Genealogy Trails History Group

Fanning's Illustrated Gazetteer of the United States

State, Territories, Counties, Cities, Towns & Post Offices


Transcribed by Jeana Gallagher and Sandy Stutzman
for the exclusive use of Genealogy Trails

PT is post town; PV is post village; PO is post office, PB is post borough, CH is court house, T is town


Arkansas is bounded north and northeast by Missouri; east by Mississippi river which separates it from Mississippi and Tennessee, south by Louisiana, southwest by Texas and west by Indian Territory. Its area is 52,198 square miles

Physical Aspects-- On the eastern part of the state, say a distance of 100 miles from the Mississippi the country is low and wet and much of the land, except along the borders of streams, is subject to inundation.  With the exception of some prairie, the eastern portion is covered with dense forests.  The soil here, where arable, is of the most productive kind.  In the middle of the state, the surface is uneven and broken and in the western parts it is mountainous and hilly, interspersed by timber lands, prairies and barren plains.  In some respects, Arkansas may be regarded as a barren country, although along the margins of the streams the soil is generally fertile, but remote from these it is sterile and poor.

Mountains--The chief mountains in this state are the Ozark, which lie at its northwest corner, rising to a height of some 2,000 feet.  A range of hills, called the Black mountains, runs between the Arkansas and White rivers, extending from the latter to the western border of the state   

Rivers & Streams--The principle rivers that transverse this state are the Arkansas, Washita, White and St Francis.  The Mississippi waters its almost entire boundary on the east.  Toward the source of the Washita, there are hot springs, which are much resorted to by invalids.  Their waters are pure and limpid, possessing little or no mineral properties, and though varying considerably in the range of temperature, sometimes rise nearly to the boiling point.

Climate--The climate of the easterly part, particularly on the borders of the rivers, is generally moist and unhealthy; but in the middle and westerly portions it is regarded by the settlers as salubrious.  The climate of the southerly part resembles that of Louisiana, while that at the north is similar to Missouri.

Productive Resources--The staple products are cotton, wood, lumber, peltry, wheat, oats, potatoes, tobacco, Indian corn, cattle, horses and mules.  The southern portion of the state is well adapted to the cultivation of cotton.  Its mineral productions consists of iron ore, lead, gypsum, salt and coal,

Manufactures--The manufactures of Arkansas are confined principally to supplying the immediate wants of the people.  The number of manufacturing establishments in the state in 1850 producing $500 and upward each annually was 271.

Commerce--Arkansas has no direct foreign commerce, its staples being shipped principally at New Orleans; but its river trade is considerable.

Education--There is no collegiate institution in Arkansas.  It has about 15 academies and 200 common schools.

Population-- In 1820, 14,273; in 1830, 30,388; in 1840, 97,574 and in 1850, 209,639.  Number of slaves in 1820, 1,617; in 1830, 4,576; in 1840,  19,935 and in 1850, 46,982.

Government--The legislative power is vested in a general assembly, consisting of a senate and house of representatives.  The senators are elected by the people, by districts, for the term of 4 years; the representatives, by counties, for 2 years.  The senate consists of not less than 17, nor more than 33 members.  The house of representatives of not less than 54 nor more than 100 members.  The general elections are holden every 2 years, on the 1st Monday in October, and the legislature meets biennially, on the 1st Monday in November, at Little Rock.  The executive power is vested in a governor, elected by the people once in 4 years; but he is not eligible for more than 8 years in any term of 12 years.  The judicial power is vested in a supreme court, of 3 justices, in circuit courts, in county courts and justices of the peace.  The judges of the supreme and circuit courts are chosen by the general assembly of the former for 8 year of the former 4 years.  Justices of the peace are elected by the people for 2 years.  Judges of the county courts are chosen by the justices of the peace.  Every white male citizen of the United States (excepting soldiers and seamen of the Army & Navy), a resident of the state 6 months, is entitled to vote at election.

History--Arkansas was originally a part of the province of Louisiana, and constituted a portion of that undefined region lying west of the Mississippi, which received not a tread of the white man until the present century, unless visited by De Soto, who explored the valley of the Mississippi in 1541.  In the arrangement of territories it was separated from Louisiana and attached to Missouri.  It remained in this connection till 1819, when it was erected into a district territory, under its present name.  The Rocky mountains were its western limits; but by congressional acts in 1824 and by subsequent treaties with the Cherokee Indians, its area was curtailed.  In 1836, a convention of the representatives of the people assembled at Little Rock, and adopted a state constitution; and the same year Arkansas was admitted into the Union as an independent state.

