- Powell Clayton
name = Powell Clayton
order = 9th
office = Governor of Arkansas
July 2, 1868
March 4, 1871
Ozra Amander Hadley
jr/sr2=United States Senator
March 4, 1871
March 3, 1877
August 7, 1833
death_date = death date and age|1914|8|23|1833|8|7
party = Republican
Powell Clayton (
7 August 1833ndash 23 August 1914) was the first carpetbag Governor of the State of Arkansasand Ambassador to Mexico during the administrations of William McKinleyand 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, Pennsylvaniaand later attended engineering school at Wilmington, Delaware.
Clayton moved to
Kansasin 1855 and served as an engineer at Leavenworth, Kansas. On 29 April 1861he is recorded as having a company of militiaat Fort Leavenworth. By May 1861 he was formally mustered into the Union Armyas a Captain of the 1st Kansas Infantry.
In December of 1861, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the
5th Kansas Cavalryand later to Colonelin March of 1862. He was made a Brigadier General of U.S. Volunteers on 1 August 1864.
American Civil Warhe served primarily in Arkansasand Missouriand fought in several battles in those States. He was assigned as commander of occupation forces in Pine Bluff, Arkansasand successfully defended the city from Confederate attacks.
In 1868 he was elected the second Reconstruction
governor of Arkansasand the first under the Congressional reconstruction plan. He succeeded Isaac Murphywho 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
carpetbaggergovernment was soon replaced by a redeemer government.
Clayton returned to Arkansas and in 1882 established a home at
Eureka Springs, Arkansaswhere 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 Arkansason 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, Arkansasin 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
Mexicoin 1897 by President William McKinleyand 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.
* 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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