Legislative Branch -- Representatives

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Entry Category: Legislative Branch -- Representatives

Alford, Thomas Dale

Thomas Dale Alford was a prominent Arkansas ophthalmologist, Episcopalian, radio announcer, civic leader, and politician remembered largely as a leader of opposition to federally mandated desegregation during the crisis at Central High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Alford’s role as a leading segregationist came first through his seat on the Little Rock School Board and then as the “Segregation Sticker Candidate” who upset incumbent Democratic U.S. Representative Brooks Hays after a notorious ten-day write-in campaign in the 1958 election for the Fifth Congressional District of Arkansas. Dale Alford was born near Murfreesboro (Pike County) on January 28, 1916, the son of T. H. Alford and Ida Womack Alford, both of whom were itinerant school teachers. His father ultimately became …

Anthony, Beryl Franklin, Jr.

Beryl Franklin Anthony Jr. is a long-time Arkansas public servant and an alumnus of the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). He served as a U.S. Representative from 1979 to 1993. Beryl Franklin Anthony Jr. was born in El Dorado (Union County) on February 21, 1938, the son of Beryl Franklin Anthony Sr. and Oma Lee Roark Anthony. The Anthonys had founded the Anthony Forest Products Company, with Anthony Sr. as chairman. Anthony attended the Union County public schools; he graduated from El Dorado High School in 1956, and he earned BS and BA degrees from UA in 1961. He was also a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. In 1963, he earned a Juris Doctorate from the …

Bates, James Woodson

James Woodson Bates was an early Arkansas settler who was elected as the first Arkansas territorial representative to the U.S. Congress. After leaving that office, he went on to help develop Arkansas’s legal system as a judge and lawyer. Batesville (Independence County) was named after him in 1824. James Bates was born on August 25, 1788, in Belmont, Virginia, to Thomas F. Bates and Caroline Woodson Bates. Little is known of his early life, but he attended Yale College (now Yale University). He eventually graduated from Princeton College (now Princeton University) in 1807 and began practicing law in Virginia. In 1816, he moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where his brother Frederick Bates had been appointed territorial secretary. In 1819, he, …

Berry, Robert Marion

Robert Marion Berry represented Arkansas’s First Congressional District as a Democrat for seven terms. First elected to the 105th Congress, he served from January 1997 until January 2011. Marion Berry was born in Stuttgart (Arkansas County) on August 27, 1942. The son of a rice farmer and his wife, he had two brothers. He was educated in local schools before graduating from DeWitt High School in DeWitt (Arkansas County). Berry went on to the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), where he earned a BS in pharmacy in 1965. He settled in Gillett (Arkansas County) and became a licensed pharmacist and a farmer who grew rice and soybeans. He soon became involved in local politics, winning a seat …

Bethune, Edwin Ruthvin (Ed), Jr.

Edwin Ruthvin (Ed) Bethune Jr., a lawyer and lobbyist in Washington DC, served as a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1979 to 1985 from the Second Congressional District of Arkansas. Ed Bethune was born on December 19, 1935, in Pocahontas (Randolph County) to Edwin Bethune Sr. and Delta Lewallen Bethune. He has one sister. Although he grew up in Pocahontas, Bethune spent one year in Little Rock (Pulaski County), attending Little Rock High School (later called Central High); Bethune graduated from Pocahontas High School in 1953. He attended one semester at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) and followed that with four years in the U.S. Marine Corps (1954–1957), during which time he …

Boles, Thomas

Thomas Boles was a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Third District of Arkansas in the Fortieth, Forty-First, and Forty-Second Congresses from 1868 to 1871 and then again from 1872 to 1873. Thomas Boles was born on July 16, 1837, near Clarksville (Johnson County) to John Boles and Mary May Boles. One of eleven children, he was educated in the local common schools and was a teacher for a few years before becoming sheriff of Yell County in 1858. The following year, he was appointed deputy clerk of the Yell County circuit court, a position that motivated him to study law. Admitted to the Arkansas bar in 1860, he started a practice in Danville (Yell …

Boozman, John

Businessman and rancher John Boozman became a leading Republican officeholder in the early part of the twenty-first century. First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2001, he was later elected to the Senate and became, in 2015, the state’s senior U.S. senator. John Boozman was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, on December 10, 1950, to Fay Winford Boozman Jr. and Marie Nichols Boozman. Fay Boozman was a U.S. Air Force master sergeant, and the family moved frequently when John was young. Boozman spent his high school years in Arkansas, graduating from Northside High School in Fort Smith (Sebastian County). Boozman played football for the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), which he attended from 1969 to 1972. …

Brundidge, Stephen, Jr.

