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Stevenson becomes governor of Texas as O'Daniel departs for U.S. Senate

August
04
1941

On this day in 1941, Lt. Gov. Coke Stevenson became governor of Texas when Governor O'Daniel resigned to become a United States senator. Stevenson was self-made. His formal schooling consisted of seven three-month school terms. As a teenager he hauled freight between Junction and Brady. He studied history and bookkeeping by campfire light, worked as a bank janitor and then a cashier, studied law at night, and passed the state bar exam in 1913. Stevenson organized and became president of the First National Bank in Junction. After serving as county attorney (1914-18) and county judge (1919-21), he was a state representative from 1928 to 1939, when he was elected lieutenant governor. He was elected governor on his own in 1942 and served until 1947. He ran for the United States Senate in 1948 and lost in a famous contested race to Lyndon Johnson. Stevenson died in San Angelo in 1975.

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