Lorenzo N. Clarke

A Brief History of Johnson County
A history of Johnson County by Lillian Mickel


Johnson County was created from a portion of Pope County, by the Act of November 16, 1833, and was named Johnson honoring the first Territorial Judge of Arkansas, Judge Benjamin Johnson. The Act creating the County, directed the temporary seat of justice should be held at the home of Elijah Alston, one of the pioneers of the County and whose home was at the Spadra Boat Landing.

In 1836 the County Seat was established here, after Mr. Josiah Cravens offered 1/4 mile square on Spadra Creek free to the Commissioners if they would locate the County Seat here. Clarksville was named honoring Lorenzo N. Clark another large land owner of the County, and one of the Commissioners who was chosen to locate the County Seat.

As early as 1828 there were a few white settlers here and still some Indians. The river boat landings at Spadra Bluff, Morrisons Bluff and Pittsburg Landings were the main river landings in our County. Those who came on barges, had to land at one or the other of these places. Numerous wagon trains from Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Kentucky brought many of our early settlers. They were all looking for good farm land and plenty of water.

Johnson County covers 700 square miles, there are five incorporated towns in our County, our population is 18,221 and Clarksville's population is 5,833. The first blind school in the state was organized here in Clarksville; also the first deaf-mute school was here in 1850. Clarksville was incorporated December 21, 1848. The College of the Ozarks originated in Cane Hill, Arkansas, Washington County in 1834, was chartered in 1852, then was moved to Clarksville in 1891.

Our first Spadra Creek Bridge was built in 1852, the same location has been used for every bridge that has been built ascending east hill, on east main street, as have the same locations been used for the Court House as the first one built in 1838, and every Methodist Church since the first one built in 1843, has been built in the same location. The College of the Ozarks School of Pharmacy in 1946 was the first in the State.

The first free delivery of rural mail in Arkansas was begun in Johnson County in 1896. We've had one or more banks in Clarksville since 1901. The first Educational Association organized in the State was organized in Clarksville, April 12, 1869, and was incorporated on February 23, 1881.

Many Indian signs can be found over the county. One called "the Rock House" is a cove of red sandstone. On the walls are many figures of turtles, lizards, and other reptiles. Other places too numerous to mention have turned up arrow heads and Indian relics.

There is no region of this state where the towering ranges of the Ozarks loom up more majestically. The Boston and Mulberry mountains traverse the northern areas of the county to the Arkansas River. The Mountains afford the widest and loveliest prospects it is possible to conceive.

Mining interests: Coal, iron ore, gypsum
Timber interests: oak, hickory, pecan, cottonwood, ash, walnut & pine

       Farming: corn, cotton, oats, wheat, peaches, apples, cotton

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