Stephen Brundidge Jr. was a prosecuting attorney, a member of the Democratic State Central Committee, and a six-term U.S. Representative for the Sixth and Second Congressional districts. Born on January 1, 1857, in Searcy (White County), Brundidge was the fourth child of Stephen and Minerva Brundidge, who moved to Searcy from Mississippi in 1853. His father was a contractor who built the first brick buildings in Searcy, including the main section of the present White County Courthouse, built in 1869. Brundidge graduated with honors from the Searcy Male and Female Academy. He then read law in the offices of William R. Coody and Dandridge McRae and was admitted to the bar in 1879. He first practiced law in Jacksonport (Jackson …

Carroll, David Williamson

David Williamson Carroll, who was one of the eleven men who represented the state in the Confederate Congress, was the first Roman Catholic to represent Arkansas in a national legislative body. He was one of the three members of the eleven-member Arkansas delegation who owned no slaves. David Williamson Carroll was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on March 11, 1816, the eldest child of William Carroll and Henrietta Maria Williamson. He was the scion of a prominent Catholic family. His great-grandfather Daniel Carroll (1730–1796) participated in the Constitutional Convention of 1787, being one of the three members of the Maryland delegation to sign the document. Daniel Carroll was the older brother of John Carroll (1735–1815), the first Catholic bishop and archbishop …

Cate, William Henderson

William Henderson (W. H.) Cate was a lawyer, a judge, and a Democratic politician who served in the state legislature from 1871 to 1874 and in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1889 to 1890 and from 1891 to 1893. Charges of election fraud in the 1888 election resulted in federal hearings that saw him ousted from his congressional seat in 1890. W. H. Cate, born on November 11, 1839, near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, was one of two surviving children born to Noah Cate, who was a Baptist minister, and his wife Margaret M. (Henderson) Cate. Raised in Tennessee’s Hawkins and Sullivan counties, he attended the common schools and academies in Abingdon, Virginia, and Rogersville, Tennessee. In 1857, he graduated from the University of Tennessee …

Cotton, Thomas Bryant (Tom)

Tom Cotton became the junior senator from Arkansas in 2015. A Republican elected with only Libertarian Party opposition to a second term in 2020, Cotton has gained a high public profile and is spoken of as a possible presidential candidate. Thomas Bryant Cotton was born on May 13, 1977, in Dardanelle (Yell County) to Thomas Leonard Cotton and Avis Cotton. He grew up on the family’s cattle farm. At Dardanelle High School, from which he graduated in 1995, the six-foot, five-inch Cotton played basketball. Cotton earned his bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard University, graduating in 1998 after only three years. While at Harvard, he was a columnist for the Harvard Crimson and was also active in the Harvard Republican …

Cravens, Jordan Edgar

Jordan Edgar Cravens was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Third District of Arkansas in the Forty-Fifth, Forty-Sixth, and Forty-Seventh Congresses from 1877 until 1883. Jordan E. Cravens was born on November 7, 1830, in Fredericktown, Missouri, to Nehemiah Cravens and Sophia Thompson Cravens. He was one of three sons. Seeking new opportunity, the Cravens family moved to Arkansas the year after his birth. Cravens received his early education in the local common schools, but he graduated from the Presbyterian-supported Cane Hill College in Washington County in 1850. Following graduation, he studied the law and was admitted to the state bar in 1854, opening a practice in Clarksville (Johnson County). Cravens then entered the …

Cravens, William Ben

William Ben Cravens was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He had two separate and distinct periods of service in Congress, first representing the Fourth District of Arkansas in the Sixtieth, Sixty-First, and Sixty-Second Congresses, serving from 1907 to 1913, and then after two decades away, he returned to Congress, again representing the Fourth District, in the Seventy-Third through the Seventy-Sixth Congresses, serving from March 1933 until his death in early 1939. Ben Cravens was born on January 17, 1872, in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) to William Murphy Cravens and Mary Eloise Rutherford Cravens. He attended the local schools before continuing his studies at Louisville Military Academy in Kentucky and then at Staunton Military Academy in Virginia. …

