A Timeline of the History of Arkansas CIty

  • 1673

  • 1838

    First settlers come to Arkansas City

    In 1834, Isaac Adair and his sister lived on four acres of cleared land in the area that is now Arkansas City. The following year, Charley Campbell and his wife came to the area by flat boat from Lynchburg, Virginia. Campbell bought the surrounding land for twenty-five cents per acre. Oscar Bowles and his wife also arrived in the area around the same time as the Campbells. Bowles was the overseer for Campbell, but he was also a doctor and took care of the medical needs in the area. Campbell had a large number of slaves to clear and work the land. He built a house in Arkansas City in 1838. These were the first known settlers of the area.


  • September 12, 1873

    Arkansas City Incorporated

    The Arkansas City post office was started in 1872, and the community was incorporated on September 12, 1873. In 1879, it became the county seat for Desha County. Arkansas City blossomed into a thriving river town during the next forty years. It had a natural steamboat port and two railroads, as well as fourteen saloons and three sawmills.

  • May 15, 1907

    Arkansas City Lawyer, Xenaphon Overton Pindall, Elected Governor of Arkansas

    Law Office of Arkansas Governor X.O. PindallXenaphon Overton Pindall, an Arkansas City lawyer, served as acting governor of Arkansas from May 15, 1907, to January 11, 1909. His law office is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

    May 15, 1907

  • 1927

  • 1945

    Arkansas City native, John H. Johnson Plubishes Ebony Magazine

    Childhood home of John H. JohnsonJohn Harold Johnson was born in Arkansas City on January 19, 1918. Johnson, a descendent of slaves, was born into poverty. There were no schools for African-American students past the eighth grade at that time. Johnson’s mother wanted her son to have an education, so she moved with him to Chicago, Illinois. Johnson later began Johnson Publishing Company, which became the largest African-American-owned publishing company in the world. His company produces Ebony and Jet magazines.


  • October 26th, 2003

  • January 2020

    January 2020

  • Current

    The best is yet to come

    Click the link to find out more about recent or current project updates and well as other plans for the future of Arkansas City!