Fuller, Franklin Oliver (1873–1934)

By: Billie Trapp

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: January 1, 1995

Franklin Oliver Fuller, Democratic state representative and speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, was born on November 2, 1873, in Melrose, Texas, the son of Benjamin Franklin and Josephine (Green) Fuller, who had moved to Texas from Alabama. Fuller married Lizzie Holt on April 28, 1895, and attended Sam Houston Normal Institute in Huntsville (now Sam Houston State University) and Southern Normal University at Huntingdon, Tennessee. Southern Normal granted him a law degree in 1901. He taught school in Nacogdoches, San Augustine, Walker, and San Jacinto counties. He was admitted to the bar in Coldspring in 1901 and served as San Jacinto county attorney from 1904 to 1906.

In 1906 Fuller was elected to the Thirtieth Texas Legislature from District 19, which included Polk, Angelina, San Jacinto, and San Augustine counties. He was reelected for the thirty-first session but did not run for the thirty-second due to business concerns. When he returned to the legislature for the thirty-third session in 1913, he represented San Jacinto and Polk counties in District 11. He remained in the legislature for the following two terms and was elected the state's forty-first speaker of the House in 1917. During Fuller's speakership Governor James Edward Ferguson's political problems mounted. As a prohibitionist, Fuller was generally at odds with the "wet" governor and eventually issued a call for a special legislative session to consider impeachment hearings. Although such a call actually was beyond Fuller's constitutional power, his effort made clear the legislature's intention to deal with the charges Ferguson faced in his relations with the University of Texas and his personal business dealings. Ferguson himself eventually called the session. During the hearings Fuller testified against the governor, who resigned when it became clear he would be impeached.

Fuller left the legislature after his speakership in the thirty-fifth session. He served in the Texas National Guard and was commissioned captain in the United States Army Judge Advocate Department during World War I. In 1920 he moved to Houston, where he practiced law until his death, on August 9, 1934. He was survived by his wife and five children.

Lewis E. Daniell, Texas-The Country and Its Men (Austin?, 1924?). Lewis L. Gould, Progressives and Prohibitionists: Texas Democrats in the Wilson Era (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1973; rpt., Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1992). Houston Post, August 10, 1934. Presiding Officers of the Texas Legislature, 1846–1982 (Austin: Texas Legislative Council, 1982).
Time Periods:
  • Progressive Era

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

Billie Trapp, “Fuller, Franklin Oliver,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 03, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/fuller-franklin-oliver.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995