Date Original



This letter from Arkansas Governor George W. Donaghey concerns his pardon of convict R.V. Burke.

Biographical/Historical Note

George Washington Donaghey was born July 1, 1856, in Oakland, Louisiana, to C.C. Donaghey and Elizabeth Ingram. The family moved to Union County, Arkansas, in 1858. After spending some time in Texas, George settled in Conway, Faulkner County, in 1880, where he remained for thirty years. On September 20, 1883, he married Louvenia Wallace, a native of Darlington, South Carolina. Donaghey spent one year at the University of Arkansas before becoming a contractor. He was active in local politics and a strong supporter of higher education, responsible for three such institutions moving to Conway. He supported banning saloons, making Conway a "dry" city. He was elected town marshal in 1884, but was defeated when he ran for mayor the next year. From 1899 to 1903, he gained considerable wealth while working as a railroad contractor in Indian Territory. He moved to Little Rock in 1908 and won the Democratic nomination for governor, defeating Jeff Davis-backed William F. Kirby, and going on to win by a landslide. He was re-elected in 1910. His terms as governor were highlighted by his strong support of higher education, an emphasis on fiscal reform, and the completion of the State Capitol building. In his last months as governor Donaghey also pardoned 360 convicts from the state penitentiary in an effort to end the convict lease system.

Physical Description

Document, 8.5" x 11"

Geographical Area






Resource Type



George W. Donaghey letter, SMC.035.014


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

George W. Donaghey letter, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


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United States History