Edith Eunice Therrel Wilmans, first woman elected to the Texas legislature, was born on December 21, 1882, at Lake Providence, East Carroll Parish, Louisiana, the daughter of Benjamin Franklin and Mary Elizabeth (Grier) Therrel. She attended public schools in Dallas, where her parents had moved in 1885. She married Jacob Hall Wilmans on December 25, 1900; they had three daughters. In 1914 Edith Wilmans helped organize the Dallas Equal Suffrage Association; later she helped organize the Dallas Housewives League and the Democratic Women of Dallas County, and she was president of the Democratic Women's Association of Texas. To learn more about the legal problems involved in improving the status of women and children, she studied law and in 1918 was admitted to the bar. In 1922 she was elected to the Thirty-eighth Texas Legislature, where she represented Dallas County, District 50, in 1923, the year her husband died. While in the legislature she endorsed legislation for child support and child care and for the establishment of the Dallas County District Court of Domestic Relations. She served only one term in the legislature, and in 1924 and 1926 she ran unsuccessfully for governor. In 1925 Governor Pat M. Neff appointed her to the All-Woman Supreme Court; she was disqualified from serving because she lacked by a few months the required seven years' experience in the practice of law. In 1929 she married Henry A. Born of Chicago; the marriage ended in divorce, and she returned to Dallas to practice law. She ran for the legislature again in 1935 but was defeated; that same year she bought a farm home near Vineyard, Jack County. She was a candidate for the Thirteenth District congressional seat in 1948 and again in a 1951 special election but lost both races. In 1958 Edith Wilmans returned to Dallas, and she died there on March 21, 1966. She was buried in Hillcrest Memorial Park in Dallas.
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Dallas Morning News, July 8, 1951, March 22, 1966. Sue M. Hall, The 1925 All-Woman Supreme Court of Texas (MS, St. Mary's University, 1978).
- Politics and Government
- Texas in the 1920s
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Edith Eunice Wilmans Malone, “Wilmans, Edith Eunice Therrel,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 24, 2020, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/wilmans-edith-eunice-therrel.
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