American History and Genealogy Project

State of Arkansas

Arkansas, one of the Western United States, is bounded n. by Missouri; E. by the Mississippi river, which separates it from Tennessee and Mississippi; and w. by the Indian territory. It is between 33° and 36° 30' n. lat. and between 89° 30' and 94° 30' w. Ion., and between 12° 30' and 17° s. w. lon. from W. It is 240 miles long, and 228 wide, containing 54 500 square miles; or 34,880,000 acres. The population in 1830 was 30,388; in 1840, 97,574, of which 19,935 were slaves.

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Of the free population, 42,211 were white males; 34,963 do. females; 248 were colored males; 217 do. females. Employed in agriculture, 26,355; in commerce 215; in manufactures and trades, 1,173; navigating the ocean, 3; do. rivers, canals, &c. 39; learned professions, 301.

This state is divided into 40 counties, which, with their population in 1840, and their capitals, were as follows :

County, Population, Capital

Arkansas, 1,346, Arkansas Post Madison, 2,775, Huntsville
Benton, 2,228, Bentonville Marion, 1,325, Yellville
Carroll, 2,844, Carrollton Mississippi, 1,410, Osceola
Chicot, 3,806, Columbia Monroe, 936, Lawrenceville
Clarke, 2,309, Greenville Phillips, 3,547, Helena
Conway, 2,892, Lewisburg Pike, 969, Murfreesboro
Crawford, 4,266, Van Buren Poinsett, 1,320, Bolivar
Crittenden, 1,561, Marion Pope, 2,850, Dover
Desha, 1,598, Belleville Pulaski, 5,350, Little Rock
Franklin, 2,665, Ozark Randolph, 2,196, Pochahontas
Greene, 1,586, Gainesville St. Francis, 2,499, Mount Vernon
Hemsptead, 4,921, Washington Saline, 2,061, Benton
Hot Springs, 1,907, Hot Springs Scott, 1,694, Booneville
Independence, 3,669, Batesville Searcy, 936, Lebanon
Izard, 2,244, Athens Sevier, 2,810, Paraclifta
Jackson, 1,540, Elizabeth Union, 2,889, Union C. H.
Jefferson, 2,566, Pine Bluff Van Buren, 1,518, Clinton
Johnson, 3,433, Clarkesville Washington, 7,148, Fayetteville
Lafayette, 2,200, Lewisville White, 929, Searcy Bradley
Lawrence, 2,835, Smithville Warren, erected since census,

