Thomas Stevenson Drew

Last updated

Thomas Stevenson Drew
Thomas Stevenson Drew - Gouverneur von Arkansas.jpg
3rd Governor of Arkansas
In office
November 5, 1844 January 10, 1849
Preceded by Samuel Adams
as Acting Governor
Succeeded by Richard C. Byrd
as Acting Governor
Personal details
Born(1802-08-25)August 25, 1802
Wilson County, Tennessee
Died (aged 76)
Lipan, Texas
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s)Cinderella Bettis

Thomas Stevenson Drew (August 25, 1802 January 1879) was the third elected governor of the U.S. state of Arkansas.

Arkansas U.S. state in the United States

Arkansas is a state in the southern region of the United States, home to over 3 million people as of 2018. Its name is of Siouan derivation from the language of the Osage denoting their related kin, the Quapaw Indians. The state's diverse geography ranges from the mountainous regions of the Ozark and the Ouachita Mountains, which make up the U.S. Interior Highlands, to the densely forested land in the south known as the Arkansas Timberlands, to the eastern lowlands along the Mississippi River and the Arkansas Delta.



Drew was born in Wilson County, Tennessee, and moved with his family to north Louisiana and then to southern Arkansas in 1818. He worked as a traveling salesman and schoolteacher. Drew settled in Clark County in southern Arkansas.

Wilson County, Tennessee County in the United States

Wilson County is a county located in the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of the 2010 census, the population was 113,993. Its county seat is Lebanon. The largest city is Mt. Juliet.

Louisiana U.S. state in the United States

Louisiana is a state in the Deep South region of the South Central United States. It is the 31st most extensive and the 25th most populous of the 50 United States. Louisiana is bordered by the state of Texas to the west, Arkansas to the north, Mississippi to the east, and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. A large part of its eastern boundary is demarcated by the Mississippi River. Louisiana is the only U.S. state with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are equivalent to counties. The state's capital is Baton Rouge, and its largest city is New Orleans.

Clark County, Arkansas County in the United States

Clark County is a county located in the south-central part of the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 22,995. The county seat is Arkadelphia. The Arkadelphia, AR Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Clark County.

In 1823, Drew was appointed Clark County Clerk. In 1827, he moved to Pocohontas, Arkansas, where he married Cinderella Bettis, daughter of the prosperous founder of that town, Ransom Bettis. His father-in-law gave the newlyweds 800 acres (3.2 km2) of bottomland in Cherokee Bay near the town of Biggers in what is now Randolph County, then Lawrence County. The Drews prospered, having a plantation and twenty African American slaves.

Pocahontas, Arkansas City in Arkansas, United States

Pocahontas is a city in Randolph County, Arkansas, United States, along the Black River. According to 2006 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city was 6,765. The city is the county seat of Randolph County.

Randolph County, Arkansas County in the United States

Randolph County is located between the Ozark Mountains and Arkansas Delta in the U.S. state of Arkansas. The county is named for John Randolph, a U.S. senator from Virginia influential in obtaining congressional approval of the Louisiana Purchase, which includes today's Randolph County. Created as Arkansas's 32nd county on October 29, 1835, Randolph County has two incorporated cities, including Pocahontas, the county seat and most populous city. The county is also the site of numerous unincorporated communities and ghost towns.

Lawrence County, Arkansas County in the United States

Lawrence County is a county located in the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 17,415. The county seat is Walnut Ridge. Lawrence County is Arkansas's second county, formed on January 15, 1815, and named for Captain James Lawrence who fought in the War of 1812. It is an alcohol prohibition or dry county.

In 1832, Drew was elected judge of Lawrence County. In 1835, Drew and Bettis convinced the Arkansas Territorial Legislature to create Randolph County from Lawrence County. In 1836, Drew and Bettis held an infamous free barbecue complete with free liquor for the entire county in Pocahontas (then known as Bettis Bluff). The next day, the grateful attendees chose Pocahontas as the county seat in an upset election over the more populated community of Columbia. That same year, Drew gave the county land in downtown Pocahontas where a courthouse was constructed.

