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Henry Massey Rector

Personal data
Date of birthMay 1, 1816
Place of birthnear Louisville, Kentucky
Date of deathAugust 12, 1899(age 83)
Place of deathLittle Rock, Arkansas
Political partyDemocrat
6th Governor of Arkansas
In office1860 - 1862
Succeeded byHarris Flanagin
Preceded byElias N. Conway

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Henry Massey Rector (May 1, 1816 August 12, 1899) was the sixth Governor of the state of Arkansas.

Henry Massey Rector was born near Louisville, Kentucky. Rector was educated by his mother and attended one year of school at Louisville. He moved to Arkansas in 1835. Rector served as U.S. Marshal after moving to Arkansas.

Rector was elected to the Arkansas Senate and served in that body from 1848 to 1850. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1854. He served as U.S. Surveyor-General of Arkansas for several years. From 1855 to 1859, he served in the Arkansas House of Representatives. Rector also spent one term as a justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Rector was elected Governor of Arkansas in 1860. During his term Arkansas seceded from the Union and was admitted to the Confederate States of America. The constitution of Arkansas was rewritten reducing the term of office for Governor to two years. Rector left office in 1862 and served as a private in the state militia for the rest of the war. Rector participated in the 1874 constitutional convention.

Rector was the first cousin of Representative Henry Wharton Conway, Governor James Sevier Conway and Governor Elias Nelson Conway. Rector was also a third cousin of General James Lawson Kemper. His grandson, James Rector, was the first Arkansan to participate in the Olympic Games. His son, Colonel Elias W. Rector, ran for Governor of Arkansas twice and served in the Arkansas House of Representatives for several terms, served as Speaker of the House, and married the daughter of Senator James Lusk Alcorn of Mississippi.

Henry Massey Rector died in Little Rock, Arkansas. The city's Rector Street - today, a north-bound frontage road along Interstate 30 - bears his name.

The northeast Arkansas town of Rector is named for him. He was a first cousin of fellow Confederate general Alexander E. Steen.

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