Chester H. Terrell was born to Mattie Simpson and J.O. Terrell. The family moved to San Antonio and Chester graduated from the San Antonio Academy. He then attended the University of Texas; participating in politics, baseball and the Chi Phi Fraternity. He received his law degree in 1904.
He moved back to San Antonio and set up a law firm named Terrell and Terrell. Following in his father's political footsteps, he was elected to the 31st Texas Legislature at the age of 26. He served three consecutive legislatures from 1909-1915.
In 1913, he vigorously campaigned for the position of Speaker and won it by election; the youngest man to do so. He had grand political ideas at the time; so much so that bill after bill was turned down by the Senate. His act to control water pollution was the only thing to pass both the House and Senate.
In 1915, he ran for governor but withdrew early due to illness. He was outspoken in his political beliefs, to the point that he was ousted politically when he spoke and wrote to the then Speaker of the House Franklin O. Fuller about the impeachment of Governor James Ferguson.
On December 23, 1904, Terrell married Gladys Bentley of Morrilton, Arkansas. They had three daughters. Terrell was a Methodist and member of the Order of the Elks.
He was buried in Mission Burial Park, but it is not known if it is the south or north end.
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