Ashley Leaders

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Butler, Turner

Lawyer and jurist Turner Butler was a farmer and schoolteacher before educating himself in law. Butler practiced law for twenty years before being elected a chancery judge. He was a trial judge for fifteen years before he was appointed and then elected to the Arkansas Supreme Court, where he served the last nine years of his life. As a justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court in 1930, he wrote a sublime opinion establishing the precedent that the courts must stand in the way of corporations doing harm to land and streams in the pursuit of private profit or the alleged public good. Turner Butler was born on July 7, 1869, as Phillip Turner Butler, in the town of Poplar Bluff …

Crossett, Edward Savage

Edward Savage Crossett was a pioneer Arkansas lumberman during the late nineteenth century. As the great Southern forest was being developed to meet a growing nation’s need for lumber and wood fiber, Crossett and two associates—all from Davenport, Iowa—came to south Arkansas, acquired land, and began a sawmilling operation that was one of the largest of its kind. The city of Crossett (Ashley County) was named for him and came to be known as “The Forestry Capital of the South.” Edward Crossett was born on February 4, 1828, in West Plattsburgh, New York, one of three children of Mary Gregory and John Savage Crossett, a veteran of the War of 1812. Crossett received his early education in the public schools …

Murphy, Napoleon Bonaparte (Nap)

Nap Murphy, who sold gasoline and Fords in the Ashley County towns of Crossett and Hamburg, spent thirty-six years in the Arkansas House of Representatives. Murphy chaired the House Agriculture and Economic Development Committee for most of his tenure, but his most newsworthy battles were over such matters as gambling and the racial labeling of blood donors. Napoleon Bonaparte (Nap) Murphy was born on September 16, 1921, in Crossett, the third youngest of eight children of Charles Edward Murphy and Isadee Maxwell Murphy. He graduated from Crossett High School in 1940 and married Maxine James two years later. They had three children. He first worked for the Ashley, Drew and Northern Railway, which was bought much later by the Georgia-Pacific …