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Poinsett County, Arkansas facts for kids

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Poinsett County
Poinsett County Courthouse, June 2011
Poinsett County Courthouse, June 2011
Map of Arkansas highlighting Poinsett 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 28, 1838
Named for Joel Roberts Poinsett
Seat Harrisburg
Largest city Trumann
 • Total 763 sq mi (1,980 km2)
 • Land 758 sq mi (1,960 km2)
 • Water 5.2 sq mi (13 km2)  0.7%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 32/sq mi (12/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 1st

Poinsett County is a county located in the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 24,583. The county seat is Harrisburg.

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


Cotton gins, such as the Judd Hill Cotton Gin, and rice dryers, such as the Hubbard Rice Dryer, have been historically vital to the economy of Poinsett County. Both properties are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Poinsett County was formed on February 28, 1838, and named for Joel Roberts Poinsett, U.S. Secretary of War. County business was initially conducted in the county judge's home until first court was held in Bolivar, upon completion of a courthouse in 1839. County government was moved in 1859 to Harrisburg, a more central locale designated as the new county seat. Poinsett County acquired its current boundaries in the years following this change, as portions were assigned to newly organized counties.

The northern portion became Craighead County, and the south portion became Cross County. Sunken lands were added to eastern Poinsett County during this time, including Lepanto and Marked Tree.

The Civil War devastated the county financially. It did not recover until the railroads were constructed into the area, giving farmers a new avenue to market their crops, and the timber industry developed. The Texas and St. Louis Railway Company completed track through Weiner and the St. Louis and Iron Mountain Railway ran through the center of the county in 1882. The Kansas City, Ft. Scott, and Gulf Railroad opened service in east Poinsett County the following year. Shipping timber had become feasible and was undertaken throughout northeast Arkansas following the completion of railroads. Farmers used the railroads to ship their cotton and farm animals to new markets. Many small railroad towns boomed during this period. Despite this uplift, the county's population mostly consisted of poor sharecroppers and tenant farmers, with an elite class of white landowners.

Poinsett County was the hardest hit county by the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, which flooded thousands of fields and destroyed homes countywide. The Southern Tenant Farmers Union was founded in 1935 in Tyronza during the Great Depression. The organization was an interracial union to improve the pay and working conditions of poor sharecroppers. It met violent resistance from white planters, with union leaders and members attacked and some killed throughout its areas of organizing in Arkansas and Mississippi. The Southern Tenant Farmers Union Museum in Tyronza is now operated by Arkansas State University.


See also: Arkansas delta and Crowley's Ridge

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 764 square miles (1,980 km2), of which 758 square miles (1,960 km2) is land and 5.2 square miles (13 km2) (0.7%) is water. Located in Arkansas's northeast corner, the county is bisected by Crowley's Ridge and the L'Anguille River which both pass north-south through the county. The soils in the eastern part of the county have been deposited by the Mississippi River and are mostly used for cotton farming. Western Poinsett County is generally dedicated to rice fields. Lake Poinsett State Park is centrally located within the county.

Major highways

  • I-555 (AR) Metric.svg Interstate 555
  • US 49.svg U.S. Highway 49
  • US 63.svg U.S. Highway 63
  • Arkansas 1.svg Highway 1
  • Arkansas 14.svg Highway 14
  • Arkansas 18.svg Highway 18
  • Arkansas 69.svg Highway 69
  • Arkansas 75.svg Highway 75
  • Arkansas 118.svg Highway 118
  • Arkansas 135.svg Highway 135
  • Arkansas 136.svg Highway 136
  • Arkansas 140.svg Highway 140
  • Arkansas 149.svg Highway 149
  • Arkansas 158.svg Highway 158
  • Arkansas 163.svg Highway 163
  • Arkansas 198.svg Highway 198
  • Arkansas 214.svg Highway 214
  • Arkansas 308.svg Highway 308
  • Arkansas 322.svg Highway 322
  • Arkansas 373.svg Highway 373
  • Arkansas 463.svg Highway 463

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 1,320
1850 2,308 74.8%
1860 3,621 56.9%
1870 1,720 −52.5%
1880 2,192 27.4%
1890 4,272 94.9%
1900 7,025 64.4%
1910 12,791 82.1%
1920 20,848 63.0%
1930 29,695 42.4%
1940 37,670 26.9%
1950 39,311 4.4%
1960 30,834 −21.6%
1970 26,822 −13.0%
1980 27,032 0.8%
1990 24,664 −8.8%
2000 25,614 3.9%
2010 24,583 −4.0%
Est. 2015 24,040 −2.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2015
USA Poinsett County, Arkansas age pyramid
Age pyramid Poinsett County

As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 25,614 people, 10,026 households, and 7,228 families residing in the county. The population density was 34 people per square mile (13/km²). There were 11,051 housing units at an average density of 15 per square mile (6/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 90.98% White, 7.13% Black or African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.16% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.74% from other races, and 0.75% from two or more races. 1.43% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 10,026 households out of which 32.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.60% were married couples living together, 13.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.90% were non-families. 24.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the county, the population was spread out with 26.10% under the age of 18, 8.90% from 18 to 24, 27.10% from 25 to 44, 23.70% from 45 to 64, and 14.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 94.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $26,558, and the median income for a family was $32,257. Males had a median income of $26,633 versus $19,199 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,087. About 17.60% of families and 21.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.60% of those under age 18 and 20.50% of those age 65 or over.


Lake Poinsett State Park Poinsett County AR 011
Lake Poinsett within Lake Poinsett State Park, June 2011



Unincorporated communities


Poinsett County Arkansas 2010 Township Map large
Townships in Poinsett 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 Pointsett County are listed below; listed in parentheses are the cities, towns, and/or census-designated places that are fully or partially inside the township.

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