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October 27, 1825

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Billie Walsh

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George IzardIn the nineteenth century, Izard County served as a gateway to settlement across northern Arkansas and was the parent county of seven other counties. Later, Izard County's virgin yellow pine forests provided lumber to other parts of the state.
According to some historians, John Lafferty, a native of Ireland, traveled up the White River in 1802 to what became known as Lafferty Creek. He built a log cabin and attempted to claim 640 acres following the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, but his claim was denied because he had not lived on the land for ten years. In spite of this setback, Lafferty and his family established the county's first settlement at Lafferty Creek in 1810.
In 1825, the territorial government split off part of Independence County, naming the new county for Governor George Izard. Adding Osage (1827) and Cherokee (1828) lands, Izard County covered most of north-central Arkansas. In 1833, western Izard County was divided into Van Buren, Carroll, and Johnson counties. Later, sections of Izard County were split off to become Marion (1836), Fulton (1842), and parts of Baxter (1873) and Stone (1873) counties.
Izard's first county seat and post office (then called Liberty, now Norfork in Baxter County) were established at the mouth of the North Fork River at Jacob Wolf's trading post. Sheriff John Adams and Clerk John Houston (brother of Sam Houston) were the first elected officials. The county seat was moved to Athens in 1830 and to Mount Olive in 1836. Mill Creek (later renamed Melbourne) became the county seat in 1875. Courthouses there burned in 1889 and 1937. From 1938 to 1940, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) from Camp Sage (near Sage) built the current courthouse. It is the only courthouse in the country partly heated by a wood-burning furnace.

Prosperity A. R. P. Church
Although technically in Wheeling, Fulton County, Many Izard County residents have roots in this church.
Izard County Cemeteries
History of Izard County
From "Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Northeast Arkansas" by Goodspeed Publishing Company 1889
Lost & Found
Post your "Lost and Found" items here.
Township Range Map of Izard County
PDF File     Requires a PDF viewer.


Izard County Historical and Genealogical Society

Chrisco to address Izard historians

BROCKWELL, AR. – The Izard County Historical and Genealogical Society will meet on Sunday afternoon, October 9, 2016, at the Izard County Senior Center south of Brockwell, Arkansas, on Highway #9 at 2 P.M. The meeting is open to the public.

Mrs. Sue Shell Chrisco, a member of the society, will be the guest speaker for the session. Residing near Sage, Arkansas, Chrisco is a well-known local historian, genealogists, and preservationist. She will represent the Izard County Cemetery Association. This cemetery preservation project was established in the early 1980’s upon a suggestion made by the late Fred Blankenship of Melbourne. Chrisco and her late husband, A. D., with friends, Remmell and Helen Conyers, became the first members of the organization. With the help of many volunteers through the years, twenty-eight abandoned cemeteries have been cleaned and preserved by the association, while approximately five hundred sixty headstones with bases were made and placed in various cemeteries throughout the area. Many “lost” graves in various locations in the county have been located by dowsing, an art similar to “witching” for water, and marked by the group.

Chrisco is also very active with the Manna House, a food bank program located in Melbourne. She helped her cousin, Betty Hope Guthrie McCollum, in the completion of eight of the “Down Memory Lane” series of books featuring stories and remembrances of older citizens of our area. This series of books is an excellent source in preserving the history of individuals, families, and of the Izard County area in past years as told in the words of the main character of each story.

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Izard County Arkansas Vital Records

Izard County Clerk
P.O. Box 327
400 Court Street
Melbourne, AR 72556-0327
Phone: (870) 368-4328

Surnames on Our Family Tree

Adjacent Counties

Fulton County | Sharp County | Independence County | Stone County | Baxter County

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Izard County Trails To The Past is in need of submissions. If you had family in the county we would love to have you submit pictures and family stories. We also need persons with research materials as volunteers to do look-ups for our visitors.

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[ Being a County or State Administrator is fun and rewarding. If you have an interest in the history of Arkansas and the genealogy of it's residents please consider it. If you think "there is no way I can do this" there are many people ready, willing and able to help you. It's not near as difficult as you might think. ]
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Last Updated, Thursday, 29-Sep-2016 08:54:44 MDT

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