HARVEY PARNELL, Arkansas’s 29th governor, was born near Orlando, Cleveland County, Arkansas, on February 28, 1880. He attended Warren High School, was a clerk in a hardware store, and a bookkeeper for E.P. Remly, a company he purchased in 1902. Parnell acquired 150 acres of farmland in Chicot County, and went from businessman to successful farmer. He entered politics in 1919, serving until 1921 as a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives. Parnell also served in the Arkansas Senate from 1923 to 1925, and was elected lieutenant governor in 1927. On March 2, 1928, Governor John E. Martineau resigned from office to accept a federal judgeship, and Parnell, who was lieutenant governor at the time, assumed the duties of governor. On November 6, 1928, Parnell was elected governor, and on November 4, 1930, he was reelected to a second full term. During his tenure, the Henderson State Teachers College in Arkadelphia was established, and revenue was used for programs to upgrade the state school system. A tobacco tax passed, and a state highway fund was established as well as the State Bureau of Commerce and Industry. After leaving office on January 10, 1933, Parnell returned to his farming interests, and spent three years as an appraiser for the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. Governor Harvey Parnell died on January 16, 1936, in Little Rock, after suffering two heart attacks. He is buried at the Roselawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Little Rock, Arkansas.
Donovan, Timothy P., and Willard B. Gatewood, Jr., The Governors of Arkansas, Essays in Political Biography, Fayetteville; The University of Arkansas Press, 1981
Sobel, and 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.
Old State House Museum