Chapter VII

The Governor

Rockefeller's fourth son, Winthrop, was born in 1912. He attended Yale but, unlike his elder brothers, who earned honors degrees at college, Winthrop dropped out before graduating and went to work as a roustabout in the Texas oil fields. Although the Rockefeller family was desperately attempting to dissociate its public image from that of the oil companies, ne became a junior executive at Socony-Vacuum Oil (of which the Rockefeller family owned the largest single share). In World War II, he sought out a combat assignment in the Pacific and after being wounded, emerged as a decorated war hero.

Winthrop also proved a maverick in his marital arrangements. Rather than marrying upward into society, like the rest of the family, he married Barbara "Bo Bo" Sears the beautiful daughter of an impovished farmer who the press had a field day describing as a "Cinderella." After sufficiently embarrassing the family, he divorced her.

At the age of 41, he left the eastern base of the family and moved to Arkansas, buying a sizeable portion of the state. His 50,000-acre cattle ranch, Winrock Farms, was not only used by him to produce beef but as a venue for holding seminars on the future of Arkansas and modernizing the South. He also served as chairman of the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission.

Gradually, he established a base for himself and the Rockefeller family in politics in Arkansas, and the southern wing of the Republican party. In 1966, he was elected governor of Arkansas, and he was reelected to another two-year term in 1968. Win, as he called himself in Arkansas, died of cancer on February 22, 1973, and was buried in Morrilton, Arkansas.

Questions? Email me at
This website is still (heavily) under construction. The webmistress can be reached at