Thomas Chipman McRae
|Thomas Chipman McRae|
|26th Governor of Arkansas|
|Preceded by||Charles Hillman Brough|
|Succeeded by||Tom Jefferson Terral|
|Born||December 21, 1851
Union County, Arkansas
|Died||June 2, 1929
In 1874, McRae was appointed to the post of Election Commissioner. From 1877 to 1879, he served in the Arkansas House of Representatives and was a presidential elector in 1880. In 1884, 1896, and 1900, he was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention and served as president of the convention twice. From 1888 to 1902 he was a member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. From 1885 to 1903 McRae served in the United States House of Representatives.
In 1917 and 1918, McRae was president of the Arkansas Bar Association; in the latter year he took part in the Arkansas Constitutional Convention.
In 1920, McRae was elected governor and served for two terms. The Republicans ran Little Rock attorney Wallace Townsend against McRae. Townsend endorsed the GOP presidential slate headed by U.S. Senator Warren G. Harding of Ohio. McRae polled 123, 637 votes (66.6 percent) to Townsend's 46,350 (25 percent). An Independent, Josiah H. Blount, the principal of an African American school in Helena, defected from the GOP and received the remaining 15,627 (8.4 percent). Blount was tied to the former Black-and-Tan faction of the GOP. Thereafter, the Iowa-born Townsend, who had also been his party's gubernatorial nominee in 1916 against the Democrat Charles Hillman Brough, was the long-term Republican national committeeman from Arkansas, having served until 1961, when Winthrop Rockefeller assumed the position.
The McRae administration oversaw the establishment of the Arkansas Railroad Commission and the establishment of a tuberculosis sanitarium for African-Americans at a time when their survival rate was only 25 percent.
McRae was known as a relative liberal on racial matters and attempted to take action against lynching. In 1921 he ordered Mississippi County sheriff's deputies to bring a black prisoner from Texas directly to Little Rock to avoid local hostility in the community where he was charged. The deputies ignored the order and the prisoner was killed when he arrived in Mississippi County.
After the end of his terms, McRae was appointed special Chief Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. He was elected a life member of the Arkansas Democratic State Convention in 1926. He engaged in the practice of law and banking until his death in 1929.
Thomas McRae is interred at the DeAnn Cemetery in Prescott, Arkansas. McRae was a cousin of Thomas Banks Cabaniss, a U.S. Representative from Georgia. He was also the grandfather of Thomas C. "Tom" McRae, III, the longtime President of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation who challenged the renomination bid of Governor Bill Clinton in 1990.
- Thomas Chipman McRae at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture entry: Thomas Chipman McRae
Charles Hillman Brough
|Governor of Arkansas
Tom Jefferson Terral