However, after the United States acquired the land from France, in the Louisiana purchase, the lands were surveyed and sectionized and disposed of by the United States. For many years the government maintained a land office at Camden.
The first settlements at Camden were by trappers and traders who built log cabins on the bank of the river and carried on dealings with the Indians. A Frenchman by the name of Fabre was one of the first to settle here, and the place was then known as Ecore Fabre (Fabre's Bluff). Before that it had been called Coteau Fabre. About 1818 settlers began to arrive. Among the first were the Tate Brothers, George, Dick and Anderson. They came up the River in keel boats. Because of the shoals and shallow water they were halted at a place up the River above Camden which still bears their name, known as Tate's Bluff. Descendants of this family still live in this vicinity. The man most closely identified with the building of the early community was John Nunn. John Nunn arrived in 1824 and built a pretentious log house on the bluff overlooking the River where the Cotton Belt Railroad depot is located. The house stood there until 1903 when the land was graded down to its present level.
By 1829 Camden had become a prominent trade center and a growing town. It was incorporated in 1844 and the name Camden was selected by General Thomas Woodward, who had come here from Camden, Alabama.
When Ouachita County was formed, Ecore Fabre was chosen as the County seat. It was at that time the name was changed to Camden, Ira Nunn built the first courthouse on the land donated by him. It was located on a block in the heart of downtown Camden. In September, 1858, this courthouse burned during a fire which destroyed buildings across the street. It could have been saved but nobody took the trouble to safeguard it. The brick courthouse that replaced the destroyed in 1858 was also burned in December, 1875, together with all the County records.