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Howard County

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April 17, 1873

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    Howard County is Arkansas's 74th county, formed on April 17, 1873, and named for James Howard, a state senator.
    One of the first settlers was John Tollett, a Methodist minister from Bledsoe County, Tennessee, who first moved to the area in 1819. After scouting out the area two years earlier, Tollett decided to settle there and made arrangements to make the move to Arkansas. He purchased a boat and outfitted it, leaving port in 1819 with several families aboard, including a great number of slaves. In 1825, John Johnson erected the area's first sawmill, on Mine Creek. The first post office was established in 1842.
    The Howard County Race Riot of 1883, which occurred on July 30, 1883, is considered one of the worst race riots in the state's history. No one knows exactly how the riot started, though its apparent genesis was in a dispute over the surveying of property lines in Mine Creek Township in extreme western Hempstead County. Hempstead County was fifty percent African American, while Howard County was seventy-five percent white. Two African-American men, brothers Prince Marshall and James Marshall, argued with two white men, Thomas Wyatt and a man called "Montgomery." The argument escalated into a physical fight, with the black men experiencing the worst of it. A few days later, Wyatt's body was found mutilated with several bullet holes in it, which spurred white lawmen from Hempstead and Howard counties to form large posses of armed men and scour the countryside for his killers. A number of African Americans responded by forming their own posse. By the riot's end, five people were dead, and forty-four black men had been arrested. Three men were hanged, and thirty-two were imprisoned. All but four men were paroled by 1890.


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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
421 North Main St.
Nashville, AR 71852
Phone (870)845-7506
Fax (870)845-7505
County Clerk
421 North Main St.
Nashville, AR 71852
Phone (870)845-7502
Fax (870)845-7505

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Adjacent Counties

Polk County | Pike County | Hempstead County | Little River County | Sevier County

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