About This Site
|This site contains images, transcripts and
abstracts of records and briefs filed with the Arkansas territorial courts.
The records date from 1809, when Arkansas was a district within the Territory
of Louisiana. They continue through 1812, when Arkansas became part of the
Territory of Missouri. In 1819, Congress made Arkansas a territory in its
own right, and the Territorial Superior Court was established as the highest
court of the territory. The Territorial Superior Court met first at the
Arkansas Post, and later at Little Rock. Not all of its records have been
preserved, but enough exist to give us a glimpse of appellate procedure,
law and life in early 19th century Arkansas. At statehood, the existing
records passed into the custody of the Arkansas Supreme Court, where eventually
they were forgotten. Along with 90 years of the Supreme Court records and
briefs, the territorial records and briefs were moved to the University
of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, where they were
discovered by library assistant Louise Lowe in 2001.
Professor and Librarian Kathryn Fitzhugh alerted Professor Lynn Foster, who researches in the area of Arkansas legal history, to the existence of the documents. A generous grant from the Donaghey Foundation was obtained with the assistance of Chancellor Charles E. Hathaway, and under Professor Foster's direction, the entire territorial collection is being scanned, transcribed, summarized, indexed and being made available on the Internet. This site would not have been possible without the work of law students Misty Bowen, Brooks Wiggins, Matt Wells, Vince Morris, Regina McCrea, Dana Stone, Shawn Key, Amanda Andrews, Brian Welch, Kim Greathouse, Bree Gibson, Stella Phillips, Matt Harward, David Hawkey, and Kristin Edstrom.
Scanned images are in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. If your computer does not have Acrobat installed, you can install it for free by going to http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep.html and following the instructions.
These documents will interest historians, both legal and nonlegal, attorneys, genealogists, and all those who love history. We welcome your questions and comments. Please mail us at ARCOURTS@UALR.EDU.
CAVEAT: As of this date, 100 of 212 cases are online. Others are being added as they are transcribed and indexed.
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