Cravens, William Fadjo

William Fadjo Cravens was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Fourth District of Arkansas in the Seventy-Sixth through the Eightieth Congresses, serving from 1939 to 1949. Fadjo Cravens was born in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) on February 15, 1899, to William Ben Cravens and Caroline Dyal Cravens. Cravens got his early education in the local public schools before attending the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) and the University of Pittsburgh. His education was interrupted while he served as a seaman in the U.S. Navy during World War I. Upon his return from the service, he earned his law degree from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, in 1920. Cravens was …

Crawford, Eric Alan “Rick”

Rick Crawford is a Republican U.S. congressman from Arkansas who was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 as part of the wave of new conservatives who made up the Tea Party Movement, a group whose emergence helped the Republicans regain the majority in the House. After arriving in Washington DC, Crawford began compiling a record characterized by strong opposition to President Barack Obama and equally strong support of President Donald Trump. He has also proven himself to be adept at getting votes, being easily reelected five times. Eric Alan “Rick” Crawford was born on January 22, 1966, on Homestead Air Force Base in Florida. He was one of three sons born to Ruth Anne Crawford and …

Davis, Danny K.

Danny K. Davis is an Arkansas-born politician who has represented the Seventh District of Illinois in the U.S. House of Representatives for almost two decades. First elected in 1996 to the 105th Congress, he began his congressional service in 1997. In 2014, Davis was reelected to the 114th Congress, beginning his tenth term in January 2015. Davis was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1998. Daniel K. Davis was born in Parkdale (Ashley County) on September 6, 1941, to Hezekiah Davis and Mazzie Davis. He received his early education in the local schools before graduating from Savage High School in 1957. After earning his BA in history from Arkansas AM&N College (now the University of Arkansas at …

Dickey, Jay Woodson, Jr.

Jay Woodson Dickey Jr. was a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Fourth District of Arkansas in the 103rd through the 106th Congresses, serving from 1993 to 2001. Jay W. Dickey Jr. was born in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) on December 14, 1939, to Jay W. Dickey and Margaret Dickey. He graduated from Pine Bluff High School in 1957, before attending Hendrix College in Conway (Faulkner County) for a brief time. He transferred to the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1961. Continuing his studies at UA, Dickey earned a law degree in 1963. After being admitted to the state bar, he entered into private practice in …

Driver, William “Judge”

William Joshua “Judge” Driver of Mississippi County served as a member of the Arkansas legislature (1897–1899), as circuit judge in the Second Judicial District (1911–1918), and as U.S. representative from Arkansas’s First Congressional District (1921–1939). During his tenure in Washington DC, Driver served as president of the powerful National Rivers and Harbors Congress for many years and became chairman of that group’s board of directors in 1940. Driver used his position in the National Rivers and Harbors Congress to influence federal flood control legislation that greatly benefited Arkansas in the early twentieth century. William Driver was born near Osceola (Mississippi County) on March 2, 1873, the second of John B. Driver and Margaret Ann Bowen Driver’s eight children. His father …

Dunn, Poindexter

Poindexter Dunn was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the First District of Arkansas in the Forty-Sixth through the Fiftieth Congresses, serving from 1879 to 1889. Poindexter Dunn was born on November 3, 1834, near Raleigh, North Carolina, to Grey Dunn and Lydia Baucum Dunn. He and his family moved to Limestone County, Alabama, in 1837. After receiving his early education in local common schools, he graduated from Jackson College in Columbia, Tennessee, in 1854. He studied law for a time before moving to St. Francis County in Arkansas in 1856 and then won election to the Arkansas House of Representatives in 1858. He also grew cotton until 1861, when the Civil War broke out. …

Edwards, John

John Edwards was a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Initially declared the victor in the election of 1870, he represented the Third District of Arkansas for most of the Forty-Second Congress, serving from 1871 until 1872. John Edwards was born on October 24, 1815, in Louisville, Kentucky, to John Edwards and Nancy Geiger Edwards. He received his early education in the Louisville schools, but he eventually moved to Indiana, reportedly in order to leave a slave state. He studied the law and was admitted to the state bar. In 1848, he was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives, where he served one term. Edwards moved to California and was soon elected an alcalde, a type of …

Elliott, James Thomas

James Thomas Elliott was a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Second District of Arkansas in the Fortieth Congress, serving briefly in 1869. James T. Elliott was born in Columbus, Georgia, on April 22, 1823. He received his education in the local common schools and then studied law. Admitted to the bar in 1854, Elliott began a private practice in Camden (Ouachita County). In 1858, Elliott was named president of the Mississippi, Ouachita and Red River Railroad, which was embroiled in a number of legal battles. Elliott was unable to achieve a solution, however, and the railroad’s general status remained unresolved as the Civil War approached. Elliott was reported to have opposed secession during the …

