Garland Leaders

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Entries - Entry Category: Garland Leaders

Hamblen, Samuel George

Samuel George Hamblen was the second superintendent of the Hot Springs Reservation, now Hot Springs National Park. As superintendent, he was mainly noted for his design of the arching of Hot Springs Creek. The arching was instrumental in the development of modern-day Central Avenue in the city of Hot Springs (Garland County). Some of his other notable feats were the laying out of the first drives and bridle paths on the Hot Springs and North Mountains and enlarging the “Mud Hole.” Samuel Hamblen was born on February 7, 1836, the ninth of ten children born to Ichabod and Lydia Fickett Hamblen in Standish, Maine. Hamblen’s father, who moved his family from Standish in the fall of 1839, bought a farm located …

Hurst, Quincy Byrum

Quincy Byrum Hurst Sr. was a lawyer, banker, and politician whose battle to protect and legalize gambling in his hometown of Hot Springs (Garland County) resulted in a historic conflict with Governor Winthrop Rockefeller in the 1960s. Hurst began his political career as a reformer in the famous GI Revolt of returning soldiers from World War II, led by future governor Sidney S. McMath, but he ended his career in the service of the state’s “Old Guard” politicians and as the lawyer of two major figures in organized crime. He served twenty-two years in the Arkansas Senate and ran for governor, unsuccessfully, in 1972 while he was under investigation for bank fraud. In 1974, he was convicted in Missouri of …

McLaughlin, Leo Patrick

Leo Patrick McLaughlin served as mayor of Hot Springs (Garland County) for almost twenty years, allowing the city to operate as an “open” town with illegal gambling permitted under official supervision. As mayor, he reigned as the undisputed boss of Garland County politics. During his time in office, many underworld characters frequented Hot Springs’ spas, and gambling became one of the town’s most popular forms of entertainment. Even today, many recall McLaughlin as one of Hot Springs’ most memorable personalities. Leo McLaughlin was born on June 5, 1888, in Hot Springs, the son of John Henry McLaughlin and Bridget Adela Russell McLaughlin. He graduated from Hot Springs High School in 1908, where he was a star athlete and president of …

Ricks, Earl Thornton

Major General Earl Thornton Ricks served as chief of the Air Force Division, National Guard Bureau, in Washington DC and as mayor of Hot Springs (Garland County), helping end Leo McLaughlin’s political domination there. The Ricks National Guard Armory in Little Rock (Pulaski County) was named for him to commemorate his career, which spanned the most significant years of early aviation history. Earl Ricks was born on July 9, 1908, in West Point, Mississippi, the only child of Nancy Jordan and Earl Paul Ricks, an ice plant owner/manager. The family moved to Stamps (Lafayette County) in about 1916. After high school graduation at Stamps, Ricks followed his lifelong interest in flying at Parks Air College in St. Louis, Missouri. After …

Seiz, Bill

aka: William Augustav Seiz
William Augustav (Bill) Seiz was one of the most active and visible leaders in Hot Springs (Garland County) from the 1920s through the 1980s. Seiz was at the forefront of the industrial development, city planning, and other civic endeavors. Bill Seiz was born on June 19, 1902, in St. Louis, Missouri. His father, William Gustov, was a sign painter in St. Louis. Seiz was the oldest son of the seven children in his family. The Seiz family moved to Hot Springs in 1908, where the elder Seiz established Seiz Sign Company. Seiz excelled in the Hot Springs public schools through the eighth grade, when his father took him out of school to begin work. The family was extremely poor, and …

Whittington, Hiram Abiff

Hiram Abiff Whittington was a businessman, politician, and philanthropist. He established the state’s first lending library, ran several businesses in Hot Springs (Garland County), and served as a state representative. He donated land to both the First Presbyterian Church and St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Hot Springs. His letters to his family provide a wealth of information about life in early frontier Arkansas. Hiram Whittington was born January 14, 1805, in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of William Whittington Jr., a Puritan schoolmaster, and Hepsabeth Lincoln. He had four brothers and five sisters. At age fifteen, Whittington learned the printing trade and found a job with the Nantucket Enquirer, where he stayed three years. He moved to Brooklyn, New York, where …