A Pictorial History of Craighead County An Informative Overview

A Pictorial History of Craighead County An Informative Overview

Craighead County, located in the northeast corner of Arkansas, is a county with a storied past. With a rich history and vibrant culture, Craighead County is an essential part of the fabric of the state. This pictorial history offers an informative overview of the county’s past and present, exploring its development and changes over time. From its early days as a hunting grounds to its current status as a thriving metropolitan area, Craighead County has grown and evolved into a diverse and vibrant area. Through images and stories, this pictorial history offers an in-depth look at the county’s past and present.

Pre-Settlement History:

Before Europeans arrived, the Craighead County area was a major hunting ground for the Osage Nation. The Osage had a significant presence in the area and were known to hunt and camp along the rivers in the area. As Europeans began to settle in the area, the Osage were forced to relocate to other areas of the state. The area was officially established as Craighead County in 1859, and the county was named after Thomas Craighead, a prominent figure in Arkansas politics.

Early Settlement:

The first settlers to the area began arriving in the late 1800s, primarily from Tennessee, Alabama, and the Carolinas. These settlers were attracted to the area by its abundant natural resources, including timber and water. The early settlers quickly began to establish farms and ranches and the area began to grow and develop. The county’s first post office was established in 1871, and the first courthouse was built in 1876.

The Civil War:

Craighead County was a major battleground during the Civil War, with Confederate and Union forces clashing in the area multiple times. The Battle of Jonesboro was one of the most significant battles in the area, and the Union forces ultimately emerged victorious. After the Civil War, Craighead County was largely rebuilt, with an emphasis on cotton production and railroads.

The Development of Craighead County:

In the late 1800s, the development of Craighead County began to accelerate. Railroads were built throughout the county, providing access to major markets in the Midwest. This increased access to markets helped to spur the growth of the county’s agricultural sector, and cotton production became the mainstay of the local economy. The county experienced a population boom in the early 1900s, as more people moved to the area to take advantage of the economic opportunities.

The 20th Century:

The 20th century saw Craighead County continue to grow and develop. The county was home to both the first public school and the first public library in the state, both of which opened in the early 1900s. The county experienced a period of rapid growth in the 1950s and 1960s, as the economy continued to expand. The county also began to diversify its economy, with industries such as automotive manufacturing, healthcare, and education playing an increasingly important role.


Today, Craighead County is a thriving metropolitan area with a population of over 100,000. The county has a vibrant economy, with industries such as healthcare, education, and technology playing an important role. The county is also home to a thriving arts and culture scene, with a number of museums, galleries, and performing arts venues. Craighead County is an important part of the state of Arkansas, and its past and present are integral to the state’s history.