrence County||John Randolph of Roanoke (1773–1833), a U.S. congressman from Virginia||Pocahontas|
|St. Francis County||13 Oct 1827||Formed from Phillips County||The St. Francis River, a tributary of the Mississippi River||Forrest City|
|Saline County||02 Nov 1835||Independence and Pulaski||Salt reserves found within its borders||Benton|
|Scott County||05 Nov 1833||Crawford and Pope counties||Andrew Scott (1789–1841), a judge of the Supreme Court of ArkansasTerritory||Waldron|
|Searcy County||13 Dec 1838||Marion County||Richard Searcy, a judge from Lawrence County||Marshall|
|Sebastian County||06 Jan 1851||Crawford and Scott||William K. Sebastian (1812–1865), a U.S. Circuit Court judge from Arkansas||Greenwood and Fort Smith|
|Sevier County||17 Oct 1828||Hempstead County||Ambrose Sevier (1801–1848), a U.S. Senator from Arkansas||De Queen|
|Sharp County||18 Jul 1868||Lawrence County||Ephraim Sharp, an early settler and state legislator from the area||Ash Flat|
|Stone County||21 Apr 1873||Izard, Independence, Searcy, Van Buren||Rugged, rocky area terrain||Mountain View|
|Union County||02 Nov 1829||Clark and Hempstead counties||Petition of citizens in the Spirit of "Union and Unity"||El Dorado|
|Van Buren County||11 Nov 1833||Conway, Izard, and Independece||Martin Van Buren (1782–1862), eighth president of the United States||Clinton|
|Washington County||17 Oct 1828||Lovely County||George Washington (1732–1799), first president of the United States||Fayetteville|
|White County||23 Oct 1835||Independence, Jackson and Pulaski counties||Hugh L. White (1773–1840), U.S. Senator from Tennessee and U.S. presidential candidate in 1836 for the Whig Party||Searcy|
|Woodruff County||26 Nov 1862||Jackson and St. Francis counties||William Woodruff (1795–1885), the first newspaper publisher in Arkansas||Augusta|
|Yell County||05 Dec 1840||Hot Spring, Pope, and Scott County||Archibald Yell (1797–1847), the second governor of Arkansas||Danville and Dardanelle|
List of Old Former / Extinct Arkansas Counties
At least ### Arkansas counties that were established by Arkansas law no longer exist. These defunct counties were either
- Counties established by legislative act but never organized and later abolished by legislative act
- Counties established outside the present boundaries of Arkansas
- Counties whose names have been changed.
The below Arkansas counties no longer exist:
Dorsey County, Arkansas
Lovely County, Arkansas Territory
Created on October 13, 1827 by the Arkansas Territory from Crawford County and the Lovely Purchase. The county seat was Nicksville. Lovely County included more of present day Oklahoma than present day Arkansas.
Miller County (Old), rkansas Territory
On December 15, 1838, The Republic of Texas had taken possession of Miller County and compelled the inhabitants to pay taxes to Texas. On this date, the Arkansas legislature passed a resolution requesting the United States survey the line between the U.S. and the Texas Republic and settle the grievances of Miller County residents.
On May 21, 1840, was abolished when the Survey of boundary between the Republic of Texas and the United States began. Miller County officially became extinct as Texas claims to the area were upheld.
New Madrid County, Missouri Territory
Created on October 1, 1804 as the District of New Madrid in the newly formed District of Louisiana. It included all or part of seven present states, including all of Arkansas.
On July 4, 1805, New Madrid became a district (county) in Louisiana Territory when the District of Louisiana was renamed Louisiana Territory.
New Madrid county was lost to Missouri when the Arkansas Territory was created March 2, 1819.
Red River County (Proposed), Arkansas
Legislature authorized creation on March 22, 1871 as Red River County from Lafayette County. The creation did not take effect and Boundaries were never defined.
Sarber County, Arkansas
Formed on March 22, 1871 from Franklin, Johnson, Scott and Yell Counties. Named in honor of John Newton Sarber (1837–1905), Union soldier who remained in Arkansas after the Civil War and served in the state Senate.
The senator was viewed as a carpetbagger, and after the Reconstruction Era state government was replaced, Sarber county was renamed to Logan County on December 15, 1875, in honor of James Logan, an early settler in the area.