1850 Counties of Arkansas

County Description Area in sq miles Courts held at Pop in 1850
Arkansas southeast part, , water by Arkansas, White & Bosuf Rivers & Bayou Barthelany 2400 Arkansas 3,246
Ashley southeast part between Bayou Bartholomew & Saline river blank Hamburgh 2,058
Barthlolomew no description blank blank not given
Benton in NW corner, water by White river & branches of Neosho 1,050 Bentonville 3,710
Carroll north boundary 1650 Carrollton 4,614
Chicot southeast corner, on west side of Mississippi river 1800 Columbia 5,115
Clark southwest part, between Little Missouri & Wachita rivers 1500 Greenville 4,011
Conway central part, on north side of Arkansas river 1025 Lewisburgh 3,583
Crawford western boundary, crossed by Arkansas river 780 Van Buren 7,960
Crittenden eastern boundary between Mississippi & St Francis rivers 2100 Marion 2,648
Dallas southern part between Wachita & Saline rivers blank Princeton 6,877
Desha southeast part, Mississippi river on east & crossed by Arkansas & White rivers 800 Dellville 2,920
Drew southeastern part, Sabine river of west blank Monticello 3,275
Franklin north western part, crossed by Arkansas river 800 Ozark 3,500
Fulton northern boundary blank Pilot Hill 1,819
Greene northeast corner, St Francis river on east & Cache river on west 1025 Gainesville 2,593
Hempstead southwest part, Little Missouri on northeast, Red river on southwest 1150 Washington 7,672
Independence north eastern part, Big Black river on east & crossed by White river 1250 Batesville 7,767
Hot Springs near central part, Saline river on east, crossed by Wachita river 1980 Hot Springs 3,609
Izard northern part, crossed by White river 1600 Izard 3,213
Jackson north east part, Big Black and White rivers on west, Cache river on east 800 Elizabeth 3,086
Jefferson south eastern part, crossed by Arkansas river 1180 Pine Bluffs 5,834
Johnson northwest part, crossed by Arkansas river 900 Clarksville 5,227
Lafayette southwest corner, crossed by Red river 1260 Lewisville 5,220
Lawrence northern boundary, crossed by Big Black river 1300 Smithville 5,271
Madison northern boundary 1050 Huntsville 4,823
Marion northern boundary, crossed by White river 800 Yellville 2,302
Mississippi eastern boundary, Mississippi river on east & St Francis river on west, crossed by Whitewater river 1000 Osceola 2,368
Monroe eastern part, crossed by White river 1150 Lawrenceville 2,049
Montgomery western part blank Montgomery 1,958
Newton toward northwestern part blank blank 1,758
Perry central part, Arkansas river on northeast blank Perryville 978
Philips eastern boundary, Mississippi river on east, crossed by St Francis river 730 Helena 6,935
Pike southwestern part 500 Murfreesborough 1,861
Poinsett northeastern part, St Francis river on east blank Bolivar 2,308
Polk western boundary blank Liberty 1,263
Pope northwest part, Arkansas river on the south 720 Narristown 4,710
Prairie central part blank Brownsville 2,097
Pulaski central part, crossed by Arkansas river 2050 Little Rock, also Capital 5,658
Randolph north boundary, crossed by Big Black river 820 Pocahontas 3,275
St Francis in eastern part, White river on west, St Francis river on east 1080 Mount Vernon 4,479
Saline central part 720 Benton 3,901
Scott west boundary 950 Booneville 3,083
Searcy in northern part, White river on northeast 850 Lebanon 1,929
Sebastian no description blank blank abt 4,000
Sevier on western boundary, Red river on south 1000 Paraclifta 3,453
Union on southern boundary, Wachita river on east 2600 El Dorado 10,298
Van Buren toward north part 1350 Clinton 2,864
Wachita southern part, crossed by Wachita river blank Camden 3,304
Washington on west boundary 900 Fayetteville 9,567
White toward northeast part, White river on east 1000 Searcy 2,619
Yell in western part, Arkansas river on northeast 936 Danville 3,341

Little Rock, AR

A city, seat of justice of Pulaski Co and capital of the state of Arkansas, is situated on a rock, or bluff, on the south side of the Arkansas river, at the head of steamboat navigation, except during high water, when Fort Gibson, 1100 miles further up may be reached.  It is 300 miles by the river from the Mississippi river, and 1,065 miles from Washington.  The town is well laid out, and has the usual number of churches and other public buildings, among which may be mentioned the statehouse, courthouse and Penitentiary.

Population: in 1840 was 3,000 and in 1850 was 4,138

Back to Index Page of 1850 Gazetteer

Genealogy Trails History Group
©Genealogy Trails