Portraits of Texas Governors  > Texas Rising, Part 1, 1887-1903 (this page)  >  Texas Rising - Part 2, 1903-1915

Portraits of Texas Governors

Texas Rising, Part 1, 1887-1903

Lawrence Sullivan Ross

Sullivan Ross

January 18, 1887 - January 20, 1891

Link - Ross boundary letter

Letter from Ross on the Red River boundary dispute


Born: September 27, 1838 in Iowa

Early Career: Sul Ross became a Texan before his first birthday, when his family settled in Milam County. The family moved to Austin in 1846 and Waco in 1849, where Ross' father was U.S. Indian agent on the Brazos Reservation. Ross attended Baylor University and graduated from Wesleyan University in Florence, Alabama. In 1860 the ranger company which he commanded recaptured Cynthia Ann Parker. During the Civil War, Ross fought in 135 battles or skirmishes, rising to command Ross' Brigade as brigadier general. He farmed near Waco until he was elected sheriff of McLennan County in 1873, achieving a reputation for effectiveness. Ross was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1875 and a state senator in 1881-1882. He easily won the governor's chair in 1886.

Accomplishments: During his terms in office, progress was made in the sale and leasing of public lands, the regulation of railroads, and the establishment of eleemosynary institutions, and a state prohibition amendment was defeated. Ross' second inauguration took place in the new state capitol building.

Later years: In 1891 he became president of Texas A&M College, ending an eight-year vacancy in that post. Ross died near Bryan, Texas on January 3, 1898.

Handbook of Texas article about Governor Lawrence Sullivan Ross

Link - Ross oath of office

Oath of office, 1889


Arthur Conan Doyle introduces Sherlock Holmes

May 16 1888 Present state capitol is dedicated

Jul 2 1888 Jaybird-Woodpecker feud starts in Fort Bend County

Eastman produces Kodak camera

Oklahoma opened to white settlers

Wall Street Journal begins publication

Johnstown Flood

Nov 7 1889 Texas Hereford Association organized

Riis' How the Other Half Lives

Wyoming gives women the vote

Yosemite and Sequioa Parks created

Cigarette smoking becomes popular

First punch-card calculating system (forerunner of computers)

First skyscrapers in America (Chicago)

James Stephen Hogg

James Stephen Hogg

January 20, 1891 - January 15, 1895


Link - Hogg letter on rainmaker

Letter on experiments of a "rainmaker" in Midland



Born: March 4, 1851 near Rusk, Texas (first native Texan to be governor)

Early Career: Orphaned before his teens., Hogg attended school in Alabama before beginning work as a typesetter in Rusk. Later he worked on a paper in Tyler, and edited newspapers in Longview and Quitman (1871-1873). Hogg's political career began when he served as justice of the peace while studying law (1873-1875). He suffered his career's only loss in an 1876 race for the state legislature. After a term as Wood County attorney (1878-1880), Hogg gained a reputation as the most aggressive district attorney in Texas (1880-1884). As attorney general (1886-1890), Hogg continued the crusade against corporate abuses that he had begun as a journalist. He forced the return of some 1.5 million acres of fraudulently-acquired public land, broke up a major railroad price-fixing scheme, and aided in drafting the nation's second state anti-trust law.

Accomplishments: The promise to create a railroad commission was a major plank in the 1890 platform when Hogg was elected to his first term as governor. In addition to the Railroad Commission, the "Hogg Laws" included legislation reducing watered stock, forcing the sale of land corporation holdings, restricting grants to foreign corporations, and placing a ceiling for local governments' bond indebtedness. He encouraged educational institutions at all levels, and appointed C.W. Raines as state librarian in 1892. Railroads, banking, and business opposed Hogg's reelection in 1892, but he was supported by farmers and local newspapers.

Later years: Through investments after retirement, he managed to pay his financial debts and build a sizable estate. He continued to work for populist/progressive reforms, campaigning for William Jennings Bryan in 1896 and 1900. Hogg died in Houston on March 3, 1906.

Handbook of Texas article about Governor James Stephen Hogg

View Photographs of Governor James Stephen Hogg

Link - Hogg letter on violence in Longview

Letter on mob violence in Longview


1891 Railroad Commission established

Edison invents motion picture camera

Basketball invented

Ellis Island opens

Homestead Steel strike

Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite"

Boll weevils infest cotton crop

Ferris Wheel invented

Panic of 1893 kicks off severe economic depression

Bates' "America the Beautiful"

