Thomas James Churchill

Headstone: Find-a-Grave

Thomas James Churchill was born in Jefferson County, Kentucky, on March 10, 1824, and was educated at St. Mary's College and Transylvania University, where he studied law. After the Mexican War, in which he participated as a 1st lieutenant of the 1st Kentucky Rifles, he settled near Little Rock, Arkansas, of which city he was postmaster in 1861. He recruited the 1st Arkansas Mounted Rifles and rendered notable service with this regiment at Wilson's Creek. He was commissioned brigadier general to rank from March 4, 1862. After fighting at Richmond, Kentucky, under Kirby Smith, Churchill in January 1863 made a gallant defense at Arkansas Post, which he was finally forced to surrender in the face of overwhelming odds. He later participated in the Red River campaign against Banks and in the attack on Steele at Jenkins' Ferry, and was promoted major general March 18, 1865, while serving in the Trans-Mississippi Department. From 1874 until 1880 he was state treasurer of Arkansas, and was elected governor in the latter year by a huge majority. Subsequently a claim for alleged shortages in his accounts while treasurer was pressed by the attorney general of the state; judgment was entered against him for a substantial sum, which he made good. Much of the shortage was apparently due to faulty bookkeeping, and it seems certain that General Churchill did not profit personally. He died in Little Rock on May 14, 1905, and is buried in Mount Holly Cemetery.

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Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.