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William Kavanaugh Oldham

Gov. William Kavanaugh Oldham

  • March 8, 1913 - March 13, 1913
  • Democrat
  • May 9, 1866
  • May 6, 1938
  • Kentucky
  • Central University (Richmond)
  • Married Lillian Munroe; Two children
  • Succeeded, Resigned


WILLIAM KAVANAUGH OLDHAM was born in Richmond, Kentucky, on May 9, 1866.  He attended Central University in Richmond, and settled in Pettus, Lonoke County, Arkansas, in 1885. Oldham entered politics in 1907 as a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives. He served in the Arkansas Senate from 1911 to 1913, and was chosen to serve as president of the senate in 1913. Governor Joseph T. Robinson resigned from office on March 8, 1913, and Oldham, president of the Senate at the time, became acting governor. When the legislative session ended on March 13, the Arkansas Senate elected Junius Marion Futrell as the new president pro tempore. The issue was raised as to whether the office passed to the former president pro tempore, William Kavaunagh Oldham, or the incoming one. Junius Marion Futrell. Oldham refused to agree that Futrell was the new acting governor; the dispute was settled by the Arkansas Supreme Court on March 24, in favor of Futrell. Oldham only served as acting governor for six days. After leaving the governor’s office, Oldham retired from public life, returning to his farm. He later served as chairman of the state Cotton Reduction Committee. William K. Oldham died in Pettus, Arkansas on May 6, 1938, and is buried at the Oakland and Fraternal Historic Cemetery Park, 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.

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