Clay County, Arkansas Genealogy

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United States Gotoarrow.png Arkansas Gotoarrow.png Clay County

Guide to Clay County, Arkansas ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

Arkansas State with State Seal.png Arkansas
Online Records

Clay County, Arkansas
Map of Arkansas highlighting Clay County
Location in the state of Arkansas
Map of the U.S. highlighting Arkansas
Location of Arkansas in the U.S.
Founded March 24, 1873
County Seat Piggott
Address Clay County Courthouse
PO Box 306
Piggott, AR 72454
Phone: 870.598.2813 

County Courthouse

Clay County Courthouse
PO Box 306
Piggott, AR 72454
Phone: 870.598.2813 

Clerk Circuit Court has land, divorce and court records from 1893. County Clerk has marriage and probate records from 1893.[1]

According to History and Traditions of Clay County , compiled by Robert T. Webb, edited and indexed by Frank Cochran, the people moved the county seat from Corning to Boydsville in 1877. Most of the people lived in the eastern part of the county and it was difficult to travel through the bottoms to Corning. Changing the county seat did not change the difficulty of crossing the bottoms, but only transferred it to the people in the Western part. In 1881 the county was divided into two districts with Boydsville the Eastern county seat and Corning the Western county seat. In 1888 the people voted to move the eastern county seat to Piggott.

Early History of Clay County Seats

Western District Courthouse History

Beginning years for Clay County, Arkansas Genealogy government records[2]
Birth Marriage Death Court Land Probate
1914* 1893 1914* 1893 1893 1893
*State birth and death records began in 1914. Limited compliance until 1920's

Government and Related Websites

County Government and other Local Websites (unofficial site) Clerks have jurisdiction over birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses, land use, land rights, real estate, and other court records. Site provides links to unofficial websites with online records (unofficial site) Provides links to County officials and public records


Parent County

  • 1873--Clay County was created 24 March 1873 from Randolph and Greene Counties. County seat: Piggott [3]

Boundary Changes

For animated maps illustrating Arkansas county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Arkansas County Boundary Maps" (1813-1925) may be viewed for free at the website.

Variant Spellings

Record Loss

1893 The Eastern District courthouse burned on January 11, 1893. Will and deed records begin in April, 1881, and are complete to date except deed record E from March 1, 1891 to January 31, 1892. This record was burned.

Records of Clay County from December 1875 to the end of February 1893 were burned at Piggott when the courthouse was destroyed by fire.

Places/ Localities

Town/city records in the FamilySearch Catalog

Populated Places

Neighboring Counties

Butler County, Missouri • Dunklin County, Missouri • Greene • Randolph • Ripley County, Missouri

Clay CountyGreene CountyRandolph CountyLawrence CountyCraighead CountyDunklin CountyPemiscot CountyNew Madrid CountyButler CountyRipley CountyStoddard CountyMississippi CountyLake CountyDyer CountyLauderdale CountyFulton CountyARClay.JPG

History Timeline

Emphasis for this timeline is on events that affected migration, records, or record-keeping. Unless otherwise mentioned, the events below were taken from the Clay County page on the website, The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. [4]

  • 1800s - early, European settlement in the Clay County area began with Pierre LeMieux, a Frenchman who settled east of the Black River.
  • 1800s - Veterans of the War of 1812 who were given land grants in Arkansas began to settle in the area.
  • 1849-1850 - Congress passed the Swamp Land Acts of 1849 and 1850. Public swampland was transferred to Arkansas, and then the land was sold cheaply.
  • 1873 - March 24, During Reconstruction, Clayton County was created by the Arkansas legislature taking portions of Greene and Randolph counties.
  • 1875 - Arkansas General Assembly of 1875 changed the name of Clayton County to Clay County.
  • 1883 - Railroads did more than provide a new avenue for export and import of raw and finished products. They also brought more settlers into the area.
  • 1900s - At the start of the twentieth century, the timber industry reached its zenith.

