Why Are These Arkansas Counties No Longer Around? What Happened to Them?

Why Are These Arkansas Counties No Longer Around? What Happened to Them?

The map of Arkansas is always changing, and some areas have been lost to history. The stories of these lost counties, which were once thriving administrative areas, are ones of change, debate, and reformation.

The reasons they disappeared are as interesting as they are different. Some counties were merged into nearby states, while others changed their names because of political unrest. This study looks into the interesting history of Arkansas’s former counties, finding out what caused them to break up and how they are remembered in the state’s rich fabric.

The following are the five counties that no longer exist and what happened to them:

1. Dorsey County (1873-1885)

Dorsey County was established in 1873 as Arkansas’ 71st county and is named for Congressman Stephen Dorsey. The name lasted 12 years until it was altered after Dorsey fell out with Arkansans and petitioned for a name change.

According to the Association of Arkansas Counties, Cleveland County was named in 1885 after Grover Cleveland, the 22nd and 24th President of the United States.

2. Lovely County (1827–28)

Lovely County existed for only one year and covered all or part of present-day Benton, Washington, and Crawford counties in Arkansas, as well as portions of present-day Delaware, Mayes, Cherokee, Adair, Wagoner, Muskogee, and Sequoyah counties in Oklahoma.

Lovely County, part of Arkansas Territory, was named for Major William Lewis Lovely, an Indian agent for the Arkansas Cherokee.

After being founded in 1827, the county was swiftly dissolved in 1828 due to a shift in the Arkansas Territory’s western boundary.

3. Clayton County (1873–1875)

According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, Clayton County was founded in 1873 as the state’s 67th county and is named after state senator John M. Clayton. The county’s citizens disliked the name Clayton.

“County citizens were displeased that the namesake of Clayton County was the brother of Powell Clayton, the first Republican Reconstruction governor, who had declared martial law in the area (then part of Greene County), due to violence targeted toward freedmen and Southern Unionists, and who did not allow the county to participate in the fall elections of 1868,” the Clayton County Historical Society said.

Attorney E. Foster Brown successfully introduced a bill in the 1875 General Assembly to reduce the county’s name to Clay County in honor of Secretary of State Henry Clay.

4. Miller County (1820–28)

Miller County was formed in 1820 and named after James Miller, the first governor of the Arkansas Territory. According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, it covered portions of today’s Miller County as well as 11 Texas counties.

However, the county was abolished in 1838, just two years after Texas gained independence from Mexico. According to CALS, the county was troublesome because Mexico previously claimed part of eastern Texas.

The county was reestablished in 1874, with Texarkana serving as its seat.

5. Sarber County (1871–75)

Sarber County was established as the 64th county in 1871 and is named after Senator John Sarber. However, some Arkansans thought Sarber was a “Yankee carpetbagger.”

“Sarber County Democrats were vehemently opposed to the county being named after Sarber,” the Encyclopedia of Arkansas stated. Logan County was called in 1875 to honor Indian agent James Logan.

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