Hot Spring County celebrates 190 years

Gretchen Ritchey
Staff Writer

Hot Spring County will celebrate 190 years of existence on Saturday, November 2, 2019.
Hot Spring County was formed on November 2, 1829 when then Governor John Pope approved an act of legislature that cut a portion of Clark County to erect a new county named, Hot Spring County. The new county was named for its famous hot springs that then laid within its boundaries.
In 1873 the portion of Hot Spring County where the hot springs laid was formed into Garland County in 1873.
Hot Spring County is 613 square miles and has a varying topography from level valleys to mountainous areas.
At the creation of Hot Spring County the House of Alexander Rogers, located near the hot springs was designated as the county seat. Christian Fenter, Thomas Nolman and John Wills were appointed as commissioners to locate a permanent county seat. The trio decided to name the county seat Hot Springs, where the county seat remained until 1846, at which time it was moved to Rockport. In 1879 the county seat was established in Malvern, where it has remained since.
The first county officers were W. Durham, judge; L.X. West, clerk; G.B. Hughes, sheriff; J.H. Robinson, surveyor, and J.T. Grant, coroner.
The county is made of 20 townships Antioch, Big Creek, Bismarck, Brown, Springs, Butterfield (part of Rockport and Malvern), Clear Creek, De Roche, Dover, Fenter (Perla, most of Malvern, part of Rockport), Gifford, Harrison, Henderson, Lone Hill (part of Midway), Magnet (Magnet Cove), Midway, Montgomery, Ouachita (Donaldson), Prairie (Friendship, most of Midway), Saline, and Valley.
Prior to the establishment of Hot Spring County, the area was primarily hunters and trappers. Although, there were emigrants from Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee settling in the area in the early 1800s. These emigrants developed farms in the area. Families of Deans, Fenters, Martins, Cunninghams, Millers, Gibsons, Ewings, and Huddlestons were among the earliest settlers. Families to arrive later included Alexanders, Bradleys, Emersons, Hales, McClennans, Spencers, and Thorntons.
The first census of the area was taken in 1830, and Hot Spring County had a population of 458.
Did you know? There is only one Hot Spring County in the United States and it’s in Arkansas.