Brooks-Baxter War

Imagine in the Crooked Politician's Bar and Grill just inside the Gates of Hell, Boss Tweed standing on a pile of brimstone bragging on the tricks and seedy strategies of New York politics in the 19th Century, only to be interrupted by the Arkansas governor and former Union General, Powell Clayton, saying: "That's nothing. Haven't you heard about the Arkansas governor's race of 1872? We had a shootin' war over that one!"

It was quite an election: an egregious monument to good old fashioned politics, and relatively early good-ole-boyism, with burning ballots and voting corpses that led, two years later, to what is known as the Brooks-Baxter War, named for Joseph Brooks and Elisha Baxter, the two Republican candidates in the race. Brooks, a gaunt, bearded man with a stentorian voice (he had formerly been a Methodist preacher in Missouri, though he was born in Ohio), was the leader of the Brindletail Republicans, so-named because Brooks was said to bellow as loud as a brindletail bull. Baxter, a heavyset man with thinning hair and a former dry goods merchant in Batesville (he had been born in South Carolina) was the leader of the Minstrel Republicans, so-named because one of their leaders, John Price, was a musician. The war lasted 30 days - from April 15 until May 15, 1874. In several battles, more than 200 people died, many of them black soldiers in Brooks' army opposed by Baxter's mainly white troops. Some civilians also died in the fighting.

In the election, both sides committed electoral crimes that would make the Watergate conspirators look like pansies: they registered the dead, voted repeatedly with no more compunction than filling out raffle tickets, intimidated opposition voters at gunpoint, burned ballots as if they were leaves and, if lacking a match, fabricated ballots at will. The best guess is that Brooks actually received more votes in the Nov. 5 election. At least that was the opinion of Congressman Luke Poland, a Republican from Vermont, and his committee, which later investigated the "Arkansas Insurrection," as it was called, and submitted a report to the U.S. Congress in February 1875. Baxter polled more votes, but that demonstrated only that the Minstrels controlled more voting places than did the Brindletails. The Minstrel-dominated Election Commission declared Baxter the winner, and Brooks shouted "Fraud!" But the Legislature, also Minstrel-controlled, concurred with the Election Commission. Baxter was sworn in January 6,1873, by Chief Justice John McClure, whose nickname was the somewhat-less-than-dignified "Poker Jack" and who also happened to be a Minstrel. Brooks took his case, in the form of a petition, to the courts, but Judge john whytock (here, we follow the custom of the Gazette then, which held Whytock in such contempt that it refused to capitalize his name) buried Brooks' claim deep on the docket.

Most native Arkansans considered the election a squabble among thieves concerning who would rob them next. The Republican Party in Arkansas consisted mainly of carpetbaggers (Reconstructionists from out of state) and scalawags (Reconstructionists from within the state). The Republicans ruled because most members of Arkansas's Democratic electorate had been disenfranchised for participating in the Confederacy. Arkansas's natural leaders were ineligible to hold public office for the same reason. The bulwark of Republican support was the Union Army of occupation and the Republican state militia, and the Republicans controlled the machinery of election and routinely fixed outcomes; Between 1868 and 1871, they ran up a state debt of $10 million on construction projects that had a real value of only $100,000 - much of this was railroad lines and flood control levees that were incomplete, and thus, useless. The Democrats rarely nominated candidates and usually boycotted elections. Why bother? Most of their constituency couldn't vote, and they knew the elections were rigged.

The Republican Party in the state was headed by General Powell Clayton, who had come to Arkansas from Kansas at the head of an invading Union regiment. He was among the troops who entered Little Rock September 10, 1863, and held the detachment that seized Pine Bluff and Benton a few days later. He was elected governor in 1868, amassed a fortune while in office, and built a mansion on the bluffs overlooking the Arkansas River. The citizenry referred to the mansion as "Robbers' Roost" and the street toward which it faced as "Carpetbaggers' Row." His term as governor ended in 1871 when he was elected to the U.S. Senate - oddly enough, with the support of Democrats. But it was a qualified, back-handed support exemplified by J. W. House, a Democratic legislator from White County, who said: "It was not that I expected he could do us any good in the Senate, I thought he could do us less harm from a distance."

