Arkansas Governors from Ouachita County



Governors from

Ouachita County

Twenty fourth Governor 1913-1917

George W. Hays was born at Camden on September 23, 1863. Hays attended school in Camden and farmed until he was 25. He then attended Washington & Lee University to receive a law degree. He practiced law in Camden. He was a probate and county judge for Ouachita County 1900-1905. He then served as 13th Judicial Judge. He resigned before completing his second term to run for governor. The capitol building as it stands today was completed while he was governor. In 1927Hays contracted influenza, developed pneumonia and died Sept. 15 of that year. He is buried at Camden, Arkansas.


Thirty-third Governor 1945-1949

Ben Laney was born on a small farm in the Cooterneck community in Ouachita County. Although he did not officially finish high school, his talents and outstanding knowledge landed him admission to Hendrix College. After a service break Laney returned to school at Arkansas State Teachers College (Now UCA) and received his A. B. Degree. He returned to Camden to enter the oil business with other interest in farming, banking, cotton gins, and feed. He was a major of Camden from 1935-1939.

In 1944 he announced his candidacy for governor. Laney was responsible for the building of the official residence for the sitting Governor of Arkansas. Back to Camden Laney remained active in politics but did not seek office. Following a lengthy illness, Laney died of a heart attack in January of 1977 and was buried in Camden, Arkansas.


Thirty-ninth Governor 1975-1979

David Pryor was born in Camden on August 29, 1934. As a teenager David worked in Washington, D. C., as a page for Congressman Oren Harris. He received his B. A. from the University of Arkansas in 1957. Following graduation Pryor returned to Camden to publish a weekly newspaper. In 1960 Pryor was elected to the House of Representatives where he served three terms. In November of 1966 he was elected to fill the unexpired term of Congressman Harris and served three full terms. In 1947 Pryor was elected to the first of two terms as Governor of Arkansas. Pryor became a member of the U. S. Senate following his election in 1979. He was active on many powerful committees. He chose to retire (not seeking re-election) at the close of the 1996 term. His son Mark Pryor now serves as a Senator from Arkansas (2005)

Bibliography: Reflections of Ouachita County, published by the D-Books Publishing, Inc., 1996, compiled by Bob Moore and Melanie Williams

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