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James "Pa" Ferguson
Birth: Aug. 31, 1871
Death: Sep. 21, 1944

Twenty-sixth Governor of Texas. Considered one of the most colorful and controversial figures in the history of Texas politics. Ferguson was born near Salado in Bell County, the son of a minister who died when James was four years old. He entered Salado College at age 12, was soon expelled for disobedience, and left home at 16 to drift through the western states, working in a vineyard, a mine, a barbed wire factory and a grain ranch. Upon his return to Texas, he studied law and in 1897 was admitted to the bar. He married Miriam Amanda Wallace in 1899. Ferguson started his political career in 1903 as the City Attorney in Belton. He established Farmers State Bank, which he sold in 1906, and then established Temple State Bank. In 1914 he ran for Texas Governor as an anti-prohibitionist Democrat, pledging to be "Farmer Jim," a people's governor who would make the government work for the common man; he was elected to two terms, serving as Governor from January 19, 1915 to August 25, 1917. Ferguson's time in that office was curtailed by controversy. In the middle of his second term, he vetoed appropriations for the University of Texas in retaliation for its refusal to dismiss faculty members he felt were lazy freeloaders who didn't earn their salaries. This move started a drive for impeachment proceedings against him. In July of 1917, he was indicted on nine charges. Seven of the charges related to misapplication of public funds, one to embezzlement, and one to the diversion of a special fund. He was convicted by the Senate on ten of twenty-one charges against him levied by the Texas House of Representatives. Five of the articles sustained by the Senate charged him with the misapplication of public funds, three related to his quarrel with the University; one declared that he had failed properly to respect and enforce the banking laws of the state; and one charged that he had received $156,500 in currency from a source that he refused to reveal. Ferguson resigned his office the day before the judgment was announced, but was still declared ineligible to hold office under Texas jurisdiction due to the impeachment judgment. He nevertheless ran again for Governor in 1918, to be defeated in the Democratic primary by former Lieutenant Governor William P. Hobby. In 1920, he ran for President of the United States as a candidate on the American Party ticket, but was on the ballot only in Texas; he also failed in his bid for a seat in the United States Senate in 1922, losing in the Democratic runoff. In 1924, he entered his wife, Miriam "Ma" Ferguson, in the Democratic primary race for Texas Governor. Their slogan was "Two Governors for the price of one" and they publicized themselves with the nicknames "Ma" and "Pa" Ferguson. She won and served two non-consecutive terms. In 1935, due to financial reversals, the Fergusons lost their Texas ranch. James Ferguson died of a stroke and is buried next to "Ma" at Texas State Cemetery in Austin. (bio by: H M G) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  James E. Ferguson (1824 - 1876)
  Fannie Fitzpatrick Ferguson (1839 - 1915)
 
 Spouse:
  Miriam Amanda Wallace Ferguson (1875 - 1961)
 
Burial:
Texas State Cemetery
Austin
Travis County
Texas, USA
Plot: Republic Hill, Section 2, Row H, Number 1
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jan 01, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 1758
James Pa Ferguson
Added by: Garver Graver
 
James Pa Ferguson
Added by: Joel Berry
 
James Pa Ferguson
Added by: Amanda Canion
 
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 Added: Sep. 21, 2014

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- Alan Brownsten
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