To have an even clearer picture of Arkansas politics in those days, one needs to look at the figure of Judge McClure, aptly named "Poker Jack." He had been elected a Supreme Court justice in the same election that gave Clayton the governorship and later became editor of The Republican, the party newspaper. McClure loved the game of poker and made a habit of inviting the states' tax collectors to his games, which were always at the Metropolitan Hotel in Little Rock. The location of his games - no accident since he almost always won - turned out to be no small prerequisite of his job. The Legislature, suspicious that some of the tax collectors were paying their losses out of tax money, passed a law in 1868 requiring that all tax revenues be turned in to the Treasury immediately upon collection. Before, the collectors had been allowed to hold the money until it was "convenient" to deliver it - sometimes as long as a month after collection. Later, when the Republicans were squabbling among themselves, McClure was impeached by the Legislature for malfeasance. He stood trial, but Judge Whytock found him innocent and then awarded him $2,000 of the state's money for his inconvenience, as well as a contract to print the text of the proceedings.



The Brooks-Baxter race of 1872 grew out of the election of 1868, in which Clayton assumed the governorship. The 1868 election was held March 13 at a time when Brooks, who had come from Iowa with the invading Union Army and had stayed on to join the Republican Party, was the dominant figure on the Election Commission. In that election, the people voted not only on a governor but on a new Reconstructionist Constitution, a document drafted by the Republicans that disenfranchised ex-Confederates (most of the state's male population) and apportioned electoral districts in favor of the Republicans. In other words, the Constitution guaranteed Republican control. It also invested the office of governor with almost dictatorial powers over finances, contract awards, state jobs, the militia and the election machinery - voter registration, ballot counting and certification. As long as the Republicans held the governorship, they controlled the state.

Brooks' Election Commission delivered a Republican victory. Clayton won easily, and the new Constitution passed in a breeze. Brooks kept the polls in Republican - controlled districts open until after the final count was reported from Democratic-controlled districts and then adjusted the Republican count to show a margin of victory. The final vote counts from Pulaski and Jefferson Counties exceeded the number of registered voters by 1,925 ballots, and the Constitution carried by 1,316 votes.

When the 1868 election was over, it was like Christmas for the Republicans - everyone got something. Everyone except Brooks. While Clayton's friends and supporters went to Washington as senators and representatives and received state cabinet posts and legislative seats, appointments as tax collectors and judgeships, Baxter and Whytock were appointed circuit court judges. Brooks, who had been largely responsible for it all, got nothing. He had expected at least a congressional seat.

From then on, Brooks was bent on wresting power from Clayton. Brooks' allies, Scalawag Republicans who resented party domination by Clayton and the carpetbaggers and who were disgusted by the corruption and extravagance of Clayton's administration, joined Brooks in numerous anti-Clayton conspiracies, some of which degenerated into comic opera. One of Clayton's strongest political rivals was his own lieutenant governor, J.M. Johnson of Madison County. In the summer of 1869, Clayton left the capital for Washington on a financial mission to re-fund the state debt, departing secretly without telling Johnson, who would be acting governor in his absence. The Brooks faction eventually found out and sent to Madison County for Johnson, who began a fast trip by horse for the capital. Clayton, however, learned of the scheme before he was out of the state and made a mad dash - also by horse - back to the capital. Clayton won the horse race, and from that time on as governor did not leave Little Rock.

In May 1872, Brooks and the disaffected Republicans formed a splinter party - the Brindletails - and called in their party platform for "universal suffrage, universal amnesty and honest men in office". The latter somewhat ironic considering Brooks' previous political activities. What the Brindletails favored amounted to black voting rights, ex-Confederate voting rights and Brooks for governor. The crucial plank was the second: enfranchisement of the ex-Confederates. This was a plea for Democratic support, without which the Brindletails could not hope to win the upcoming Nov. 5 election against the Minstrels. And the Brindletails were willing to promise anything to win.

By this time, Clayton was in Washington as a senator and the governor's chair was occupied by O.H. Hadley, a Clayton puppet manipulated into office by Clayton in a political deal to keep Johnson out of the governor's chair. Hadley was considered only as an interim choice, so the Minstrels and Clayton settled on Judge Baxter, a scalawag from Batesville, as their gubernatorial nominee. It was a dark-horse strategy. Baxter had participated in Republican politics since the war, but had not attained the inner circles of Republican power (carpetbaggers only, no scalawags allowed) - nor achieved political prominence. But the Minstrels hoped Baxter would appeal to the Democrats because he was a native Arkansan and because he seemed to possess some integrity - at least no one had tried to impeach him.

