Powell Clayton9th Governor of Arkansas, 1868-1871
One of the most influential figures in the early development of Eureka Springs, Arkansas was Brigadier General Powell Clayton of the Union Army, ninth governor of Arkansas, and the first governor of the state during the reconstruction period following the Civil War.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Clayton joined the Union Army; he first arrived in Arkansas in 1863 to participate in the Union occupation of Little Rock. Though Clayton's original party affiliation was Democratic, after Congress declared the government of Arkansas and other confederate states illegal in 1867, Clayton participated in the formation of the state's first Republican party. He was nominated as the Republican gubernatorial candidate in 1868.
As president of the Eureka Springs Improvement Company (ESIC), Clayton worked to bring the railroad to Eureka Springs, a pivotal event in Eureka's development as one of the premier healing resorts of the Victorian Era. The ESIC also built one of Eureka's most famous landmarks, the Crescent Hotel, and the poem which is written on the fireplace in the Crescent Hotel lobby is attributed to Governor Clayton:
You'll lightly turn from me away;
When autumn leaves are scattered wide,
You'll often linger by my side;
But when the snow the earth doth cover,
Then you'll be my ardent lover."
Clayton ended his political career as the United States ambassador to Mexico. He died in Washington, DC on August 25, 1914, and is buried at Arlington National Cemetary.
The Governors of Arkansas, Essays in Political Biography, Edited by Timothy P. Donovan and Willard B. Gatewood, Jr.;The University of Arkansas Press, 1981.
I Didn't Know That Either! About Eureka Springs © 2022 by Susan Schaefer. All Rights Reserved. Information presented here is used with the permission of the author.