Stephen Wallace Dorsey

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Stephen Wallace Dorsey
Stephen dorsey.jpg
United States Senator
from Arkansas
In office
March 4, 1873 – March 3, 1879
Preceded byBenjamin F. Rice
Succeeded byJames D. Walker
Personal details
Born(1842-02-28)February 28, 1842
Benson, Vermont
DiedMarch 20, 1916(1916-03-20) (aged 74)
Los Angeles, California
Resting placeFairmount Cemetery in Denver, Colorado
Political partyRepublican

Stephen Wallace Dorsey (February 28, 1842 – March 20, 1916) was a Republican member of the United States Senate from Arkansas with service for a single six-year term during the era of Reconstruction.

He was born in Benson in Rutland County, Vermont, and subsequently moved to Ohio and settled in Oberlin, where he attended public schools. During the American Civil War, he served in the Union Army. After the war he returned to Ohio and settled in Sandusky where he was employed by the Sandusky Tool Company and subsequently became its president. Named president of the Arkansas Railway Company, he relocated to Helena, Arkansas.

He was a U.S. Senator from March 4, 1873, to March 3, 1879 and did not seek reelection, then the domain of the Arkansas General Assembly. He was a chairman of the Committee on District of Columbia (Forty-fifth Congress). In 1876, he was made a member of the Republican National Committee. In 1880, when the Republicans nominated James A. Garfield for U.S. President and Chester A. Arthur for vice president, Dorsey became the secretary of the Republican National Committee. His reputation was tarnished, though, by the Star route scandal, in which Dorsey and his partners were accused of defrauding the government of $412,000. Dorsey was defended by noted criminal law attorney Robert G. Ingersoll. Though he was found not guilty, the cost of his defense and the damage to his reputation all but destroyed Dorsey’s political and financial ambitions.[1]

In 1878 he built the Dorsey Mansion in New Mexico.

After Dorsey, no other Republican served as senior Senator from Arkansas until Tim Hutchinson in 1999, upon David Pryor's retirement. No other Republican served in the class 3 Senate seat from Arkansas that Dorsey held until John Boozman in 2011.

He engaged in cattle raising and mining in New Mexico and Colorado and subsequently moved to Los Angeles, California, where he resided until his death in 1916. He is interred at Fairmount Cemetery in Denver, Colorado.

Clayton in Union County, New Mexico is named, for a son of Senator Dorsey.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Stephen Wallace Dorsey (1842–1916) - Encyclopedia of Arkansas".
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Benjamin F. Rice
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Arkansas
Served alongside: Powell Clayton, Augustus H. Garland
Succeeded by
James D. Walker