Henry M. Rector

Henry M. Rector
Henry M. Rector

NPS image from HOSP archives

Henry Massie Rector (1816 - 1899) was a bathhouse owner and politician who presided over Hot Springs's brief period as the state capitol of Arkansas. Born near Louisville, Kentucky in 1816, he moved to Arkansas in 1835 and tried to secure his father's claim to the Hot Springs of Garland County, where he eventually operated several bathhouses. He rose through the ranks of the Arkansas government serving as a U.S. Marshall, surveyor, judge, and state legislator.

In 1860 he became the sixth governor of Arkansas and led Arkansas out of the Union in 1861. In response to Union victories in northern Arkansas, Rector fled with the state archives to his bathhouse in Hot Springs, which served as the state capitol from May until July 1862 when the danger passed. In October 1862, Rector lost his bid for reelection. In spite of the defeat, he remained active in state politics until his death in 1899.

Last updated: November 15, 2017

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