Francis R. Lubbock, governor of Texas, was born on October 16, 1815, in Beaufort, South Carolina, the oldest son of Dr. Henry Thomas Willis and Susan Ann (Saltus) Lubbock and brother of Thomas S. Lubbock. At age fourteen, after his father's death, he quit school and took a job as a clerk in a hardware store. He later pursued a business career in South Carolina and then in New Orleans, and continued his business activities when he moved to Texas in 1836. He was married three times—first to Adele Baron of New Orleans in 1835; then to Mrs. Sarah E. Black Porter, the widow of a Presbyterian minister, in 1883; and then, after his second wife's death, to Lou Scott in 1903. In 1837 Lubbock moved to Houston, Texas, where he opened a general store. During the 1840s he began his ranching operations. Lubbock was a lifelong Democrat. He began his association with the Democratic party during the nullification crisis in South Carolina in 1832. In Texas he continued his political involvement and was appointed comptroller of the Republic of Texas by President Sam Houston. He was also elected clerk of the Harris County district court and served from 1841 to 1857.
In the 1850s Lubbock was active in state Democratic politics. In the party convention of 1856 he fought against the American (or Know-Nothing) party. He was elected lieutenant governor in 1857 but lost his race for reelection in 1859, when Sam Houston and Edward Clark were elected. In 1860 Lubbock served as a Texas delegate to the national Democratic convention at Charleston, where the southern delegation walked out in opposition to the Democratic platform and Stephen A. Douglas, the party's nominee. After the southerners' second walkout on the Democrats at Baltimore, the southern Democratic party nominated John C. Breckinridge at their convention in Richmond, Virginia, a convention chaired by Lubbock.
In 1861 Lubbock won the governorship of Texas by only 124 votes. As governor he staunchly supported the Confederacy and worked to improve the military capabilities of Texas. He chaired the state military board, which attempted to trade cotton and United States Indemnity Bonds for military goods through Mexico. He also worked with the board to establish a state foundry and percussion-cap factory. Lubbock vigorously supported Confederate conscription, opposing draft exemptions for able-bodied men as unfair and the substitution system as advantageous to the wealthy. Viewing the use of whites in government contracting and cattle driving as wasteful, he encouraged their replacement with slaves to increase enlistment. Aliens residing in Texas were also made subject to the draft. Lubbock exempted frontier counties from the Confederate draft and enlisted their residents for local defense against Indian attack.
When his term of office ended, Lubbock chose to enter the military service. He was appointed lieutenant colonel and served as assistant adjutant general on the staff of Maj. Gen. John Bankhead Magruder. He organized troop-transport and supply trains for the Red River campaign against Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks. Lubbock was later transferred to the staff of Brig. Gen. Thomas Green. After Green's death, Lubbock's commander was Maj. Gen. John A. Wharton, whom Lubbock assisted in raising additional Texas troops for the Red River operations. In August 1864 Lubbock was appointed aide-de-camp to Jefferson Davis and traveled to Richmond. As an expert on the Trans-Mississippi Department, he provided Davis with firsthand information on the war west of the Mississippi River. At the end of the war Lubbock fled Richmond with Davis and was captured by federal authorities in Georgia. He was imprisoned in Fort Delaware and kept in solitary confinement for eight months before being paroled. After his release he returned to Texas. He soon tired of ranching and went into business in Houston and Galveston, where he served as tax collector. From 1878 to 1891 he was treasurer of the state of Texas. From 1891 until his death he continued to live in Austin, where he died on June 22, 1905.