When the rival villages of Duck Creek and Embree combined around a new post office in 1887, the resulting community acquired a compromise name - Garland.
A.H. Garland, the town's namesake, was born in Tennessee, but moved at an early age with his family to Arkansas. After a brief stint teaching school, he began "reading the law," which soon became his passion as well as his profession. Tensions leading toward civil war drew him to public life, first as a delegate to the secession convention in Arkansas, then as a member of both the Confederate Legislature and Senate.
Following the war "Gus" Garland gained national attention when he successfully challenged The Iron Clad Oath, which barred the former Confederate from practicing law. He also secured a pardon from President Andrew Johnson and later served as Arkansas' Acting Secretary of State, Governor and U.S. Senate. When President Grover Cleveland nominated him for U.S. Attorney General,Mr. Garland became the first cabinet member from the south since reconstruction and the first ever from Arkansas. But despite his accomplishments, there is no evidence that he ever enjoyed the pleasure of visiting Garland, Texas.