Lake Village is located on the banks of beautiful Lake Chicot. Lake Chicot was formed about 1350 when the Mississippi River changed its course. It was, and still is, the largest natural oxbow lake in North America. The lake was discovered by the Spanish Explorer, Hernando De Soto in the 1500’s. It is rumored that he was given a water burial in Lake Chicot on his way back to the Gulf of Mexico after his discovery of what is now the State of Arkansas. The Lake was given its name by the French explorer, LaSalle, in 1686. It was called "Isle de Chicot" which means Island of Stumps. He gave it this name because of many cypress knees he mistakenly thought were stumps.
Because of its seclusion and the beauty of the lake, the town was a popular place for the river boatmen and other travelers to stop for a few days rest and relaxation. The swampy wetlands offered great hunting opportunities for hunters and trappers. One could find anything from bear to bobcats. Lake Village incorporated as a town in 1857. In 1860, Jim Kelley, a slave, formed the first black church in Arkansas. New Hope Missionary Baptist Church is over 150 years and is still an active church in Lake Village. Lake Village became the Chicot County seat in 1885 after two previous county seats, the towns of Vilemont and Columbia, were eaten away at the banks and claimed by the mighty Mississippi River.
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