From Garland Daily News, June 17, 1973




Author:  Marsha Zapp

Father of Garland – A portrait of A.H. Garland, for whom the City of Garland was named, was presented to Mayor Don Raines this week by Bill Hadskey, right, president of the Local History and Genealogical Society.  Garland, an Attorney General under President Grover Cleveland, has another city, Garland City, Ark., named for his family.

When Garland’s Landmark Museum opens its doors in September, museum goers will view a painting of Augustus Hill Garland, the city’s name sake, thanks to the efforts of a Garland artist.

The painting was presented to Mayor Don Raines this week by Bill Hadskey, president of the Local History and Genealogical Society, on behalf of the painter, Ben Thompson of 613 Carpenter.

Thompson, a machinist by vocation and a painter by avocation, creates western landscapes and portraits.  His works have been shown at the Witte Museum in San Antonio and been critiqued by the curator of the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art in Fort Worth.

The subject of Thompson’s gift to the city was painted from the negative of a photograph of Garland.  The original, believed to be the only picture ever published in this area of the United States, was discovered in Dallas by Mrs. G.L. Davis.

Garland evolved as a name for the post office to serve the budding communities of Embree and Duck Creek, which were having a feud during the 1880’s over who would get the U.S. post office in this area.

Duck Creek first received the post office when Santa Fe put a rail line through.  The post office was transferred to Embree, located near Walnut and Fifth, when Missouri-Kansas-Texas came through.  The situation finally resulted in a U.S. judge asking a U.S. Congressman to travel to what is now Garland and settle the dispute.

The solution agreed upon was to locate the post office midway between Duck Creek, near present Central Park, and Embree and to name it for the Attorney General of the United States, Mr. Garland.

Mr. Garland has a colorful biography as the story of the naming of Garland.  Born in Tennessee in 1832, his family migrated to the Arkansas frontier a year later, settling near the present-day Garland City on the Red River.

The city namesake attended school in Kentucky, where he studied law and then returned home to Arkansas to teach school.

Ambitious of becoming a U.S. Attorney General, Garland favored the Constitutional Union ticket in the 1860 presidential election and was selected a presidential elector for John Bell and Edward Everett.  He was also admitted to practice before the Supreme Court in December of that year.

A year later saw Garland leading the conservatives in opposing radical action at the Secession Convention.  Opposing secession, the lawyer reluctantly yielded and voted for secession, becoming a zealous supporter of the Confederate cause.  He later aided in arguments incident to the forming of the provision Constitution of the Confederacy.

The native Tennessean served in the Confederate Army, served in the Confederate Congress, and at the close of the war, returned to his law practice in Little Rock, Ark.

However, he met obstacles in practicing law following the war, since the U.S. Congress had passed a law prohibiting those who had aided the South from practicing in the U.S. courts without taking the “Iron-Clad” loyalty oath.  In 1865 Garland pled his case before the Supreme Court, believing that Congress had no constitutional right to pass such a law.  He won his argument.

Garland eventually won election to the U.S. Senate in 1867, but was not permitted to take his seat owing to the post-war Republican set-up.  He was again elected to the U.S. Senate in 1877 and was re-elected with little opposition.  He resigned when he was appointed Attorney General under President Grover Cleveland during Cleveland’s first term, 1885-1889.

The attorney general died in Washington, D.C., in 1899 while practicing law before the Supreme Court.