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Monti Hines Sandels & Bettie Bliss Johnson Sandels -- Oak Cem., Ft Smith AR
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 35° 22.257 W 094° 24.154
15S E 372589 N 3915084
Quick Description: The broken column headstone marking the grave of Arkansas Associate Supreme Court Justice Monti Hines Sandels and his wife, Bettie Bliss Johnson Sandels, at historic Oak Cemetery in Ft Smith AR
Location: Arkansas, United States
Date Posted: 1/18/2015 12:01:16 PM
Waymark Code: WMN8AP
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
Views: 0

Long Description:
This broken column headstone marks the graves of Monti Hines Sandels, a former Associate Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court, and his wife Bettie Bliss Johnson Sandels.

Justice Monti Sandels is the son of Episcopal Church Reverend John Sandels and his wife Mary Catherine Sandels, whose son Leonidas Polk Sandels is buried nearby also under a broken column tombstone (

Monti Hines Sandels is an uncle to Leonidas Polk Sandels.

In the Arkansas Reports: Cases Determined in the Supreme Court of the State of Arkansas, Volume 5 (a free-to-read book on Google books), we find multiple resolutions offered to and accepted by the AR Supreme Court eulogizing Justice Sandels, which can be read in their entirety here: (visit link)

We have compiled some of the most relevant information from the Court's special session eulogizing Justice Sandels below:

[page 671] APPENDIX



On the 12th day of November, 1890, Mr. Justice Sandels ' died. At a meeting of the court on Saturday, February 28, 1891, the Chief Justice and the Associate Justices being present, Mr. James F. Read addressed the court as follows:

May it Please the Court: . . . There never was a man more beloved and admired [page 672] than was he by the people amongst whom he lived; while he lived they believed, and since he has died they still believe, that there was no position so high or so- honorable that he might not have attained had he so desired, and they feel now that in his death they have lost one of their dearest friends, and the State one of its brightest jewels. . . .

There was never a more devoted husband, dutiful son or affectionate and indulgent father and brother. In all of these relations he was kind, gentle, loving and self-sacrificing, and in neither did he ever fail in the performance of a single duty. . . . There was nothing of envy or jealousy in his disposition. . . . He was almost Quixotic in his ideas of his duties to his friends. There was was no sacrifice too great for him to make for them. . . .

One of the prominent traits of Judge Sandels' character was the strong individuality and manhood of the man. In whatsoever company he was found, he was either an equal or a leader. . . .He was never guilty of a small or ungenerous act, and would not tolerate such conduct in others. There was never a man of stricter integrity or more unswerving honesty. . . .

As a lawyer he was entitled to high rank in his profession. I think he was the best lawyer for his age I ever knew.


To The Honorable Court : . . . [Sandels] was elected April 2, and commissioned May 17, 1889, to fill the vacancy occasioned upon the death of Mr. Justice William Smith, who died December 18, 1888. Though occupying this high office but a short time, his conduct so plainly manifested his fitness that, in September last, during his enforced absence, an appreciative people re-elected him without any solicitation or effort upon his part. . . . He was born August 13, 1851, near Williamsport, Maury County, Tennessee, and became the virtual head of his reverend father's family at the early age of eleven years. . . . .

Resolved, therefore, That in the death of Judge Sandels, his little children, who, within a twelve month, have lost father and mother, and his mother, brother and sister, have suffered an affliction which calls for the sincere sympathy and condolence of his friends; that our State has lost [page 679] a most noble and useful citizen; . . .

In presenting the resolutions adopted by the bar of Little Rock, Mr. George B. Rose said:

May It Please The Court: . . Rarely in the history of the State have we had occasion to mourn so great a loss. . . . He was one of the few who are born to be great judges. He was a natural jurist. He seemed to know the law by intuition. . . . He was a strange man, stoical, undemonstrative, self-restrained to a very extraordinary degree, and yet there was about him a something, a charm of manner, a depth and sincerity of feeling unexpressed but yet understood, an utter unselfishness, that drew men strongly to him. . . .

From his accomplished sister, his tender nurse through his long illness, and upon whose youthful shoulders has devolved the sad but sweet duty of being a mother to his orphan children, I have received the following details of his life:

"Our father, Rev. John Sandels, was a native of Ireland; was educated at Trinity College, Dublin; came to this country subsequently, and for several years was professor of ancient languages at Kenyon College, Ohio. While holding this position he studied theology and took orders in the Episcopal Church. After his ordination he came South, and in Tennessee, in 1846, married Catherine M. Hines, daughter of Mr. Kenelm Hines.

"In Maury county, Tennessee, August 13, 1851, Monti Hines Sandels was born. When he was 8 years old, in 1859, our father came to Arkansas. "Mont was admitted to the bar in the autumn of 1872, as soon as he was 21."

