FRANCIS ADAMS CHERRY, Arkansas’s 35th governor, was born in Fort Worth, Texas, on September 5, 1908. He moved with his family to Enid, Oklahoma, where he graduated from high school in 1926. He attended Oklahoma A & M College (now Oklahoma State University) and graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1936, earning a law degree. Cherry was appointed U.S. Commissioner for the Jonesboro division of the Eastern district in 1939, and next was named referee for the workmen’s compensation commission. Cherry entered politics in 1942, when he was elected chancellor and probate judge of the 12th Chancery District. However, with World War II raging, Cherry waived his judicial immunity, and applied for a naval commission. After serving two years in the Navy in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps in Washington DC, he resumed his duties as chancellor, and was reelected to the position in 1948. Cherry was elected Governor of Arkansas on November 4, 1952, and was sworn into office on January 13, 1953. During his tenure, a new department of finance and administration was formed and reforms were made in the highway commission. Cherry advocated industrial development, and sent representatives to other states to promote the use of Arkansas’ raw materials. He ran unsuccessfully for a second term and left office on January 11, 1955 and them moved to Washington, D.C. Cherry was appointed to the Subversive Activities Control Board in 1955, and named the board’s chairman in 1963. Governor Francis Adams Cherry died on July 15, 1965, and is buried at the Oaklawn Cemetery, Jonesboro, Arkansas.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn., Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
Donovan, Timothy P., and Willard B. Gatewood, Jr., The Governors of Arkansas, Essays in Political Biography, Fayetteville, The University of Arkansas Press, 1981
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Old State House Museum