Thomas James Churchill

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Thomas James Churchill was thirteenth governor of the State of Arkansas, serving from January 11, 1881, to January 13, 1883.

Thomas Churchill was born to Samuel and Abby (Oldham) Churchill in Louisville, Kentucky, on March 10, 1824. Churchill graduated from Kentucky's Academy of St. Mary in 1844. He briefly studied law but decided that planting was more to his liking, and spent forty-six years in its pursuit in Arkansas.

During the Mexican War he joined the 15th Kentucky Infantry and followed General Winfield Scott all the way to Mexico City. In 1856 President Buchanan appointed him the Little Rock postmaster. During the Civil War he served under General Edmund Kirby Smith at Wilson's Creek, Kentucky, and in the Red River campaign. He rose to the rank of major general, but was eventually captured at Arkansas Post by the forces of Union General McClernand in 1864.

In 1866 the people of the state elected Churchill lieutenant governor, but because of Reconstruction was not seated in that office. He served three terms as state treasurer beginning in 1874, and became Democratic governor in 1881.


  • The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography: Being the History of the United States as Illustrated in the Lives of the Founders, Builders, and Defenders of the Republic, vol. 10 (J.T. White, 1900), 190.

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