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Craighead County, Arkansas facts for kids

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Craighead County
Craighead County Courthouse, Jonesboro
Craighead County Courthouse, Jonesboro
Flag of Craighead County
Official seal of Craighead County
Map of Arkansas highlighting Craighead County
Location within the U.S. state of Arkansas
Map of the United States highlighting Arkansas
Arkansas's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Arkansas
Founded February 19, 1859
Named for Thomas Craighead
Seat Jonesboro (western district);
Lake City (eastern district)
Largest city Jonesboro
 • Total 713 sq mi (1,850 km2)
 • Land 707 sq mi (1,830 km2)
 • Water 5.5 sq mi (14 km2)  0.8%%
 • Total 111,231
 • Density 156.00/sq mi (60.23/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 1st

Craighead County is a county located in the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2020 census, the population was 111,231. The county has two county seatsJonesboro and Lake City. Craighead County is Arkansas's 58th county, formed on February 19, 1859, and named for state Senator Thomas Craighead. It is one of several dry counties within the state of Arkansas, in which the sale of alcoholic beverages is largely prohibited.

Craighead County is included in the Jonesboro, AR Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Craighead County was part of the territory claimed by France on April 9, 1682 by René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle who laid claim to all of the land drained by the Mississippi River and its assorted tributaries. LaSalle's claim was named Louisiana in honor of Louis XIV, King of France.

The Treaty of Fontainebleau (1762) was signed between France and Spain and ownership of the Louisiana territory west of the Mississippi River was transferred to the Spanish crown as a result of the Seven Years' War and Craighead County became a Spanish possession.

Spain remained in control of the territory encompassing the county until October 1, 1800 when Napoleon Bonaparte forced Spain to return the lost territories to France under the Treaty of Ildefonso. Napoleon maintained grandiose plans to establish a vast French Empire in Louisiana but the Royal Navy prevented him from transferring troops or settlers to the acquired territories.

Fear was high in the United States that Napoleon would attempt to close the Mississippi River to American trade. President Thomas Jefferson inquired about purchasing an area near the mouth of the river to ensure that it would stay open to American goods. Napoleon, having realized that his plans could not come to fruition, offered to sell the United States the entire territory of Louisiana, including Craighead County, for $23,213,568.

The treaty was finalized in 1803 and the land that would become Craighead County became the possession of the United States.

Craighead County remained in the Louisiana Territory until the State of Louisiana was admitted to the Union. At that time the territory that includes modern day Arkansas was attached to the Missouri Territory.

In 1813 the area was included in a new political subdivision known as Arkansas County which was a political subdivision of the Arkansas District of the Territory of Missouri. In 1815 the county was further subdivided and Lawrence County was formed with its seat at Davidsonville. This new county included most of what is now northern Arkansas. The modern Craighead county lay partially within Arkansas County and partially within Lawrence County.

Residents of the Missouri Territory soon began petitioning Congress for admission to the Union. Their request did not include the District of Arkansas and Arkansas residents petitioned for separate territorial status for their district. In 1819 the Arkansas Territory was formed.

In 1838, Poinsett County was formed and included most of present-day Craighead County. This situation persisted until 1850 when residents of the area complained about the distance to the Poinsett County seat.

In 1858 State Senator William A. Jones campaign platform included a promise to seek the formation of a new county for the area. His election was successful and helped push legislation for the formation of the new county.

The new county was to be formed from lands taken from Greene, Mississippi, and Poinsett counties, and it was to be named "Crowley County" in honor of Crowley's Ridge which runs through the center of the county.

Senator Thomas Craighead represented Mississippi County, and opposed the bill because the farmland it took from Mississippi County (commonly known as the Buffalo Island area) was a major source of property taxes for the county.

One day while Senator Craighead was away from the floor, Senator Jones amended the bill to change the county's name to "Craighead County". The Senate, thinking it was a compromise, approved the bill as amended; by the time Senator Craighead returned, the bill had already left the Senate, and he took no further action.

