Early Fayetteville, Arkansas Government

At the January term of the county court, in 1841, a petition signed by more than two-thirds of the taxable inhabitants praying for the incorporation of Section 16, Township 16 north, Range 30 west, was presented and granted. P. V. Rhea was appointed the first alderman, and John W. Johnson, John B. Costa, Richard P. Pulliam, Hosea G. Cardwell and M. W. Thornby, the first councilmen. This organization was maintained until 1859, when a city charter was obtained from the Legislature. The first election under the new charter was held in April of that year, when the following officers were chosen: J. W. Walker, mayor; J. W. Washbourne, C. E. Butterfield, P. P. Van Hoose, J. B. Simpson, A. Crouch, J. H. Stirman and E. C. Boudinot, councilmen. The next year the officers elected were Stephen Bedford, mayor; L. B. Cunningham, J. R. Pettigrew, J. Holcomb, C. E. Butterfield, J. T. Sutton, J. H. Van Hoose and W. T. Pollard, councilmen, and M. D. Frazer, marshal.

During the war the municipal government was suspended, and was not reinstated until 1867 or 1868, when M. LaRue Harrison was elected mayor. Some of the acts of the new municipal government were distasteful to the citizens of the town, and in 1869 an application was made to the Legislature to revoke the charter, which was done. An organization was then effected under a general statute, and E. I. Stirman was elected mayor. The order of incorporation was made by the county court, August 24, 1870, and he was elected in November upon a Democratic ticket. In November, 1871, T. Murray Campbell, a Republican, was elected mayor, A. J. Norris, recorder, and G. W. M. Reed, Alonzo Flanders, G. W. Taylor, Charles Smith and A. J. Blackwell, councilmen. One of the first acts of the new council was to adopt the following ordinance:

“Be it ordained, that all ordinances and parts of ordinances passed by the former council, except those in relation to the agricultural college, be and hereby are repealed up to date of November 7, 1871.”

The municipal government was maintained under this organization until 1885, when Fayetteville became a city of the second class.

The following is a list of the mayors elected since the retirement of T. Murray Campbell: J. R. Pettigrew, 1872-73; George A. Grace, 1873-74; Robert J. Wilson, 1874-76; A. M. Wilson, 1876-77; A. S. Vandeventer, 1877-80; J. H. Van Hoose, 1880-81; W. C. Jackson, 1881-83; C. W. Walker, 1883-84; Samuel E. Marrs, 1884-85; W. C. Jackson, April to December, 1885; R. J. Wilson, January to April, 1886; O. C. Gray, April, 1886, to October, 1887; E. B. Wall, October, 1887, to April, 1888; J. H. Van Hoose, elected for a term of two years, beginning April, 1888.

Back to: Washington County, Arkansas History

Source: History of Benton, Washington, Carroll, Madison, Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian Counties, Arkansas. Chicago, IL, USA: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1889.