Date Original



This collection contains a genealogy for Thomas James Churchill governor of Arkansas from around 1890.

Biographical/Historical Note

Thomas James Churchill (1824-1905) was born near Louisville, Kentucky, March 10, 1824 to Samuel Churchill and Ann Abigail Oldham Churchill. Churchill graduated from St. Mary's College in Bardstown, Kentucky, in 1844 and studied law at Transylvania University in Lexington. With the outbreak of the Mexican War in 1846, Churchill enlisted in as a lieutenant in the First Kentucky Mounted Riflemen. En route to Mexico, his command were entertained in Little Rock, Arkansas, at the home of Judge Benjamin Johnson. It was there that Churchill met his future wife, Ann Sevier, the daughter of Senator Ambrose H. Sevier, and the Johnson’s granddaughter. Lieutenant Churchill was captured by the Mexican Calvary in January 1847, near Encarnacion. When American armies under General Winfield Scott advanced on Mexico City, Churchill was moved to Toluca. Near the end of the war, Churchill was released during an exchange of prisoners. In 1848, Churchill settled in Little Rock and married Ann Sevier. For eight years, he pursued farming on a plantation near Little Rock. From 1857 to 1861, he was postmaster of Little Rock, appointed by President James Buchanan. Churchill served in the Confederate States Army and formed the First Arkansas Mounted Riflemen. He served with distinction in both the battle of Wilson's Creek and the battle of Pea Ridge, he was promoted to brigadier general. In December of 1862, Churchill was given command of the Arkansas-Texas troops defending Arkansas Post. The troops were engaged in early 1863 by Union forces. Churchill was elected state treasurer in 1874 and reelected 1876 and 1878. In 1880, Churchill was nominated for governor, and defeated his Greenback opponent in a landslide with nearly four times as many votes. Churchill's governorship was plagued by allegations of discrepancies in the treasurer's account during his tenure as treasurer. The legislature appointed a special committee to audit the books from this time. The committee found a shortage in the state funds, and a lawsuit was brought against Churchill. He was ordered to repay the missing money. In addition, he also suffered a loss of popularity among Arkansans when he became entangled in factional differences in Perry County. Churchill retired a governor in 1883, leaving public life and returning to farming. He died on March 14, 1905 in Little Rock. He was buried at the Mount Holly Cemetery with military honors.

Physical Description

Document, 8.5" x 11"

Geographical Area






Resource Type



Churchill family history, SMC.056.018


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

Churchill family history, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


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United States History