The Arkansas Post Story
NPS Logo

Chapter 16:

On October 2, 1820, the territorial legislature reconvened. The most prominent issues considered during the session included issuance of territorial scrip, the problem of horse theft by Indians, and relocation of the territorial capital. One official cited the remoteness and unhealthiness of Arkansas Post as the most serious objections. The legislature advocated moving the capital "to some place higher up the river." The favored location was Little Rock, an undeveloped town site on which William Russell, an influential land speculator, held a claim. Russell astutely offered lots to prominent politicians for a nominal fee. During the legislative recess, Secretary Crittenden, William Trimble, Robert C. Oden, and Joseph C. Hardin (speaker of the house) all purchased lots in Little Rock. By an act of the territorial legislature on October 18, 1820, the capital was officially relocated at Little Rock with all sessions of the legislature to be held there after June 1, 1821. [1]

The relocation devastated the economy of Arkansas Post. Government officials and lawyers departed as did William Woodruff with his printing press. Because of this population exodus, land values slumped, and many landowners were unable to pay taxes. The towns of Arkansas and Rome, platted in a fever of speculation, were never fully developed. Following relocation of the territorial capital, the famed naturalist John James Audubon, visited Arkansas Post. He found "now a poor, Nearly [sic] deserted village . . . at present, the decripid [sic] Visages [sic] of the Worn [sic] out Indian Traders [sic] and a few American families are all that gives it life." [2]

<<< Previous <<< Contents>>> Next >>>

Last Updated: 13-Feb-2006