Formation of Jefferson County, Arkansas

If it be remembered that in 1813 a county was first formed by the Missouri Territorial legislature along the Arkansas River, and so given a name; and that the same body erected Lawrence in 1815, while in 1818 it formed Clark, Hempstead and Pulaski, it will be seen that Jefferson County must have been formed after Arkansas became a Territory, as it did in 1819. It was a decade following this, however, and meanwhile four counties (Miller, Phillips, Crawford and Independence) were made in 1820, one (Chicot) in 1823; three (Conway, Crittenden and Izard) in 1825; three (Lovely, St. Francis and Lafayette) in 1827, and two (Sevier and Washington) in 1828. During the month of November, 1829, there were more counties made than in any other years except 1873 and 1833, there being nine and seven respectively in the last two, and six in 1829, all but one of which were formed on November 2. These were Union, Pope, Monroe, Jefferson, Hot Spring and Jackson. This was seven years before statehood.

The law entitled “An Act to erect and establish the county of Jefferson,” was approved on November 2, 1829, and its first section provides as follows: “That all that portion of the counties of Pulaski and Arkansas included in the boundaries as follows, to-wit: beginning on the Arkansas River where the line between townships three and four south strikes the same; thence east to the range line between ranges nine and ten west; thence north along the west side of township three to the north-west corner of said township; thence east to the range line between ranges six and seven west; thence south with range line between six and seven to the township line between townships eight and nine; thence west on said township line to the range line between ten and eleven ; thence north on said range line to the township line between three and four; thence east to the beginning; be, and the same is hereby erected into a separate and distinct county, to be called and known by the name of Jefferson. ” ” The temporary seat of justice,” continues the sixth section, “for the county of Jefferson hereby established, shall be at the house of Joseph Bone [Bonne] until otherwise provided for by law;”‘ and this act bears the signatures of John Wilson, speaker of the house of representatives; Charles Caldwell, president of the legislative council; and John Pope, the Governor. On November 17, however, a special act provided for the county seat question by the election of three commissioners of location – one for Vaugine Township, one for Richland, and one for the county generally, who were to consider offers, locate, build temporary buildings, name the site, and provide for the sale of lots. This was done, but as no records exist here previous to 1837, it must suffice to say that Joseph Bonne’s house on the river bank (the site of Pine Bluff) and other houses were the seat of justice for Jefferson County always.

The present cities of Jefferson County are: Altheimer, Humphrey, Pine Bluff, Redfield, Sherrill, Wabbaseka and White Hall.


1 thought on “Formation of Jefferson County, Arkansas”

  1. I am searching for info on the mack family of vaugine arkansas. David mack was in the 1920 and 1940 census with family. Any info is greatly appreciated

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