of Lonoke County...
April 16, 1873, the legislature created Lonoke
County by taking land from Pulaski and Prairie counties, making
it the seventy-first county in Arkansas. The legislative act designated
the town of Lonoke as the county seat.Named by a railroad surveyor
that used a massive red oak tree as a landmark. The final boundaries
of Lonoke were realized in 1882. The boundary change added 100 square
miles to the county, resulting in the addition of the town of Carlisle.
The first officials of Lonoke County, appointed by the Governor
were: Judge E.L. Beard, Sheriff J.M. McClintock, County Clerk George
M. Chapline and Treasurer Anderson M. Russell.
There has been three Courthouses in Lonoke County. On October 12,
1873, William Goodrum executed a deed for property for the consideration
of $2,000. This property was to be used for the grounds of the first
courthouse, located in Brownsville community. The first courthouse
was formerly used as Prairie County's Courthouse, was torn down,
moved, and rebuilt on the Goodrum lot. This two-story frame building
measuring twenty-four by ninety feet, burned in 1881. Fortunately
all of the county records were saved. Until a new courthouse was
built, buildings were rented for the governmental purpose.
The second Courthouse was buuilt in 1885 for $15,000. This second
courthouse was a two story brick structure two halls, five offices,
a fireproof vault, a courtroom, offices on the second floor and
a clock tower. This courthouse was torn down to build a larger one.
The third and present courthouse was built in 1928, at a cost of
$200,000. The stately building is a rectangular, four story structure
with an exterior of red brick, white stone trim and an entrance
portico of white columns. The interior of this courthouse still
features marble, original tile floorsand some of the original lighting
fixtures. Dedication Day for the new Courthouse was set for May
14, 1928. A full day's activities included a parade, singing from
local groups, a picnic, a speech from Lonoke countain, Joe T. Robinson,
who was running for Vice President of the United States, and the
long awaited opening of the old cornerstone. The Courthouse was
put on the National Register of Historical Places by the U.S. Dept.
of Interior June 8, 1982.
Lonoke County ahs had the great fortune to have had four men from
its midst serve as Governor of Arkansas. James P. Eagle served from
1889 to 1893; Joe T. Robinson served from 1912 to 1913; W.K. Oldham
served in 1913 until the legislature adjorned, after Robinson had
resigned; John E. Martineau served from 1927 to 1928, when he resigned
to become a Federal District Court Judge in eastern Arkansas. Joe
T. Robinson also served a total of ten years in the U. S. Congress
and twenty-four years in the U.S. Senate.
Lonoke County is still primarily an agricultiral county. Areas of
interest are the Joe Hogan Fish Hatchery, the Smoke Hole Natural
Area, Toltec Mounds State Park, and Camp Nelson Confederate Cemetary.