Polk Township was one of the original eight townships in Newton County. It was located the east-southeast part of the county. Thomas Eli Cook was one of the early settlers. He was born in 1805 in South Carolina. He moved first to Tennessee, where he married Mary Margaret Maddox in 1826. The couple was living in Arkansas by 1840. In 1850, they were living on a farm in Polk Township, along with Thomas's aged mother, Fannie.