SIMON P. HUGHES, Arkansas’s 15th governor, was born in Smith County, Tennessee, on April 14, 1830. He was educated in Tennessee, where he attended the Sylvan Academy and Clinton College. Hughes studied law, was admitted to the Arkansas bar in 1857, and started a private practice in Clarendon, Arkansas. During the Civil War, he enlisted and was commissioned as a captain, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Hughes first entered politics in 1853 as sheriff of Monroe County, where he served for two years. He served in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1866 to 1867, was a delegate to the 1874 Arkansas Constitutional Convention, and Arkansas’ attorney general from 1874 to 1877. On September 1, 1884, Hughes was elected Governor of Arkansas, and on January 17, 1885, he was sworn into office. He was reelected to a second term in 1886. During his administration, the Arkansas Industrial University was reorganized, the office of state geologist was created, and public executions were abolished. The State Debt Board was formed and limitations were imposed on the sale of intoxicating beverages. Governor Hughes left office on January 17, 1889. He was elected in 1889 to the Arkansas Supreme Court as an associate justice, and reelected in 1896. He served nearly 16 years on the bench, and did not seek a third term. Justice Simon P. Hughes died in Little Rock, on June 29, 1906, and is buried at the Mount Holly 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
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