Governors

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Entries - Entry Category: Governors - Starting with M

Martineau, John Ellis

John Ellis Martineau, governor of Arkansas from 1927 to 1928, reflected the emergence of a new style of political leadership in the state. Nominally a Democrat, his administration continued the progressive positions of his predecessors, beginning with George W. Donaghey’s election in 1909. He helped to launch the Arkansas highway system with an innovative change in the source of funding, and he successfully led the relief effort following the disastrous Mississippi River Flood of 1927. His career also advanced a new and more conciliatory position on race relations with his role in the Elaine Massacre and his stance on the 1927 lynching of John Carter in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Overall, his actions as a politician and judge earned him …

McMath, Sid

aka: Sidney Sanders McMath
Sidney Sanders McMath—who became a prosecuting attorney, decorated U.S. Marine officer, and governor—rose to national attention by prosecuting Hot Springs (Garland County) mayor Leo McLaughlin, and he used that exposure to launch a campaign for governor. He was a close political friend to President Harry Truman and a dedicated foe to the Dixiecrat movement that tried to control the Democratic Party in the South in the 1948 presidential campaign. Sid McMath was born on June 14, 1912, to Hal Pierce McMath and Nettie Belle Sanders McMath in Columbia County. McMath’s father inherited the family farm when his father, the county sheriff, died in a shootout with bootleggers. McMath’s father had a restless spirit and gave up the farm before McMath was …

McRae, Thomas Chipman

A lawyer, banker, and politician, Thomas Chipman McRae represented the Third Congressional District for eighteen years and served as governor from 1921 to 1925. During his governorship, he fiercely fought to revise the tax system to adequately fund Arkansas’s dilapidated highway and educational systems. McRae was the last Arkansas governor to have served in the Confederate forces. Thomas McRae, the eldest of five siblings, was born on December 21, 1851, in Mount Holly (Union County) to Duncan L. and Mary Ann (Chipman) McRae. Duncan McRae, a founder of Mount Holly, was a farmer. In 1863, McRae’s father died, leaving him to run the farm during the chaos of the Civil War. Before the conflict ended, McRae briefly served as a …

Miller, James

James Miller, who served as a brigadier general during the War of 1812, was the first governor of the Arkansas Territory and served as superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Arkansas Territory. James Miller was born in Peterborough, New Hampshire, on April 25, 1776, to James Miller and Catharine Gregg Miller. Evidence suggests that Miller’s father was a farmer. Miller attended an academy at Amherst, Massachusetts, and Williams College. He married Martha Ferguson, with whom he had one son, James Ferguson Miller, a noted naval officer. After Martha’s death, he married Ruth Flint. Prior to entering the military, Miller practiced law in Greenfield, New Hampshire, from 1803 to 1808. Due to his experience with the state militia, he received a …

Miller, William Read

William Read Miller, the twelfth governor and a longtime state auditor, was the first governor born in Arkansas. The second Redeemer governor after Democrats overthrew the Republicans, Miller acted to preserve civil rights for African Americans and to advance the cause of public education. William Miller was born on November 23, 1823, in Batesville (Independence County) to John and Clara Moore Miller. His father had built a log house north of Batesville that seems to have remained until the 1950s. The family settled on Miller’s Creek, and John Miller served as a Democratic elector in 1836 and 1840 and as registrar at the land office in Batesville from 1846 to 1848. During the election of 1836, the young William Miller …

Murphy, Isaac

Isaac Murphy was a teacher, attorney, and eighth governor of Arkansas. After years of relative obscurity, he became nationally famous when, at the Arkansas Secession Convention on May 6, 1861, he not only voted against secession but also resolutely refused to change his vote despite enormous crowd pressure. In 1864, he became the first elected governor of Union-controlled Arkansas. Isaac Murphy was born outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on October 16, 1799, to Hugh Murphy and Jane Williams Murphy. His Murphy ancestors came to the United States from the Dublin, Ireland, area between about 1737 and 1740. His father was a paper manufacturer who died during Isaac’s childhood. The executor saw to Murphy’s education but squandered the estate before committing suicide. …