Powell Clayton

Powell Clayton

Infobox Governor
name = Powell Clayton

order = 9th
office = Governor of Arkansas
term_start = July 2, 1868
term_end = March 4, 1871
lieutenant =
predecessor = Isaac Murphy
successor = Ozra Amander Hadley
jr/sr2=United States Senator
term_start2=March 4, 1871
term_end2=March 3, 1877
predecessor2=Alexander McDonald
successor2=Augustus Garland
birth_date = August 7, 1833
birth_place = Bethel, Pennsylvania
death_date = death date and age|1914|8|23|1833|8|7
death_place = Washington, D.C.
party = Republican
spouse =
profession =
religion =

Powell Clayton (7 August 1833ndash 23 August 1914) was the first carpetbag Governor of the State of Arkansas and Ambassador to Mexico during the administrations of William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.

Clayton was born in Bethel, Pennsylvania to John and Ann Glover Clayton. His father was an orchard keeper and carpenter and parents had ten children in all, although six died in infancy. He attended a private military academy in Bristol, Pennsylvania and later attended engineering school at Wilmington, Delaware.

Clayton moved to Kansas in 1855 and served as an engineer at Leavenworth, Kansas. On 29 April 1861 he is recorded as having a company of militia at Fort Leavenworth. By May 1861 he was formally mustered into the Union Army as a Captain of the 1st Kansas Infantry.

In December of 1861, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 5th Kansas Cavalry and later to Colonel in March of 1862. He was made a Brigadier General of U.S. Volunteers on 1 August 1864.

During the American Civil War he served primarily in Arkansas and Missouri and fought in several battles in those States. He was assigned as commander of occupation forces in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and successfully defended the city from Confederate attacks.

In 1868 he was elected the second Reconstruction governor of Arkansas and the first under the Congressional reconstruction plan. He succeeded Isaac Murphy who had led Arkansas under Abraham Lincoln's more conciliatory policy.

Clayton remained the Republican boss of Arkansas until he was defeated in the election of 1876 by re-enfranchised ex-Confederates. With his absence the carpetbagger government was soon replaced by a redeemer government.

Clayton returned to Arkansas and in 1882 established a home at Eureka Springs, Arkansas where he managed hotels and railroads and worked for development of the area. A memorial to Clayton is still in place in downtown Eureka Springs.

Clayton's administration made progress in getting the University of Arkansas on its feet, establishing a system of education, and bringing railroads into the State. However his administration was also accused of corruption, was personally accused of criminal conduct and was the target of numerous attacks on his character. During his term he declared martial law and organized a State Militia and conducted military operations against the Ku Klux Klan.

His brother, John Middleton Clayton was assassinated in 1889 in Plumerville, Arkansas in Conway County while attempting to dispute the outcome of his failed Congressional candidacy to Democrat Clifton R. Breckinridge.

Powell Clayton was appointed as Ambassador to Mexico in 1897 by President William McKinley and served in that position until 1905. In 1912 he moved to Washington, D.C..

Clayton died in Washington and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

External links

* Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture entry: [http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=94 Powell Clayton]

NAME= Clayton, Powell
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Union Army general

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