Thomas Stevenson Drew

Last updated
Thomas Stevenson Drew
3rd Governor of Arkansas
In office
Preceded by Samuel Adams
Succeeded by Richard C. Byrd
Personal details
Born(1802-08-25)August 25, 1802
Wilson County, Tennessee
DiedJanuary 1879 (aged 76)
Lapin, Texas
Political party Democratic

Thomas Stevenson Drew (August 25, 1802 January 1879) was the third Governor of the U.S. state of Arkansas. He was born in Wilson County, Tennessee. Drew moved with his family to Louisiana and then in 1818 to Arkansas. He worked as a traveling salesman and school teacher. Drew first settled in Clark County and was appointed Clark County Clerk in 1823. In 1827 he moved to Pocahontas Arkansas, and married Cinderella Bettis, daughter of the properous founder of that town, Ransom Bettis. His father-in-law gave the newly weds 800 acres (3.2 km2) of bottom land in Cherokee Bay where the town of Biggers in what is now Randolph County, Arkansas (then Lawrence County.) The Drews prospered and their plantation included 20 African-American slaves.

In 1832, Drew was elected County Judge of Lawrence County. In 1835, Drew and Bettis convinced the Arkansas Territorial Legislature to create Randolph County out of Lawrence County. In 1836, Drew and Bettis held an infamous free bar-b-que complete with free liquor for the entire county in Pocahontas (then known as Bettis Bluff). The grateful attendees the next day 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.

In 1836 he was chosen as a delegate to the Arkansas Constitutional Convention. He was elected Governor in 1844 as a Democrat, supported by the Conway-Sevier Faction that ruled Arkansas from territorial days to the 1850s. His administration concentrated on the state's financial solvency and attempted to repair the state's credit and party disunity. Other achievements of his first administration were Arkansas becoming the first southern state to declare Thanksgiving to be a state holiday, and, at Cinderella's urging, he had legislation passed so that Arkansas became the first southern state to declare the property a woman brought to a marriage to be her own and not her husband's.

Drew was reelected in 1848, and in 1849 he dispatched a militia to Marion County to put down the Tutt-Everett War. Drew only served a year of his second term before resigning due to the low salary provided for the governor. He retired from politics and worked to try and recover from financial losses. He lived in Sebastian Co., Arkansas in 1860. [1] He moved to Weatherford, Texas, and later moved to Hood County, Texas. Drew died in January 1879 at Lipan, Texas.

Drew was originally buried in the Old Baptist Cemetery in Lipan, Texas but his body was removed in 1923 by Arkansas officials and moved to the Masonic Cemetery in Pocahontas, Arkansas where he rests tody within the Founders Monument there along with Bettis, Cinderella, and several of the Drew Children.

Drew County, Arkansas was named after Thomas S. Drew.

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  1. 1860 Arkansas Census
Party political offices
Preceded by
Archibald Yell
Democratic nominee for Governor of Arkansas
1844, 1848
Succeeded by
John Selden Roane
Political offices
Preceded by
Samuel Adams
Governor of Arkansas
Succeeded by
Richard C. Byrd