Craighead County was officially formed February 19, 1859; in gratitude, the citizens then named the main county seat Jonesboro, for Senator Jones. (Some sources say the name was actually proposed by Senator Craighead in a resolution.) Lake City, just across the St. Francis River from the Buffalo Island area, was added as a second county seat in 1883.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 713 square miles (1,850 km2), of which 707 square miles (1,830 km2) is land and 5.5 square miles (14 km2) (0.8%) is water. Crowley's Ridge is the county's most prominent geological feature.

Major highways

  • I-555 (AR) Metric.svg I-555
  • US 49
  • US 63
  • US 63B
  • US 67
  • Arkansas 1.svg Highway 1
  • Arkansas 1B.svg Highway 1 Business
  • Arkansas 18.svg Highway 18
  • Arkansas 18S.svg Highway 18 Spur
  • Arkansas 69.svg Highway 69
  • Arkansas 91.svg Highway 91
  • Arkansas 135.svg Highway 135
  • Arkansas 139.svg Highway 139
  • Arkansas 141.svg Highway 141
  • Arkansas 148.svg Highway 148
  • Arkansas 158.svg Highway 158
  • Arkansas 226.svg Highway 226
  • Arkansas 230.svg Highway 230
  • Arkansas 349.svg Highway 349
  • Arkansas 351.svg Highway 351
  • Arkansas 463.svg Highway 463

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 3,066
1870 4,577 49.3%
1880 7,037 53.7%
1890 12,025 70.9%
1900 19,505 62.2%
1910 27,627 41.6%
1920 37,541 35.9%
1930 44,740 19.2%
1940 47,200 5.5%
1950 50,613 7.2%
1960 47,303 −6.5%
1970 52,068 10.1%
1980 63,239 21.5%
1990 68,956 9.0%
2000 82,148 19.1%
2010 96,443 17.4%
2020 111,231 15.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2016 2020 census
USA Craighead County, Arkansas age pyramid
Age pyramid Craighead County

2020 census

Craighead County racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 79,137 71.15%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 18,331 16.48%
Native American 270 0.24%
Asian 1,684 1.51%
Pacific Islander 54 0.05%
Other/Mixed 5,028 4.52%
Hispanic or Latino 6,727 6.05%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 111,231 people, 41,409 households, and 27,829 families residing in the county.




Unincorporated communities


Craighead County Arkansas 2010 Township Map large
Townships in Craighead County, Arkansas as of 2010

Townships in Arkansas are the divisions of a county. Each township includes unincorporated areas; some may have incorporated cities or towns within part of their boundaries. Arkansas townships have limited purposes in modern times. However, the United States Census does list Arkansas population based on townships (sometimes referred to as "county subdivisions" or "minor civil divisions"). Townships are also of value for historical purposes in terms of genealogical research. Each town or city is within one or more townships in an Arkansas county based on census maps and publications. The townships of Craighead County are listed below; listed in parentheses are the cities, towns, and/or census-designated places that are fully or partially inside the township.


Public schools

Craighead County consists of eight public school districts with numerous secondary and elementary schools including:

  • Jonesboro School District, including Jonesboro High School (Jonesboro) | 11 schools
  • Nettleton School District, including Nettleton High School (Jonesboro) | 8 schools
  • Buffalo Island Central School District, including Buffalo Island Central High School (Monette) | 4 schools
  • Riverside School District, including Riverside High School (Lake City) | 4 schools
  • Brookland School District, including Brookland High School (Brookland) | 3 schools
  • Westside Consolidated School District, including Westside High School (Jonesboro) | 3 schools
  • Bay School District, including Bay High School (Bay) | 2 schools
  • Valley View School District, including Valley View High School (Jonesboro) | 2 schools

Private schools

  • Ridgefield Christian School (Jonesboro) PK-12
  • Blessed Sacrament School (Jonesboro) KG-6
  • Concordia Christian Academy (Jonesboro) PK-6
  • First Presbyterian Preschool & Kindergarten (Jonesboro) PK-KG
  • Montessori School of Jonesboro (Jonesboro) PK-KG

Postsecondary education

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Craighead para niños

National Hispanic Heritage Month on Kiddle
Renowned Hispanic physicians
Alexander De Soto
Maria J. Merino
Raquel Eidelman Cohen
Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa
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