 Little Rock, on the s. bank of the Arkansas, 300 miles from the Mississippi, is the seat of government. In the eastern part of the state, bordering on the Mississippi and the large rivers which empty into it, the country is low and swampy, with a heavy growth of timber, and is frequently overflowed. In the central part, it is undulated and broken; and in the western parts, the Ozark mountains, rising sometimes to the height of 1 or 2,000 feet, cross the n. w. part of the state. The Black Hills, north of the Arkansas, and the Washita Hills, north of the Washita river, have considerable elevation. The soil is of every variety, from the most productive to the most sterile. On the margins of the rivers, it is exceedingly fertile; but back of this, the land is generally poor. Prairies are abundant, of immense extent; but in many parts, there is a scarcity of water. Cotton and Indian corn are the staple productions; but the country is well calculated for raising cattle. Wild animals and fowls, as the buffalo, deer, elk, otter, beaver, rabbit, racoon, wild-cat, catamount, wolf, bear, and wild-geese, turkeys, and quails, are abundant. Near the centre of the state there are numerous hot-springs, the temperature of which sometimes rises nearly to the boiling point, though subject to considerable variation. Iron ore, gypsum, coal, and salt are found. There were in this state in 1840, 51,472 horses and mules; 188,786 neat cattle; 42,151 sheep; 393,058 swine; poultry to the value of $109,468. There was produced 105,878 bushels of wheat; 6,219 of rye; 4,846,632 of Indian corn; 189,553 of oats; 293,608 of potatoes; 64,943 pounds of wool; 1,079 of wax; 148,439 of tobacco; 5,454 of rice; 6,028,642 of cotton; 1,542 of sugar; 586 tons of hay; 1,039 of hemp and flax. The products of the dairy were valued at $59,205; of the orchard, $10,690; of the forest, $176,617. There were 10 commercial and 10 commission houses engaged in foreign trade, with a capital of $91,000; 263 retail dry goods and other stores, with a capital of $1,578,719; 263 persons employed in the lumber trade, with a capital of $12,220. The amount of home-made or family manufactures was, $489,750; 2 cotton manufactories with 90 spindles, employed 7 persons, and had a capital of $2,125; 7 persons produced 5,500 bushels of bituminous coal, with a capital of $605; 25 persons produced 8,700 bushels of salt, with a capital of $20,800; 30 persons produced granite and marble to the amount of $15,500; 3 persons produced hats and caps to the amount of $1,400, with a capital of $400; 37 tanneries employed 70 persons, and a capital of $43,510; 545 other manufactories of leather, as saddleries, &c, produced articles to the amount of $17,400, with a capital of $8,830; 51 persons produced machinery to the amount of $14,065; 66 persons produced bricks and lime to the amount of $319,696; 6 persons produced 142,775 pounds of soap, and 16,541 pounds of tallow candles, and 632 pounds of wax or spermaceti candles, with a capital of $200; 53 distilleries produced 26,415 gallons, employing 98 persons, and a capital of $10,205; 15 persons produced carriages and wagons to the amount of $2,675, with a capital of $1,555; 1 powder mill made 400 pounds of gunpowder, with a capital of $700; 10 flouring mills produced 1,430 barrels of flour, and with other mills employed 400 persons, producing articles to the amount of $330,847, and employing a capital of $288,257; 45 persons manufactured furniture to the amount of $20,293, with a capital of $7,810; 21 brick or stone houses, and 1,083 wooden houses built, employed 1,251 persons, and cost $1,141,174; 9 printing offices, 1 bindery, 3 semi-weekly and 6 weekly newspapers employed 37 persons, and a capital of $13,100. The whole amount of capital employed in manufactures was $424,467. In the eastern part of the state, particularly in the country bordering on the rivers, and especially on the Arkansas, the climate is moist and unhealthy. But toward the middle and in the western part, the climate becomes healthy. This state is well situated for commerce, having an easy communication, by means of its rivers, with the Mississippi. The Arkansas, the principal river, rises in the Rocky Mountain and with a broad and deep current through the state, in a s. eastward direction. It is navigable for steamboats, 300 miles to Little Rock; and in time of high water, 300 miles farther to Fort Smith, which is west of the limits of the state. The Red river passes through the s. w. part of the state The St. Francis, the White, and the Washita, are other important rivers. Little Rock; Arkansas, an old French settlement on the Arkansas; Columbia and Helena on the Mississippi; Batesville on White river; Fayetteville in the N. w. part of the state; and Fulton on Red river, are considerable and growing places. This state is too young to have done much for education in its higher departments There is no college in this state. There were in 1840, 8 academies, with 300 students; and 113 common and primary schools, with 2,614 scholars. There were 6,567 white persons over 20 years of age who could neither read nor write. The Methodists and Baptists are the most numerous religious denominations, though there are some Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and Roman Catholics At the commencement of 1840, there was bank with 3 branches, and a capital of $1,501,888, and a circulation of $301,310. At the close of 1840, the state debt was $3,755,362. The constitution of this state was formed in 1836. The governor is chosen by the people for 4 years but cannot hold the office more than 8 years in 12. The members of the Senate are elected by the people for 4 years, and the representatives for 2 years. The elections are viva voce. The Senate can never consist of less than 17, nor more than 33 members; the House of Representatives of less than 54, or more than 100 members. The judges of the Supreme Court are appointed for 8 years, and of the Circuit Courts for 4 years. These judges are chosen by the legislature. The judges of the county courts are chosen by justices of the peace. The legislature meets once in 2 years. Every white male citizen of the United States, and who has resided in the state 6 months, is entitled to vote. No lotteries can be established, or lottery tickets sold. No debtor can be imprisoned, without strong presumption of fraud. The legislature may establish one bank with branches, and one banking institution to promote the interests of agriculture. It cannot emancipate slaves, without the consent of their owners. Slaves have the right of trial by jury, and suffer the same degree of punishment for a crime as white persons, and no other. Courts of justice are obliged to assign to slaves, counsel for their defense. Arkansas was a part of the Louisiana purchase. It was made a separate territory m 1819, and was admitted to the Union in 1836. It derives its name from the great river which runs through it.

Table of Contents

Source: A Complete Descriptive And Statistical Gazetteer Of The United States Of America, By Daniel Haskel, A. M and J. Calvin Smith, Published By Sherman & Smith, 1843

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