This page will contain a short history of Arkansas, with longer information about selected topics. At that left are selected links to Arkansas History resources on the web. Below are printed references used in compiling the written history text in thsi section.
The US acquired the land encompassing Arkansas in 1803 as part of the Louisiana purchase from Napoleon. At that time there was one outpost, built by the French about 1700, called "Arkansas", later called the Post of Arkansas, a fort on the Arkansas River about 60 miles upstream from the mouth. Missouri Territory was created December 31, 1813, with Arkansas as the eighth county formed from this Territory. The area that would eventually be the State of Arkansas was occupied by the Osage and Quapaw Indians. The Osages occupied roughly the area north of the Arkansas River west into what would be Indian Territory: The Quapaw occupied the land south of the River into Louisiana and west to Texas. The US acquired the land through treaties with the Osages in 1808 and 1818, and with the Quapaw in 1818 and 1824. In 1824, the Quapaws moved out of the state.
The name of the Territory and State came from a tribe of Indians living along the Mississippi, a branch of the Quapaws, called the "Arkansa. They were first mentioned by Marquette in 1673.
Arkansas Territory: On March 2, 1819, Congress created the Territory of Arkansas, to take effect July 4th, 1819. The seat of government was directed to be 'at the Post of Arkansaw on the Arkansaw River." When the Territory was initially established, the State boundries North, South, and East were roughly where they are today, but the Western Boundry extended about 40 miles west of the Western Boundry of Missouri, and ran from the Missouri line to the Red River. This Western Area was later to become part of Indian Territory. The modern dividing line between Arkansas and the Cherokee Indians was agreed upon by the Treaty of May 8th, 1828, when the Western boundry of the Territory was located about 100 paces West of old Fort Smith and running hence south to the Red River. The first Territorial Governor was Jame Miller of New Hampshire: Robert Crittenden of Frankford, Ky ws appointed Secretary of the Territory. Both had counties named for them later.
Of note to Postal Historians was the arrival in Arkansas on October 31, 1819 of William E. Woodruff. Shortly thereafter he began publishing the Arkansas Gazette at the Post of Arkansas, and moved the newspaper to Little Rock in 1821. Many significant covers from the Territory and Stampless period were mailed to and from Woodruff.
A post office was established at Davidsonville on June 28, 1817 and another on July 1, 1817 at "Arkansas". Both were in operation when the Territory was created, and were thus the first post offices. The "Arkansas" post office name was officially changed to "Arkansas Post" on Dec 27, 1831.
Last updated 12-27-07