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Prairie County

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October 25, 1846

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    Prairie County was formed on October 25, 1846, and named for the Grand Prairie of eastern Arkansas. Brownsville was designated as Prairie County's first county seat in 1846. A wood frame courthouse was erected, which lasted until a fire destroyed it on September 16, 1852. However, the building was rebuilt, and the seat remained in Brownsville until 1868. In 1873, Lonoke County was carved from Prairie County. The next county seat was located in DeValls Bluff from 1868 through 1875. In 1875, the county seat was moved to Des Arc. Then, in 1885, the county was divided into northern and southern districts with courthouses in both Des Arc and DeValls Bluff. This division was due to the frequent flooding along the White River, which divided the county and made it impossible for citizens in the southern half of the county to pay their taxes on time. In 1911, the Northern District courthouse in Des Arc once again burned, but the records were saved. The current courthouse was constructed in 1914.
    Des Arc was the earliest settlement; creoles named Watts and East are credited as being Des Arc's first residents, arriving around 1810. The name "Des Arc" itself is a French term translated to mean "bow," "bend,' or "curve." On various early documents, the town of Des Arc is referenced as Des Ark, Francisville, Des Arcs, des Argues, Desarc, des Arques, Desare, McNulty's Bluff, Des Arcs Bluffs, and Dezark Bluff. It was not until after the Civil War that the name Des Arc was accepted universally.


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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 and County Clerk
200 Courthouse Square
Des Arc, AR 72040
Phone (870)256-4434
Fax (870)256-4434

Circuit and County Clerk
123 Magnolia
De Valls Bluff, AR 72041
Phone (870)998-2778

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Adjacent Counties

White County | Woodruff County | Monroe County | Arkansas County | Lonoke County

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