The Commissioner of State Lands came to Clinton last week bearing gifts.

John Thurston presented Van Buren County with a reproduction of the original general land office plat map for Township 11 North, Range 14 West last Wednesday, Aug. 15, at the Courthouse Annex in Clinton. This plat is of the township that contains the present-day county seat and courthouse. The original plat maps were drawn from the field notes of the survey of the Louisiana Purchase, which began in the fall of 1815 and continued until the mid-1850s. The notes at the bottom describe the parcel of land, when it was surveyed, by whom and the date when the plat was certified.

The Commissioner of State Lands office, located in the historic state capitol building, was renovated in late 2012 to preserve and showcase the historic land office records they hold in trust. “It is my desire that our office continues to do its part in preserving the past so that our children and grandchildren can learn about Arkansas’s land history,” Thurston said.

To learn more about the historic documents of the land office, visit website at

Also last week, Thurston presented a check representing 2012’s turnback funds to county officials. These funds stem from the redemption and sale of tax delinquent properties certified to the Commissioner of State Lands office.

The Commissioner’s tax delinquent real estate sale for Van Buren County is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27, at the Courthouse Annex in Clinton. Owners of delinquent property are encouraged to redeem their property before it is offered at sale. First, they must contact Thurston’s office to request the proper paperwork, and then pay all delinquent taxes, penalties, and interest due. Prospective buyers may also contact his office for more information on buying tax delinquent land, or visit their website.

Thurston said, “Once properties are redeemed by the original owner or sold at public auction, the funds collected are forwarded to the county, where the property is located, one year after the collection date.”

The Commissioner’s office works with officials in all 75 counties to ensure collection of property taxes. Van Buren County received $130,054.24 in combined turnback funds during 2012. In total, Arkansas counties received $21 million from delinquent tax collections last year.