Genealogy Resources

Research Guides

African Americans

Bible Records



Blooming Grove
Gravel Hill

Johnson #1
Johnson #2
Liberty Hill
Little Flock
Mary's Chapel

Myer Hill
New Hope
Rock Springs

Saint Bernard
Woodland Heights US Genweb
Woodland Heights BillionGraves

Online Clay County, Arkansas cemeteries
from state and national resources
Search for names of people
in Clay County
Get a list of cemeteries
(then click to names of people)
Find printed records
(Often more complete)
  • Find A Grave Click "Refine Last Search" on the left, enter a name, click "Search"
  • Billion Graves Enter a name and click "Search" (Statewide. Can search by county, but many with no results.)
  • Find A Grave Click Search for a Cemetery on the right, click All Countries - click United States, click State, click County and search.

More cemetery lists


Church Records

Hopewell Baptist Church, near Reyno


(Western District)
Clay County Clerk's Office
Western District
800 W 2nd St
Corning AR 72422

(Eastern District)
Office of the County Clerk
PO Box 306
Piggott AR 72454-0306

Various Court Records of Clay County


  • Probate Records 1881-1955 Clay County portion of the collection: Arkansas Probate Records, 1817-1979: Arkansas Probate Records, 1817-1979 FamilySearch Historical Collections (Free, browse images)
    • Includes Administration bonds and letters 1881-1955; Guardian bonds and letters 1893-1938; Inventories and appraisements 1881-1919; Minutes 1881-1918; Probate records 1893-1906; Sale bills 1881-1920; Wills 1884-1944.


Land and Property

Local Histories

Local histories are available for {{{1}}} County. They may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. Click for a brief Timeline History of the county. For more about local histories, see Arkansas Local Histories.



Civil War
Civil War Battle

The following Civil War Battle was fought in Clay County.



Finding More Arkansas Newspapers Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Clay County, Arkansas Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:


Probate Records

Online Probate Records


Vital Records

See also How to order Arkansas Vital Records

  • 1947 - 1958 - Clay County Birth Index 1947-1958. Batch C734491 at FamilySearch - free.
  • 1947 - 1958 - Clay County Death Index 1947-1958. Batch B734489 at FamilySearch - free.
Vital Record Substitutes

Genealogy Societies and Libraries

Major catalogs for hard copy collections of Clay County, Arkansas Genealogy
Books, microfilm, or manuscripts of genealogical records
FamilySearch Catalog Select topics. For towns, click here.
WorldCat Click an item for libraries near you. For more information, see WorldCat Online Catalog.
Allen County Public Library Located in Indiana, they are heavily involved in digitizing much of their collection.
Arkansas History Commission Select the county Arkansas state agency involved in organizing, digitizing, and maintaining the records of state and local history.
Local libraries and Arkansas Archives and Libraries may suggest other catalogs

Family History Centers

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See Family History Center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.


Sites with online indexes or images of records
ARGenWeb Free Data may be submitted by individuals or complete transcriptions
USGenWeb Archives Free Data may be submitted by individuals or may be complete transcriptions
Sites that search for links pertaining to Clay County, Arkansas Genealogy
RootsWeb Free Data may be submitted by individuals or may be complete transcriptions
Linkpendium Free Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)
CyndisList Free Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($) Free family history resources and government records
Major catalogs for hard copy collections of Clay County, Arkansas Genealogy
Books, microfilm, or manuscripts of genealogical records
FamilySearch catalog Select topics. To select towns, add a comma to the search box.
WorldCat To find nearby libraries that have specific items, see WorldCat Online Catalog.
Allen County Public Library located in Indiana They are heavily involved in digitizing.
Arkansas History Commission AR state agency involved in organizing and maintaining state and local history of AR
See also local libraries and Arkansas Archives and Libraries
Social networking sites pertaining to Clay County, Arkansas Genealogy
GeneaBloggers enter "arkansas" in the search box to see a list and links to Arkansas Blogs
Google+ list of groups from "arkansas genealogy" search
Facebook list of groups from "Arkansas Genealogy" search Clay County, AR Genealogy Forum Clay County Message Board


  1. The Handybook for Genealogists : United States of America, 10th ed., (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002), p. 66.
  2. Alice Eichholz, Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, 3rd ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Pub., 2004), 65-67. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27rb 2004.
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  4. Tracy L. Johnson, The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture, ( : accessed January 11, 2016), “Clay County.”
  5. Heritage Preservation Services, Civil War Battle Summaries by State, (accessed 2 August 2012).
  6. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at
  7. FamilySearch Wiki contributors, "Arkansas County Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)," in FamilySearch Wiki.