Howard County emerged from the midst of Hempstead, Sevier, Polk and Pike Counties. A reconstructionist state government in the Nineteenth General Assembly passed Act 57, April 17, 1873, taking townships from these four counties to construct Howard County.
Howard County in bounded on the north by Polk and Pike, on the east by Pike and Hempstead, on the south by Hempstead, and the west by Sevier and Polk Counties. Its greatest length is 42 miles and its average width is about 12 miles.
The county was named for James H. Howard, senator from the Seventeenth District which then included Pike, Sevier and Clark Counties. He had won office with the backing of Governor Powell Clayton as the "Radical Republicans" came to power in Arkansas in 1867.
Howard was the son of James H. Howard, born in Tennessee about 1838, who emigrated to Arkansas about 1853 and settled at Center Point. James Howard learned a shoemaker's trade and married Rebecca J. Dossey in Madison Township.