Henry Massey Rector

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His Excellency
Henry Massey Rector
6th Governor of Arkansas
In office
November 16, 1860 – November 4, 1862
Preceded by Elias Conway
Succeeded by Harris Flanagin
Personal details
Born (1816-05-01)May 1, 1816
near Louisville, Kentucky
Died August 12, 1899(1899-08-12) (aged 83)
Little Rock, Arkansas
Political party Democratic

Henry Massey Rector (May 1, 1816 – August 12, 1899) was an American politician and the sixth Governor of Arkansas.


Rector was born at Fontaine’s Ferry[where?] near Louisville, Kentucky. Both his parents were of English descent.[1] Rector was educated by his mother and attended two years of school in Louisville. He moved to Arkansas in 1835. Rector served as U.S. Marshal after moving to Arkansas.


Rector was elected to the Arkansas Senate and served in that body from 1848 to 1850. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1854. From 1853 to 1857, he served as U.S. Surveyor-General of Arkansas for several years.[2] From 1855 to 1859, he served in the Arkansas House of Representatives. and spent one term as a justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court.[3]

Rector was elected Governor of Arkansas in 1860. During his term Arkansas seceded from the Union and was admitted to the Confederate States of America. The constitution of Arkansas was rewritten reducing the term of office for Governor to two years. Rector left office in 1862 and served as a private in the state militia for the rest of the war. Rector participated in the 1874 constitutional convention.

Family life[edit]

Rector was the first cousin of Representative Henry Wharton Conway, Governor James Sevier Conway and Governor Elias Nelson Conway. Rector was also a third cousin of General James Lawson Kemper. He was a first cousin of fellow Confederate general Alexander E. Steen.

His grandson, James Rector, was the first Arkansan to participate in the Olympic Games. His son, Colonel Elias W. Rector, ran for Governor of Arkansas twice and served in the Arkansas House of Representatives for several terms, served as Speaker of the House, and married the daughter of Senator James Lusk Alcorn of Mississippi.

Death and legacy[edit]

Henry Massey Rector died in Little Rock, Arkansas and is buried in Mount Holly Cemetery in Little Rock.[4]

Rector Street in Little Rock is named after him. The north-bound frontage road along Interstate 30 bears his name. The northeast Arkansas town of Rector is named for Rector.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Biographical and pictorial history of Arkansas, Volume 1 By John Hallum page 405
  2. ^ "Henry Massie Rector (1816–1899)". The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Arkansas Governor Henry Massey Rector". National Governors Association. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Henry Massie Rector". Find A Grave. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Elias Conway
Governor of Arkansas
November 16, 1860 - November 4, 1862
Succeeded by
Harris Flanagin