Ellis, Clyde Taylor

Clyde Taylor Ellis was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and a pioneer in the nation’s rural electrification movement. He served as the first general manager of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), which was formed to help promote and protect the interests of the rural electrification program, a New Deal program created in 1935. Clyde Ellis was born on December 21, 1908, to Cecil O. Ellis and Minerva Taylor Ellis on a farm near Garfield (Benton County). He was the oldest of nine children. He attended the rural Ruddick School (also known as Ozark No. 15), then attended two years of high school at Garfield High and two years at University High in Fayetteville (Washington County). …

Featherstone, Lewis Porter

Lewis Porter (L. P.) Featherstone was an Agricultural Wheel leader and a politician who served in the state legislature in 1887 and in the U.S. Congress from 1890 to 1891. His electoral defeat in 1888 resulted in federal hearings that highlighted the extent of election fraud in Arkansas and saw him seated in Congress in 1890. L. P. Featherstone, the eldest son of Lewis H. Featherstone and Elizabeth (Porter) Featherstone, was born on July 28, 1851, in Oxford, Mississippi. By 1860, his father, a landowning farmer, had resettled near Memphis, Tennessee, and his family eventually included five more sons. Educated in the local schools, Featherstone attended Cumberland University law school in Lebanon, Tennessee, before failing eyesight forced him to abandon …

Floyd, John Charles

John Charles Floyd was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Third District of Arkansas in the Fifty-Ninth through the Sixty-Third Congresses, serving from 1905 to 1915. John Charles Floyd was born on April 14, 1858, in Sparta, Tennessee, to John Wesley Floyd and Eliza Jane Snodgrass Floyd. Floyd spent his early years in Tennessee while his father served in the Confederate army. After the Civil War, the family moved to Arkansas, settling near Bentonville (Benton County) in 1869. There, Floyd received his early education, attending the local common school and the high school. He continued his education at Arkansas Industrial University in Fayetteville (Washington County), which later became the University of Arkansas, from which …

Fuller, Claude Albert

Claude Albert Fuller was a noteworthy lawyer, city clerk, state legislator, prosecuting attorney, mayor, and congressman. As mayor, he made many improvements to his city, and as a Democratic congressman, he was a force for improving the lives of those he represented. Among other accomplishments, he was involved with the Social Security Bill and the lakes of northwest Arkansas. Claude Fuller was born on January 20, 1876, in Springhill, Whiteside County, Illinois, to Wilmont P. and Maria (Ocobock) Fuller. He had a brother and a sister, Harvey and Maude. Fuller’s father, of English ancestry, was a farmer, carpenter, and small contractor. His Pennsylvania Dutch mother was a devout Baptist and insisted the entire family accompany her to Sunday school and …

Garland, Rufus King

Rufus King Garland was a prominent Arkansas politician who voted for secession and briefly held the rank of captain in the Confederate army. He turned against the war by 1863, won election to the Confederate Congress, and became one of President Jefferson Davis’s most vocal critics. After the war, Garland remained active in politics and unsuccessfully ran for governor in 1882. Rufus King Garland was born on May 22, 1830, in Tipton County, Tennessee, to Rufus Garland and Barbara Hill Garland; he had one brother and one sister. He was raised in Washington (Hempstead County) and educated at St. Joseph’s College in Bardstown, Kentucky. On February 22, 1853, he married Isabella Sarah Walker, who was the daughter of prominent doctor …

Gathings, Ezekiel Candler “Took”

Ezekiel Candler “Took” Gathings represented Arkansas’s First Congressional District for thirty years (1939–1969). Throughout this period, he championed the interests of the neo-plantation elite who dominated politics and society in that region and was one of a powerful bloc of conservative Southern Democrats who frequently fought against social reform legislation introduced by more liberal members of their party. “Took” Gathings was born the youngest of eight children of Melville W. Gathings and Virgie Garner Gathings on November 10, 1903, in Prairie, Mississippi. As an infant, his parents referred to him as “Sugar,” which his two-year-old brother pronounced “Tooker”; hence, the nickname that eventually supplanted his given name. His family later moved to Earle (Crittenden County), where he graduated from high …