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Saline Lands (1832)

Salt was a highly prized commodity for the early settlers, therefore, any property containing a salt spring or a brine seep was considered very valuable. Realizing this, the federal government moved to reserve these lands from private ownership after the Louisiana Purchase (1803). In 1832, Congress passed legislation stating that all known salt springs lying on the Washita River, Little River and Saline Creek, together with as many contiguous sections equal to one township, as well as, any new discovery of a salt spring and corresponding sections, were to be reserved for future disposal by the United States. However, the federal government could lease the springs and property to prospective salt makers with the funds going to improving roads in the territory. By the 1840s, salt was more easily accessible through cheaper commercial sources. This resulted in legislation being passed in 1847 removing the Federal Government’s involvement and allowing the states of Arkansas, Ohio and Illinois to sell their saline lands in any such manner as their legislatures directed by law.


Helpful Tips


Plats-When researching Saline Lands, it is easiest to go to the plat book first. Pull up the appropriate Township & Range, and notice the deed numbers are contained on the plat(s). Using the deed number, refer to the register book with the same legal description and it will match with the name in which the deed was issued and the date of the transaction.


Sales Book-In the sales book; you will find the deed numbers listed in numerical & date order beginning in 1869. Then deed numbers start over at #1 coinciding with the creation of the Land Commissioners Office in 1868. This serves as a cross reference for the register and shows where the funds were receipted into the State Treasurer’s Office.


Note:The register book was transcribed from the original records in 1938. The original journal containing Saline Lands has been lost.