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Sequoyah Research Center

Absalom Fowler

Early Life

Absalom Fowler was an interesting figure in the early histories of both the state of Arkansas and Little Rock. An early legend about Absalom Fowler is that he walked all the way to Little Rock from Memphis carrying his possessions in saddlebags. Fowler arrived in Little Rock around 1829 without a cent to his name. Shortly after arriving in Little Rock his circumstances soon changed. Fowler was a well-known lawyer, militia member, and an aspiring political candidate.

Early Career

Fowler was one of the early leading lawyers in Little Rock. He served Arkansas Territory as a Prosecuting Attorney in 1829-1830. Fowler soon turned the money he made as a lawyer into a small fortune in property and land speculation. Because of his success as a lawyer and as a reflection of his standing in Little Rock, Fowler was soon a member of the Arkansas Territorial Legislature. He was one of the two men representing Pulaski County in 1835. He ran in the first election for State Governor of Arkansas. James S. Conway defeated Fowler by 2,000 votes.

Militia

In Pope’s Early Days in Arkansas, he recalls that Capt. Fowler commanded a regiment of the territorial militia in 1832. In 1836 warfare broke out in Florida over removal of the Seminoles. Regular Army troops were redeployed from the Western frontier of Arkansas to Florida. To quell fears of Indian attack on a defenseless Arkansas, the county militias in Arkansas were deployed along the state’s Western frontier. Absalom Fowler was elected as a lieutenant colonel of this battalion. He served at Fort Towson on the Red River in Indian Territory.

Sources: F. Hampton Roy Sr. & Charles Wisell Jr. How We Lived: Little Rock As An American City, (Little Rock: August House 1984.) 56-58; Margaret Smith Ross, “Absalom Fowler and His Home,” The Pulaski County Historical Review 5 (June 1957)

Updated 4.19.2010