The Territorial Legislature from part of Lawrence County formed Greene County on November 5, 1833. It was named for Nathaniel Greene, an American General in the Revolutionary War. The county seat is Paragould. Greene County has rich, flat delta farmland in the eastern and western parts of the county and rolling hills in the center that includes Crowley’s Ridge. In the early days, railroads hauled timber out of the county but as more people settled in the area, agriculture replaced timber as a principal activity with top crops being rice, soybeans, and small grains. Crowley’s Ridge rises above the flat delta on both sides and is composed of ocean-bottom sand, gravel, and clay, capped with wind-blown dust. Crowley’s Ridge State Park developed in 1933 is located in a forest of hardwood and pine on the western slope. There are several recreational facilities, including swimming, canoeing and sand beaches. Also located on the grounds are a pioneer cemetery and the home site of Benjamin F. Crowley, a veteran of the War of 1812, after whom the ridge was named. Lake Frierson, Lake Hubble and the Bland and Little Rivers offer good fishing. Hunters also enjoy two wildlife management areas. The St. Francis River, which forms the county’s eastern border with Missouri and the Cache River along the western border, offers fishing and hunting. This is a very popular area for local citizens as well as many tourists. Greene County now enjoys a new courthouse that was completed in 1997. The new complex has 39,000 square feet. The building and furnishings were completed at a cost of $4.1 million. In August of 1995, the county voters approved a 1-cent, countywide sales tax to pay for the courthouse. The new courthouse has a link from the county’s earliest days with the display of the fireproof safe that dated from the 1877 courthouse at Gainesville. The safe, which weighs between 8,000 and 10,000 pounds, is located to the right of the doors on the north side of the building.
Justice of the Peace
A Justice of the Peace is an elected official equivalent to a county commissioner or county supervisor. Arkansas JPs sit on a county quorum court, composed of 9, 11, 13 or 15 JPs. The quorum court is a part-time body, elected from single-member districts, that has overall responsibility for county affairs. Among their responsibilities are passing the budget, creating new ordinances (at the misdemeanor level), setting property tax millage levels, and working with other elected officials. The full-time elected county administrator, who presides over the quorum court, is the county judge. Neither JPs nor the county judge have any judicial authority, though they do have the power to preside over civil marriages. Justices of the Peace are elected every two years to these partisan offices.
The Quorum Court may exercise the following powers, but are not limited to:
A) the levy of taxes in manner prescribed by law;
B) Appropriate public finds for the expenses of the county in a manner prescribed by ordinances;
C) Preserve the peace and order and secure freedom from dangerous or noxious activities; provided, however, that no act may be declared a felony;
D) for any public purpose, contract, or join with any other county, or with any political sub-division or with the United States;
E) create, consolidate, separate, revise or abandon any elected office or offices except during the term thereof; provided ,however, that a majority of those voting on the question at a general election have approved said action; F) fix the number and compensation of deputies and county employees;
G) fix the compensation of each county officer with a minimum and maximum to be determined by law;
H) fill vacancies in elected county offices;
I) provide for any service or performance of any function relating to county affairs;
J) to exercise other powers, not inconsistent with law, necessary for effective administration of authorized services and functions. (ACA 14-14-801)