Glass work of Tiffany

Federal enforcement of Reconstruction election laws ends

Coxey's Army of unemployed marches on Washington

U.S. Golf Association founded

Kipling's The Jungle Book

Western art of Frederick Remington

Jun 9 1894 Oil discovered in Corsicana

Pullman railway strike

Sino-Japanese War

First steam-turbine ship launched

Internal combustion engine patented

Charles A. Culberson

Charles A. Culberson

January 15, 1895 - January 17, 1899


Link - Cherokee Treaty

Telegram on the prize fight staged by Judge Roy Bean





Born: June 10, 1855 in Alabama

Early Career: Culberson's family moved to Gilmer, Texas when he was an infant. Culberson's father, David B. Culberson, was a U.S. Congressman (1875-1897). After graduating from the Virginia Military Institute (1874) and the University of Virginia law school (1877), Culberson returned to Jefferson, Texas to practice law with his father, and was elected county attorney for Marion County. In 1887 he moved to Dallas. Culberson was elected attorney general in 1890 and again in 1892. During his tenure he defended Governor Hogg's railroad and anti-trust legislation before the U.S. Supreme Court and was mostly successful. Although Culberson, as attorney general, did recapture a vast area of West Texas from a railroad, Texas lost its claim to Greer County on the Red River to the federal government.

Accomplishments: In 1894, Culberson was elected governor, defeating Thomas Nugent, the Populist candidate. Although he opposed national prohibition (believing the right belonged to the states), he called a special legislative session to outlaw prizefighting. After being reelected in 1896, Governor Culberson supported a uniform system of school textbooks. Towards the end of his term four infantry regiments and one cavalry regiment of volunteers were raised for the Spanish- American War, although only one left the United States.

Later years: Culberson was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1899, where he served four terms. He was active in formulating domestic policy during World War I. In 1922 Culberson was defeated in the primary by the Ku Klux Klan candidate. His health had deteriorated, and he died in 1925 in Washington, D.C.

Handbook of Texas article about Governor Charles A. Culberson

Link - Letter on the Spanish-American War

Letter on recruiting troops for the Spanish-American War


First pasteurized milk

Sears, Roebuck opens mail-order business

Marconi invents wireless telegraphy

Feb 21 1896 Judge Roy Bean stages world heavyweight championship fight in Langtry

Sousa's "The Stars and Stripes Forever"

Supreme Court upholds "separate but equal"

Alaska gold rush

Sep 15 1896 50,000 people attend the staged head-on crash between two locomotives near Waco; two killed

First comic strips ("The Yellow Kid" and "Katzenjammer Kids")

Wells' The Invisible Man

Stoker's Dracula

Battleship Maine destroyed in Havana harbor

Radioactivity discovered

Wells' The War of the Worlds


May 16 1898 Theodore Roosevelt recruits "Rough Riders" in San Antonio

Spanish-American War

1898-1899 Coldest winter in Texas history

Joseph D. Sayers

Joe Sayers

January 17, 1899 - January 20, 1903


Link - Telegram on Brazos Flood

Telegram on Great Brazos Flood of 1899







Born: 1841 in Mississippi

Early career: When he was ten, Sayers' family moved to Bastrop, Texas, where he attended the Bastrop Military Institute until 1860. Sayers advanced from private to major in the Confederate army. At the war's end, he taught school and studied law at night in Bastrop. Sayers became a law partner of George W. "Wash" Jones in 1866. He was elected to the state senate in 1872, to the lieutenant governorship in 1879, and to the U.S. Congress in 1885. As Congressman (1885-1898) Sayers helped to gain federal pensions for Texas Rangers for the Indian Wars. Colonel E.M. House, who had run the campaigns of Governors Hogg and Culberson, selected Sayers to break the pattern of attorneys general succeeding to the governor's chair.

Accomplishments: Sayers was elected governor in 1898, and reelected in 1900. He coped with three major disasters: the Huntsville Penitentiary fire of 1899, the Brazos River flood of 1899, and the Galveston storm of 1900.

Later years: Sayers returned to law practice after his retirement, and was on the University of Texas Board of Regents during its power struggle with Governor James E. Ferguson in 1916. He served on the Industrial Accident Board (1915-1917), the Board of Legal Examiners (1922-1926), and the Board of Pardon Advisors (1927). Sayers died in Austin on May 15, 1929.

Handbook of Texas article about Governor Joseph D. Sayers

View Photographs of Governor Joseph D. Sayers

Link - Telegram on Galveston hurricane

Telegram on Galveston Hurricane, worst natural disaster in United States history


Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag"

Jun 17-28 1899 Great Brazos Flood kills 284

Aspirin introduced

Oct 5 1899 First car in Texas drives from Dallas to Terrell at 6 mph

Boxer rebellion in China

Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Conrad's Lord Jim


May 26 1900 Frontier Battalion of the Texas Rangers is dissolved

Sep 8 1900 Galveston hurricane kills 6000, worst natural disaster in U.S. history

Jan 10 1901 Gusher drilled at Spindletop near Beaumont makes Texas an oil power

President McKinley assassinated

1902 Texas requires poll tax for voting

Muck-raking journalism

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Page last modified: June 29, 2022