Desha County, Arkansas

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Welcome to the Desha County, Arkansas!

Desha County was created by the Arkansas Legislature on December 12, 1838, consisting of the lands of Arkansas County separated from the county seat by the Arkansas River, White River and land from Chicot County. The county was named for Captain Benjamin Desha, who fought in the War of 1812.

Maps and Boundaries



  • Arkansas City (county seat)
  • Dumas
  • McGehee
  • Mitchellville
  • Tillar (partly in Drew County)
  • Watson


  • Reed

Unincorporated areas

  • Back Gate
  • Halley
  • Kelso
  • Pea Ridge
  • Pickens
  • Rohwer - WWII Japanese Relocation site
  • Snow Lake

Historic community

  • Napoleon


  • Bowie (most of McGehee)
  • Clayton (Reed, Tillar, small part of McGehee)
  • Franklin (Arkansas City)
  • Halley (small part of McGehee)
  • Jefferson
  • Mississippi
  • Randolph (Mitchellville, most of Dumas)
  • Red Fork (Watson)
  • Richland
  • Silver Lake
  • Walnut Lake

Historical Landmarks

National Protected Areas

  • White River National Wildlife Refuge (part) - a 160,756 acres wildlife refuge located in Desha, Monroe, Phillips, and Arkansas counties. The refuge is managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. White River NWR borders on Cache River National Wildlife Refuge at its northern boundary. In 1974, the White River Sugarberry Natural Area was designated as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service.


  • Garland Bayliss - was an historian and director emeritus of academic services at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, whose affiliation with the institution extended from 1957 to 1992.
  • Ken Coon - is a Little Rock educator, professional psychologist, and counselor who was also a pioneer in the development of the Republican Party in the U.S. state of Arkansas.
  • John "Kayo" Dottley - NFL Chicago Bears
  • Jim Hines - retired American track and field athlete, who held the 100 m world record for 15 years. In 1968, he became the first man to officially break the 10-second barrier in the 100 meters, and won individual and relay gold at the Mexico Olympics.
  • John H. Johnson - American businessman and publisher. Johnson was the founder of the Johnson Publishing Company which is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Johnson's Ebony (1945) and Jet (1951–2014) magazines are among the most influential African-American businesses in media beginning in the second half of the twentieth century. In 1982, Johnson became the first African American to appear on the Forbes 400. In 1987, Johnson was named Black Enterprise Entrepreneur of the year.
  • Major Jones - is a retired American professional basketball player who played in the NBA and other leagues. Born in McGehee, Arkansas, he attended and played collegiately at Albany State University.
  • Mark D. McElroy - is a farmer and former justice of the peace and county judge from Desha County, Arkansas, who is a Democratic member of the Arkansas House of Representatives for District 11, which includes Desha, Chicot, and Ashley counties in the southeastern portion of his state.
  • Doug Terry - is a former professional American football player who played defensive back for four seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs.
  • Barry Williamson - is an attorney from Austin, Texas, who was from 1992 to 1999 a Republican member of the Texas Railroad Commission. Born in Blytheville, Arkansas.

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