May 20, 1865
William Sebastian, who represented Arkansas in the U.S. Senate from 1848 until 1861, died. Also a farmer, lawyer, and judge, Sebastian served his state until the Civil War ended his career. At the beginning of the war in 1861, most Southern senators resigned their seats in Congress, but Sebastian was one of two who did not. He and Andrew Johnson were instead expelled from the Senate on July 11, 1861, along with their fellow Southerners. Sebastian returned to Helena and continued to practice law. Sebastian County, formed on January 10, 1851, was named for him. In 1877, twelve years after his death, the U.S. Senate revoked its resolution of expulsion and paid compensation to Sebastian’s children.