A.R. Witt

Taken from Central Arkansas Counties Biographical and Historical Memoirs • Chapter 23 Faulkner County

Col. A.R. Witt, one of the prominent citizens of Faulkner County, and a leading druggist of Conway, was born in Hamilton County, Tenn., in 1830, and moved to the northern part of Alabama in 1836, being the eldest in a family of four children born to Jesse and Sarah (Rogers) Witt, of Tennessee. The father removed from Alabama, where he had resided up to the year 1842, and then came to Van Buren County, Ark., where he settled on Little Red river and commenced farming. Later on he moved to Quitman in the same county, where he embarked in business, and was also appointed postmaster, which office he held up to the time of his death in 1878. His excellent wife died in 1854. A.R. Witt came to Arkansas when twelve years old and was educated in the Arkansas College at Fayetteville. After leaving the college he continued to reside in that city, and in 1857 was elected State land commissioner. In 1850 he went to California with a herd of cattle, and remained on the Pacific coast until the year 1861, when he returned to Arkansas and located at Little Rock. At this time active preparations were being made for war, and Mr. Witt was one of the first to recruit a company. He organized Company A, Tenth Arkansas Infantry, and was appointed captain, but after the battle of Shiloh his splendid service in action was the means of promoting him to the rank of colonel, in which capacity he remained until the close of the war. Col. Witt took part in the battles of Shiloh and Port Hudson, and at the latter place was captured. After being paroled he returned to the west bank of the Mississippi, and was with Gen. Price on his raids through Missouri. When the war was over he came back to Van Buren County and commenced farming on a plantation of his own. In 1867 he was elected to the State senate from Van Buren and Izard Counties, and was also a delegate in 1874 to the constitutional convention from the former county. The following year he was elected chancery clerk, and later was appointed a State officer. In 1877 Col. Witt removed to Conway, where he embarked in the drug business, and now owns the finest establishment in that city. He was appointed postmaster on May 18, 1884, and held the office until July 8, 1889, giving the public a postal service that was satisfactory in every way. He is a Democrat in politics, a stanch supporter of that party, and a man of considerable influence in the surrounding country. In secret societies he is a member of Green Grove Lodge No. 107, and also belongs to Center Link Lodge No. 75, I.O.O. F., and Faulkner Lodge No. 1, 624, K. of H. the Colonel married, in Van Buren County, 1865, Miss H.C. Miller of South Carolina, by whom he had six children: Annie (now Mrs. Forns, of Little Rock), Sarah, Earle, Vernon and coy, and one dead. Col. Witt’s efficiency was promptly recognized by Gov. Hughes when a vacancy occurred in the county judgeship, and he was appointed to the office. His military record was also well remembered, and the rank of brigadier-general of militia was conferred on him. The Colonel has been deeply interested in the development of Faulkner County since his residence here, and has perhaps watched its progress more closely than any other citizen in that community. He is a liberal contributor to al worthy enterprises, and is always one of the foremost in aiding educational and religious matters. He and wife are both member of the Baptist Church.