Entries - Entry Category: State - Starting with G

Garland, Augustus Hill

Augustus Hill Garland was the eleventh governor of Arkansas, a member of the Confederate Congress, a U.S. senator, and attorney general of the United States. As governor of Arkansas, Garland worked to get the state out of a tremendous debt and improve the state’s image. As the subject of the U.S. Supreme Court case Ex parte Garland, Garland is also a part of legal history, and Garland County is named for him. Augustus Garland was born on June 11, 1832, in Covington, Tennessee, to Rufus Garland and Barbara Hill Garland. He had an older brother, Rufus, and an older sister, Elizabeth. Garland’s father moved the family to Lost Prairie (Miller County), where he owned a store. He died when Garland …

General Improvement Fund

The General Improvement Fund was an account established by the Arkansas General Assembly in 1995 to allocate surplus state general revenues each year for capital improvement projects around the state. The fund, commonly called GIF, was a source of perpetual conflict for the governor, the Senate, and the House of Representatives, and it finally foundered after the Arkansas Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional three times and a number of legislators, lobbyists, and consultants were convicted on corruption charges over the spending. Historically, when tax collections for state general revenues—which fund the public schools and most state services—exceeded the state budgets, the leftover money each year was directed to capital projects such as buildings, renovations, and equipment at colleges, universities, and …

Gibson, Lorenzo

Early Arkansas, especially Little Rock (Pulaski County), benefited from contributions made by Lorenzo Gibson in the areas of medicine, law, business, and public service. He established a mercantile business in Little Rock in 1833, practiced medicine, and served as the state representative for Pulaski and Hot Spring counties. Lorenzo Gibson was born on May 27, 1804, to William R. Gibson and Fanny Gibson in Clarksville, Tennessee; he had one younger brother, William R. Gibson. Gibson moved from Tennessee to Little Rock in 1833 and established a mercantile business with his brother. Their store was located in a building that had just been built by Chester Ashley, a prominent Little Rock land speculator and, later, United States senator. In the May …

Glascock, Darrell

Darrell Glascock was a well-known political consultant who was an active force in Arkansas politics in the 1980s and 1990s. He also ran for U.S. Congress and sought the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor of Arkansas. Darrell Glascock was born in Tullos, Louisiana, in 1946 to Ray and Louise Glascock. He was interested in politics at an early age, and friends recalled him campaigning on behalf of state Senator Speedy Long when he was fourteen. He graduated from Georgetown High School in nearby Georgetown; he attended Northeast Louisiana University, Northwestern State University, and Louisiana State University, but he did not earn a degree. Glascock married Kitty Lou Rambo in the 1960s, and the couple had two children, a son and …

Gordon, Nathan Green

Nathan Green Gordon was a naval pilot in World War II, Medal of Honor recipient, and lawyer. He served as lieutenant governor from 1947 to 1967, the longest tenure of one person in that office in Arkansas history. Nathan Gordon was born on September 4, 1916, in Morrilton (Conway County), the second of four children of Edward (Ed) Gordon Sr., a lawyer and one-time state representative, and Ada Ruth Gordon. Noted as “a boy who couldn’t pass up a challenge or a dare,” he showed excellence at a young age. Growing up in Morrilton, he attended public school through the tenth grade before finishing high school at Columbia Military Academy in Tennessee, where he played baseball and football and was …

Governor, Office of the

Between being made a territory of the United States in 1819 and becoming a state in 1836, Arkansas was overseen by four territorial governors. Appointed by the president to a three-year term (with the possibility of reappointment), territorial governors simultaneously served as commander of the militia and superintendent of Indian Affairs, though Arkansas’s first territorial governor, James Miller, was little more than an absentee landlord. Miller was appointed on March 3, 1819, but did not arrive in Arkansas until December 26; he was later absent from April 1821 to November 1822 and left again in June 1823 never to return. He never moved his family to Arkansas. In his absence, Robert Crittenden was the de facto governor of the territory. …

Governor’s Mansion

aka: Arkansas Governor's Mansion
The Arkansas Governor’s Mansion, located on 8.5 acres on Center Street in the historic Quapaw District of downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County), was established by an act of the state legislature in 1947. It was completed in January 1950 during Governor Sidney McMath’s term. Previously, Arkansas did not have an official residence for the governor of the state. In 1944, the Arkansas Federation of Women’s Clubs, led by its president, Agnes Bass Shinn of Harrison (Boone County), began a campaign for housing for the chief executive of the state. The first effort to obtain legislative funding for a governor’s residence, attempted in 1945, failed. Two years later, however, Act 257 created a Governor’s Mansion Commission with an appropriation of $100,000. …

Gwatney, Bill

Bill Gwatney was an Arkansas business and political leader who served in the Arkansas Senate for a decade and was later appointed chair of the state Democratic Party. His 2008 murder at Democratic Party headquarters made national and international headlines. William Alan Gwatney was born on August 26, 1959, to Harold and Syble Gwatney in Jacksonville (Pulaski County), where his father owned the city’s first Chevrolet dealership. After graduating from Jacksonville High School in 1977, he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). Following graduation, he joined the family business of operating three car dealerships in Pulaski County, and he ultimately served as CEO of Gwatney Chevrolet in Jacksonville. He …