THOMAS JEFFERSON TERRAL, Arkansas’s 27th governor, was born in Union Parish, Louisiana, on December 21, 1882. He attended the University of Kentucky, and in 1910 earned a law degree from the University of Arkansas. Terral opened a private law practice in Arkansas and taught school to supplement his income. He entered politics in 1911, serving until 1915 as assistant secretary of the Arkansas Senate. Terral was deputy state superintendent of public instruction from 1912 to 1916, except during the periods in 1913 and 1915, when the general assembly was in session. He also served as Arkansas’s Secretary of State from 1917 to 1921. On November 4, 1924, Terral was elected governor of Arkansas, and on January 14, 1925, he was sworn into office. During his term, 11 honorary commissions were abolished and in their place was a salaried three-member Board of Charities and Corrections. The office of Commissioner of Insurance and Revenue, and Arkansas’s first state park at Petit Jean Mountain were established. Also during Terral’s administration, construction began on a new state hospital in Little Rock, and a constitutional amendment was enacted that increased the number of supreme court judges. He ran unsuccessfully for reelection in 1926 and left office on January 11, 1927. Retiring from public life, Terral returned to his law practice in Little Rock. After a long illness, Governor Thomas J. Terral passed away on March 9, 1946. He 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