William Ben Cravens

A prominent Fort Smith attorney and lifelong resident of the city, Cravens also represented western Arkansas in the U.S. House of Representatives in from 1907 to 1913 and again from 1933 to 1939. He died at 4 a.m., Friday, Jan. 13, 1939, at 67 and 10 days into his seventh term in Congress.

According to the Fort Smith Times Record, he was a "scion of a family long prominent in Arkansas." His father, William Murphy Cravens, also was a prominent member of the bar and a Confederate cavalry captain. William Ben Cravens was born Jan. 17, 1872 in Fort Smith, attended public schools in Louisville, Kentucky and military academy in Staunton, Virginia. In 1893, he obtained his law degree from the University of Missouri. He entered into law practice with his father, was elected in 1897 as city attorney, serving until being elected county prosecutor in 1901.

On Dec. 19. 1894, Cravens married Miss Caroline Dyal, a native of Wichita, Kansas. He was survived by a son, William Fadjo Cravens and a daughter, Mrs. William Eads. A leader of Fort Smith civic and social circles, Cravens also was a member of First Christian Church, a life member of the Order of the Elks and a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles.

Source: Congressman Cravens Dies of Pneumonia," Fort Smith Times, Record, page 1, 6.