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One of the Southwestern States; discovered by De Soto in 1541, who crossed the Mississippi near the site of Helena. It was next visited by father Marquette (q. v.) in 1673. It was originally a part of Louisiana, purchased from the French in 1803, and so remained until 1812, when it formed a part of Missouri Territory. It was erected into a Territory in 1819, with its present name, and remained under a territorial government until 1836, when a convention at Little Rock, its present capital, formed a State constitution. Its first territorial legislature met at Arkansas Post in 1820. On June 15, 1836, Arkansas was admitted into the Union as a State.

In 1861 the people of Arkansas were attached to the Union, but, unfortunately, the governor and most of the leading politicians of the State were disloyal, and no effort was spared by them to obtain the passage of an ordinance of secession. For this purpose a State convention of delegates assembled at the capital (Little Rock) on March 4, 1861. It was composed of seventy-five members, of whom forty were such stanch Unionists that it was evident that no ordinance of secession could be passed. The friends of secession then proposed a plan that seemed fair. A self-constituted committee reported to the convention an ordinance providing for an election to be held on the first Monday in August, at which the legal voters of the State should decide, by ballot, for “secession” or “co-operation.” If a majority should appear for “secession,” that fact would be considered in the light of instructions to the convention to pass an ordinance to that effect; if for [201] “co-operation,” then measures were to be used, in conjunction with the border slave States “yet in the Union,” for the settlement of existing difficulties. The next session of the convention was fixed for Aug. 17. The proposition seemed so fair that it was adopted by unanimous vote, and the convention adjourned, subject to the call of its president, who was known as a Union man.

Taking advantage of the excitement incident to the attack on Fort Sumter and the President's call for troops, the governor (Rector) and his disloyal associates adopted measures for arraying Arkansas among the “seceded States.” In violation of the pledge of the convention that the whole matter should be determined by the people in August, the governor induced the president of the convention to call that body together on May 6. It met on that day. Seventy delegates were present. An ordinance of secession, previously prepared, was presented to it at three o'clock in the afternoon, when the hall in which the delegates met was crowded by an excited multitude. It was moved that the “yeas” and “nays” on the question should be taken without debate. Though the motion was rejected by a considerable majority, the president declared it carried. Then a vote on the ordinance was taken. There seemed to be a majority against it; but the president arose and earnestly exhorted the Unionists to change their votes, which they did, as they perceived a determination on the part of the crowd of spectators to compel them to do so. The place (the hall of the House of Representatives) was densely packed with human beings. As each vote was given there was a solemn stillness, and one Union man after another prefaced his vote by some stirring sentiment in favor of the South. When the result was announced--69 for the ordinance, to 1 against it — there was tremendous cheering. The negative vote was given by Isaac Murphy, who was the Union governor of Arkansas in 1864.

Meanwhile the State authorities had seized the national property in the State. During almost the whole period of the war, National or Confederate troops occupied the State; and one of the most hotly contested battles of the war was fought on its soil (see Pea Ridge). On Oct. 30, 1863, a meeting of loyal citizens, representing about twenty counties, was held at Fort Smith, to take measures for reorganizing the State government. In January following, a convention, composed of representatives of

State seal of Arkansas.

forty-two counties, assembled at Little Rock, and framed a loyal constitution, which was ratified by the people in March, 1864. Members of the legislature were elected, and in April a State government was organized. In 1867 military rule was established in Arkansas, which, with Mississippi, constituted a military district. A new constitution was framed by a convention at Little Rock, Jan. 7, 1868, and was ratified by a small majority in March. On June 22, Congress declared Arkansas entitled to representation in that body, and the administration of the government was transferred to the civil authority. Population in 1890, 1,125,385; in 1900, 1,311,564.

Territorial Governors of Arkansas.
 Term of Office.
James Miller1819 to 1825
George Izard1825 to 1829
John Pope1829 to 1835
William S. Fulton1835 to 1836
State Governors of Arkansas.
James S. Conway1836 to 1840
Archibald Yell1840 to 1844
Samuel Adams1844
Thomas S. Drew1844 to 1848
John S. Roane1848 to 1852
Elias N. Conway1852 to 1860
Henry M. Rector1860 to 1862
Harris Flanagin1862 to 1864
Isaac Murphy1864 to 1868
Powell Clayton1868 to 1871
Orzo H. Hadley1871 to 1872
Elisha Baxter1872 to 1874
Augustus H. Garland1874 to 1876
Wm. R. Miller1877 to 1881
Thos. J. Churchill1881 to 1883
Jas. H. Berry1883 to 1885
Simon P. Hughes1885 to 1889
James P. Eagle1889 to 1893
Wm. M. Fishback1893 to 1895
James P. Clarke1895 to 1897
Daniel W. Jones1897 to 1901
Jefferson Davis1901 to----


United States Senators from the State of Arkansas.

names.No. of Congress.Date.
William S. Fulton24th to 28th1836 to 1844
Ambrose H. Sevier24th to 30th1836 to 1848
Chester Ashley28th to 30th1844 to 1848
Solon Borland30th to 33d1848 to 1853
Wm. K. Sebastian30th to 36th1848 to 1861
Robert W. Johnston33d to 36th1853 to 1861
37th, 38th, and 39th Congresses vacant.
Alexander McDonald40th to 42d1868 to 1871
Benj. F. Rice40th to 43d1868 to 1873
Powell Clayton42d to 45th1871 to 1877
Stephen W. Dorsey44th to 46th1873 to 1879
Augustus H. Garland45th to 49th1877 to 1885
James D. Walker46th to 49th1879 to 1885
James K. Jones49th to----1885 to----
James H. Berry49th to----1885 to----

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