Historic Lovely County, AR

In 1809, the former Northwest Arkansas hunting grounds of the Osage that were ceded to the United States were offered to the Cherokee Nation as an exchange for their lands east of the Mississippi. Major William Lewis Lovely was appointed as agent to the relocated Cherokee in Arkansas in 1813. After a number of conflicts between the Cherokee and the exiled Osage, Lovely purchased land from the Osage and attempted to form a buffer zone between the rival tribes in 1816. A year later, William Lovely was dead, and the Cherokee crossed "Lovely's Purchase" to attack an unexpecting Osage village. A treaty was arranged by the governer of the Missouri Territory, and all white settlers were ordered to leave the area - except for Lovely's wife. After several land surveys and ensuing boundary disagreements, the legislature created Lovely County in 1827, opening up the parcel to American settlers. The new county consisted of nearly all of Lovely's Purchase - approximately 3 million acres from the northwest corner of Arkansas Territory to the Verdigris River in Indian Territory.

Three townships were soon established in the newly formed Lovely County, but within a year the Cherokee Nation sent a delegate to Washington, resulting in the Treaty of 1828, which split up Lovely County into two sides, established the Western boundary of the Arkansas Territory, and stipulated that the Cherokee portion would never be ceded to a U.S. state or territory again. Both the white settlers and Cherokee were to withdraw from the other's portion of Lovely's Purchase. Cherokees were given fourteen months to leave, and for their loss of improvements and mineral rights they were given rifles, blankets, kettles, and tobacco. White settlers were given ninety days to vacate and Congress allotted 320 acres of public land in Arkansas Territory to each head of household displaced by the change in the boundary.

Much of the area that fell within Lovely County is now located in Oklahoma, although parts of Washington, Benton, and Crawford Counties in Arkansas were formed from the Eastern portion after the split. Some historians have also suggested that Lovely County reached as far east as the area now encompassed by Carroll County.