JOHN ELLIS MARTINEAU, Arkansas’s 28th governor, was born in Clay County, Missouri, on December 2, 1873. He graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1896, and earned a law degree three years from his alma mater. Martineau served as principal of the Chicksaw Male Academy in 1896, and was the principal of the North Little Rock School from 1897 to 1900. He entered politics in 1902, serving until 1905 as a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives. Martineau was appointed chancellor of the First Chancery Court on October 21, 1907 and served until 1927. On November 2, 1926, he was elected Governor of Arkansas, and on January 11, 1927, he was sworn into office. During his term, the honorary boards for state institutions were restored, the confederate pensions board was created, and the Normal School of the Ozarks was established. Martineau also dealt with the widespread flooding in April 1927. The Tri-State Flood Commission was formed, and named Martineau as its president. The Martineau Road Plan was his most lasting achievement; it authorized state aid for highway construction within city limits. On March 2, 1928, Martineau resigned from the governor’s office to accept the appointment to the bench of the Federal District Court of Eastern Arkansas, where he served until his death. Governor John E. Martineau died on March 6, 1937, and is buried at the Roselawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Little Rock, 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
Old State House Museum