Crawford County, Arkansas

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Prior to 1819 there was no place called Arkansas. In the below narrative, when I say "Arkansas" for any time before 1819, I mean that area which was in 1819 created as the Arkansas Territory.

Prior to 1800, Arkansas was owned by Spain. From 1800 to 1803, Arkansas was owned by France. In 1803, by the Louisiana Purchase, Arkansas and much more, was bought by the United States.

In 1804, the part of Arkansas that would become Crawford County was called New Madrid, in the Louisiana District of Indiana Territory. In 1805 the Louisiana District of Indiana Territory became the Louisiana Territory. In 1812, part of the Louisiana Territory was renamed the Missouri Territory. In 1813, Arkansas County was created in the Missouri Territory. In 1815, Arkansas County was divided into two parts, the upper part called Lawrence County and the lower retaining the name Arkansas County. The dividing line was the Arkansas River. So what is today Crawford County straddled both Lawrence and Arkansas, half in each.

In 1817 the Cherokee Reservation, also called the Cherokee Tract was established. It covered part of what is today the Northern part of Franklin County. In 1818, the southern part of what is today Franklin County, was part of Pulaski County. In 1819 Arkansas Territory was created out of part of Missouri Territory. In 1820 Crawford County, including the area which is present-day Franklin County, was created.

The first mention in the Arkansas Gazette of anything in Northwest Arkansas is on Aug 1821 where they state : "Benjamin Murphey is elected to the Legislative Council from the County of Pulaski and James Billingsley to the same branch of the General Assembly, from Crawford County. Thomas H. Tindall is elected to the House of Representatives to represent the counties of Pulaski and Crawford."

In 1828 the Cherokee Tract was abolished, the Cherokee being given lands further west in what is today Oklahoma. At this point, everything that is today Franklin County, was within Crawford County.

Franklin County, Arkansas was formed December 1837 by an act of the State Legislature, out of the Eastern half of Crawford County. The boundaries of Franklin County have changed only very slightly from the 1837 boundaries.



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