governor of Texas was born in Angelina County, grew up in Tyler
County, and graduated from high school in Jefferson County? And
we might add, attended the University of Texas then moved to south
Texas? Allan Shivers covered all these bases in his rise to becoming
the state's chief executive.
Shivers was born in Lufkin
on October 5, 1907, but spent his early years at Magnolia Hills,
the family home located near Woodville. Shivers finished high school
Arthur after his father, a lawyer, moved the family to that
industrial coastal city.
Shivers enrolled in the University of Texas in 1924, dropped out
to work in a refinery for a while, then reenrolled in 1928. He was
graduated with a B.A. degree in 1931 and received a LL.B. in 1933.
Returning to Port
Arthur, Shivers opened a law office and soon won election to
the state senate -- at 27 years old, he was the youngest member
ever to sit in that body. In 1937 Shivers married Marialice Shary,
daughter of John Shary, a prominent businessman and land owner in
Mission. Shivers served in the Army during WWII, then returned to
manage his father-in-law's business interests until politics called.
In 1946 Shivers won election as Texas' lieutenant governor, and
was reelected in 1948. While in office Shiver reorganized the way
the senate did its business. When Governor Beauford Jester died
of a heart attack in July 1949, Shivers succeeded to the office,
won re-election in 1950, 1952, and 1954, and became Texas' longest
serving governor until William P. Clements completed his second
term in 1991. Even so, Shivers can claim the longest consecutive
service as governor until present Governor George W. Bush completes
his second term.
Shivers served in a time of great change in Texas. He helped create
the Legislative Council and the Legislative Budget Board, which
determines what legislation reaches a vote and how the state spends
its revenue, improved retirement benefits for state employees; and
reorganized the state's educational program.
Shivers also is remembered for strong leadership in the Tidelands
issue, or Texas' insistence that state rather than federal authority
extended over off-shore drilling operations for oil and natural
gas. Over this issue Shivers bolted the Democratic Party in the
presidential election of 1952 and supported Republican candidate
Dwight D. Eisenhower because Ike pledged to sign quit-claim legislation
turning control of Texas' tidelands over to the state. Democrats
who followed Shivers to vote for Eisenhower were known as "Shivercrats."
Shivers later served as president of the United States Chamber of
Commerce and chaired the Board of Regents for the University of
Texas. He died on January 14, 1985.
All Things Historical
26 - Dec. 2, 2000
A syndicated column in over 70 East Texas newspapers
Published by permission.
(Archie P. McDonald is Director of the East Texas Historical Association
and author or editor of more than 20 books on Texas)