HARRIS FLANAGIN was born in Roadstown, New Jersey, on November 3, 1817. He was educated in Quaker schools in his native state, and was made a professor of mathematics at 18. Flanagin moved and eventually established his own private school in Paoli, Illinois. He studied law, and was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1837. Moving to Arkansas, Flanagin served in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1842 to 1844. During the Civil War, he joined the Confederate army as captain, and rose to the rank of colonel. On October 6, 1862, Flanagin was elected Arkansas’s seventh governor, and on November 15, 1862, he was sworn into office. During his term, he dealt with the arduous chore of maintaining civil order during the war. He contended with problems such as rising prices, shortages of salt, soldiers’ hungry families, and the wartime distillation of liquor. New laws were passed, but problems continued to grow. The state’s suspension of tax collections, and the financing of the war effort with paper bonds, led to no money available in implementing these new policies. The capitol at Little Rock fell to Union troops on September 10, 1863, at which time Flanagin moved the state government to Washington, Arkansas. Isaac Murphy was sworn in as Governor of Union controlled Arkansas on April 18, 1864. Flanagin remained the Confederate Governor of a small section of Confederate controlled Arkansas until May 26, 1865 and later returned to his law practice in Arkadelphia. He died on October 23, 1874, and is buried at the Rose Hill Cemetery, Arkadelphia, 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
Herndon, Dallas T., Centennial History of Arkansas, Vol. 1, Chicago, Little Rock, The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1922. 3 vols.
Old State House Museum