Arkansas Territory

The Territory of Arkansas, officially the Territory of Arkansaw, and commonly known as the Arkansas Territory or the Arkansaw Territory (A. T. or Ar. T.), was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from March 2, 1819, to June 15, 1836, when the final extent of Arkansas Territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Arkansas.[1] Robert Crittenden was the Secretary until 1829 and the de facto Governor, preparing Arkansas for statehood.

Territory of Arkansas
Organized incorporated territory of the United States
Flag of Arkansas Territory

 • Coordinates34°44′10″N 92°19′52″W / 34.73611°N 92.33111°WCoordinates: 34°44′10″N 92°19′52″W / 34.73611°N 92.33111°W
 • TypeOrganized incorporated territory
• 1819–1824
James Miller
• 1825–1828
George Izard
• 1829–1835
John Pope
• 1835–1836
William Fulton
LegislatureGeneral Assembly
• Upper house
Legislative Council
• Lower house
House of Representatives
• Affirmed by Congress
March 2 1819
June 30, 1824
May 6, 1828
• Statehood of Arkansas
June 15 1836
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Missouri Territory
Unorganized territory
Indian Territory
Today part of United States


Arkansas Territory was created from the portion of the Missouri Territory lying south of a point on the Mississippi River at 36 degrees north latitude running west to the St. Francis River, then followed the river to 36 degrees 30 minutes north latitude, then west to the territorial boundary. This included all of the present state of Oklahoma south of the parallel 36°30' north. The westernmost portion of the territory was removed on November 15, 1824, and a second westernmost portion was removed on May 6, 1828, reducing the territory to the extent of the present state of Arkansas.

Originally the western border of Missouri was intended to go due south to the Red River. During negotiations with the Choctaw in 1820, however, Andrew Jackson unknowingly ceded more of Arkansas Territory. Then in 1824, after further negotiations, the Choctaw agreed to move farther west, but only by "100 paces" of the garrison on Belle Point. This resulted in the bend in the common border at Fort Smith, Arkansas.[2]

Until Oklahoma received statehood, Fort Smith served as the ostensible legal authority overseeing the Oklahoma Territory. The Army oversaw issues dealing with the Indian Nations.

Arkansas Post was the first territorial capital (1819–1821) and Little Rock was the second (1821–1836).[3]

The pronunciation of Arkansas

The name Arkansas has been pronounced and spelled in a variety of fashions. The region was organized as the Territory of Arkansaw on March 2, 1819, but the final entent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Arkansas on June 15, 1836. The name was historically pronounced /ˈɑːrkənsɔː/, /ɑːrˈkænzəs/, and had several other pronunciation variants. In 1881, the Arkansas General Assembly passed the following concurrent resolution (Arkansas Statutes, Title 1, Chapter 4, Section 105):

Whereas, confusion of practice has arisen in the pronunciation of the name of our state and it is deemed important that the true pronunciation should be determined for use in oral official proceedings.

And, whereas, the matter has been thoroughly investigated by the State Historical Society and the Eclectic Society of Little Rock, which have agreed upon the correct pronunciation as derived from history, and the early usage of the American immigrants.

Be it therefore resolved by both houses of the General Assembly, that the only true pronunciation of the name of the state, in the opinion of this body, is that received by the French from the native Indians and committed to writing in the French word representing the sound. It should be pronounced in three (3) syllables, with the final "s" silent, the "a" in each syllable with the Italian sound, and the accent on the first and last syllables. The pronunciation with the accent on the second syllable with the sound of "a" in "man" and the sounding of the terminal "s" is an innovation to be discouraged.

Citizens of the State of Kansas often pronounce the Arkansas River as /ɑːrˈkænzəs ˈrɪvər/ in a manner similar to the common pronunciation of the name of their state.

See also


  1. ^ "Arkansas". World Statesmen. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  2. ^ Stein, Mark (2008). How the States got their Shapes. HarperCollins. pp. 31–32. ISBN 978-0-06-143138-8.
  3. ^ Lewis, Jerry Dale (2005). My Neck of the Woods: The Lewis Families of Southeastern North Carolina and Northeastern South Carolina. Genealogical Publishing Com. ISBN 9780806352664.

