Pardon Proclamation for Jim Hunter,
February 27, 1925
This pardon proclamation is just one of hundreds issued by Mrs. Ferguson. From the beginning of her term in office, Governor Ferguson had pledged to "adopt a most liberal policy in the matter of pardons," citing a desire to reduce prison expeditures. The governor had the power to grant to convict felons several types of clemency, including pardons, paroles, reprieves, and furloughs. Ma Ferguson pardoned an average of 100 convicts a month, for a total of more than 2000 during her first term as governor. Even many supporters of the Fergusons were alarmed by the number of pardons issued to violent criminals, especially coupled with allegations that the couple accepted bribes of land and cash payments in exchange for clemency.
There were many jokes told about the Fergusons and their pardon policy. One story tells of a man who began to walk through a door at the Capitol at the same time as Mrs. Ferguson. "Pardon me," he said politely. "Sure," she responded. "Come on in. It'll only take a minute or two to do the paperwork." In another story, the father of a convicted criminal asked Pa Ferguson to obtain a pardon for his son. Ferguson kept changing the subject, telling the father about a horse he wanted to sell for the ridiculously high price of $5000. The father demanded, "Why would I want a $5000 horse?" to which Pa was supposed to have replied, "Well, I figure your son might ride him home from the penitentiary if you bought him."
Pardon Proclamation for Jim Hunter, February 27, 1925, Records of Miriam A. Ferguson, Texas Office of the Governor, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.