Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Wednesday's Wonderful Collection - NEARA Collections Guide

Lawrence County Court Records

The Lawrence County Court records cover the judicial and administrative history of Northeast Arkansas from 1815 to the 1970s. The collections listed below are merely a sample of NEARA’s holdings! In order to search the records that have been indexed so far, please contact the Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives at 870.878.6521, or by emailing The indexes to these records are not available online.

MSNE.0032 Probate records: These records can relate to adoptions, guardianships, insanity, or estates. Most commonly, it is the administration of the estate of a deceased person. Information that can be found in the documents includes family members, detailed inventories, debts to or of the estate, who handled the estate, what happened to the assets, and who assumed the care for children.

MSNE.0070 & MSNE.0071 Court Cases: Civil, criminal, and chancery court cases are all present in this collection. Cases are from both the Powhatan courthouse and Walnut Ridge courthouse.
Civil cases covers lawsuits like debt, damages, personal injury, removal of minor disabilities, breach of contract, and more.
Criminal cases include any indictments for law breaking such as gaming, assault, murder, manufacturing liquor without a license, Sabbath breaking, and more.
Chancery court typically deals with property so it handles divorce, property dispute, debts or liens, foreclosure, breach of contract, partition of property, and more.

MSNE.0018 Bonds: In order to serve in many county positions, it was necessary to post a bond. These bonds cover a variety of county level jobs from 1815-1866 including coroners, constables, sheriffs, and tax collectors. There are also bonds for free blacks in the antebellum period.

MSNE.0038 County records: These 900+ ledger books contain the administrative record of Lawrence County including listings of county officials, payments made by the county, road development, school administration, taxes, and more. Available on microfilm.

MSNE.0081 Pistol Permits: In 1923 there was a new gun law that required registering firearms. County clerks were responsible for overseeing the application process.

MSNE.0082 Tavern Permits: The sale of alcohol has always been a contested issue in Arkansas. These records show the change in laws overtime as well as indicating the major merchants in Lawrence County.

MSNE.0007 Confederate Pensions: Counties were responsible for the distribution of pensions to Confederate veterans and their widows. These records track payments given and the eligibility of applicants.