With the Republicans split and vying for their support, the Democrats found themselves in an unaccustomed position of power. They didn't have enough strength to elect their own candidate, but if they could help elect a Republican who would push through a franchise amendment, they were likely to win all subsequent elections. Both candidates promised a franchise amendment but for the democrats the dilemma was in deciding who to trust. Brooks was remembered from 1868 as an election thief; Baxter, on the other hand, was Clayton's pick, and the Democrats wanted no more of Clayton's rule - by proxy or otherwise. The Democrats respected Baxter but hated his crowd; they mistrusted Brooks but loved his promises. In the end, mistrust was softened by hope, and the Democratic Central Committee endorsed Brooks.

Brindletail Brooks gave Minstrel Baxter a run for the money but lost the election by just under 8,000 votes, a victim of the same crooked election machinery he had helped devise four years earlier. He filed his petition with Judge Whytock claiming fraud - to no avail - and bided his time, waiting for his moment of revenge. It was to come two years later as the climax to an unusual and complicated series of events.

Meanwhile, Baxter, who had been inaugurated Jan. 6, 1873, was turning out to be a good governor. Arkansans then had every reason to expect the worst from the Baxter-Clayton organization, but Baxter showed surprising integrity. He appointed honest men, both Republicans and Democrats, to the Election Commission; he reorganized the state militia, placing control in the hands of Arkansans; and perhaps most importantly, he pushed the franchise amendment through the Legislature. It was adopted March 8, 1873. But the Legislature, still Republican-ruled, proposed a bill that would strengthen Republican control over elections, thus largely negating the franchise bill, and another measure that would have allowed Northern railroads to pay their debts to the state using their own stock as tender. Baxter refused to go along with either measure and held firm when his own Minstrels beseeched, threatened and tried to bribe him. The Democrats and the reform-minded Republicans- many of whom were Brindletails - fell in line behind Baxter to form a coalition in the Legislature that together with the executive veto effectively fought the Minstrels to a stand-off.

On Nov. 8 of that year a special election was held to replace 88 legislators who had resigned at the end of the summer to accept better-paying state jobs in Baxter's government. The 88 legislators, many of whom were Brindletails now allied with Baxter, undoubtedly saw the rise of Democratic power as inevitable once the franchise law had been passed, and took their lucrative state jobs while the taking was good. The Democrats, thanks to the new law, swept the election and were guaranteed a small majority in the next session of the Legislature. The Republicans were frantic. They had lost control of Baxter and, for the moment, the governor's office in which they had vested so much power. Then faced a minority role in the Legislature, which, at its next meeting the Legislature was certain to call for a constitutional convention and thereby reapportion the electoral districts and overhaul the election machinery. The office of governor would be far beyond their grasp. Their only hope was to regain control of the executive and use the power of that office over the Election Commission to disallow the results of the special election. The only way to remove Baxter from office was by coup d'etat...and the Republicans were willing to try it.

Brooks, still seething over the election of 1872, became the Republican leader and was supported by allies who could testify to the crookedness of that election since they had fixed it themselves; in a curious twist of logic and justice, they rationalized supporting Baxter as the rightful governor. Thus, the Brooks-Baxter contest was renewed, the difference now being that the Minstrels(formerly for Baxter) now supported Brooks and the Democrats and the Brindletails(formerly supporters of Brooks) were now allied with Baxter.



The coup d'etat was executed with the precision of a military drill. At 11 o'clock on the morning of April 15, 1874, Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Whytock took Brooks' petition (filed in protest of the 1872 election) knocked off the dust, and without notice to either Baxter or his lawyers, ruled that Brooks was the legal governor. Chief Justice Poker Jack McClure swore Brooks in on the spot, presumably with the same sincerity with which he had performed the service for Baxter the year before. Within minutes, Brooks, backed by Gen. R.F. Catterson, former commander of the state militia, brought a score of armed men and burst into Baxter's office at the State Capitol (the old state Capitol at Markham and Center Streets). Brooks and his entourage told him to surrender the office. Baxter replied that he would "neither resign nor surrender the office unless compelled by force." Catterson obliged him, and Baxter was literally dragged from the office. Simultaneously, a second armed party seized the state militia arsenal on the grounds of the Capitol.

