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Capitol Spirits: The Headless Horseman

Dark and stormy nights at the Capitol might be the perfect time to become acquainted with some Capitol spirits. Will you see Comptroller Love walking the hallways near the office where he was shot and killed in 1903? Or, will Governor Edmund Davis (1870-1874) tip his hat to you as you walk by him? Stroll across the street to the Governor's Mansion and you might find Sam Houston, standing by his famous four-poster mahogany bed in the bedroom bearing his name. 

 

Have you ever heard of the Headless Horseman? Most people are familiar with "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," an 1820 short story written by Washington Irving. Did you know that Texas has its own Headless Horseman legend?

 

For the past several years around Halloween, we've shared ghostly stories related to Texas. (See our previous posts from 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.) Below, you'll find more information about Texas' Headless Horseman.

 

Texas' Headless Horseman

 

Have you driven the roads south and west of San Antonio late at night? Did you see El Muerto, the Headless One?

  • "The big mustang drank . . . Gaunt in the thin moon, his rider waited, leaning on his saddlehorn with all the patience of death . . . Even the faint light showed the stump above his shoulders; his head — its sombrero still secured — was a restless pendulum, swinging gently . . . El Muerto was gone at a gallop, his head bouncing against his thigh" (William Edwards Syers, Ghost Stories of Texas [Waco, TX: Texian Press, 1981]).

 

William A. A. "Bigfoot" Wallace. Courtesy of the Texas State Cemetery.

 

William A. A. "Bigfoot" Wallace was at the heart of many an interesting Texas tale, so it's no surprise that he's an integral part of the headless horseman story. Bigfoot and friends caught up with the horse thief, Vidal, in the land below Uvalde. According to legend, as a warning to other thieves, Wallace decapitated Vidal, mounted him on a mustang, and strapped his sombreroed head to the saddle horn. In the words of J. Frank Dobie, the mustang "broke away into a run that, as we have seen, scared up a legend not yet dead" (J. Frank Dobie, "The Headless Horseman of the Mustangs," in Tales of Old-Time Texas [Austin: University of Texas Press, [1984]]).

 

Chapman and Hall, The Headless Horseman: A Strange Tale of Texas by Captain Mayne Reid, advertisement. In Part 11 of Our Mutual Friend, Charles Dickens. London: Chapman and Hall, March 1865. https://digitalcommons.wpi.edu/ourmutualfriend/11/.

 

 

 

 

Many authors have given their take on this story. One of the earliest was by Mayne Reid in his 1865 novel, The Headless Horseman: A Strange Tale of Texas. And what role did Creed Taylor play in spreading the tale? He was a larger-than-life character, participating in many pivotal events in Texas history. Was he along on the chase for the horse thief Vidal with Bigfoot Wallace? If not, he was perhaps the first to relate the story of the thief's decapitation and the origin of the big mustang with the headless rider that terrified South Texas. Did he "stretch the blanket" when telling his stories? Find more details in Lou Ann Herda's article, "The Evolution of a Legend: The Headless Horseman of Texas, or It May Not Be True, but It Makes a Good Story," in Both Sides of the Border: A Scattering of Texas Folklore.

 

Check out more stories on our Capitol Spirits Pinterest board.

 

From the Legislative Reference Library, we hope you have a fun and safe Halloween!!

 

Cover image by Daniel Mingus

 

Persons with Disabilities History and Awareness Month – October 2020

 

Helen Keller at a Joint Session of the Legislature, April 8, 1941. Left to right: Speaker of the House Homer Leonard, Governor W. Lee O'Daniel, Helen Keller, and Keller's assistant Polly Thompson. Neal Douglass Photography Collection, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library. Portal to Texas History (University of North Texas Libraries).
October is Persons with Disabilities History and Awareness Month. Since 2011, Texas has recognized Persons with Disabilities History and Awareness Month with the passage of HB 3616, 82nd Regular Session (Government Code, Section 662.109). Governor Greg Abbott also signed a proclamation specifically recognizing October 2020 and highlighting how this year coincides with the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

 

The most famous disability rights advocate to address the Texas Legislature may have been Helen Keller when she appeared before a Joint Session of the Texas Legislature on April 8, 1941, during the 47th Regular Session. Keller had been invited to speak after planning a trip to Texas to lecture on behalf of the American Foundation for the Blind. Her invitation became official when Senate Concurrent Resolution 17 was adopted and filed on February 26, 1941.

 

Senate Concurrent Resolution 37, filed April 7, 1941, provided for a Joint Session of the Legislature and for appointing a committee of ten members (five members of the House and five members of the Senate) to escort Keller to the House of Representatives at the time of her address. According to the Galveston Daily News ("Blind Solons Named Committee Heads to Meet Helen Keller," April 6, 1941, page 17), two blind members of the Texas Legislature, Senator Olan R. Van Zandt and Representative Lon E. Alsup, served as cochairmen of the committee to meet Keller. (Van Zandt and Alsup were also author and coauthor of HB 844, 42nd Regular Session (1931), which created the State Commission for the Blind.)

