De Witt, Arkansas

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De Witt (or DeWitt) is a city in Arkansas County, Arkansas, United States, which also serves as the county seat of the county's southern district. The population was 3,552 at the 2000 census.



The territorial capital of Arkansas was moved from Arkansas Post to Little Rock in 1821. However, Arkansas Post remained the Arkansas County seat. In a few years, as the result of the opening of large plantations along the Arkansas and White Rivers, the towns of Old Auburn and St. Charles became larger than Arkansas Post, which was located in the extreme southern end of the county.

Jealously arose between these towns. St. Charles and Old Auburn, assisted by Napoleon at the mouths of the Arkansas and White Rivers, forced an election for the purpose of changing the location of the Arkansas County seat. At this election, held in 1852, these towns won over Arkansas Post, and Col. Charles W. Belknaap of St. Charles and Leroy Montgomery of Keathon were appointed to select the new county seat. County Surveyor Adam McCool was elected to assist them. They selected the present site of DeWitt which is within one half mile of the geographical center of the county.

After selecting the town site, the question of naming it was discussed. Since nothing could be decided, Belknap, Montgomery, and McCool each wrote a name on a slip of paper. They then dropped the names in a hat and pulled them out. What was selected was DeWitt, McCool's choice. McCool was a great admirer of DeWitt Clinton of New York. Since there was another town named Clinton, he selected DeWitt.

Col. Belknap was later instructed by the county court to build a jail and a courthouse. He had a log courthouse erected, consisting of three buildings: one for the courtroom, another for the Clerk and Sheriff's offices, and the third for a jury room.

In 1861 the Quorum Court made provisions for the erection of a brick courthouse and appointed Col. W. H. Halliburton commissioner to secure plans and bids for its construction. He resigned before much was done, and James M. Barker was named his successor.


De Witt is located at 34°17′29″N 91°20′13″W / 34.29139°N 91.33694°W / 34.29139; -91.33694 (34.291477, -91.336983)[1].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.6 square miles (6.7 km²), all of it land.

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