Kie Oldham papers, 1860-1875

Oldham, Kie, 1869-1912


20 boxes.
The bulk of papers concern Confederate Arkansas and most are of an official nature, correspondence to and from Governors Elias Nelson Conway, Henry Massie Rector, Harris Flanagin, Powell Clayton, and Isaac Murphy, as well as various Civil War officers. Subjects include the Civil War, secession, abolition, slavery, Freedmen's Bureau, Abandoned Lands, Jayhawkers, crimes, civil and military elections, laws, acts, and Reconstruction.
Kie Oldham was born 17 Jan. 1869 in Speedwell, Madison County, Ky. After receiving an education in Kentucky's public schools Oldham, then about fifteen, moved to Little Rock in 1884 where he resided with his sister, Mary Kavanaugh Oldham Eagle, wife of James Phillip Eagle. He graduated from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia in 1889 and earned a law degree from the University of Virginia in 1894. Oldham served as private secretary to his brother-in-law, Governor Eagle (1889-1893) and to Governor William Meade Fishback (1893-1895). After passing the Arkansas bar exam in 1894 Oldham formed a law partnership with Henry M. Armistead for three years. In 1897 the Secretary of the Interior appointed Oldham special counsel for the Confederate Bands of Ute Indians, in which capacity he served until 1903. He resided much of the time in Washington, D.C., making frequent trips to Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona where the dryer climates proved beneficial to his tuberculosis. He also resided in Cuba for several months in 1903 and 1904 while working on cases before the Spanish Treaty Claims Commission. Upon his return to Little Rock he resumed his law practice and was elected to the state senate from the Tenth District (Pulaski and Perry counties) for two terms, in 1906 and again in 1908. Illness prevented Oldham from attending all of the sessions; he is, however, credited with authoring two important pieces of legislation, one for the completion of the state capitol in 1907, and the other for the establishment of the State Tuberculosis Sanitorium at Booneville in 1909. Oldham died at Tucson, Ariz., where he was undergoing treatment for tuberculosis on 5 Jan. 1912. He was buried in Oakland Cemetery in Little Rock.
On a scouting mission to Arkansas Leslie J. Perry, a clerk in the U.S. War Dept. War Records Office (WRO), discovered Kie Oldham working for Governor Eagle. Perry, sent to locate Arkansas Confederate records for inclusion in The Official Records of the War of the Rebellion (1881-1901), recommended Oldham to Major George B. Davis, who was then in charge of the WRO. In Jan. 1892 Davis appointed Oldham a temporary clerk, salaried at $75.00 per month, to locate and forward to his office Arkansas' records of the War of the Rebellion. While many of Arkansas' Confederate records were destroyed during the infamous Brooks-Baxter War (Perry complained of his inability to locate a single letter book of the war days), Oldham forwarded more than 3,400 documents to Washington. Even after his assignment ended nine months later, Oldham continued to build upon this collection until his death in 1911. After his death Oldham's widow, Caroline Weeden Oldham, placed the collection in the Arkansas History Commission.
The material described in this catalog record is located in the collections of the Arkansas History Commission.
Collection is open for research.
Materials in English.
Finding aid available in the repository.

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