Loe, James Thomas Warner (1850–1918)

By: Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell

Type: Biography

Published: December 18, 2019

James Thomas Warner (J. T. W.) Loe, reformer, legislator, and labor leader, son of Joseph Stephen Loe, Sr., and Nancy Haney (Warner) Loe, was born in Hallettsville, Lavaca County, Texas, on September 14, 1850. There is no information on Loe’s formal education, but Lavaca County was known in the late nineteenth century as a home of newspaper publishing and reform politics. Loe involved himself in printing and reform for most of his life.

Loe married Cornelia “Nellie” Lewis in Fayette County on December 8, 1872. The couple had two children and during the 1870s moved to Austin, Texas. There, Loe worked as a printer and carpenter and became a member of the Greenback party, a reformist group that favored inflation of the money supply by the printing of paper currency that was not limited by any requirement of redemption in gold or silver as was the usual standard in that era. He won election in 1878 as a “Greenbacker” from Travis and Blanco counties to the Texas House of Representatives. Loe served one term from 1879 to 1881 in the Sixteenth Texas Legislature, where he served on the Roads, Bridges and Ferries Committee as well as the Indian Affairs, Military Affairs, State Affairs, and Finance committees. After his term, he spent the next decade in Austin and continued to work as a printer and carpenter and also as an organizer for the Knights of Labor. By 1885 he had become chairman of the Texas Knights of Labor, but that organization was ruined the next year in the Great Southwest Strike against railroads owned by Jay Gould.

Loe moved with his family to Dallas in 1890 and soon became associated with Milton Park in the publication of the Southern Mercury, a newspaper that was recognized in the late 1880s and early 1890s as a major voice of the Texas Farmers’ Alliance and the Texas People’s party. Loe worked to sell advertising in the newspaper and also wrote labor articles for other publications and made speeches for organized labor. He organized the Carpenter's Local Union of Dallas and served several terms as its president.

Reformist newspapers and politics generally faded in importance during Loe’s last years, although somewhat ironically, The Rebel, published in Hallettsville, Loe’s birthplace, was the state newspaper of the Socialist party in Texas from 1911 to 1917. Loe died in Dallas on January 26, 1918, and was buried at the Grove Hill Memorial Park.

Dallas Morning News, January 27, 1918. Legislative Reference Library of Texas: James Thomas Warner Loe (https://lrl.texas.gov/legeLeaders/members/memberDisplay.cfm?memberID=4332&searchparams=chamber=~city=~countyID=0~RcountyID=~district=~first=~gender=~last=loe~leaderNote=~leg=~party=~roleDesc=~Committee=), accessed December 13, 2019.

  • Journalism
  • Agriculture
  • Politics and Government
  • Newspapers
  • Publishers and Executives
  • Sixteenth Legislature (1879)
  • House
Time Periods:
  • Late Nineteenth-Century Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas
  • North Texas

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

Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell, “Loe, James Thomas Warner,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 27, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/loe-james-thomas-warner.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 18, 2019

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: