MILLS (FAMOUS), WILBUR DAIGH - White County, Arkansas | WILBUR DAIGH MILLS (FAMOUS) - Arkansas Gravestone Photos

Wilbur Daigh MILLS (FAMOUS)

Kensett Cemetery
White County,

24 May 1909 - 02 May 1992

County and Probate Judge for White County
1935 – 1938

US House of Representatives
January 3, 1939 – January 3, 1977

Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee
January 3, 1957 – January 3, 1975

Wilbur Daigh Mlls was born in Kensett, White County, Arkansas to Abbie Lois Daigh Mills and Ardra Pickens Mills. He was educated in the public schools of Kensett and Searcy, Arkansas before graduating as salutatorian from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. He studied constitutional law at Harvard University under future Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfruter. He was admitted to the bar in 1933 and commenced a practice in Searcy, Arkansas. Prior to entering the political arena he managed the Bank of Kensett, where his father was chairman of the board, and the A P Mills general store in Kensett. On May 27, 1934, he married Gertrude Claire “Polly” Billingsley of Melbourne, Arkansas and they had two daughters. In 1934 he was elected as the youngest judge in the state of Arkansas. In 1938 at the age of 29 he was the youngest person elected to the US Congress at that time. Twenty years later, at forty-nine, he was the youngest person to become chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. A powerful Democrat, he was able to enact Medicare, Social Security, and tax reform legislation. He missed passing a national healthcare program by only one vote. In 1972 he was a candidate for President of the United States, but only received 33 delegate votes at the convention. On October 7, 1974 he was involved in a traffic accident that broke the infamous Fanne Foxe scandal and revealed his addiction to alcohol. Despite the scandal he was reelected by a huge majority, but a second public incident with Fanne Foxe led to his resignation from the chairmanship where he had been the longest running chairman in history. He did not seek re-election in 1976, devoted his time to counseling individual alcoholics, and raising funds for alcoholic treatment centers, including one founded in his honor at Searcy, Arkansas, the Wilbur D. Mills Treatment Center for Alcohol and Drugs. Many other Arkansas facilities were named in his honor, including the Wilbur D. Mills University Studies High School in Sweet Home (Pulaski County); the two Wilbur D. Mills Endowed Chairs on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; the Wilbur D. Mills Social Sciences Building at Hendrix College; the Wilbur D. Mills Freeway (Interstate 630); and the Wilbur D. Mills Lock and Dam on the Arkansas River. Mills was also inducted into the Arkansas Agricultural Hall of fame in Little Rock and the Arkansas Rive Hall of Fame in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He also became a member of the prestigious New York law firm of Shea, Gould, Climenko, and Casey, serving in their Washington, DC office. He remained in Searcy until his death.

Resources Consulted:
Ref: (Accessed 11/18/2008)
Ref: (Accessed 11/17/2008)
Ref: (Accessed 11/17/2008)

Contributed on 10/22/08 by tomtodd
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Record #: 83990

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Submitted: 10/22/08 • Approved: 11/29/08 • Last Updated: 7/29/12 • R83990-G0-S3

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