He was born in 1791 in Amherst, Mass., and received a law degree in Connecticut. For a short time, he practiced law in Hudson, N.Y. Then, like many other young men at the time, he felt the call of the great American frontier and moved to Illinois and then Missouri.
In 1820, he became part of a group of speculators, which, for a time, included the future "Father of Texas," Stephen F. Austin. They bought some New Madrid claims that had been granted to people who had lost land in the New Madrid earthquake in 1811-1812. They then moved to an area on the Arkansas River referred to as "the little rock" in the Arkansas Territory and used the claims to assume ownership of land near the rock. Soon he became embroiled in a dispute over the ownership of the land where the new town of Little Rock was to be built. Another faction had challenged the New Madrid claims, maintaining that the claims could not be used south of the river. Although his side lost in court, the two groups eventually compromised and split up the town between them.
He became the wealthiest man in Arkansas and a U.S. senator. He built a mansion in downtown Little Rock on a block-size lot bounded by Markham, Scott, Second and Cumberland streets. He had some of his slaves form a band, which on summer evenings entertained the locals on the huge front lawn that faced Markham Street.
Who was this man who donated the land for Mount Holly Cemetery in downtown Little Rock, where he is now buried?
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