Newton County residents were very divided during the Civil War, serving in both the Confederate and Union armies. John Cecil, who had earlier served as Newton County's sheriff, served as a Confederate Captain. Jasper blacksmith James R. Vanderpool (ca. 1832-1880) served as Captain of Union Company C, 1st Regiment Arkansas Infantry Volunteers, while farmer and teacher John McCoy (1820–1903) served as Captain of Union Company F, 1st Regiment Arkansas Infantry Volunteers. Many Newton County citizens served under each of these men, as well as in other units. As an example of how the war divided families, Confederate Captain Cecil's brother, Sam, served as a sergeant in Union Company D, 2nd Regiment Arkansas Cavalry Volunteers. Violence took a severe toll on the civilian population, and at one point, Captains McCoy and Vanderpool escorted 20 wagons of Unionist families from Newton County to Missouri to seek refuge
Newton County was formed in 1842 and named for Thomas W. Newton, an Arkansas Congressman. The Choctaw Indians once lived in the hill country. The landscapes of Newton County are the rugged and mountainous Ozark Mountains. The Ozark National Forest provides wilderness hiking, backpacking, camping, and hunting. The Buffalo National River, the nation's first federally protected river, is one of the last free-flowing streams in mid-America and offers clear blue water for fishing and canoeing along the towering limestone bluffs. The county seat is Jasper where the county courthouse is located. As of the 2000 census, Newton County had a population of 8,608 residents."