It was Major Rombaugh, one of the civil engineers from the railroad between Memphis and Little Rock, who gave the Lonoke its name. He and a Mr Robinson had to find a railroad depot, and a lone oak tree on the Arkansas prairie was the place they chose. They spelled Lone Oak "Lonoke" to make it sound Indian. The Original site for Lonoke was laid out in 1869. From a empty prairie in 1869 Lonoke grew to a town of 500 and by 1910 it had 1,500 residents. It also became the county seat of the newly established county, Lonoke County.
1879 Lonoke got a public school, and during the next 30 years Lonoke grew to a large farming community. The main crops were and still are cotton and rice and Lonoke became the town with one of the most valuable farm real estate in the state.