Isom P. Langley

                 Goodspeed 1890


Rev. Isom P. Langley, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Beebe, owes his
nativity to Arkansas, and was born in Clark County, September 2, 1851. His
parents, Samuel S. and Mary J. (Browning) Langley, were natives of Arkansas
and Alabama, respectively. Samuel S. Langley was born October 29, 1831, in
Clark County, and is the son of Miles L. and Sally (Butler) Langley,
natives of North Carolina, who came to Arkansas in 1818, and were married
in this State in 1819. The maternal grandfather, Francis J. Browning, was a
native of Georgia, and was born in 1800. His wife was a native of Alabama,
and they were of English descent. The maternal ancestors were all finely
educated, and figured as prominent men during their life. Francis J.
Browning was a teacher and farmer, also a great and earnest worker in the
Baptist Church, having served as a delegate to the first Baptist
association that ever met south of the Arkansas River. This meeting was
held at Spring Creek Church, near Benton, Saline County, August 12, 1835,
and he was also one of the originators of Mount Bethel Church, six miles
west of Arkadelphia, in 1835. At the time of his death, and for a number of
years before it, he had been occupied as a teacher. He died in 1884, his
wife having been called to her final home in 1879. Miles L. Langley died in
1831, and his wife in 1848. They were among the first settlers of Clark
County, and endured all of the privations and hardships incident to that
time. To them a family of seven children were born: John (was in the
Mexican War, also in California during the gold excitement, and is now a
prosperous farmer of Clark County, Ark), Joseph (deceased, was a leading
farmer of Clark County, where his family now live; his death occurred in
1882.), William (deceased, was a farmer, and lost his life by a tree
falling on him, 1864, and at the time a soldier in the Confederate army),
Miles L. (deceased, a very prominent Baptist minister. He was a member of
the State Constitutional Conventions of 1864 and 1868, and was a chaplain
in the State Senate. He died December 27, 1888.), Isom P. (is a prosperous
farmer of Clark County, Ark.), Jensey (deceased) and Samuel S. (the father
of the subject of this memoir, who is still living, and is a prosperous
farmer of Pike County, Ark. He served four years in the Confederate army
as second lieutenant, and was prisoner of war for nineteen months at
Johnson's Island. He was also captain, and was acting commander at Helena.
He and his estimable wife are earnest workers of the Baptist Church, and
he is a Master Mason of considerable note). Rev. Isom P. is the eldest in
a family of thirteen, ten of whom are now living: Thomas (deceased), Porter
(deceased), Mary C., Andrew V., Permelia G., Abi (deceased), Samuel S.,
Jr., Annie, infant not named, Sallie, Robert, Penn and Frank. Our subject
was reared to farm life, and spent his school-days in the schools of his
county, and later took up the study of physiology and phrenology, under
the tutorship of Miles L. Langley, his paternal uncle, and a man of very
fine attainments; at the same time, and under the same teacher, he studied
the English language. At the age of twenty-two he began the study of law
under Gen. H.W. McMillan, of Arkadelphia, and Judges M.P. Dobey and H.H.
Coleman. He completed his law course, and was admitted to the bar in 1875,
and practiced his profession at Arkadelphia and Hot Springs until 1885,
when he was obliged to discontinue it on account of throat disease. He
joined the Baptist Church at the age of sixteen years, was licensed to
preach in 1868, and ordained in 1869, since which time he has been engaged
in the work of the ministry. He has filled the pulpits of Arkadelphia, Hot
Springs, and that of the First Baptist Church of Little Bock, but a large
share of his time has been devoted to churches where there was no regular
pastorate. In 1880 he formed a partnership with Capt. J.W. and J.N. Miller,
the firm name being Miller, Langley & Miller, editors of the Arkadelphia
Signal, conducting the same with marked success until 1881. Mr. Langley
then withdrew from the firm, and started the Arkansas Clipper, in 1882, a
Greenback Labor paper, of which he was sole owner. This he published until
1883, then sold it and went to Hot Springs, and in company with a Mr.
Allard founded and edited the Daily and Weekly Hot Springs News. In 1886
he became the editor of the Industrial Liberator, the official organ of
the Knights of Labor, and made that paper a decided success, in the
meantime having sold the Hot Springs News. He resigned his position in
June, 1886, and engaged in the insurance business. He also purchased a
controlling interest in the National Wheel Enterprise, acting as its
editor until December 17, 1888, when he retired from the newspaper
business, and in doing so deprived the literary and newspaper world of
one of its brightest lights. In 1885 Mr. Langley became a member of the
Local Assembly 2419, K. of L., at Hot Springs, the first assembly ever
organized in the State, acting at present as one of the national
organizers of that order. He is a member of Union Lodge 31, A.W., and
was a delegate to the State convention that met at Litchfield in 1886.
While at that convention he was elected as one of the delegates to the
National Wheel, which met at the same time and place, and was its
acting secretary. It was at this assembly that he wrote the constitution
for the National Wheel, and at this same meeting was elected National
Lecturer, and in that capacity wrote the demands of the National Wheel
that were adopted at McKinzie, Tenn., November, 1887, and in all the
conventions he has taken a very prominent part, and in behalf of the
National Wheel made the response to Senator Walker's address of welcome at
Meridian, Miss., December 5, 1888. That speech which elicited such
favorable comment from the press, was the crowning effort of his life, and
placed him at the head of the list of deep thinkers and eloquent speakers
in the labor ranks. On October 20, 1887, he became President of the Famous
Life Association, of Little Rock, and served one year, managing its
affairs with extraordinary ability. In 1886 he was nominated by a labor
convention as a candidate for Congress against Judge J.H. Rogers, of the
Fourth Congressional District, and polled more than twice the labor votes
of his district. As a stump speaker he has no superior in the State. He
has always figured prominently in schools, and was the secretary of the
board that reorganized the splendid school system of Arkadelphia. Mr.
Langley has done all kinds of work, from the hoeing of cotton to the
highest calling man can perform, and is one of the best posted men in the
State. In August, of 1870, he was married to Miss Martha A. Freeman, a
native of Arkansas, and a daughter of Thomas J. Freeman. He was born in
Little Bock, 1821, and settled in Clark County in 1840, where Mrs. Langley
was born in 1851. To these parents have been born a family of five
children, all living: Florence R., Charles E., Ada J., Katie and Lessie.
Father, mother, and the three oldest children are members of the Baptist
Church. Socially Mr. Langley affiliates with the I.O.O.F., and has filled
all the offices of that order. He is a typical Arkansan, and perhaps is
without his peer in public value in the State, considering his age.

Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Eastern Arkansas, The Goodspeed
Publishing Company: Chicago, 1890, page 188-190.

Update 03.19.01              David Kelley 1999                 BIO-0122.HTM