Lovely County, Arkansas Territory

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Lovely County was a county that existed from October 31, 1827 to 1828 in the Arkansas Territory.

It included all or part of present-day Benton, Washington and Crawford Counties in Arkansas and all or part of Delaware, Mayes, Wagoner, Cherokee, Adair, Sequoyah and Muskogee Counties of Oklahoma.[1]

The county seat was Nicksville, established on April 25, 1828.[2] The town was located on the west bank of Sallisaw Creek, thirteen miles (21 km) from its mouth. The town was named after General John Nicks, a hero of the War of 1812 and consisted of mostly log buildings.[3]

The post office was discontinued on October 2, 1829, with the buildings of Nicksville being later purchased by Dwight Mission.[4][5]

The county had three townships: Nicks, Hope and Prospect.[6]

Most of the territory that would become Lovely County was an area known as "Lovely's Purchase," (also sometimes referred to as the "Lovely Donations"[7])a tract of land ceded by the Osages and Cherokees to the federal government (by way of Indian agent, William Lovely, who made the treaty in the hopes of establishing a buffer zone between warring Osages and Western Cherokees).[8] The land was described as being the "land along the Arkansas River at Fort Bayou; then up the Arkansas and Verdigris to the falls of the Verdigris river; thence eastward to the said Osage boundary line. at a point 20 leagues north from the Arkansas River; and with that line, to the point of beginning.".[9][10]

Arkansas Territory created Lovely County on October 13, 1827 from the land taken from Crawford County and the Lovely Purchase. The new boundaries were described as follows:

Beginning at the upper Cherokee boundary line. on the north bank of the Arkansas river, thence running up and with the meanders of said river to the mouth of the Canadian fork, thence up said Canadian fork to the western limits of the territory of Arkansas, thence north with that line to the north-west corner of the territory, thence east to the south-west comer of Missouri, thence east with the line between Missouri and Arkansas, to the Fiery prairie or Brown’s line, thence south with Brown’s line to the Cherokee line, and thence with the Cherokee line to the place of beginning.[11]

These boundaries were short lived, however, after the land west of the current Arkansas–Oklahoma state line was lost to Arkansas in 1828 in the Cherokee treaty. According to an act of congress dated May 24, 1828, all displaced white families in Lovely County were given two quarter sections of land elsewhere.[12]

The rest of Lovely county became part of Washington County, Arkansas on October 27, 1828 with county officials being directed to "take over the affairs and moneys of Lovely County."[13]

The original records of Lovely County were believed to be lost, but were discovered in 1966 near Watts, Oklahoma. The records are now housed at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma.[14]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ Oklahoma, A History of Five Centuries, 2nd Edition by Arrel Morgan Gibson, OU Press, 1981, page 40
  4. ^ [3]
  5. ^ [4]
  6. ^ [5]
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-05-11. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  8. ^ [6]
  9. ^ Lovely's Purchase Arkansas, History Atlas of Oklahoma, Pg 19
  10. ^ [7]
  11. ^ [8]
  12. ^ [9]
  13. ^ [10]
  14. ^ [11]