A place to remember, preserve & share information about our ancestors.


Woodson Mosley

Woodson Mosley, circuit and probate clerk, Toledo, Ark.

The subject of this sketch -needs no introduction to the people of Cleveland County, Ark., for he is a native-born citizen of that county, and a man whose integrity and honesty of purpose is unquestioned.

He was born in 1856, and his father, Wiley Mosley, is a native of Aiken, S. C., born in 1820. The latter was married in Calhoun County, Ark., to Miss Jane Elizabeth Brawner, a native of Georgia, burn in 1829, and they afterward moved to what is now Cleveland County, Ark., where Mr. Mosley had previously purchased land, and here they still reside.

They were among the first settlers of this region, and are much esteemed and respected by all acquainted with them. The father is a successful agriculturist, and has followed this calling the principal part of his life. He served two years in the Confederate army during the latter part of the war, with Capt. Snell, of Gen. Fagan's command, Trans-Mississippi Department. He was all through Price's raid, and was wounded near Kansas City. At the time of the surrender he was in Texas.

He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, Kingsland Lodge. His father, Absalom Mosley, was born in Aiken County, S. C., and there spent his life, engaged in tilling the soil. He was of English descent. The maternal grandfather, Tilman Brawner, was a native of Georgia, afterward lived in Alabama, but spent the latter part of his life in Calhoun County, Ark., where he died in 1366. He was a soldier in the early Indian wars, was of English descent, and was a prominent farmer sod merchant by occupation. Woodson Mosley, the second of six children, was early taught the arduous duties of the farm, and received his education in the common school.

He afterward read law, later attended a law class in Little Rock, and was admitted to the bar there in 1881, but never practiced to any great extent. He returned home and was engaged in merchandising, which he continued at Kingsland, until he was elected clerk of Cleveland County, in September, 1888. From 1881 until his election as clerk, he was notary public, and was also mayor of Kingsland a number of years.

His marriage nuptials were celebrated in 1888, with bliss E. L. Smith, a native of Mississippi, born near Wesson, and the daughter of William M. and Z. J. Smith, who were natives of Mississippi, where they resided until 1881, when
they moved to Kingsland. There the father died in 1887, but Mrs. Smith is still living. Mr. Smith followed farming until coming to Arkansas, and since that time has been engaged in a general blacksmith and wagon-making business.

He served through the entire war in the Confederate army. Mr. Mosley is a Democrat in politics, and his first vote was cast for Gen. Hancock in 1880.  He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, Kingsland Lodge. 

He is the owner of 300 acres of timbered land in Cleveland and Ashley Counties. Mrs. Mosley is a member of the Baptist Church.


Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Southern Arkansas
Copyright 1890
Published by The Goodspeed Publishing Co.; Chicago, Nashville and St. Louis

One of the leading attorneys in Arkansas is Judge Woodson Mosley, who is engaged in active practice at Rison.

He was born in this state, near Edenburg, Cleveland county, on the 6th of June, 1856, a son of Wiley and Jane Elizabeth (Brawner) Mosley. The paternal ancestors came from England to this country in the early colonial days and located in South Carolina. The maternal ancestors likewise came from England in the colonial days, locating in Virginia, subsequently removing to North Carolina and later to Georgia.

Wiley Mosley was born in South Carolina and came to Arkansas, locating in Bradley county in 1849. He was among the early settlers in that community and he engaged in farming for some time. He removed to what was then Bradley county, but is now Cleveland county, and was active in agricultural pursuits at the time of his demise. Upon the outbreak of the Civil war Wiley Mosley put all personal interests aside and enlisted as a private in the second Arkansas Mounted Infantry, Confederate army. He served throughout that conflict and participated in many of the strategic battles of the war.

In Chambersville, Arkansas, in 1852, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Mosley to Miss Jane Elizabeth Brawner, a native of Georgia. She came to this state from Alabama in 1851 and located with her parents in Calhoun county, they being among the pioneer settlers there. Her brother, T.M. Brawner served in the Civil war as a private in the infantry, in Confederate service, and was severely wounded in action.

Wiley Mosley’s death occurred on the home place near New Edinburg in 1900, at the age of eighty-one years. Mrs. Mosley died in Cleveland county in 1903, when she was in her eighty-first year. To the union of Mr. and Mrs. Mosley two boys and four girls were born, all of whom are living.

Judge Woodson Mosley, whose name initiates this review, was the second in order of birth. In the acquirement of his education Woodson Mosley attended the common schools of Cleveland county and first studied law in the office of Z.P.H. Farr of Little Rock, in 1881, and the spring of 1882. Later he was in the office of S.P. Hughes of Little Rock. In 1882 he was admitted to the bar. He practiced for a short time in Cleveland county and in 1885 went into the mercantile business at Kingsland, Arkansas, in partnership with T.M. Boyd.

In the fall of the year 1888 that business was discontinued and soon afterward Judge Mosley was elected circuit clerk of Cleveland county, and office he held until 1892. For the following two years he held no public office but in 1894 was reelected circuit clerk, serving in that office an additional two years. Subsequently for four years he was county and probate judge, his term of office expiring in 1900.  Since that time he has engaged in the general practice of law in Rison and has built up an extensive and lucrative clientage throughout the county. In addition to his private practice he is local attorney of the Bank of Rison and of the J.I. Porter Lumber Company of Stuttgart. At Kingsland, Arkansas.

In 1888, was celebrated the marriage of Judge Mosley to Miss Etter Louvenia Smith, a daughter of William and Zilphy Jane Smith of Brook Haven, Mississippi. To their union seven children have been born: Browner G. is engaged in the abstract business in Rison; Edna is the wife of Dr. A.A. Hughes of New Gascony; James G. is likewise engaged in the conduct of an abstract business here. He married Miss Anna Hunter of Monticello; Lucy died in infancy; Ruth is the wife of T.J. Thornton of Stephens, who is now running a plantation near Cornerstone; Ester is living at home with her parents; and Wiley W. is sixteen years of age and a student in the schools in Rison.

Since age conferred upon Mr. Mosley the right of franchise he has given his political allegiance to the democratic party, having firm belief in the principles of that party as factors in good government. Fraternally he is identified with the Masons, holding member ship in A.F.& A.M. Lodge of Kingsland, and he is likewise affiliated with the Woodmen.

During the World War Judge Mosley was tireless in his devotion to the government’s interests and was chairman of the legal advisory board of Cleveland county, the duties of that office requiring practically all of his time. Cleveland county is proud to number him among her native sons, for he has been a dominant factor in its continued upbuilding and improvement. His friends are legion and he has won the confidence and respect of all with whom he has come into contact.


Source: Among Arkansas Leaders, Little Rock: Lex B. Davis, 1934.  Submitted by Belinda (Brown) Winston.