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Thomas Stevenson Drew

Gov. Thomas Stevenson Drew

  • November 9, 1844 - January 10, 1849
  • Democrat
  • August 25, 1802
  • January 1, 1879
  • Tennessee
  • Married Fanny Akins; five children
  • Resigned


THOMAS STEVENSON DREW was born in Wilson County, Tennessee, on August 25, 1802. He received a rudimentary education and moved with his family to Louisiana. In 1817 he moved to Arkansas, where he worked as a schoolteacher and traveling salesman. Drew entered politics in October 1823, when he was appointed clerk of the Clark County Court and three months later, became justice of the peace of Caddo Township. In 1836 he was chosen as a delegate to Arkansas’s Constitutional Convention. Drew became Arkansas’ third governor on November 9, 1844, and was reelected to a second term in 1848. During his tenure, he proposed legislation establishing a state college, and he endorsed the creation of an internal improvement board; however, both proposals were never passed by the general assembly. Drew also contended with the state’s financial solvency, which had been damaged by the panic of 1837. He raised both the base and the rate of taxable property in an effort to restore the state’s credit. On January 10, 1849, a little more than a year into his second term, Drew resigned, citing the governor’s salary as inadequate. Drew retired from public service, and spent the majority of his time trying to recover from his own personal financial losses. He died in January 1879 in Lapin, Hood County, Texas, at the home of his daughter.


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.

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