Further reading

  • "Act of March 2, 1819, ch. 49". Statutes at Large. Acts of the Fifteenth Congress of the United States, 2nd Session. pg. 493–496. From Library of Congress, A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774–1875. (accessed 2007-06-16). This act of Congress established the territory of "Arkansaw".
  • "Act of April 21, 1820, ch. 48". Statutes at Large. Acts of the Sixteenth Congress of the United States, 1st Session. pg. 565. From Library of Congress, A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774–1875. (accessed 2007-06-16). This act of Congress modifies the act of March 2, 1819, and refers to the territory of "Arkansas". Thereafter, federal statutes describe it as the territory of Arkansas, although journals of both the House and Senate both continue to occasionally use "Arkansaw".

External links

1822 and 1823 United States House of Representatives elections

Elections to the United States House of Representatives for the 18th Congress were held at different dates in each state between July 1, 1822 (in Louisiana) and August 14, 1823 (in North Carolina) during James Monroe's second term in office. This was the first election based on the results of the 1820 Census, which added a total of 26 seats to the House. Four states lost one seat each, while nine states gained anywhere between one and eight seats.

The campaign was waged between the Democratic-Republican Party and the Federalist Party. However, by this time, party unity had broken down and the consensus principles of the Era of Good Feelings were giving way to fragmentation. In turn, many historians classify the parties of the Representatives based on how they voted in the contingent election of 1825 (where the House determined the winner of the 1824 presidential election), at the end of the 18th Congress, with results similar to those in the following table. Michael J. Dubin classifies candidates based on the political parties supporting them in the elections of 1822-1823 (though he does not provide a nationwide tally).

This was the single largest gain by any President's party in House midterm elections in US history, and the only time the President's party made gains of 10 seats or more in such an election.

Ambrose Hundley Sevier

Ambrose Hundley Sevier (November 4, 1801 – December 31, 1848) was an attorney, politician and planter from Arkansas. A member of the political Family that dominated the state and national delegations in the antebellum years, he was elected by the legislature as a Democratic US Senator.

Arkansas Territory's at-large congressional district

Arkansas Territory's at-large congressional district was the congressional district for the Arkansas Territory. The Arkansas Territory was created on July 4, 1819, from a portion of the Missouri Territory. It existed until Arkansas was admitted to the Union on June 15, 1836.

Benton, Arkansas

Benton is a city in and the county seat of Saline County, Arkansas, United States and a suburb of Little Rock. It was established in 1837. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a population of 30,681. In 2017 the population was estimated at 35,789. It is part of the Little Rock–North Little Rock–Conway Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city of Benton, first settled in 1833 and named after Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton, was formally chartered in 1836 when Arkansas became a state.

Crawford County, Arkansas

Crawford County is a county located in the Ozarks region of the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 61,948, making it the 12th-most populous of Arkansas's 75 counties. The county seat and largest city is Van Buren. Crawford County was formed on October 18, 1820 from the former Lovely County and Indian Territory, and was named for William H. Crawford, the United States Secretary of War in 1815.Located largely within the Ozarks, the southern border of the county is the Arkansas River, placing the extreme southern edge of the county in the Arkansas River Valley. The frontier county became an early crossroads, beginning with a California Gold Rush and developing into the Butterfield Overland Mail, Civil War trails and railroads such as the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway, the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad, and the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway. Today the county is home to the intersection of two major interstate highways, Interstate 40 (I-40) and I-49. Crawford County is part of the Fort Smith metropolitan area. As a dry county, alcohol sales are generally prohibited, though recent changes to county law provide for exemptions.

Crittenden County, Arkansas

Crittenden County is a county located in the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 50,902. The county seat is Marion, and the largest city is West Memphis. Crittenden County is Arkansas's twelfth county, formed October 22, 1825, and named for Robert Crittenden, the first Secretary of the Arkansas Territory.

Crittenden County is part of the Memphis, TN-MS-AR Metropolitan Statistical Area. Most of the county's media comes from Memphis, although some Little Rock TV (Arkansas Educational Television Network, KATV) is imported by Comcast Cable. It lies within Arkansas's 1st congressional district.

