Elbert Hartwell English

Elbert Hartwell English

Madison County, Alabama, USA
Death 1 Sep 1884 (aged 68)
Buncombe County, North Carolina, USA
Burial Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas, USA
Memorial ID 7573549 · View Source
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h/o 1st, Julia Agnes FISHER , 2nd widow Susan Ann (Hobson) WHEELAS.

Birth: 6th of ten known children near Capshaw mountain, Madison county, Alabama

Elbert may have been the ~ longest serving, most cherished and honorable Chief Justice ~ Arkansas has ever had.

Lawyer, jurist, Masonic leader:

Served as assistant editor Arkansas Banner newspaper till 16 July 1845.

Served as the Court's Reporter of Decisions from 1845 to 1854.

Served as fourth Chief Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court from 1855 to 1864, and eighth, from 1874 till 1884 death. His son, Peyton, reportedly served the court as clerk from 1864 to 1865 and from 1896 till 1921 death.

Served twelve years as the Masonic Grand Master for the state of Arkansas.

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Elbert was not sure what to do after graduating from the academy at Athens, he taught school, became a silversmith for a few years, where he did well, then thought of becoming a college professor, studied medicine then began the study of law in 1837 in the office of George S HOUSTON (who later became governor, then a U S senator), was admitted to the bar in 1839 practicing law, serving two terms in state leglislature, in Athens, Limestone county, Alabama until 1844. At that time he removed from Alabama to Little Rock, Pulaski county, Arkansas, where he and Solon BORLAND formed their Law Firm, Solon had also removed recently from seven years in the Kentucky and Tennessee area late 1843 to edit the newly formed democrat Arkansas Banner newspaper. Elbert served as assistant editor for the paper until July 1845, following the successful elections when partner Solon was appointed state's Adjutant General.

Both masons and well educated, Elbert and Solon, with young sons, were intentely interested in education for the state's youth, actively working with others towards creation of educational facilties, meeting with considerable success, creating the first institution for higher learning in Arkansas December 1850, Saint Johns' College of Arkansas, in Little Rock, Paluski county, also Arkansas College in Fayetteville, Washington county, operated by Robert GRAHAM (1822PA-1901KY), first to issue degrees, Elbert having a seat as a trustee, as did GRAHAM have at Saint Johns' College in Little Rock. In Tulip, Dallas county, creating both Arkansas Military Institute (where Benjamin J BORDEN (1812NC-1887KY) once taught) and Tulip Femnale Collegiare Assembly
In 1854 Elbert was elected as the fourth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas which first had been served by Daniel RINGO (1803KY-1873AR), secondly Thomas JOHNSON (1808MD-1878AR), to fill the unexpired term of the third Chief Justice, George Claibourne WATKINS (1815KY-1872MO) who arrived in Little Rock in 1821 as a child, then Elbert was re-elected three times for full terms starting in 1860. Justice ENGLISH continued on the bench during the Civil War at Washington, Hempstead county, Arkansas and then resumed the practice of law in Little Rock. Upon the adoption of the 5th constitution adopted by the people 13 October 1874, he was again elected the eighth chief justice, serving until his 1884 death.

Judge ENGLISH's rulings had a considerable effect on the laws of Arkansas.

Elbert, jointly with Luke Edgar BARBER (1806MD-1886AR) (second president, Saint Johns' College), are credited for;

    "The volumes of Reports of Decisions of the Supreme Court prepared by Judge ENGLISH [1855-64 & 1874-84] and Mr BARBER [clerk,1841-68, & on staff 1874-86] constitute a large and valuable part of the written laws of the State Constitution."

Elbert also is credited for Solon BORLAND's defeat of Ambrose H SEIVER in the full term election for U S Senate seat

Elbert, along with other notable Little Rock Masonic attorneys (full-filling an earlier desire), was a Professer of Law at the newly created Law School at Saint Johns' College started 1873 under school's third president, Colonel Oliver Crosby GRAY (reportedly, the 2nd Arkansas law school to, Little Rock Law Class started in 1868, later folding in with Arkansas Industrial University in 1892). Ex senator Robert Ward JOHNSON (filled vacant U S senate seat of Solon BORLAND) reportedly, donated his extensive law library to the Saint Johns' Law School.

Source: in part, Biographical And Pictorial History of Arkansas, 1887, by John Hallum, also view his biography, Goodspeed.

Census: 1850, age 34 Little Rock, Pulaski county, Arkansas with 1st wife, her sister & two kids.

Census: 1860, age 43 Little Rock, Pulaski county, Arkansas with 1st wife & two kids.

Received his pardon 13 November 1865.

Census: 1870, age 54 Little Rock, Pulaski county, Arkansas with 1st wife & one son.

Census: 1880, age 64 Little Rock, Pulaski county, Arkansas with 2nd wife son by 1st wife, step-son, nephew and cousin.

~ ~ ~ Reference Number: 5868 [?]

Death: in Ashville, Buncombe county, North Carolina

Father: James ENGLISH b: ABT 1787 in Virginia.
Mother: Nancy McCRACKEN b: 11 JUL 1786 in Union District, South Carolina.

Marriage 1 Julia Agnes FISHER b: 23 NOV 1822 Athens, Limestone county, Alabama
Married: 30 SEP 1840 in Athens, Limestone county, Alabama

Known Children

  MacLin ENGLISH b: SEP 1841 in Athens, Limestone county, Alabama.

  Elberta ENGLISH b: 1843 in Athens, Limestone county, Alabama

  Peyton Danley ENGLISH b: 2 JAN 1846 in Limestone county, Alabama

Marriage 2 widow Susan Ann (Hobson) WHELEES b: JAN 1836 in Nashville, Davidson county, Tennessee
Married: JUL 1872 in Nashville, Davidson county, Tennessee

No known children

Partial source:
American Genealogical Research Institute Heritage Press, Inc.

Washington, D.C

Also view: Summer 2005 issue of The Arkansas Lawyer Magazine

"Noteworthy Arkansas Jurists: Arkansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Elbert H. English,"

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Obituary: Courtesy of Paul V ISABEL

The New York Times
Sept 2, 1884

Elbert Hartwell English

Judge H.E.English(sic), Chief Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court, died yesterday at Asheville, N.C. The body will be taken to Little Rock for interment. He was elected Chief Justice in 1854,.1860, and 1880. He was for twelve years the Masonic Grand Master for the state.

Prepared in part by Bill Boggess.

Family Members



"Reporter and for many years Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. His name is honored and revered in the legal history of the State."



  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Anonymous
  • Added: 14 Jun 2003
  • Find A Grave Memorial 7573549
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Elbert Hartwell English (16 Mar 1816–1 Sep 1884), Find A Grave Memorial no. 7573549, citing Mount Holly Cemetery, Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave (contributor 8) .