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Poinsett County

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February 28, 1838

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    The county was formed on February 28, 1838, and named for Joel R. Poinsett, a statesman, scientist, and botanist, U.S. Secretary of War. When Governor James S. Conway signed the act creating Poinsett County, William Harris was named the first county judge. The first terms of the county court and other county business was conducted at his home until a permanent seat could be selected. A site for the new county seat was selected about four miles north of Judge Harris's home. It was named Bolivar after General Simon Bolivar, a South American revolutionary hero. Joel R. Poinsett, whose name the county bears, had interested himself in Simon Bolivar. Two buildings were built–a courthouse and jail. The first term of court was held in the new courthouse in September 1839. In 1856, the county seat was moved to a new city named Harrisburg, named after Benjamin Harris, who was the son of the first county judge and who gave the land on which the new courthouse was built; there had been much agitation for moving the seat of the county government to the center of the county, and a hotly contested election resulted in the decision to move the seat south to Harrisburg.
    The first permanent white settlers in Poinsett County were Charles and Rebekah Shaver. In the fall of 1824, they left Missouri and crossed into Arkansas at a place called Chalk Bluff in what is now Clay County. The Shaver family is said to have followed an old Indian trail down Crowley's Ridge with two wagons, although a federal mail post road had been built by 1815, linking east Arkansas to St. Genevieve and St. Louis. They found a trapper living in a small cabin on Sugar Creek (now called Bay Village). Shaver bought the trapper's place and settled his wife, two sons, daughter, son-in-law, and several slaves there.


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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
401 Market St.
Harrisburg, AR 72432
Phone (870)578-4420
Fax (870)578-4427
County and Probate Clerk
401 Market St.
Harrisburg, AR 72432
Phone (870)578-4410 Fax
Marked Tree Historical Society
P.O. Box 72
Marked Tree, AR 72365

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Last Updated, Thursday, 28-Mar-2013 09:09:27 MDT
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