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 Texas : Features : Columns : All Things Historical :

Chief Executives

by Archie P. McDonald
Archie McDonald Ph.D.
East Texas has produced its share of prominent personages in entertainment, business, medicine, and other professions but prominent political figures have tended to call other sections of the state their home, especially in the last half century. It started out differently.

James W. Robinson of Nacogdoches served as lieutenant governor of Texas during the interim administration of Henry Smith of Brazoria, which existed between the first and second meetings of the Consultation in colonial times.

These meetings were held to determine if Texicans should continue to work for reform under Mexico or seek independence in November 1835 and March 1836. Robinson became acting governor when Smith was removed from office by his quarrelsome council on January 10, 1836, and served until March 17, when David G. Burnett was named the ad interim president of the Republic.

James Pinckney Henderson, the first elected governor of the State of Texas (1846-1847), lived in San Augustine and had a law office there and also in Nacogdoches. The second elected governor, George T. Wood (1847-1849), lived in a portion of Liberty County later designated as San Jacinto County.

East Texas claims Sam Houston (1859-1861), because his first home in Texas was in Nacogdoches, and his lieutenant governor, Edward Clark (1861) of Harrison County, who succeeded Houston on an ad interim basis when the Hero of San Jacinto refused to take an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy.

James Stephen Hogg (1891-1895), who was born in Rusk and edited newspapers is other East Texas cities, is definitely associated with East Texas, as is another newspaperman, William P. Hobby (1917-1921), if we count Houston in East Texas. Charles Culberson (1895-1899) lived in Marion County.

Beauford Jester
of Corsicana (1947-1949) was an East Texan, and so was his lieutenant governor and successor as governor, Allan Shivers (1949-1957). Shivers was our MOST East Texan governor born in Lufkin, raised in Woodville, and then lived in Port Arthur before moving to Austin.

We also claim Price Daniel (1957-1963), of Liberty County, and can stretch a bit and include William P. Clements (1979-1983; 1987-1991), who is associated with Dallas and Forney, and perhaps Mark White (1983-1987), with associations with Kilgore or Houston.

Reckon it is about time to have an East Texan again?
Archie P. McDonald
All Things Historical

June 20, 2005 column
A syndicated column in over 40 East Texas newspapers
(Distributed as a public service by the East Texas Historical Association. Archie P. McDonald is director of the Association and author of more than 20 books on Texas.)
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