Political career

In 1836, Drew was chosen as a delegate to the Arkansas Constitutional Convention. He was elected Governor in 1844 as a Democrat, [1] having secured the backing of the Conway-Sevier faction that had ruled Arkansas since territorial days. His administration concentrated on the state's financial solvency and attempted to correct the state's bad credit as well as disunity within Democratic ranks. Under Drew, Arkansas became the first southern state to declare Thanksgiving Day as a state holiday. At his wife's urging, Drew secured passage of legislation protecting a woman's property which she brought into a marriage as her own separate entity, distinct from the husband's holdings.

Democratic Party (United States) Major political party in the United States

The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with its rival, the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party.

Though Drew was the third person to be elected governor, he was the fourth in office because his predecessor, Samuel Adams, had served as acting governor during much of 1844, having gained the office through the previous position as president of the Arkansas State Senate. [2]

Drew was re-elected governor in 1848. The next year, he dispatched a militia to Marion County to suppress the Tutt-Everett War. Drew only served a year of his second term. He resigned in protest of the $1,500 annual salary, then provided for the governor, was inadequate. He retired from politics and concentrated on his own financial holdings.

Militia generally refers to an army or other fighting force that is composed of non-professional fighters

A militia is generally an army or some other fighting organization of non-professional soldiers, citizens of a nation, or subjects of a state, who can be called upon for military service during a time of need, as opposed to a professional force of regular, full-time military personnel, or historically, members of a warrior nobility class. Generally unable to hold ground against regular forces, it is common for militias to be used for aiding regular troops by skirmishing, holding fortifications, or irregular warfare, instead of being used in offensive campaigns by themselves. Militia are often limited by local civilian laws to serve only in their home region, and to serve only for a limited time; this further reduces their use in long military campaigns.

Marion County, Arkansas County in the United States

Marion County is located in the Ozark Mountains in the U.S. state of Arkansas. The county is named for Francis Marion, the famous "Swamp Fox" of the Revolutionary War. Created as Arkansas's 35th county in 1836, Marion County is home to one incorporated town and four incorporated cities, including Yellville, the county seat. The county is also the site of numerous unincorporated communities and ghost towns. The county included part of what is now Searcy County, Arkansas, with many opposing to dividing them, which helped fueled the bloody Tutt-Everett War between 1844 and 1850.

In 1860, he was living in Sebastian County near Fort Smith in western Arkansas. [3] He moved to Weatherford west of Fort Worth, Texas, and later moved to Hood County, Texas, where he died in the community of Lipan.

Death and legacy

Drew was originally buried in the Old Baptist Cemetery in Lipan. In 1923, his remains were exhumed and reburied at the Masonic Cemetery in Pocahontas, Arkansas, alongside the graves of Bettis, Cinderella, and several of the Drew children.

Later photo of Governor Drew AR Gov. Thomas S. Drew.jpg
Later photo of Governor Drew

One of Drew's brothers, Richard Maxwell Drew, held several public offices in Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, including that of state representative from 1848 until his death in 1850 at the age of twenty-eight. [4] Richard Cleveland Drew, R. M. Drew's son and hence a nephew of Thomas Drew, was a circuit court judge from Webster Parish, which was created in 1871 from neighboring Claiborne Parish.

Drew County in southern Arkansas is named for Thomas S. Drew. [5]

See also

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  1. "Arkansas Governor Thomas Stevenson Drew". National Governors Association. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
  2. "State of Arkansas Governor". Retrieved June 11, 2011.
  3. 1860 Arkansas Census
  4. "Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2012" (PDF). Retrieved June 5, 2011.
  5. Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 109.
Political offices
Preceded by
Samuel Adams
Acting Governor
Governor of Arkansas
Succeeded by
Richard C. Byrd
Acting Governor