Henry Massie Rector
|6th Governor of Arkansas|
November 15, 1860 – November 4, 1862
|Preceded by||Elias Conway|
|Succeeded by||Thomas Fletcher (acting)|
|Associate Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court|
February 5, 1859 – May 1860
|Preceded by||Christopher C. Scott|
|Succeeded by||Hulbert F. Fairchild|
|Member of the|
Arkansas House of Representatives
from Pulaski County
November 6, 1854 – November 3, 1856
Serving with Joseph Stillwell
|Preceded by||William E. Ashley|
Benjamin F. Danley
|Succeeded by||Lorenzo Gibson|
Samuel W. Williams
|Member of the Arkansas Senate|
from Saline and Perry counties
November 4, 1848 – November 1, 1852
|Preceded by||New constituency|
|Succeeded by||Constituency abolished|
|Born||May 1, 1816|
Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
|Died||August 12, 1899 (aged 83)|
Little Rock, Arkansas, U.S.
|Resting place||Mount Holly Cemetery,|
Little Rock, Arkansas, U.S.
Jane Elizabeth Field
(m. 1838; died 1857)
Ernestine Flora Linde
|Children||Elias W. Rector (son)|
James Rector (grandson)
|Years of service||1862–1865|
|Wars||American Civil War|
Henry Massie Rector (May 1, 1816 – August 12, 1899) was an American politician and lawyer who served as the sixth governor of Arkansas from 1860 to 1862.
Early life and education
Henry Massie Rector was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of Fannie Bardella (Thruston) and Elias Rector. His Rector family descended from the German-speaking families of Germanna in the Colony of Virginia, though both parents were also of English descent. He was educated by his mother and attended two years of school in Louisville. He moved to Arkansas in 1835, where he was later appointed U.S. Marshal.
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. From 1853 to 1857, he served as U.S. Surveyor-General of Arkansas for several years. From 1855 to 1859, he served in the Arkansas House of Representatives and 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 U.S. and was admitted into the Confederate States. The constitution of Arkansas was rewritten reducing the term of office for Governor to two years. At the Arkansas secession convention in March 1861, Rector addressed the convention in an oratory urging the extension of slavery:
The area of slavery must be extended correlative with its antagonism, or it will be put speedily in the 'course of ultimate extinction.' ... The extension of slavery is the vital point of the whole controversy between the North and the South ... Amendments to the federal constitution are urged by some as a panacea for all the ills that beset us. That instrument is amply sufficient as it now stands, for the protection of Southern rights, if it was only enforced. The South wants practical evidence of good faith from the North, not mere paper agreements and compromises. They believe slavery a sin, we do not, and there lies the trouble.— Henry Massey Rector, Arkansas Secession Convention (March 2, 1861).
Rector left office in 1862 and served as a private in the state militia for the rest of the war. He participated in the 1874 constitutional convention.
Rector was the first cousin of Representative Henry Conway, Governor James Conway and Governor Elias Conway. Rector was also a third cousin of General James Kemper. He was a first cousin of fellow Confederate general Alexander Steen.
His son, Elias, 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 Alcorn of Mississippi. His grandson, James, was the first Arkansan to participate in the Olympic Games.
- Onofrio, Jan (January 1998). Arkansas Biographical Dictionary. Somerset Publishers. ISBN 9780403098514.
- Biographical and pictorial history of Arkansas, Volume 1 By John Hallum page 405
- "Henry Massie Rector (1816–1899)". The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
- "Arkansas Governor Henry Massey Rector". National Governors Association. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
- Arkansas Secession Convention. 1861. p. 4.