By mid-afternoon, while 300 armed men occupied the State Capitol, three of the five Arkansas Supreme Court Justices wired President Ulysses S. Grant the message that Brooks was legally the governor of the state. Another telegram, signed by nearly every constitutional officer in the state government, was also sent to Grant avowing support of Brooks, and Brooks himself telegraphed Grant requesting his support and access to weapons at the U.S. Arsenal (housed at what is now known as MacArthur Park).

The next day, Brooks issued a proclamation declaring himself governor, claiming support of the people and the courts and commanded the people to remain in their homes, warning: "I shall resist and suppress the action of all mobs that assemble together under the banner or at the call of Elisha Baxter ... All such attempts will lead to strife and bloodshed." Three days later, on April 18, Arkansas's two senators, Clayton and Steven Dorsey, and three of the state's four congressmen, met with Grant and U .S. Attorney General George H. Williams. After the meeting, the Arkansas delegation wired Brooks that "The President is in full accord with your views ... Maintain your position, and we will take care of affairs here." Congressman David Wilshire of the Third Congressional District was the only member of the delegation to stand firm for Baxter.

But Brooks and his supporters had made a serious mistake. The plan to oust Baxter had called for his arrest and incarceration. It was considered imperative to keep him out of circulation, and the Pulaski County sheriff, William S. Oliver, was present at the State Capitol to place him in jail after his removal from office. But for unknown reasons, Oliver had no arrest warrant nor did he attempt to take Baxter into custody. Baxter no longer occupied the governor's office, but he had his freedom.

He set up headquarters at the Anthony House, three blocks east of the Capitol at Markham and Scott Streets, and wired Grant, also soliciting the President's support and requesting the use of the arms stored at the U.S. Arsenal. Then he, too, issued a proclamation declaring his right to the governorship by vote of the people and the decision of the Legislature, placed Pulaski County under martial law and called on the people to rally to his support. Baxter appointed Gen. R.M. Newton, a former Confederate officer, as commander of his forces.

Grant, now faced with making a difficult decision from afar, wired both Brooks and Baxter denying each the use of the arsenal and suggesting that the issue be decided by the courts. The suggestion was a political maneuver. Grant, a Republican, knew that Republicans loyal to Brooks controlled the courts (he had the telegrams from the three Supreme Court justices). Grant also wired Col. T. E. Rose, commander of the Union Army detachment at the arsenal, ordering him not to take sides in the dispute and to intervene only to prevent collisions between armed troops.

Meanwhile, each side armed for war. Baxter seized all of the guns in the city's shops and sent purchasing agents to Texas (a former Confederate state) to buy arms. Brooks sent purchasing agents to (St. Louis) Missouri (a former Union state) for arms and a detachment to Fayetteville to seize the weapons at the armory there. Baxter's men repaired a cannon that had been spiked and left behind by the retreating Confederate Army, and placed it at the intersection of Scott and Markham Streets. It was nicknamed "The Lady Baxter" and is still displayed today in front of the old State Capitol.

By April 19, each side boasted about 600 men. Brooks' troops, most of whom were black though the officers were white, raised breastworks around the State Capitol yard and settled in for a siege. Baxter's contingent occupied a position three blocks east. Both forces were separated by federal troops under Col. Rose in positions along Main Street. Brooks issued a second edict, commanding those who had been rallying "to the standard of the pretender" to lay down their arms or he would be "compelled to suppress disorder and restore the peace and quiet of the state." Baxter again wired Grant saying that the people had provided him with sufficient force to assert his authority, adding, "which I will do promptly if the U.S. troops do not interfere." (Adding to Grant's general discomfiture over the issue was the fact that his election as president was based in part on the Arkansas electoral vote: if Grant endorsed Brooks' claim - as he wanted to - it could cast a shadow on his own election. Grant delayed, withholding support from both sides.)



For the next two days, the two makeshift armies engaged in shows of force. Each staged parades to martial music within sight of the other, but both refrained from the use of arms and both kept to their own side of Main Street. Still, tempers were rapidly approaching the kindling point. Late in the afternoon of April 21, Col. H. King White, a tall, red-headed cavalry officer from Pine Bluff who had served with the Confederacy, arrived from Jefferson County by flatboat in command of a contingent of 800 black troops who had come to join Baxter's army. They marched through the city singing:

Do you see that boat comin' round the bend?
Goodbye, my lover, goodbye.
She's loaded down with Baxter's men,
Goodbye, my lover, goodbye.