George Izard

George Izard (October 21, 1776 – November 22, 1828) was a senior officer of the United States Army who served as the second Governor of Arkansas Territory from 1825 to 1828.

Henry Wharton Conway

Henry Wharton Conway (March 18, 1793 – November 9, 1827) was a United States naval officer during the War of 1812 and a politician in Arkansas Territory, who was elected as a territorial delegate (1823–1827) to the United States House of Representatives for three consecutive congresses. He died in 1827 as a result of wounds from a duel with Robert Crittenden, a former friend and political ally.

James Woodson Bates

James Woodson Bates (August 25, 1788 – December 26, 1846) was an American lawyer and statesman from Sebastian County, Arkansas. He represented the Arkansas Territory as a delegate to the United States House of Representatives.

John Pope (Kentucky politician)

John Pope (February 1770 – July 12, 1845) was a United States Senator from Kentucky, a member of the United States House of Representatives from Kentucky, Secretary of State of Kentucky, and the third Governor of Arkansas Territory.

List of United States Representatives from Arkansas

The following is an alphabetical list of members of the United States House of Representatives from the state of Arkansas. For chronological tables of members of both houses of the United States Congress from the state (through the present day), see United States Congressional Delegations from Arkansas. The list of names should be complete, but other data may be incomplete.

List of counties in Arkansas

There are 75 counties in the U.S. state of Arkansas. Arkansas is tied with Mississippi for the most counties with two county seats, at 10.

List of governors of Arkansas

The governor of Arkansas is the head of government of the U.S. state of Arkansas. The governor is the head of the executive branch of the Arkansas government and is charged with enforcing state laws. They have the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Arkansas General Assembly, to convene the legislature, and to grant pardons, except in cases of treason and impeachment.The state has had 46 elected governors, as well as 11 acting governors who assumed powers and duties following the resignation or death of the governor. Before becoming a state, Arkansas Territory had four governors appointed to it by the President of the United States. Orval Faubus (1955-1967) served the longest term as state governor, being elected six times to serve 12 years. Bill Clinton (1979-1981; 1983-1992), elected five times over two distinct terms, fell only one month short of twelve years and Mike Huckabee (1996-2007) served 10 years for two full four-year terms. The shortest term for an elected governor was the 38 days served by John Sebastian Little before his nervous breakdown; one of the acting successors to his term, Jesse M. Martin, took office only three days before the end of the term, the shortest term overall. The current governor is Republican Asa Hutchinson, who took office on January 13, 2015.

Pope County, Arkansas

Pope County is a county in the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 61,754. The county seat is Russellville. The county was formed on November 2, 1829, from a portion of Crawford County and named for John Pope, the third governor of the Arkansas Territory. It is an alcohol prohibition or dry county.

Pope County is part of the Russellville, AR Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Robert Crittenden

Robert Crittenden (January 1, 1797 – December 18, 1834) was an attorney and politician. In his capacity as territorial secretary, he served as acting Governor of Arkansas Territory. He was a co-founder of the Rose Law Firm.

Scott County, Arkansas

Scott County is a county located in the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 11,233. The county seat is Waldron. Scott County is Arkansas' 28th county, formed on November 5, 1833, and named for Andrew Scott, a justice of the Supreme Court of the Arkansas Territory. It is an alcohol-prohibited or dry county.

Scott County is represented the Arkansas House of Representatives by the Republicans Marcus Richmond, a businessman from Harvey, and Jon Eubanks, a farmer and Certified Public Accountant from Paris.

Sevier County, Arkansas

Sevier County is a county located in the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 17,058. The county seat is De Queen. Sevier County is Arkansas's 16th county, formed on October 17, 1828, and named for Ambrose Sevier, U.S. Senator from Arkansas. It is an alcohol prohibition or dry county.

United States congressional delegations from Arkansas

These are tables of congressional delegations from Arkansas to the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate.

William S. Fulton

William Savin Fulton (June 2, 1795 – August 15, 1844) was an American politician who served as the fourth Governor of Arkansas Territory and United States Senator for Arkansas.

Largest cities


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