In the Governor's Shadow

In the Governor's Shadow

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In 1915 Governor James Ferguson began his term in Texas bolstered by a wave of voter enthusiasm and legislative cooperation so great that few Texans anticipated anything short of a successful administration. The inexperienced politician had overcome an underprivileged childhood through the sheer force of his intellect and hard work and had proven himself a capable leader . . . or so it seemed. He had beaten the odds imposed by his inexperience when he successfully launched a campaign based on two key elements: his appeal to the rural constituency and a temporary hiatus from the effects of the continuous Prohibition debate. In reality, Jim Ferguson had shrewdly sold a well-crafted image of himself to Texas voters, an image of pseudo-neutrality, astuteness, and prosperity that was almost entirely false. The new governor was a€œin over his heada€ from the moment he took office, carrying to that post a bevy of closely guarded secrets about his personal finances, his business acumen, his relationship with Texas brewers, and his volatile personality. Those secrets, once unraveled, gave clearance to an investigation of his affairs and ultimately led to charges brought against Governor Ferguson via impeachment. Refusing to acknowledge the judgment against him, Ferguson launched a crusade for regained power and vindication that encompassed more than two decades. In 1925 he reclaimed a level of political influence and doubled the Ferguson presence in Austin when he assisted his wife, Miriam, in a successful bid for the governorship. That bid had been based largely on a plea for exoneration, but it was soon obvious that the couplea€™s attempts to clear the family name did not include running a scandal-free administration. Merging a love of local history with the advantages of being a Bell County native and a seasoned auditor, Carol Oa€™Keefe Wilson has gathered and dissected financial statements, documents in evidence, trial testimony, newspaper accounts, and other source material to expose a life story based largely on deceit. In the Governora€™s Shadow unravels this complex tale, exposing the shocking depth of the Fergusonsa€™ misconduct. Often using the Fergusonsa€™ own words, Wilson weaves together the incontestable evidence that most of the claims that Jim Ferguson made during his life regarding his conduct, intentions, achievements, and abilities, were patently false. The existence and scope of that dishonestly was, without question, the very root of the controversy that will forever cloud the Ferguson legacy.he man who had succeeded H. C. Poe as the Temple State Banka#39;s chief executive early in 1917, T. H. Heard, ... In January of 1919, Jim announced his intention to drill for oil on his Bosque County property, an ambitious task ... The ads varied slightly but all pitched to potential investors the possibility of making large sums of money very quickly and boasted of a€œeconomical management of the business.

Title:In the Governor's Shadow
Author:Carol O'Keefe Wilson
Publisher:University of North Texas Press - 2014-02-15


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