Lawrence County Arkansas Trails To The Past


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January 15, 1815

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    Lawrence County is Arkansas's second county, formed on January 15, 1815, and named for Captain James Lawrence who fought in the War of 1812. The "Mother of Counties," Lawrence County once covered a majority of north Arkansas, an enormous stretch of land ultimately forming thirty-one counties. Present-day Lawrence County straddles the Black River, a natural boundary separating the lowlands of the Arkansas Delta from the foothills of the Ozark Plateau. The first courthouse was built in 1873 and burned in 1885. A Victorian-style replacement was constructed in 1888, using many of the bricks salvaged from the first courthouse in the interior side of the outer walls.
    The earliest important settlement was at Davidsonville along the Black River. Named for territorial legislator John Davidson, the town served as the first county seat in 1816. Exaggerated tradition claims 3,000 Davidsonville residents before yellow fever ended the settlement. In 1829, the county seat moved to Jackson on the Military Road, and Davidsonville as a community ceased to exist.
    Another major settlement was at Smithville near the county's present western border. Named for businessman Robert Smith, the town became the county seat in 1837, a year after Arkansas attained statehood. In 1838, Smithville witnessed the Trail of Tears as a band of 1,200 Cherokee with "measles and whooping cough among them" passed through the town. Smithville also served as a staging area for local volunteers during the U.S.-Mexican War (1846—1848). Located at an intersection on the Military Road, Smithville prospered before declining with the loss of its status as the county seat in 1868.


Free Records Search at Familysearch Org

Lawrence County Cemetery Listings on Arkansas Gravestone Project

Lawrence County Cemetery Listings on Interment Net

Lawrence County Cemetery Listing at Find A Grave

Arkansas Dept of Health

Arkansas Dept of Health
Division of Vital Records, Slot 44
4815 West Markham Street
Little Rock, AR 72205
(501) 661-2174
Fax: (501) 663-2832
  • Vital Records is responsible for the collection and issuance of birth and death certificates and marriage and divorce coupons.
  • Birth and death certificates serve two purposes. They are the definitive legal documents of identity and they collect important medical information about the two most important events – birth and death.
  • Marriage and divorce coupons are so called because they are removed from the bottom of marriage and divorce certificates, the original of which is retained in the offices of the county clerk of courts; these coupons contain limited information.

Arkansas State Archives

Arkansas History Commission
One Capitol Mall
Little Rock, AR 72201
The History Commission, the official state archives, is a facility in which those interested in Arkansas history may engage in research. The staff does not undertake research requests from the public. The Research Room is open from 8:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M., Monday through Saturday. It is closed on state holidays. If you are traveling long distances, please call to confirm hours/days of operation at 501.682.6900.

Arkansas Genealogical Society

  • The purpose of the society is to promote family history research, to educate persons in genealogical research methods and the use of historical records, to publish articles pertaining to Arkansas ancestors, and to preserve and make accessible historical, genealogical, and biographical sources pertaining to Arkansas.
  • AGS has contributed to the genealogical collection of books and other materials at the Arkansas History Commission and State Archives, the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, and at other libraries and archives with genealogical collections. Books sent to AGS to be reviewed in The Arkansas Family Historian are always donated to a library that does not possess a copy. AGS sometimes purchases and donates special resources, such as the films of the Draper Manuscripts at the Arkansas History Commission.
Circuit Clerk
315 West Main St.
Walnut Ridge, AR 72476
Phone (870)886-1112
Fax (870)886-1128
County Clerk
315 West Main St.
Walnut Ridge, AR 72476
Phone (870)886-1111
Fax (870)886-1122
Lawrence County Historical Society
P.O. Box 92
Powhatan, AR 72458
Lloyd Clark, President

E-Mail Lists and Message Boards

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Adjacent Counties

Randolph County | Greene County | Craighead County | Jackson County
Independence County | Sharp County

Last Updated, Tuesday, 10-Jul-2018 11:02:56 MDT
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