[page 682] His education was gotten almost entirely at home and under our father. His law studies were under Walker & Rogers of this place, that firm being composed of Judge William Walker and Judge John H. Rogers. He was elected mayor of Fort Smith in 1877; was re-elected a second term, and resigned on account of ill health. "
In November, 1885, he was appointed United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas. This position he resigned in April, 1889, to go upon the Supreme bench."

He was married October 10, 1879, to Bettie Bliss Johnson, daughter of the late Charles B. Johnson, of this place, and a granddaughter of Col. Wharton Rector. She died November 19, 1889, and my brother followed her not quite a year later, November 12, 1890. . . .

. . .

It is now but little more than a year since he came to settle among us with his three charming little children and his young wife, then in the bloom of her womanly beauty. No man had fairer prospects before him, life seemed to stretch out through long vistas of futurity, without a cloud to mar the brightness of the vision. . . . he seemed among the happiest of men. But the hour of sorrow was at hand; and even then, though we saw it not, the black wing of the Angel of Death was casting its shadow above his home.

The young wife sickened. Through the ghostly vigils of the night he sat in agony beside her bed, watching the ebbing away of that life with had loved with all the force of his strong nature . . . [but] he did not weep, he did not cry out, as weaker men would have done, and when at the news I hastened to clasp his hand, and to extend those consolations which we all know to be so unavailing, but which we feel constrained to offer because we have no other, he said with a ghastly calmness which I shall never forget: "At such a time every man must tread the wine-press alone."

From that hour he was a doomed man. No outward symptom betrayed the depth of his suffering, but he had received a wound which, like those that are so surely fatal, was bleeding inwardly. He attended to his tasks as before, but his step was less elastic, his eye less bright, and a dry, hacking cough, which sent a shudder through all except himself, seized upon his chest. Careless of his personal safety he had always been, and his health had never been robust. Deprived of the attentions of his wife who had watched over him with fond solicitude, worn out by labor and by affliction, we have seen his swift decline until now he has passed from our sight. . . .


Once more hath the Angel of Death appeared within the portals of this temple of justice. . . . Our sorrow is unspeakable. . . .

Resolved, That in the death of Judge Sandels the State has lost an illustrious citizen, the bench one of its brightest ornaments, his associates of the bar a true and generous [page 688] companion, and his orphan children a father whose worth they can never be told. . .
The Chief Justice responded as follows:

In response to the tributes offered by the bar to the memory of Judge Sandels, I voice the sentiment of each member of the court in saying that no eulogy that has been assigned to him is undeserved.
He was capable, conscientious and inflexibly independent. . . .

If injustice triumphed where his counsel was heeded, it will be found that it was the inflexible law and not the judge that must bear the reproach. While yielding to the binding force of the rules of law, which reason and experience have approved, he was not fettered by precedents, and was ever ready to sweep from the books the rules which seemed to [page 689] fetter right. Nothing but the fear of disturbing property rights and of working greater injustice than the reform would accomplish deterred him from insisting upon some marked changes in the law. The results that followed the doctrine of the early case of Borden v. State (1 1 Ark., 519) were as an incubus upon his conscience, and his emphatic condemnation of one phase of it found expression in Apel v Kelsey (52 Ark., 341).

For intelligent dispatch of business in this day of overcrowded dockets, few benches possess his equal. . . .

. . . He came to the bench earlier in life than men are commonly called to such duties, served less than two years without enjoying a day of robust health, and yet his extraordinary mental gifts and characteristics, and the certain fulfilment of the promise they gave of a great judicial career, make his loss stand like a shadow in the land.

. . . The resolutions of the bar will be spread upon the records of the court, and the court will now adjourn out of respect to the memory of Judge Sandels.”

Monti Hinds Sandels and Bettie Bliss Johnson Sandles were married in Fort Smith AR on 9 Oct 1879. Source: DAR application of a descendant from

They had two children, Monti Sandels (1886-1887) who is buied nearby at Oak Cemetery, and a daughter Fannie Johnson Sandels (b 1881). Fannie married Charles Echols and had 4 children.

Blasterz have not been able to find out more information about Bettie Sandels.
Date of Birth: 13 Aug 1851

Date of Death: 12 Nov 1890

Headstone/Monument Text:
[east side] "MONTI HINES SANDELS Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas Died in Ft. Smith Ark. Nov 12, 1890 Aged 39 years Without fear, without reproach." [south side] "BETTIE BLISS JOHNSON Beloved wife of Monti H. Sandels Died in Little Rock Arkansas. Nov 19, 1889 Aged 35 years. Blessed are the pure in heart." On the two sides of the base of the tombstone, this inscription: WE ASKED FOR THEM LIFE. O LORD, AND THOU, GAVEST THEM LONG LIFE. EVEN THE LIFE ETERNAL

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