THOMAS CHIPMAN MCRAE, Arkansas’s 26th governor, was born in Mount Holly, Union County, Arkansas, on December 21, 1851. He attended Soule Business College for one year, and in 1872, earned a law degree from the Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia. McRae entered politics in 1874, when he was appointed Arkansas’s election commissioner and served as a delegate to the 1874 Arkansas Constitutional Convention. He served in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1877 to 1879, and was a U.S. House of Representatives from 1885 to 1903. McRae was a member of the 1918 Arkansas Constitutional Convention, and a presidential elector in 1880. He served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1884, and again from 1896 to 1900, serving as president in 1884, and 1902. McRae also was a member of the Democratic Congressional Committee from 1888 to 1902. On November 2, 1920, he was elected Governor of Arkansas, and on January 12, 1921, he was sworn into office. McRae was reelected to a second term on November 7, 1922. During his tenure, the railroad commission was reestablished, the corporation commission was abolished, and the State Tuberculosis Sanitarium for Negroes was established. A severance tax passed with revenue funding public schools, an office of state geologist was created, and a personal income tax law was enacted. After leaving office, McRae was appointed special Chief Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court, and he was elected a lifetime member of the Arkansas state convention in 1926. McRae died on June 2, 1929, and is buried at the DeAnn Cemetery, Prescott, 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