Happy Birthday to Buddy Villines

On this date in 1947, future Little Rock Mayor Floyd G. “Buddy” Villines was born.  A 1969 graduate of Hendrix College, he served in Vietnam in 1970 and 1971. He later graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Law School.

Villines’ first interaction with Little Rock City Hall was as an employee in the City Manager’s office.  After joining the private sector, he returned to City Hall in 1985 serving on the Little Rock City Board of Directors.  He was re-elected in 1989.

While on the City Board, he was chosen as Vice Mayor for a two year term in 1987 and 1988.  The following year he was selected as Mayor for a two year term.  In 1990, Villines was elected Pulaski County Judge; he resigned from the City Board in December 1990 to take office.

Villines served as Pulaski County Judge for 24 years, from January 1991 until December 2014.  He is the longest serving County Judge in Pulaski County history.

Remembering LR Mayor John Widgery

On June 17, 1802, future Little Rock Mayor John Widgery was born in Portland ME to Mr. and Mrs. William Widgery.  His father died in 1804.  At the age of 11, John Widgery entered Bowdoin College.  He was the youngest student admitted to the college.

Widgery studied law with his uncle, Nathan Kinsman.  He married Ann L. Woodward, who was from Boston MA.  According to Bowdoin College records, he later “wandered away into the Southwest” spending time “in the Cherokee country.”

Widgery spent most of his adult life in the south. For a time Widgery was clerk of the Mississippi House of Representatives.  He then moved to Little Rock prior to 1840.  By 1840, he was Recorder for the City of Little Rock.

According to media reports at the time, several tradesman groups encouraged Widgery to run for Mayor in January 1841.  He did run but lost to Rev. Samuel H. Webb.  The next year, Widgery ran again and this time was elected Mayor.  He took office in January 1842.  On May 24, 1842 he resigned from office.  He later served as Secretary of the Arkansas Senate (where he made $8 a day when the Senate was in session).

Widgery eventually settled in St. Louis.  He later returned up north.  He died on August 2, 1873 in Portland ME and is buried there.  He and his wife did not have any children.

No known painting or photograph of Mayor Widgery exists.

Little Rock Look Back: Mayor Buddy Villines

judgebuddyOn this date in 1947, future Little Rock Mayor Floyd G. “Buddy” Villines was born.  A 1969 graduate of Hendrix College, he served in Vietnam in 1970 and 1971. He later graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Law School.

Villines’ first interaction with Little Rock City Hall was as an employee in the City Manager’s office.  After joining the private sector, he returned to City Hall in 1985 serving on the Little Rock City Board of Directors.  He was re-elected in 1989.

While on the City Board, he was chosen as Vice Mayor for a two year term in 1987 and 1988.  The following year he was selected as Mayor for a two year term.  In 1990, Villines was elected Pulaski County Judge; he resigned from the City Board in December 1990 to take office.

Villines served as Pulaski County Judge for 24 years, from January 1991 until December 2014.  He is the longest serving County Judge in Pulaski County history.

Little Rock Look Back: Mayor John Widgery

LR sealOn June 17, 1802, future Little Rock Mayor John Widgery was born in Portland ME to Mr. and Mrs. William Widgery.  His father died in 1804.  At the age of 11, John Widgery entered Bowdoin College.  He was the youngest student admitted to the college.

Widgery studied law with his uncle, Nathan Kinsman.  He married Ann L. Woodward, who was from Boston MA.  According to Bowdoin College records, he later “wandered away into the Southwest” spending time “in the Cherokee country.”

Widgery spent most of his adult life in the south. For a time Widgery was clerk of the Mississippi House of Representatives.  He then moved to Little Rock prior to 1840.  By 1840, he was Recorder for the City of Little Rock.

According to media reports at the time, several tradesman groups encouraged Widgery to run for Mayor in January 1841.  He did run but lost to Rev. Samuel H. Webb.  The next year, Widgery ran again and this time was elected Mayor.  He took office in January 1842.  On May 24, 1842 he resigned from office.  He later served as Secretary of the Arkansas Senate (where he made $8 a day when the Senate was in session).

Widgery eventually settled in St. Louis.  He later returned up north.  He died on August 2, 1873 in Portland ME and is buried there.  He and his wife did not have any children.

No known painting or photograph of Mayor Widgery exists.

Little Rock Look Back: Dr. John J. McAlmont, LR’s 25th Mayor and a founder of UAMS

McAlmontJohnJ_fFuture Little Rock Mayor John Josephus McAlmont was born on this date in 1821 in New York state. (Various reports give his birth date as December 22 — but the family reports December 19 as the date.)

After studying medicine in Pennsylvania and Ohio, he arrived in Little Rock in March 1850 with his family.  After practicing medicine in nearby Benton, he returned to Little Rock in 1852.  In addition to being a physician, he was a pharmacist.

During the Civil War, he relocated his family out of Little Rock (to a spot where the present day community of McAlmont bears his name).  Following the war, he moved them back to the City.  In 1866 he was elected Mayor of Little Rock, the first elected Mayor since local government resumed following the Civil War.

In October 1879, he and seven other physicians founded the Arkansas Industrial University Medical Department in Little Rock. This institution has grown into the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.  He served on the faculty of the medical school for several years.

Dr. McAlmont died in September 1896.  He is buried at Mount Holly Cemetery.  In addition to the McAlmont community bearing his name, there is a McAlmont street in downtown Little Rock which was named in his memory.

Little Rock Look Back: Buddy Villines – LR’s 69th Mayor

judgebuddyOn this date in 1947, future Little Rock Mayor (and current Pulaski County Judge) Floyd G. “Buddy” Villines was born.  A 1969 graduate of Hendrix College, he served in Vietnam in 1970 and 1971. He later graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Law School.

Villines’ first interaction with Little Rock City Hall was as an employee in the City Manager’s office.  After joining the private sector, he returned to City Hall in 1985 serving on the Little Rock City Board of Directors.  He was re-elected in 1989.

While on the City Board, he was chosen as Vice Mayor for a two year term in 1987 and 1988.  The following year he was selected as Mayor for a two year term.  In 1990, Villines was elected Pulaski County Judge; he resigned from the City Board in December 1990 to take office.

Villines has served as Pulaski County Judge since January 1991.  He is leaving office this December after 24 years.  He is the longest serving County Judge in Pulaski County history.

Little Rock Look Back: John Widgery, LR’s 8th Mayor

LR sealOn June 17, 1802, future Little Rock Mayor John Widgery was born in Portland ME to Mr. and Mrs. William Widgery.  His father died in 1804.  At the age of 11, John Widgery entered Bowdoin College.  He was the youngest student admitted to the college.

Widgery studied law with his uncle, Nathan Kinsman.  He married Ann L. Woodward, who was from Boston MA.  According to Bowdoin College records, he later “wandered away into the Southwest” spending time “in the Cherokee country.”

Widgery spent most of his adult life in the south. For a time Widgery was clerk of the Mississippi House of Representatives.  He then moved to Little Rock prior to 1840.  By 1840, he was Recorder for the City of Little Rock.

According to media reports at the time, several tradesman groups encouraged Widgery to run for Mayor in January 1841.  He did run but lost to Rev. Samuel H. Webb.  The next year, Widgery ran again and this time was elected Mayor.  He took office in January 1842.  On May 24, 1842 he resigned from office.  He later served as Secretary of the Arkansas Senate (where he made $8 a day when the Senate was in session).

Widgery eventually settled in St. Louis.  He later returned up north.  He died on August 2, 1873 in Portland ME and is buried there.  He and his wife did not have any children.

No known painting or photograph of Mayor Widgery exists.