William Kavanaugh Oldham

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William Kavanaugh Oldham
Acting Governor of Arkansas
In office
March 8, 1913 – March 13, 1913
Preceded byJoseph Taylor Robinson
Succeeded byJunius Marion Futrell (acting)
President of the Arkansas Senate
In office
Succeeded byJunius Marion Futrell
Personal details
Born(1865-05-20)May 20, 1865
Richmond, Kentucky, U.S.
DiedMay 6, 1938(1938-05-06) (aged 72)
Pettus, Arkansas, U.S.

William Kavanaugh Oldham (May 20, 1865 – May 6, 1938) was the Acting Governor of the U.S. state of Arkansas for six days in 1913.

Oldham was born in Richmond, Kentucky and educated at Central University, also in Richmond. He moved to Pettus, Arkansas in Lonoke County in 1885 and became a successful cotton farmer.

He was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives in 1907. He served as a member of the Arkansas Senate from 1911 to 1913, and was selected as president of the Senate in 1913.[1]

When Governor Joseph Taylor Robinson resigned from office on March 8, 1913, Oldham became acting governor of Arkansas. When the legislative session ended on March 13, the Arkansas Senate elected Junius Marion Futrell as the new president pro tempore, but Oldham refused to agree that Futrell was the new acting governor; the dispute was settled by the Arkansas Supreme Court on March 24, in favor of Futrell.[2]

Oldham retired from public service and returned to farming. He later served as chairman of the state Cotton Reduction Committee.[3]

William K. Oldham died in Pettus, Arkansas and is buried at the Oakland & Fraternal Historic Cemetery Park in Little Rock, Arkansas.


Oldham was the brother-in-law of James Philip Eagle (1837–1904), governor of Arkansas 1889–1893, who married Oldham's sister Mary Kavanaugh Oldham in 1882.[4] William K. Oldham's younger brother Kie Oldham (1869–1916) served as James Eagle's private secretary while he was governor, gathered an important collection of documents about Arkansas' Civil War history, and was a prominent lawyer, working primarily as an advocate for Indian tribes. Kie also served in the Arkansas state senate, in 1907 and 1908–9; in 1907 Kie and William were both in the legislature, representing the same county as representative and senator.[5]

Oldham married Lillian Munroe (1870–1957) in 1894; they had two children, William Kavanaugh Oldham (1896–1950) and Lillian Oldham (b. circa 1898).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Oldham bio on National Governor's Association site
  2. ^ Futrell v. Oldham, 107 Ark. 386 (Arkansas Supreme Court 1913).
  3. ^ Arkansas Records Catalog: WKO plantation records
  4. ^ The Governors of Arkansas: Essays in Political Biography, eds. Timothy Paul Donovan, Willard B. Gatewood, and Jeannie M. Whayne, Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Press, 1995 (2nd ed.), p. 92
  5. ^ Kie Oldham papers listing, with bio
Political offices
Preceded by
Joseph Taylor Robinson
Acting Governor of Arkansas
Succeeded by
Junius Marion Futrell