UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture 401 President Clinton Avenue Little Rock, AR, 72201 firstname.lastname@example.org
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UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture
W. B. W. Heartsill Papers, 1864-1945
4.0 Linear feet; 6 document boxes, 1 flat box
By type of activity, including official duties as deputy clerk, postmaster and special master commissioner of accounts; General Assembly; labor and political activism; Southwestern Coal Mining receivership; personal and family; and oversized materials.
Scope and Content Note
This collection contains the professional and personal papers of Willie (pronounced "Wylie") Blount Wright Heartsill, a Confederate soldier, Sebastian County court clerk, postmaster, legislative representative, and union organizer. Included are items concerning his union activities and position as receiver for the Southwestern Coal Mining Company. Also included are materials concerning Heartsill's Civil War service and family life.
This collection was originally numbered A-20.
The son of Hiram Heartsill and Amanda Malvina Fitzallen Wright, Willie Blount Wright Heartsill was born 1840 September 13 in Louisville, Tennessee. He was married three times; his first marriage, to Eglentine Gillespy, ended in divorce. After the death of his second wife, Nancy Phillips, Heartsill married Jennie Harris, by whom he fathered five children: Isaac W., Harris, Virgil H., Maddah, and Christine.
During the Civil War, Heartsill served in the Second Tennessee Cavalry (Confederate), rising to the rank of captain. After the war, he moved to western Arkansas, where he worked as a bookkeeper. Heartsill later became deputy clerk of the Sebastian County court and also served as postmaster at Greenwood from 1885 to 1891.
During the 1880s, Heartsill became active in various labor union organizations, including the Brothers of Freedom, Grand Agricultural Wheel, Farmers' Cooperative Alliance, and the Knights of Labor. In 1887, he helped form an order of "Farmers, Mechanics and Working Men," a division of the Farmers' Alliance and continued to work for the organization until 1891. During that same year, Heartsill worked as a representative of the People's Party. A reform candidate for the People's Party in the 1892 congressional election, he also served on the state central committee. Heartsill continued to work as a bookkeeper during this time, and he was hired to oversee the books of the Southwestern Coal Company of Greenwood in 1892. In December, the company went bankrupt, and the owners and creditors of the company appointed Heartsill receiver. He operated the company until February 1893, when the mine was sold to a Pennsylvania company. Heartsill, who was state master workman of the Knights of Labor, repeatedly claimed that the sale was fraudulent, a scheme hatched by the owners to defraud the miners of back wages. By March, the miners had been black-listed, and the resulting general strike against the subsequent owners was not resolved until late 1894.
Resuming his political career, Heartsill served as Sebastian County commissioner of accounts from ca. 1899 until 1906, when he was elected to represent Sebastian County in Arkansas' 36th General Assembly. Heartsill also served in the 37th and 39th General Assemblies, during which he repeatedly proposed a salary regulation law for Sebastian County officials. He also proposed a Sebastian County pauper commission and supported legislation that protected miners. Heartsill died 1913 March 13 in Little Rock during the 39th General Assembly.
Arkansas--Politics and government--20th century
Coal mines and mining--Arkansas--Sebastian County--History
Cravens, William Fadjo, Jr., 1929-2012
Heartsill, W. B. W. (Willie Blount Wright), 1840-1913
Sebastian County (Ark.)--History
Veterans--Confederate States of America
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is available for viewing at the Arkansas Studies Institute.
Conditions Governing Use
The copyright law of the United States (Title 17-U.S. Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. The person using this material is liable for any infringement.
Copyright for correspondence in the collections belongs to those correspondents or their beneficiaries. Persons wanting to re-use those materials are advised to obtain permission from copyright holders.
W. B. W. Heartsill Papers, 1864-1945, UALR.MS.0025. UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture, Arkansas Studies Institute, Little Rock.
Footnote or Endnote info:
Description of item, file number, box number, W. B. W. Heartsill Papers, 1864-1945, UALR.MS.0025.