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"Gentleman Jim" Ferguson, future Texas governor, born in Salado

August
31
1871

On this day in 1871, James Edward Ferguson, future Texas governor, was born near Salado, Texas. After a brief study of law he was admitted to the bar in 1897. Known as an antiprohibitionist, and running on a platform that would limit rent charged tenant farmers, he was elected governor in 1914. During his first term the legislature passed several significant measures, including the tenant law, state aid to rural schools, compulsory school attendance, and several generous appropriation bills. He won his bid for reelection in 1916 by a majority of 60,000 votes. During his second term he became involved in a serious quarrel with the University of Texas and vetoed practically the entire appropriation for the university. At the same time a number of charges involving misappropriation of public funds and other financial irregularities were brought against him. The end result was removal from office by a Court of Impeachment. Since he was subsequently ineligible to hold any public office, in 1924 and 1932 he ran the campaigns when his wife, Miriam, was elected governor. Ferguson died in 1944 and was buried in the State Cemetery in Austin.

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