WILLIAM READ MILLER, the first native Arkansan elected governor, was born on November 23, 1823, in Batesville, Independence County, Arkansas. He studied law and was admitted to the Arkansas bar in 1868. Miller entered politics in 1848, when he was elected clerk of Independence County. He served as clerk until 1854, and then was appointed state auditor. He was reelected in 1858, 1860, 1862, and again, in 1874. On September 4, 1876, Miller was elected Arkansas’s 12th governor, and on January 11, 1877, he was inaugurated into office. Miller was reelected to a second term in 1878. During his tenure in office, he was committed to public education, and fought for programs that addressed the state’s financial problems. Legislation passed that funded the maintenance of the State Blind Asylum and the Arkansas Industrial University. Miller left office on January 13, 1881, and served as the deputy treasurer of Arkansas from 1881 to 1882. In 1886 he was elected state auditor. William Read Miller died on November 29, 1887, 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