Thomas Stevenson Drew

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Thomas Stevenson Drew was the third governor of the State of Arkansas, serving from November 5, 1844, to April 10, 1849.

Drew was born to Virginia native Newton Drew in Wilson County, Tennessee, on August 25, 1802. He was educated in local country schools before departing for Arkansas in 1818 to engage in itinerant peddling. He eventually settled in Clark County eighteen miles from Camden and became a school teacher. His marriage brought into his possession a plantation and a number of slaves.

In 1823 Drew was named Clerk of Clark County. By 1836 he had moved to Lawrence County, where he represented the county in the Arkansas state constitutional convention. A member of the Democratic Party, Drew was named the party's candidate for governor after Elias Conway withdrew his name from consideration. Drew was elected governor in 1844. His administration was marred by the notorious failure of the Real Estate Bank of the State of Arkansas. He resigned in 1849 despite re-election, citing the failure of the legislature to raise his salary from $1,800.

After resigning the governorship, Drew tried his hand at farming again, but failed and headed west with the Gold Rush to California. He also failed to achieve his fortune there, and eventually died outside Lipan, Texas, in 1879.


  • 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), 186.

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