(Strong racial overtones in the Brooks-Baxter dispute carried over from the Civil War. Baxter's army was effectively all white, while approximately 450 soldiers in Brooks' 600-man force were black. Blacks in Arkansas supported the Republicans, whom they saw as emancipators and benefactors. The Republicans, through such organizations as the Union League and the Freedman's Bureau, provided blacks with economic aid and education and also conducted voter registration drives. Blacks returned the favor: they voted Republican and fought Republican. Clayton's militia had been predominantly black, with white officers, and was active in protecting other blacks from the depredations of the Ku Klux Klan, the Knights of the White Camellia and other militant white groups. These militiamen formed the core of Brooks' army. Baxter, on the other hand, was now backed by Democrats - ex-Confederates - who showed open hostility toward blacks and were eager to go into combat against them. The arrival of Col. White's troops, who fought more out of loyalty to White, a black "handler" - a position similar to a ward boss -may have balanced the racial proportions somewhat, but probably did little to ease racial hostility that existed throughout the war, It may even have intensified it, as the prospect of black killing black would have been appealing to some white soldiers and officers.)

White finally drew his men in front of the Anthony House, where Baxter's forces filled the streets and occupied the buildings in the vicinity east of Main. Brooks' men jammed the streets and occupied the buildings west of Main and others stood massed on Markham west of the federal barricades. Baxter appeared on the second floor balcony of the Anthony House, and White, on his horse below, announced:

"I have brought with me here a number of colored men. It has been said, sir, that these colored men will prove treacherous to you. I now ask these colored men in your presence and in the presence of the assemblage whether we shall stand firm for Elisha Baxter."

The response, reportedly, was thunderous and the black men replied:

"Try us. We will!"

White, who seems to have had a rather flamboyant, pompous style, then went on:

"Pronounce the order (and) I will guarantee you, sir, that in twenty-five minutes from the time the order is given, Joseph Brooks will be in Hell!"

Baxter responded: "I have never doubted the loyalty of these colored men...They have stood as firm as the Rock of Gibraltar."

White then turned his men toward Main Street (he would later testify before Poland's congressional committee that he had intended to march them toward a barracks), and Col. Rose interpreted this move as the beginning of an assault. Rose rode on horseback through the ranks of White's men, warning them and White that the Union Army would resist an assault. White shouted: "Do not ride down my men, sir!" The two men apparently engaged in a scuffle during which Rose's pistol discharged, and both sides opened up.



Brooks' sharpshooters from their positions west of Main fired several volleys at the balcony where Baxter had stood, and there was random firing in the streets. Rose returned to his troops, ordered Brooks' men to withdraw to the State Capitol and then positioned his men behind a barricade formed of vehicles from the city's hook and ladder company, there ready to resist the onslaught of Baxter's troops. The firing continued for perhaps another five minutes, then stopped. The only fatality was David F Shall, a real estate salesman, who was shot in the head while standing at a window in the Anthony House. Five soldiers were wounded and a chambermaid broke her leg when she leaped from the second floor of the Anthony House, thinking the Brooks' men were upon her.

The next day, April 22, Baxter called for a special session of the Legislature to meet on May 11 to resolve the issue, not a very realistic move under the circumstances but one that probably would have resulted in a ruling in favor of Baxter had it been arranged. Another alternative was the courts, where Brooks, with McClure's support, would have had a better chance of success. But Baxter's men kidnapped two members of the Arkansas Supreme Court, associate justices John E. Bennett and E.J. Searle, to prevent it from functioning.

The armies were still in a fighting mood and on April 30, when word came that 200 troops loyal to Brooks were marching on Pine Bluff with the intention of razing the city, White and his colored detachment ambushed the marauders near the settlement of New Gascony (near Pine Bluff), killing nine and wounding 29 of Brooks' troops before they broke and fled.



