Bralley, Francis Marion (1867–1924)

By: David Minor

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: April 25, 2019

Francis Marion Bralley, college administrator, was born at Honey Grove, Texas, on March 6, 1867. He attended county schools and, after graduating from Wilcott Institute in 1885, enrolled in Methodist College, where he graduated two years later. During the next five years he taught in the public schools of Fannin and Lamar counties. On March 17, 1892, he married Melida Meade. The couple had four sons. In 1882 Bralley became superintendent of Fannin County schools. Six years later he returned to his hometown to serve as superintendent of the Honey Grove school system.

In 1905 he began a three-year appointment in Austin as the chief clerk in the State Department of Education (later part of the Texas Education Agency). He resigned in 1908 to become the general agent of the Texas Conference for Education. Although he served in this position for only one year, Bralley is credited with the success of an amendment to the Texas Constitution that allows school districts to levy local taxes for construction and needed repairs. In 1909 he accepted the presidency of the Texas School for the Blind. In November of the same year Governor Thomas Campbell appointed him to complete the term of R. B. Cousins as state superintendent of public transportation. The following year Bralley ran unopposed for the elective office. He was reelected in 1912 and resigned on September 1, 1913, to become head of the University of Texas extension department. He resigned that post the next year to accept the presidency of the College of Industrial Arts (now Texas Woman's University) at Denton. Bralley served as president of the college for eleven years. During his tenure the school's academic reputation increased. Its enrollment grew from 700 in 1913 to 2,000 in 1924, and the school property increased in value from $325,000 to just over $2 million.

Bralley was president of the chamber of commerce and the Rotary Club and chairman of the board of the Christian church of Denton. He was a Mason and Knight of Pythias and president of the board of regents of the State Teachers College (now the University of North Texas). On August 23, 1924, he died in Dallas of a bronchial infection. He was buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Denton.

Dallas Morning News, August 24, 1924. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Education
  • University Presidents and School Administrators
  • Religion
  • Freemasonry
  • Methodist
Time Periods:
  • Progressive Era
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas
  • Central Texas
  • Austin

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

David Minor, “Bralley, Francis Marion,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 07, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 25, 2019

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