The County of Phillips is located in East Central Arkansas, and is bounded on the north by the base line of the public land survey which separated it from Lee county, on the east by the Mississippi River which separates it from the state of Mississippi, on the south by Desha County, and on the west by Arkansas and Monroe Counties. Phillips County was organized May 1, 1820, and was named in honor of Sylvanus Phillips, a pioneer settler. The county seat was originally called Monticello, but changed to Helena, in honor of Sylvanus Phillips' daughter Helena. Nicholas Rightor was an early settler and Government surveyor. The first county building, which was a two-story log building with a court room above and a jail below, stood on the ridge a short distance from the present building. The next county buildings, consisting of a small two-story frame court house and a one-story jail were located on Ohio Street, south of Porter Street.
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