Jefferson County, Arkansas

Jefferson Co., AR

Jefferson County, AR


Jefferson County began as the state’s major entry point for early European explorers and steamboat travel up the Arkansas River. Like all of Arkansas, it was acquired by the United States in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. The Quapaw ceded their lands to the U.S. government and ended up with only 1,500,000 acres in southeast Arkansas, mostly Jefferson County, on August 24, 1818. Chief Sarasin was the last and most important chief in the Jefferson County Indian territory; he is buried in the cemetery of St. Joseph’s Church in Pine Bluff. In 1824 the Quapaw relinquished their remaining tracts in the area and were relocated to land already possessed by the Caddo in the Red River Valley in 1826, only to return to Jefferson County shortly thereafter. Eventually, they signed a relocation treaty which placed them in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma).

One of the first permanent settlers of record in Jefferson County was Joseph Bonne, who brought his Quapaw family from Arkansas Post to live on a pine tree covered bluff on the Arkansas River that would become the namesake and location of Pine Bluff. His crude lodge became an important entry point for travelers and settlers making their way up the river. Several other families, largely of mixed French-Quapaw ancestry, lived along the Arkansas River both before and after the Louisiana Purchase, mainly with land grants issued by the Spanish government shortly before it relinquished the lands to France in 1800.

The first steamboat, the Comet, arrived at Arkansas Post in 1820 and steamboat travel on the Arkansas River began in earnest in the late 1820s. This steamboat travel opened southeast Arkansas for trade and commerce. Territorial governor John Pope approved an act to establish the county on November 2, 1829 and it was named for former president Thomas Jefferson.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture

Modern Day Adjacent Counties

Jefferson County is bordered by Lonoke, Arkansas, Lincoln,Cleveland , Grant and Pulaski counties.

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Page last modified on Wednesday 26 of December, 2018 10:23:20 CST by Beverly.