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Thomas Stevenson Drew

Personal data
Date of birthAugust 25, 1802
Place of birthWilson County, Tennessee, USA
Date of deathJanuary 1879 (aged 76)
Place of deathLipan, Texas
Political partyDemocrat
SpouseCinderella Bettis Drew
3rd or 4th Governor of Arkansas
In office1844 - 1849
Succeeded byRichard C. Byrd
Preceded bySamuel Adams

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Thomas Stevenson Drew (August 25, 1802 - January 1879) was the third governor of the U.S. state of Arkansas. Though Drew was the third to be elected governor, he was the fourth in office because his predecessor, Samuel Adams, had served as acting governor during much of 1844, having gained the office through the previous position as president of the Arkansas State Senate.

Drew was born in Wilson County, Tennessee, but moved with his family to north Louisiana and then into southern Arkansas in 1818. He first worked as a traveling salesman and schoolteacher. Drew first settled in Clark County in southern Arkansas. In 1823, he was appointed Clark County Clerk. In 1827, he moved to Pocohontas, Arkansas, where he married Cinderella Bettis, daughter of the properous founder of that town, Ransom Bettis. His father-in-law gave the newlyweds 800 acre (3.2 km2) of bottomland in Cherokee Bay near the town of Biggers in what is now Randolph County, then Lawrence County. The Drews prospered, having a plantation and twenty African American slaves.

In 1832, Drew was elected judge of Lawrence County. In 1835, Drew and Bettis convinced the Arkansas Territorial Legislature to create Randolph County from Lawrence County. In 1836, Drew and Bettis held an infamous free barbecue complete with free liquor for the entire county in Pocahontas (then known as Bettis Bluff). The grateful attendees the next day chose Pocahontas as the county seat in an upset election over the more populated community of Columbia. That same year, Drew gave the county land in downtown Pocahontas where a courthouse was constructed.

In 1836, Drew was chosen as a delegate to the Arkansas Constitutional Convention. He was elected Governor in 1844 as a Democrat, having secured the backing of the Conway-Sevier faction that had ruled Arkansas since territorial days. His administration concentrated on the state's financial solvency and attempted to correct the state's bad credit as well as disunity within Democratic ranks. Under Drew, Arkansas became the first southern state to declare Thanksgiving Day as a state holiday. At Cinderella's urging, Drew secured passage of legislation protecting a woman's property which she brought into a marriage as her own separate entity, distinct from the husband's holdings.

Drew was re-elected in 1848. The next year, he dispatched a militia to Marion County to suppress the Tutt-Everett War. Drew only served a year of his second term. He resigned in protest of the $1,500 annual salary then provided for the governor. He retired from politics and concentrated on his own financial holdings. In 1860, he was living in Sebastian County near Fort Smith in western Arkansas. He moved to Weatherford west of Fort Worth, Texas. He later moved to Hood County, Texas, where he died in the community of Lipan.

Drew was originally buried in the Old Baptist Cemetery in Lipan. In 1923, his remains were exhumed and reburied at the Masonic Cemetery in Pocahontas, Arkansas, alongside the graves of Bettis, Cinderella, and several of the Drew children. One of Drew's brothers, Richard Maxwell Drew, held several public offices in Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, including that of state representative from 1848 until his death in 1850 at the age of twenty-eight. Richard Cleveland Drew, R. M. Drew's son and hence a nephew of Thomas Drew, was a circuit court judge from Webster Parish, which was created in 1871 from neighboring Claiborne Parish.Drew County in southern Arkansas is named for Thomas S. Drew.

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