Miller County, Arkansas Territory


Miller County, Arkansas Territory

Old Miller County was created April 1, 1820 by the Arkansas Territorial Legislature. It included much of what is southeastern Oklahoma and the northeastern counties in Texas (Bowie, Red River, Lamar, Fannin, Cass, Morris, Titus, Franklin, Hopkins, Delta and Hunt).

The Act delineated Miller County as follows:

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Territory of Arkansas, That all that portion of the County of Hempstead and bounded as follows, to-wit: Beginning on the north bank of the great Red River, at a point due south of the Cossetat Bayou, a branch of Little River, thence due north to the mouth of the Cossetat Bayou aforesaid, then up said bayou to the head of its main branch, then north to the boundary line of Clark, then due west with said line to the Canadian river, or the Indian boundary line, then with the said line to the great Red river aforesaid, then southeasterly with the Indian or Spanish boundary line to a point due south of the point of beginning, then due north to the beginning, to be laid off and erected into a separate county, to be called and known by the name of the county of Miller.

The 1820 territorial census listed 999 residents in Miller County, 82 of them slaves. In August 1821, the county commissioners selected Miller Court House as the county seat. The exact location is now unknown except that it was in what is currently McCurtain County, Oklahoma. The post office was established September 7, 1824.

Although settlers continued to move into the area, the Treaty of Doak's Stand (October 18, 1820) was about to change Miller County. After Doak's Stand, Choctaws had already been moving into the area of Arkansas Territory, but a treaty signed January 20, 1825, ceded the land west of a line "one hundred paces east of Fort Smith, and running thence, due south, to Red river" to them in exchange for their land in the East. The resident of Miller County signed petitions, the territorial government pressured Washington, but all to no avail. Finally, on October 17, 1828, the territorial legislature abolished Miller County north of the Red River and added the remnant of that county east of the new boundary line to Sevier County. The remaining residents burned the courthouse at Miller Court House and all the records.

The commissioners moved the county seat to Jonesborough plantation south of the Red River on October 23, 1832, and the Miller Court House post office relocated there. However, Miller County south of the Red River was in dispute with the Mexican government. After Texas seceded, they attempted to enforce their claims to the area. In 1838, Texas formed Fannin County, and Washington finally discontinued the Miller Court House post office on December 28, 1838. When Texas joined the Union in 1845 the borders became permanent.

References


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