The politician who could not win for losing

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Texas History

On Mar. 18, 1861, a Lone Star Confederate asked Texas’ next-door neighbors to forsake the Union for the southern alliance, but President Jefferson Davis sent the wrong Reb to Arkansas.

Twenty-five years earlier, Williamson Simpson Oldham took the “Land of Opportunity” by storm. Arriving at Fayetteville in the fall of 1836, four months after Arkansas statehood, the Tennessean quickly became the most prosperous attorney in town.

As impressive on the campaign trail as in the courtroom, the confident newcomer easily won election to the General Assembly. The youngest member of the legislature, he decided against resting on his laurels and went on to become speaker of the Arkansas house before the age of 30.



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