Desha County, Arkansas Genealogy

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Guide to Desha County, Arkansas ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: Arkansas City
Organized: December 12, 1838
Parent County(s): Arkansas and Chicot[1]
Neighboring Counties
Arkansas  • Bolivar (MS)  • Chicot  • Drew  • Lincoln  • Phillips  • Washington (MS)
See County Maps
Desha County Arkansas Courthouse.jpg
Location Map

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named for Captain Benjamin Desha, a landowner who fought in the War of 1812.[2] It is located in the southeast of the state.[3]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Desha County Courthouse
Robert Moore Avenue
PO Box 188
Arkansas City, AR 71630
Phone: 870.877.2323
Desha County Website

County Clerk has marriage records from 1865 and probate records;
Clerk Circuit Court has divorce, court and land records.[1]

Desha County, Arkansas[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major Records[4]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1914 1865 1914 1840 1839 1852 1830
*State birth and death records began in 1914. Limited compliance until the 1920s

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

  • 1860s - A courthouse fire destroyed some records.

For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • 1838--Desha County was created 12 December 1838 from Arkansas and Chicot Counties.
  • County seat: Arkansas City[1]

For animated maps illustrating Arkansas county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Arkansas County Boundary Maps" (1813-1925) may be viewed for free at the website.

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit Hometown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[5]

* Tillar
Unincorporated communities
  • Bowie
  • Clayton
  • Franklin
  • Halley
  • Jefferson
  • Mississippi
  • Randolph
  • Red Fork
  • Richland
  • Silver Lake
  • Walnut Lake

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Emphasis for this timeline is on events that affected migration, records, or record-keeping. Unless otherwise mentioned, the events below were taken from the Desha County page on the website, The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. [6]

  • 1838 December 12 - Created by legislative act , Desha County was detached from Arkansas and Chicot counties.
  • 1860-1865 - During the war, county records were moved by wagon to Richland Township and later to Clarksville, Texas. Some records were never recovered.
  • 1927 - Desha County’s greatest tragedy came in the spring of 1927, when a flood inundated 478,000 acres after levee breaks occurred on the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers. Many of the county’s 26,684 citizens were forced to flee to hill counties or to live on second floors, in tent cities, and in boxcars on the levee.
  • 1930-1931 - The Drought of 1930–31 and the Great Depression, with unemployment over thirty percent, added to economic woes.
  • 1940-2010 - The population of Desha County peaked in 1940 at just over 27,000. By 2010, it had dropped to 13,000.

Additional Information
Desha County is Arkansas's 40th county, formed on December 12, 1838, and named for Captain Benjamin Desha who fought in the War of 1812.

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Desha, Arkansas online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Arkansas Cemeteries for more information

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1840 1,598
1850 2,911 82.2%
1860 6,459 121.9%
1870 6,125 −5.2%
1880 8,973 46.5%
1890 10,324 15.1%
1900 11,511 11.5%
1910 15,274 32.7%
1920 20,297 32.9%
1930 21,814 7.5%
1940 27,160 24.5%
1950 25,155 −7.4%
1960 20,770 −17.4%
1970 18,761 −9.7%
1980 19,760 5.3%
1990 16,798 −15.0%
2000 15,341 −8.7%
2010 13,008 −15.2%
Source: "".

1840  Federal Census Index  -  USGenWeb Project Archives

1850 Federal Census Index  -  USGenWeb Project Archives

Church Records[edit | edit source]

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

African Americans[edit | edit source]

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Desha County Federal Land Records  -  USGenWeb Archives Project

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Desha County. They may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more about local histories, see Arkansas Local Histories.

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Arkansas CountyPhillips CountyLincoln CountyDrew CountyChicot CountyWashington CountyBolivar CountyCoahoma CountySunflower CountyAR DESHA.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

War of 1812
Military Land Grants War of 1812 (partial list)  -  USGenWeb Project Archives

Civil War
Regiments. Men in Desha County served in various regiments and companies. Those listed below were specifically formed in this county:

- 3rd Regiment, Arkansas Infantry (Confederate), [8]
- 5th Regiment, Arkansas Cavalry (Confederate)
- 6th Regiment, Arkansas Militia (Confederate) , Napoleon Cavalry
- 8th Regiment, Arkansas Cavalry (Confederate)
- Carlton's Regiment, Arkansas Cavalry (Confederate)

Online Records

World War II
Rohwer Relocation Center  -  Desha County ARGenWeb

World War II Enlistees A-F  -  USGenWeb Project Archives

World War II enlistees G-L  -  USGenWeb Project Archives

World War II Enlistees M-R  -  USGenWeb Project Archives

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Finding More Arkansas Newspapers Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Desha newspapers in online catalogs like:

Desha County Newspapers  -  Desha County ARGenWeb

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Online Probate Indexes and Records

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Birth[edit | edit source]

Birth Records reveal
Yes or Maybe
 Y  M
Name of Child Green check.png  
Birth Date and Place Green check.png  
Parent's Names Green check.png  
Mother's Maiden Name   Green check.png
Parent's Ages Green check.png  
Father's Occupation Green check.png  
Current Residence Green check.png  
Name of Doctor or Midwife Green check.png  

In 1877, a few county and city clerks[9] started keeping birth and death records.

In 1914, the state law required all county clerks to record births and forward them to the state.


See also: • Arkansas Online Genealogy Records, • How to Find Arkansas Birth Records and • Arkansas Vital Records—Birth.

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Death[edit | edit source]

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Voter Records[edit | edit source]

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Listed below are archives in Desha County. For state-wide archival repositories, see Arkansas Archives and Libraries.

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Listed below are libraries in Desha County. For state-wide library facilities, see Arkansas Archives and Libraries.

Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Desha County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see Arkansas Societies.

Websites[edit | edit source]

  • ARGenWeb. Free. Data may be submitted by individuals or complete transcriptions
  • USGenWeb Archives. Free. Data may be submitted by individuals or may be complete transcriptions
  • RootsWeb. Free. Data may be submitted by individuals or may be complete transcriptions
  • Linkpendium. Free. Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)
  • CyndisList. Free. Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)
  • FamilySearch Catalog - The FamilySearch catalog contains descriptions and access information for all genealogical materials (including books, online materials, microfilm, microfiche, and publications) in their collection.  Use Historical Records to search for specific individuals in genealogical records

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2. Genealogy Trails History Group, “Desha County, Arkansas Genealogy and History”,
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Desha County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Arkansas
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Desha County, Arkansas. Page 67 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 65.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Desha County, Arkansas," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 10 September 2018.
  6. Charlotte Tillar Schexnayder, The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture, ( : accessed January 13, 2016), “Desha County.”
  7. 7.0 7.1 FamilySearch Wiki contributors, "Arkansas County Marriages - FamilySearch Historical Records," in FamilySearch Wiki.
  8. Calvin L. Collier, They'll do to Tie To: the story of the Third Regiment, Arkansas Infantry, C.S.A.,(Little Rock, Arkansas: Civil War Round Table Associates, 1959) p. 10. FHL book 976.7 M2c
  9. such as Sebastian County (Fort Smith) and Pulaski County (Little Rock) (No entry in FamilySearch Catalog found for Pulaski County nor for Little Rock, Aug 2014)