Bill Arp

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For other people with the same name, see Charles Smith (disambiguation).
Bill Arp
Born Charles Henry Smith
June 15, 1826
Lawrenceville, Georgia
Died August 24, 1903
Cartersville, Georgia
Education University of Georgia (did not graduate)
Occupation Author, editor, politician

Charles Henry Smith (June 15, 1826 – August 24, 1903) was an American writer and politician from the state of Georgia. He used the nom de plume Bill Arp for nearly 40 years. He had a national reputation as a homespun humorist during his lifetime, and at least three communities are named for him (Arp, Ga.; Bill Arp, Ga.; Arp, Texas).


Early life[edit]

Charles Henry Smith was born on June 15, 1826 in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He enrolled at the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens, Georgia. However, he did not graduate. He moved to Rome, Georgia in the 1850s, where he lived in Oak Hill before he sold it to his colleague Andrew M. Sloan. (Sloan later sold the estate to prominent Rome resident Thomas Berry in 1871.)

During the American Civil War of 1861-1865 he served in as a Major8th Georgia Infantry Regiment and on the staff of several Confederate generals, including Francis Bartow.[1]


After the war, he returned to Rome, where he served as mayor, alderman, and in the Georgia State Senate.

He also took up writing. He wrote "letters to the editor" to the Atlanta Constitution as Bill Arp. They were typically in "Cracker dialect" talking about all manner of things.[2] He edited newspapers in Rome, Cartersville, Georgia and Atlanta and published five books: Bill Arp's Letters (1870), Bill Arp's Scrap Book (1884), The Farm and Fireside (1891), History of Georgia (1895), From the Uncivil War to Date (1903). He also wrote a monthly column for the Southern Cultivator.[3]

Additionally, he was a successful lecturer.[4]

Personal life[edit]

He resided in Cartersville, Georgia after 1877.


He died on August 24, 1903 in Cartersville, where he was buried.


  1. ^ The Civil War in Georgia: 8th Georgia Infantry Regiment
  2. ^ Picture Story Archived March 24, 2005, at the Wayback Machine. at
  3. ^ David B. Parker, Alias Bill Arp: Charles Henry Smith and the South's Goodly Heritage, Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 2009, pp. 94–95 [1]
  4. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1900). "Smith, Charles Henry". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.  This source says he graduated from Franklin College.

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