Arkansas Counties
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Arkansas Counties

The first of the Arkansas' seventy-five present-day counties created, Arkansas County was formed on 13 December 1813, when this area was part of the Missouri Territory.

Jefferson County, Arkansas

Jefferson County Education, Geography, and HistoryJefferson County, Arkansas Courthouse

Jefferson County, Arkansas is a county located in the state of Arkansas. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 77,435. The county seat is Pine Bluff. Jefferson County' Jefferson County is Arkansas's 21st county, formed on November 2, 1829, from portions of Arkansas and Pulaski counties. The county is named for Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States.

 Jefferson County is included in the Pine Bluff, Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Jefferson County Name

Jefferson county is named for Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States. Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 - July 4, 1826) was the third President of the United States (1801-1809), the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most significant Founding Fathers for his promotion of the ideals of republicanism in the United States. Major events during his presidency include the Louisiana Purchase (1803) and the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806).


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Jefferson County History

Jefferson county, formed by the Territorial Legislature on November 2, 1829, from parts of Arkansas and Pulaski counties and was named for Thomas Jefferson, US President. Pine Bluff is the County Seat. Jefferson County's new courthouse was constructed on the spot where its predecessor, built in 1838, had stood until destroyed by a fire in 1976. The 1838 courthouse is the only courthouse known to have caused a river to be changed. During the 1908 flood of the Arkansas River, the Judges' chambers, jury room, part of the courtroom, and the Sheriff's and Assessor's offices were purposely torn off and dumped into the river to keep the rest of the building from caving into the river. After the flood, the course of the river was changed to save the courthouse, and now channel Lake Pine Bluff. The county economic development is strongly tied to railroads and the Arkansas River. Its largest employers are International Paper Company, Jefferson Regional Medical Center, and the Pine Bluff Arsenal. The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and two units of the state prison system makes state government a heavy contributor to the economy. The  Jefferson County has an modernized county jail and juvenile detention center. Pine Bluff is the state's fourth largest city where a number of historically important homes can be found. There are two museums, the Pine Bluff-Jefferson County Museum and the Arkansas Railroad Museum. The Bayou Meto Wildlife Management Area is flooded each fall to attract ducks. Hunting in the county is a popular sport and attracts visitors from all around the country.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 914 square miles (2,370 km2), of which 871 square miles (2,260 km2) is land and 43 square miles (110 km2) (4.7%) is water. About 75% of the county including the largest city, Pine Bluff, is located in the Arkansas Delta with the remaining portion in the Arkansas Timberlands. Consequently, it is largely low lying flatland to the east used primarily for agriculture and expanses of trees used for timber to the west. The landscape of the western third is pine-covered, rolling hills, and the eastern two-thirds is rich, fertile Delta farmland. Jefferson County is known for the fertile quality of its soil and has always been one of the leading cotton producers in the state. Arkansas River runs through the county and provides great bass fishing anywhere in the county, attracting several fishing tournaments.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Lonoke County
  • East: Arkansas County
  • Southeast: Lincoln County
  • Southwest: Cleveland County
  • West: Grant County
  • Northwest: Pulaski County


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