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White County

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October 23, 1835

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    White County is Arkansas's 31st county, formed on October 23, 1835, from portions of Independence, Jackson, and Pulaski counties. No one is certain where the White County name came from. One opinion is that the county was named for the White River, which borders its eastern edge. Another opinion is that the county was named for Senator Hugh L. White of Tennessee, who was a Whig Party candidate for president in 1836. Near the center of the county, a community had developed around the White Sulphur Springs. On November 23, 1837, the state legislature designated this community the county seat and named it Searcy in honor of frontier lawyer and judge Richard Searcy of Batesville (Independence County), who had died in 1832 at the age of thirty-six. The first courthouse was a log structure built in 1839, but various legal challenges resulted in years of wrangling over the ownership of the Searcy site. The issue was finally decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1851, and Searcy was finally officially the county seat.
    The first American settlers are believed to be John and Nancy Magness, who traveled down what has become known as the Old Southwest Trail from Wilson County, Tennessee, to reach White County around 1815. The Magnesses lived near what is today the town of Letona.


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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
300 N. Spruce St.
Searcy, AR 72143
Phone (501)279-6203
County Clerk
315 N Spruce
Searcy, AR 72143
Phone: 501-279-6204
Fax: 501-279-6260
White County Historical Society
Box 537
Searcy, AR 72145

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Adjacent Counties

Independence County | Jackson County | Woodruff County | Prairie County
Lonoke County | Faulkner County | Cleburne County

Last Updated, Thursday, 28-Mar-2013 09:13:53 MDT
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