A third clash occurred on May 8. Baxter's troops learned that a flatboat carrying arms from the Fayetteville arsenal was heading down river from Fort Smith, and 40 men left the city aboard the gunboat Hallie to intercept the ship. But they were themselves intercepted at Palarm by 200 of Brooks' men who lay in wait at the bend in the river where the channel forced the gunboat close to the shore. They commanded the gunboat to halt, and when its captain, a man named Sam Houston, refused, they opened up, putting the boat under withering fire at nearly point blank range. Houston and the boat's pilot, John Myers, were killed immediately, and the boilers of the ship were pierced. The disabled steamer drifted out of control, still under heavy fire, for half-hour before the officer in charge surrendered, half his crew either dead or wounded. Brooks' men later returned the Hallie to Little Rock, mooring it behind the State Capitol. Baxter's men once tried to steal the boat but, unsuccessful, they scuttled it.

At this point, public opinion was moving in Baxter's favor. During the conflict, Brooks recruited few men in addition to the 600 troops he started with, but Baxter's ranks swelled steadily (with whites), and by the war's end, 2,000 men would march in Baxter's parade. Williams, the U.S. attorney general, issued an opinion stating that in such disputes, the authority to settle them should rest with the Legislature. On May 9, representatives of both sides and of President Grant and Williams issued a joint communiqué, calling for: a meeting of the Legislature to resolve the issue, the disbandment of both armies, and Brooks' vacating the State Capitol. Brooks, insisting that only the courts could settle the issue, refused to disband his army or to budge from the State Capitol and accused Grant of fueling and prolonging the dispute.

The last major fighting of the war occurred on May 12, following two unsuccessful attempts by the Legislature to raise a quorum - on the 11th and again on the morning of the 12th. Later that day, a company of Brooks' men ambushed a train load of Baxter's troops as they arrived in Little Rock. There was sporadic fighting; two of Baxter's men were wounded and eight of Brooks' men were killed or wounded. Both sides sent reinforcements, and the two detachments blundered into each other that afternoon at Fifth and Arch Streets. Shooting started, but before the firing spread, Rose's federal troops marched between the combatants and brought about a cease-fire. Several soldiers were killed, but a large-scale battle was averted. The soldiers withdrew, and the Brooks- Baxter war was over. In the major engagements and in numerous sniping and bushwhacking attacks, an estimated 200 persons had died.

Its members shaken by the narrow tragedy, the Legislature reconvened the very next day, May 13. This time, a quorum was present. On May 14, the General Assembly declared Baxter the rightful governor of the state. The following day, a month after the coup, Attorney General Williams wired Brooks. He ordered him, in the President's name, to disband his party and surrender the State Capitol. Brooks did so quietly, though not until May 20, six days later. When Baxter's advance party arrived at the State Capitol, they found it deserted. At noon, preceded by his cavalry with the irrepressible King White at its head, Baxter appeared, accompanied by infantry and artillery, and resumed his office of governor.



Brooks' relinquishment of the governorship followed nearly a week of widespread rejoicing in the capital city and several parades celebrating Baxter's victory. The mood of the city - and for that matter, the state - was perhaps best summed up by the Gazette in an editorial:

In time of public commotion and popular tumult, the rude, the ignorant and the wicked frequently rise to power ... This has been the history of Arkansas since Reconstruction, and the state and the people have suffered grievously from misrule ... The people of Arkansas, for the first time in 12 years, rejoice in the full enjoyment of their civil and political rights.

The General Assembly that ruled for Baxter also called for a constitutional convention, just as the Republicans had feared. The convention met July 14 and wrote a document that was, article by article, a repudiation of Reconstruction. That September, at the Democratic State Convention, the delegates twice nominated Baxter for governor and twice he declined, a decision that relieved the Democrats of some embarrassment. Baxter may have been a popular hero, but he was nonetheless a Republican and scalawag. The convention then nominated Agustus H. Garland and on Oct. 13, 1874, in the first general election since the war in which the entire electorate was allowed to participate, the Democratic slate headed by Garland and the Constitution (the present one) carried, both by margins of more than three-to-one. Arkansas again had a government by Democrats, who would retain the governor's chair until Winthrop Rockefeller was elected as a Republican in 1966.

Baxter tried a political comeback in 1878 by running for the state Legislature, but he was defeated. He retired to Batesville, where he practiced law until he died on June 2, 1899. Brooks was later appointed postmaster in Little Rock, a post he held until he died on Jan. 13, 1901. Clayton served as a senator until 1877 when he returned to Arkansas and went into the railroad business, and was later named ambassador to Mexico, serving from 1897 until 1905. He died in Washington Aug. 25, 1914.