February 25, 2009
William Kirby, a leading state Democrat, was also an aggressive agrarian populist in the late 1800s. He represented Miller County in the state legislature and served as the state attorney general and associate justice of the state Supreme Court. In 1914, he was defeated in a run for the U.S. Senate in the first election under the Seventeenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which allowed people to vote at large for senators. Kirby gained the seat approximately two years later when Senator James Paul Clarke died.