William Lee Cazort

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William Lee Cazort, Sr.
2nd Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas
In office
1929–1931
Governor Harvey Parnell
Preceded by Harvey Parnell
Succeeded by Lawrence Elery Wilson
4th Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas
In office
1933–1937
Governor Junius Marion Futrell
Preceded by Lawrence Elery Wilson
Succeeded by Robert L. Bailey
Arkansas State Representative from Johnson County
In office
1915–1918
Speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives
In office
1917–1918
Preceded by L. E. Sawyer
Succeeded by C. P. Newton
Arkansas State Senator from Johnson and Pope counties
In office
1919–1922
President of the Arkansas State Senate
In office
1921–1922
Preceded by Harry L. Ponder
Succeeded by Jacob R. Wilson
Personal details
Born (1887-12-03)December 3, 1887
Lamar, Johnson County
Arkansas, USA
Died October 6, 1969(1969-10-06) (aged 81)
Little Rock, Pulaski County
Arkansas
Resting place Oakland Cemetery in Little Rock
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Rachel Cora Cline Cazort (married 1916)
Children Four children, all deceased:

William L. Cazort, Jr. (died 1999)
Bettie Belle Cazort Vaughan Emery Stover (1918-2011)
Cornelia Cazort Phillips
Ronald Cazort

Alma mater Hendrix College

University of Arkansas
Washington and Lee University School of Law

Profession Lawyer; Businessman

William Lee Cazort, Sr. (December 3, 1887 – October 6, 1969), was the second and fourth Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas. Originally from Johnson County in northwestern Arkansas, Cazort served from 1929 to 1931 under Governor Harvey Parnell and from 1933 to 1937 under Governor Junius Marion Futrell.

On three occasions, however, Cazort failed in bids for the pivotal Democratic gubernatorial nomination. He lost in 1924 to Tom Jefferson Terral, when the Ku Klux Klan was the overwhelming state issue. Cazort and rival Terral carried Klan support. A third candidate John Ellis Martineau, ran without Klan backing and lost but two years later in 1926 unseated Governor Terral, one of the few chief executives in Arkansas to serve only a single two-year term. In 1930, as the sitting lieutenant governor, and with the KKK no longer an issue, Cazort challenged Governor Parnell. He questioned Parnell's spending and cronyism in the state highway department. Prior to the primary, Cazort withdrew to support Brooks Hays, later a U.S. Representative from Little Rock. Parnell was also Cazort's predecessor as lieutenant governor. Cazort was again elected lieutenant governor in 1932 and 1934, when he drew no opposition. In 1935, the president pro tempore of the state senate under Cazort's tenure was William F. Norrell, later a U.S. representative. In 1936, Cazort once more ran for governor but again withdrew from the race when Carl Edward Bailey gained the advantage.[1]

One of eight children, Cazort was born in Johnson County near Cabin Creek, now Lamar, the son of John Robert Cazort and the former Belle Gardner. His father held interests in land, lumber, cotton, livestock, and mercantile trade.The family-owned Cazort Brothers operated throughout Arkansas and into neighboring states. Cazort attended the public school in Lamar but graduated from high school in Fort Smith, the seat of Sebastian County and traditionally the second-largest city in the state. From 1903 to 1904, Cazort attended Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. In 1907, he enrolled at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. In 1910, he received his legal degree from Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Virginia. He practiced law in Fort Smith and maintained orchards on Big Danger Mountain in Johnson County.[1]

Prior to his tenure as lieutenant governor, Cazort served in both the Arkansas House of Representatives from Johnson County and the Arkansas Senate from Johnson and Pope counties. While in the House, he introduced what became the Tick Eradication Act and sponsored legislation which provide taxpayer-funded textbooks for the first eight grades in Arkansas public schools. From 1917 to 1919, Cazort was Speaker of the Arkansas House. At twenty nine, he was in 1917 the youngest ever Arkansas House Speaker; at thirty-three in 1921, he was the youngest ever State Senate President.[1]

After his service as state senator ended in 1922, Cazort returned to his law practice in Little Rock. Much of his early practice centered on representing veterans of World War I with insurance claims. After he left the lieutenant governorship for the final time, he was from 1937 to 1962 a bankruptcy referee for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Cazort died in a Little Rock hospital in 1969 and is interred there at Oakland Cemetery.[1]

In 1916, Cazort married the former Rachel Cline of Newton County. The couple had four children, all now deceased: William L. Cazort, Jr. (died 1999), Bettie Belle Cazort Vaughan Emery Stover (1918–2011), Cornelia Cazort Phillips, and Ronald Cazort. A former resident of Wynne and a one-time employee of the Arkansas Legislative Council, Bettie Stover was the Cross County chairman of the Winthrop Rockefeller gubernatorial campaigns.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d [\http://encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=2455 "William Lee Cazort (1887-1969)"]. encyclopediaofarkansas.net. Retrieved April 14, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Bettie Belle Cazort Vaughan Emery Stover". ruebelfuneralhome.com. Retrieved April 15, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Harvey Parnell
Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas

William Lee Cazort
1929–1931

Succeeded by
Lawrence Elery Wilson
Preceded by
Lawrence Elery Wilson
Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas

William Lee Cazort
1933–1937

Succeeded by
Robert L. Bailey
Preceded by
L. E. Sawyer
Speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives

William Lee Cazort
1917–1918

Succeeded by
C. P. Newton
Preceded by
Harry L. Ponder
President of the Arkansas State Senate

William Lee Cazort
1921–1922

Succeeded by
Jacob R. Wilson

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