Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Rual Custar Ham (1902-1953)

Portrait from the Shrader Archive via

   Three-term Arkansas state representative Rual Custar Ham represented Newton County for the entirety of his legislative service and during his terms also held the post of superintendent of the Jasper High School in Jasper, Arkansas. A lifelong native of the "Natural State", Rual Custar Ham was born in the town of Limestone on January 16, 1902, the son of Ulysses Grant Ham and the former Winnie Casey. Referred to by most period sources as Custar Ham or R. Custar Ham, our subject attended schools local to Limestone and was later enrolled at the Newton County Academy.
  Ham would continue higher education at Arkansas Tech and State Teacher's College and in May 1929 married to Goldie Burdine, with whom he had four childrenDennis Custar (died in infancy in 1933), Carl Grant (1934-2016), Dalton Farrel, and Meredith Lynn. He engaged in real estate in Jasper following his marriage and in 1940 was elected to his first term in the Arkansas House of Representatives. During the 1941-43 session, Ham was named to the committees on Civil Service,  Public Buildings and Grounds, Reforestation, Roads and Highways, and Temperance. He would also serve as vice-chair of the committee on Banks and Banking.
  In November 1942 R. Custar Ham won his second term in the statehouse and was elected to a third term in 1944. Prior to this term, Ham had taken on the position of Superintendent of the Jasper High School and during the 1945-47 session was vice-chairman of the Temperance committee and a member of the Conservation of Natural Resources, Education and Flood Control committees. 
  Following his final term in the legislature, Ham served as Jasper County school supervisor and would begin work on earning his master's degree in education during the early 1950s, studying at the University of Arkansas. While attending a summer workshop for school administrators at that institution Ham was stricken by a heart attack on August 6, 1953, and later died of a second heart attack after being transported to a local hospital. Just 51 years old at the time of his death, Ham was survived by his wife and children and was interred at the Jasper Cemetery.  

R. Custar Ham as he appeared during his final legislative term.

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