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The first woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate, the first to preside over a session of the Senate, the first to chair a committee, and the first to preside over a Senate hearing was Hattie Ophelia Wyatt Caraway of Jonesboro (Craighead County). On September 20, 2007, her Jonesboro gravesite was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Caraway was born on February 2, 1878, in Tennessee. While attending college at Dickson Normal College in Dickson, Tennessee, she met her future husband, Thaddeus Horatius Caraway of Clay County, Arkansas. They were married in 1902 and moved to Jonesboro. Thad Caraway was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1912 and the U.S. Senate in 1920. After his sudden death in 1931, Hattie Caraway was appointed to fill his seat. She was then elected to the seat in 1932 and reelected in 1938 before being defeated in 1944.
Hattie Caraway suffered a stroke and died on December 21, 1950, in Virginia. The Caraway family burial plot is located in Section C of Oaklawn Cemetery, off West Matthews Avenue Lane in Jonesboro. It is the last resting place of Hattie and Thaddeus Caraway, as well as the youngest of their three sons, Robert Easley Caraway. An approximately five-foot-tall, pointed granite headstone inscribed “Caraway” marks the plot. Small ground-level stones for each of the family members are located approximately eight feet to the east of the large marker. Perpetual care of the gravesite is provided by the City of Jonesboro Parks and Recreation Department.
The gravesite was placed on the National Register under Criterion B for national significance and Criterion C for being the grave of a historical figure of outstanding importance.
For additional information:Hendricks, Nancy. Senator Hattie Caraway: An Arkansas Legacy. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2013.
“U.S. Senator Hattie Caraway Gravesite.” National Register of Historic Places nomination form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/!userfiles/CG0245.nr.pdf (accessed October 13, 2014).
Mike Polston Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture
Last Updated 11/25/2014
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