Ashley County is located in the southeastern region of Arkansas, bordered by Drew County to the north, Chicot County to the east, Desha County to the south, and Bradley County to the west. See Countryaah – Counties in Arkansas. The county seat is Hamburg and it has a population of approximately 21,000 people. Ashley County covers an area of 745 square miles and is home to several small towns such as Crossett, Fountain Hill, Wilmot, Portland, Parkdale and Hamburg.
Ashley County is situated on the Ouachita River and features several bayous and streams that flow through its borders. It has a humid subtropical climate with hot summers and mild winters. The county experiences thunderstorms during spring months as well as some occasional tornadoes during summer months. Ashley County is also home to many species of wildlife including white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, quail, ducks and geese.
The economy in Ashley County relies heavily on agriculture with soybeans being one of its major crops. Other industries in the area include timber production and manufacturing such as furniture production and food processing plants. The county also has some tourism attractions such as fishing tournaments at Lake Jack Lee or hunting trips at White Oak Lake Wildlife Management Area.
Ashley County offers educational opportunities for its residents through two public school districts – Crossett School District which serves students from grades K-12; and Hamburg School District which serves students from grades K-8. There are also several private schools in the area such as Community Christian Academy in Wilmot or Trinity Christian School in Crossett that offer quality education for children from kindergarten through high school level.
Demographics of Ashley County, Arkansas
Ashley County, Arkansas has a population of approximately 21,000 people, according to the most recent census data. The racial makeup of the county is predominantly white (71.3%) followed by African American (24.9%), Hispanic or Latino (2.4%), Asian (0.6%) and other races (1.8%). The median age for Ashley County is 38.7 years old with 19.4% of the population under 18 years old, and 14% over 65 years old.
The median household income in Ashley County is $37,255 with 20% of families living below the poverty line. The largest employers in the area are Arkansas Paper & Supply Company, Crossett Lumber Company and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., employing approximately 1,200 people between them.
Ashley County has a higher rate of high school graduation than the state average, with 79% of adults having graduated from high school compared to 72% statewide. However, only 16% have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher compared to 22% statewide; and there are fewer adults in Ashley County who have gone on to obtain an advanced degree such as a master’s or doctorate compared to the state average as well at 8%.
The primary religion practiced in Ashley County is Christianity with 66% identifying as Christian; 7% identify as non-Christian; and 27% do not identify with any particular religion or denomination.
Places of Interest in Ashley County, Arkansas
Ashley County, Arkansas offers a great variety of places of interest for visitors and locals alike. The Ashley County Museum showcases the county’s rich history and features a variety of exhibits, artifacts, photographs and documents from the past. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday and admission is free.
The White Oak Lake Wildlife Management Area is a popular destination for outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting, boating, camping and wildlife viewing. The lake covers more than 8,000 acres with various trails to explore the area on foot or bicycle.
Lake Jack Lee offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy recreational activities such as swimming, boating or fishing in its 82-acre lake. There are also picnic areas with grills available on site as well as two playgrounds for children to play in.
Hamburg is home to the historic Blevins House which was built in 1895 by the town’s founder Dr. William Blevins. The house has been restored to its original condition and now serves as a museum that tells the story of Dr. Blevins’ life and contributions to Hamburg’s development over time.
Crossett has several places of interest including Crossett City Park which offers playgrounds, walking trails, picnic areas and other amenities; Crossett Skate Park; Crossett Community Center; Crossett Public Library; and Crossett Municipal Golf Course which is open year round for golfers of all skill levels to enjoy a round or two of golf on its 18-hole course.
Notable People of Ashley County, Arkansas
Ashley County, Arkansas has produced many notable people over the years. Dr. William Blevins was the founder of Hamburg, AR and served as a state senator in the 19th century. His house, which is now a museum, is a popular destination for visitors to learn more about his life and contributions to the county’s history.
Senator Blanche Lincoln served as a United States Senator from Arkansas from 1999 to 2011 and was the first woman ever elected to represent Arkansas in Congress. During her time in office she championed issues such as health care reform, education and veterans’ rights.
Herman Davis was born in Ashley County and later became one of America’s most decorated soldiers during World War I. He earned numerous medals for his bravery and heroism on the battlefield including four Croix de Guerre from France, Belgium’s highest award for valor, and America’s Distinguished Service Cross.
Johnny Cash was born in Kingsland and grew up in Dyess before becoming one of the most iconic musicians of all time. His songs continue to be widely popular today with hits such as “Ring of Fire”, “Folsom Prison Blues”, “I Walk The Line”, and many others that showcase his unique style of country music.
Dr. Jimmy Ed Walker was born in Crossett in 1944 and went on to become an acclaimed surgeon who specialized in pediatric cardiology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis Tennessee where he worked for over 40 years before retiring in 2019. He is credited with helping save countless lives through his innovative surgical techniques that he developed throughout his career.