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Our History

Mississippi County, Arkansas

County History

Mississippi County is the eastern most county in Arkansas and borders the mighty Mississippi River. We sit on U.S. Highway 61- a historical highway that follows the river from Minnesota to Louisiana and Interstate 55., it incorporates everything that is interesting to history buffs, but also caters to the latest in agriculture and technology.

Mississippi County has a rich history with numerous prehistoric cultures, featuring over 800 archaeological sites and Indian mounds, showcasing artifacts from the Nodena phase (AD 1400–1650). It's believed that explorers like Hernando de Soto and Father Jacques Marquette visited the area. European settlers arrived slowly due to the challenging terrain, swampy lands, and frequent flooding.


While part of Arkansas Territory, the Mississippi County government was established in 1833, and Osceola became the County Seat. The first courthouse was in home of Peter Reed. 

Arkansas became a territory in 1819. The county was formed into a separate county by the Territorial legislature on Nov. 1, 1833.

The first county courthouse when Arkansas was a territory was the plantation home of Peter Reeds.

In 1836, a commission selected Osceola, one of the earliest settlements in the county, to be the county seat. In 1840 the population was 1,410.

By the time of Arkansas statehood in 1836 much of the land was cleared for farming. The county's western region, known for outlaws and unsavory characters, was separated from the eastern part by Big Lake and the Little River. The timber and lumber industry thrived in the late 1800s, followed by drainage initiatives and the establishment of towns like Osceola, Blytheville, Manila, and Leachville. The early twentieth century saw the continued growth of the timber industry and agricultural development. 

There have been 3 courthouses in Osceola - the one in the Reeves home, one in ‘old town’, and the current one built in 1912 with its copper dome shining on the square in downtown Osceola.

In 1900, an election was held to established a second seat of justice in the county, and Blytheville narrowly beat Manila as the location for a new court. and in 1902 the Chickasawba District was created.



Located in the former Fred G. Patterson Mercantile Store, on the Courthouse Square in historic downtown Osceola, the Mississippi County Museum, operated by the Mississippi County Historical & Genealogical Society, is a true local history museum. The hands on museum is packed with a variety of art, objects, documents, furniture, and advertisements telling the story of the community and its residents.

The museum includes a gift shop & research center.

Great River Road

The Mississippi County Museum is one of more than 70 museums and historic sites showcasing fascinating stories of the Mississippi River. More information about interpretive centers on the Great River Road website.

Mississippi County Museum

209 W Hale Ave, Osceola AR 72370


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