Charles Hillman Brough

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Charles Hillman Brough
Charles Hillman Brough in 1916.jpg
25th Governor of Arkansas
In office
January 10, 1917 – January 11, 1921
Preceded byGeorge Washington Hays
Succeeded byThomas Chipman McRae
Personal details
Born(1876-07-09)July 9, 1876
Clinton, Hinds County
Mississippi, U.S.
DiedDecember 26, 1935(1935-12-26) (aged 59)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Resting placeRoselawn Memorial Park in Little Rock, Arkansas
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materMississippi College

Johns Hopkins University

University of Mississippi School of Law
ProfessionProfessor; Lawyer

Charles Hillman Brough (July 9, 1876 – December 26, 1935) was the 25th Governor of the U.S. state of Arkansas from 1917 to 1921.


Charles Brough was born in Clinton in Hinds County in central Mississippi. In 1894, he graduated from Mississippi College in Clinton. He earned his Ph.D. in 1898 from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated from the University of Mississippi Law School in 1902. He taught at Mississippi College and the former women's institution, Hillman College, also in Clinton, Mississippi, and then the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He was a deacon in the Baptist Church.

Brough was elected governor in 1916. He defeated attorney Wallace Townsend, an Iowa native who later served as the long-term Republican national committeeman from Arkansas. Townsend made another unsuccessful gubernatorial bid in 1920 against Brough's successor, Thomas Chipman McRae.

During the Brough administration, the state reformatory for women was founded and a girl's industrial school was opened. He signed into law a bill which allowed women to vote in primary elections. Under Brough, Arkansas became the only southern state to allow women's suffrage prior to the 19th Amendment. Brough, a liberal Democrat, publicly supported anti-lynching laws. He was reelected as governor in 1918, when the Republican Party endorsed Brough against the Socialist Clay Fulks.

In 1919, the Elaine Race Riot in Elaine in Phillips County took place where white residents created false conspiracies about black residents wanting to kill whites, when black residents were only unionizing to demand better wages as sharecroppers.[1] Brough requested federal troops from the War Department and accompanied the troops to the scene. At the scene, soldiers rounded up black residents and like the Mississippi vigilantes and local posse had already been doing, killed black residents indiscriminately, with a total of 237 lives lost.[1] This was one of the deadliest racial conflicts in all of United States history.[2]

Brough was a personal friend of the Woodward family and was an early influence on prominent southern historian C. Vann Woodward.

Brough served as the director of the Public Information Bureau from 1925 to 1928 and in 1929 as president of Central Baptist College in Conway, Arkansas. He chaired the Virginia-District of Columbia Boundary Commission from 1934 to 1935. Brough was also a Civitan.[3] Brough also unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 1932, losing in the Democratic Primary to Senator Hattie Caraway.

Brough died in Washington, D.C. Like many other Arkansas governors, he is interred at the Roselawn Memorial Park Cemetery in the capital city of Little Rock.

Asked how to pronounce his surname, he told The Literary Digest: "Pronounced as if it were spelled bruff." (Charles Earle Funk, What's the Name, Please?, Funk & Wagnalls, 1936.)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Krugler, David. "America's Forgotten Mass Lynching: When 237 People Were Murdered In Arkansas". Daily Beast. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  2. ^ "Elaine Massacre". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  3. ^ Leonhart, James Chancellor (1962). The Fabulous Octogenarian. Baltimore Maryland: Redwood House, Inc. p. 277.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
George Washington Hays
Governor of Arkansas
Succeeded by
Thomas Chipman McRae