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George Washington Hays

Gov. George Washington Hays

  • August 6, 1913 - January 10, 1917
  • Democrat
  • September 23, 1863
  • September 15, 1927
  • Arkansas
  • Washington and Lee University
  • Married Ida Virginia Yarborough; two children
  • Succeeded


GEORGE WASHINGTON HAYS, Arkansas’s 24th governor, was born in Camden, Arkansas, on September 23, 1863. He studied law at the Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, and with the law firm of Gaughan and Sifford in Camden, then started his own law practice in Camden in 1897. Hays served as probate and county judge for Ouachita County from 1900 to 1905 and served on the bench of the 13th Judicial Circuit from 1906 to 1913. Due to the resignation of Governor Joseph T. Robinson, a special election was held, and on July 23, 1913, and Hays was sworn in on August 6, 1913. He was reelected to a second term in 1914. During his tenure, the Alexander Road Improvement Act was passed, a child labor law was enacted, as well as a statewide prohibition law. Also, a board of control for charitable institutions was adopted, and construction on the new state capitol was completed. After leaving office, Hays returned to his law practice, publishing several articles in national periodicals. Governor George W. Hays died on September 15, 1927, in Little Rock, and is buried in Camden, 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, 1981

Herndon, Dallas T., Centennial History of Arkansas, Vol. 1, Chicago, Little Rock; The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1922. 3 vols.

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