The Sixteenth Sections

When the State of Arkansas was organized Congress donated to it the sixteenth section of land in each Congressional township for the support of common schools, providing that these lands should be sold or leased, and that the annual income from the leased lands or from the amount of principal for which such lands were sold should accrue to and belong to the inhabitants of the township in which the lands were located. Afterward the State enacted laws to carry out the provisions of the donation. The county court was authorized to lease these lands, when in its judgment it was best to do so, and to collect the annual income. Provision was also made for the sale of the school lands. Under these provisions the most of these lands in Benton County were sold, and the money received for them was loaned in small sums to individual borrowers. But from the public records of Benton County it cannot be ascertained how much money was received from the sale of these lands, nor what has become of the amount of money that was received. It is known that much of the school funds belonging to and controlled by the several counties of the State was lost during and on account of the Civil War. A subsequent law required the balance not lost in each county to be paid over to a State board of school fund commissioners, by whom it is now controlled. The county of Benton has no school funds under its control at interest. It, however, gets its share of the annual income derived from the permanent school funds managed by the State officers. There is only one colored school in Benton County, and that is located at Bentonville, the colored population being insufficient in number to compose a school at any other place in the county.

Back to: Benton County, Arkansas History

Source: History of Benton, Washington, Carroll, Madison, Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian Counties, Arkansas. Chicago, IL, USA: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1889.



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