This collection contains the correspondence of W.W. Mansfield, as well as documents related to his work as a judge.
Judge William W. Mansfield was born January 15, 1830, in Scottsville, Kentucky. His parents were Col. George Washington Mansfield and Frances Cockrill Mansfield of Scottsville. Mansfield studied law in the office of Judge Loving at Bowling Green and was admitted to the bar there in 1852. In 1853 at the age of 22, he went to Franklin County, Arkansas, and settled at Ozark, where he made his home almost continuously for 60 years. He was married to Sallie Henderson Shores on December 22, 1859, at Pleasant Hill, in Franklin County. Sallie Shores Mansfield was the daughter of Alfred M. Shores and Betsy Quesenbury Shores of Crawford County. She was born on October 26, 1837. After a few years, the Shores family moved to Pleasant Hill, Franklin County, where Sallie remained until her marriage. Judge William W. Mansfield was a school teacher, at the same time, justice of the peace, and attended to small legal business entrusted to him. He was representative from Franklin County in the General Assembly of 1856; a delegate to the convention of 1861 (which passed an ordinance of secession); a member of the convention of 1874; and at the first election held under the new constitution was elected judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit, but at the close of his term, in 1878, he resigned and resumed the practice of law. In 1882, he was defeated by Governor Berry, to digest the statutes of the State, and compiled the work published in 1884, usually referred to as "Mansfield's Digest." He was a reporter to the Arkansas Supreme Court from 1887 until 1890. As a climax to an honorable career on the bench, Judge Mansfield was appointed associate justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court in 1891 to succeed Judge J.R. Eakin. He resigned from that position May 5, 1894, because of ill health. He returned to his home in Ozark, where he died on July 26, 1912. His wife died on October 3, 1909. William and Sallie Mansfield were the parents of seven children: George W., John H., Mary Amanda, Walter N., Asher Caruth, W.W. Mansfield Jr., and Sallie Adelaide. A memorial to Judge Mansfield prepared by the Arkansas bar had the following to say: "He lived during a history-making epoch of the state. He was a distinguished factor in the maintenance of order, law, and justice in this state during the stormy period succeeding Civil War. All who knew him had unbounded confidence in his uprightness of character, purity of life, and sincerity of purpose. He had so schooled himself to love justice and right that no one who knew him could conceive of his knowingly committing a wrong. Such was the love and confidence of the people in him that all positions of honor and trust that he held were rather of the people's choosing than of his seeking."
Document, 8.5" x 11"
W.W. Mansfield papers, MS.000123
Arkansas State Archives
Arkansas State Archives
W.W. Mansfield papers, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.
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United States History