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Thomas Boles Papers, 1858-1909

Thomas Boles Papers, 1858-1909

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Thomas Boles Papers, 1858-1909 UALR.MS.0055

UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture
401 President Clinton Avenue
Little Rock, AR, 72201

Profile Description

Creation: This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2013-09-16T11:30-0500

Repository: UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture
Title: Thomas Boles Papers, 1858-1909
Dates: 1858-1909
Quantity: 0.5 Linear feet; 1 document box
Identification: UALR.MS.0055


By type of material and then chronologically within.

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains correspondence, legal papers, and other material concerning the career of Thomas Boles, an Arkansas attorney, soldier, judge, and member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Included is a a notebook, containing entries written by Boles concerning poetry, religion, and his Civil War experiences. Pre-Civil War entries include Bole's thoughts on religion and the "Great Director." The notebook also documents Boles's work as an attorney during the Civil War, including estate cases and his work with men conscripted into military service. It also contains financial records for everyday items such as pork, flour, and beef. An extended passage in the notebook, "Julia," concerns the death of Boles's wife, their courtship and marriage, Julia's relationship with her slaves, and reflections on Boles's wartime service in the 3rd Arkansas cavalry, which fought for the Union. Boles describes his enlistment, capture by Confederates, rumors of his wife's death by execution, and his return to service once released. Boles's notebook also discusses the death of his brother from the "flux" and lawlessness in Arkansas after the war.

Boles's papers also include correspondence, written to family and business associates, chiefly concerning his law practice and financial matters after the war in Fort Smith. A letter of 1894 June 17 mentions his work in Indian Territory. A letter of 1900 July 27 describes Boles meeting members of the Populist Party and includes discussion of the upcoming presidential election. A letter of 1903 May 24 discusses Boles's impressions of Mammoth Spring, Arkansas. Also included is a memorial Boles wrote for Elias Cornelius Boudinot, a Confederate soldier and politician as well as post-war advocate for Native American rights.

Boles's legal papers include deeds, bonds, contracts, bank accounts, and other materials concerning his work for the Ft. Smith, Paris and Dardanelle Railroad Company.

Biographical Note

Thomas Boles, son of John Boles (1808-1870) and Mary May (1821-1911), was born near Clarksville, Arkansas, on 1837 July 16. Although not formerly educated, he taught school from 1854 to 1858. In 1858, Boles served as Yell County deputy sheriff; and from 1859-1860, he worked as a deputy circuit clerk. In 1860, he was admitted to the bar and established a law practice in Danville.

During the Civil War, Boles served as a captain in Company E, Third Arkansas Cavalry (Union). The 3rd Arkansas was organized in 1863 and saw action in the spring of 1864 at the battles of Marks' Mill, Camden, and Jenkins' Ferry. Boles was captured at one point by General Jo Shelby's men. He returned to the Union army once released.

After the war, Boles was elected judge of the Fourth Judicial District, but he resigned from this position to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1868-1874. He married twice: to Julia Elizabeth Pound on 1866 August 15, then, following Julia's death, to Catherine Frances Keith on 1874 February 5.

After serving in Congress, Boles returned to Arkansas and moved his law practice to Dardanelle, where he was appointed receiver of the U.S. Land Office by President Hayes in 1878. A few years later, Chester A. Arthur appointed him U.S. marshal for Arkansas’s western district. Around this time, Boles moved to Fort Smith, where he served as president of the Fort Smith, Paris and Dardanelle Railway. In 1884, he was the Republican nominee for governor but was defeated by Simon Hughes.

Boles’ last professional position was as clerk of the U.S. Circuit Court, where he served from 1897 until his death on 1905 March 13.

Arkansas--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
Arkansas--Politics and government--19th century
Boles, Julia, 1845-1872
Boles, Thomas, 1837-1905
Boudinot, Elias Cornelius, 1835-1890--Death and burial
Confederate States of America. Army--Recruiting, enlistment, etc..
Fort Smith, Paris and Dardanelle Railroad Company.
Lawyers--Arkansas--History--19th century
Mammoth Spring (Ark.)--Description and travel--20th century
United States. Army. Arkansas Cavalry Regiment, 3rd.


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.

Administrative Information

Citation Notes

Bibliographic Citation:

Thomas Boles Papers, 1859-1909, UALR.MS.0055. UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture, Arkansas Studies Institute, Little Rock.

Footnote or Endnote info:

Description of item and file number, Thomas Boles Papers, 1859-1909, UALR.MS.0055.

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