Lawrence County was created on January 15, 1815, by the Missouri Legislature, which had jurisdiction over the region until Arkansas became a territory in 1819. The county seat is Walnut Ridge. The county was named for Capt. James Lawrence, a naval officer killed in the War of 1812. The landscape of Lawrence County is flat-topped rolling hills in the western half and flat fertile delta river bottomland in the eastern half. The economy is made up of agriculture, with rice, soybeans, and milo as leading crops. Cattle, poultry, and light manufacturing also contribute to the economy. There are three highways that make it convenient to ship in and out of the county. Three rivers, the Strawberry, Spring, and Black flow through the county. Lake Charles along with Lake Charles State Park offers fishing, hiking, picnicking and water sports. The park consists of 645 acres with 96 campsites scattered among the trees. The Shirey Bay-Rainey Brake Wildlife Management Area is a 10,500 acre tract between the Strawberry and Black Rivers and is managed primarily for water fowl. It also has excellent fishing. Thirty-one of the state's present counties were carved from the original Lawrence County. The original courthouse was at Powhatan and was destroyed by fire in 1885. The archives were saved because they were stored in a stone vault and today they are a part of the Powhatan State Park Museum's regional archive. In 1963 the two districts at Powhatan and Walnut Ridge were consolidated. Some of the oldest records in Arkansas that were written by quill with homemade ink is now stored at the abandoned 1888 courthouse in Powhatan.