 

The proceedings of the Joint Session were described in both the House Journal and the Senate Journal of the 47th Regular Session. 

 

A signed copy of Senate Concurrent Resolution 17, 47th Regular Session (1941), a letter from Senator Olan R. Van Zandt to Helen Keller regarding her visit, and a signed copy of Senate Concurrent Resolution 37, 47th Regular Session (1941), are now found within the holdings of the Helen Keller Archive at the American Foundation for the Blind.

 

Buffalo Soldier Heritage Month

Senate Bill 1457 of the 76th Regular Session (1999) designated July as Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Month in Texas. The bill, authored by Senator Royce West, coauthored by Senator Rodney Ellis, and sponsored by Representative Bob Hunter, amended Texas Government Code Section 662 by codifying Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Month. Prior to this legislation, Senator Dan Kubiak honored the Buffalo Soldiers with a Buffalo Soldier Heritage pilot program for at-risk youth with House Bill 2031, 74th Regular Session (1995). 

 

On July 28th, 1866, the U.S. Army Reorganization Act authorized the formation of 30 new units, including two cavalry and four infantry regiments "which shall be composed of colored men." These men became known as "Buffalo Soldiers." There is no consensus on the origin of the Buffalo Soldier name, but a common theory is that it was bestowed upon these units of African Americans soldiers by the Cheyenne Native American tribes of the area. The actual Cheyenne translation that was given was "wild buffalo."

 

The Ninth and 10th Cavalry and the 24th and 25th Infantry regiments were stationed at Texas forts stretching from the Panhandle to the Valley. In addition to keeping the peace on the Western frontier, Buffalo Soldiers built roads, telegraph lines, and forts, and mapped vast portions of the Texas frontier. One group worked as some of the first park rangers in national parks. Additionally, the first black graduate of West Point, Lt. Henry Flipper, served with the 10th Cavalry in West Texas. 

 
                                                           

Images left to right: Lt. Henry O. Flipper, circa 1877, Records of the U.S. House of Representative National Archives and Records Administration; Buffalo Soldiers in the 24th Infantry at Yosemite National Park, circa 1899, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Alfred Bendiner Memorial Collection

 

 

Cover image: Formation of Black Soldiers, after Spanish-American War; Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division

First Lady Frances Cox Henderson Bicentennial Day

During the 86th Regular Session (2019), Senator Judith Zaffirini authored Senate Resolution 163 designating July 21, 2020, as First Lady Frances Cox Henderson Bicentennial Day in Texas.

 

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 21, 1820, Frances learned to speak at least eighteen languages, excelled in math, became an accomplished musician, and wrote and translated short stories. She met James Pinckney Henderson in Paris while he was serving as envoy to Great Britain and France from the Republic of Texas. They married in London, England, in 1839. Upon returning to Texas, Frances studied to become well versed in law in order to carry on her husband's law practice when he was away on state business.

 

She became the first First Lady of Texas when her husband was elected the first Governor of the State of Texas, serving from 1846 to 1847. One of her contributions to Texas was to establish Episcopal churches in San Augustine, Rusk, Palestine, Marshall, and Nacogdoches. It was during her work with the church that she became the first woman to address the clergy of the diocese in 1855. In 1857, J. Pinckney Henderson was appointed to fill the seat of United States Senator Thomas J. Rusk, taking the Henderson family to Washington D.C.

 

Following her husband's death in 1858, Frances moved to New Jersey, where she spent her remaining years as a community leader. She died in her daughter’s home on January 25, 1897, and is buried in East Orange, New Jersey. Frances' contributions to Texas are recognized with a memorial marker on the back of her husband's headstone in the Texas State Cemetery.

 

Senate Resolution 163 encourages all Texans to honor the memory of the Lone Star State’s first First Lady, Frances Cox Henderson.

 

Photograph of Frances Cox Henderson courtesy of findagrave.com.

Notable Names in the Minutes: Texas Governors

A few months ago, we shared some notable names in the minutes—famous figures like Willie Nelson and Larry Hagman who have testified at legislative hearings. But sometimes the notable figures come from the executive branch of the Texas government:

  • Governor Ann Richards testified on March 3, 1991, before the House Insurance Committee in favor of an insurance bill (HB 2, 72R) that later passed. During a special session, she testified on July 16, 1991, before the Senate State Affairs Committee for a government reorganization bill (SB 7, 72nd 1st C.S.) that did not pass. Typescripts of her prepared testimonials are available for both bills—with a caveat noted on her testimony for SB 7 that "Governor Richards frequently deviates from prepared remarks."
  • Governor George W. Bush testified on the need for tort reform at the 74th Legislature's Senate Committee on Economic Development meeting on February 2, 1995. (Search within the document to find his name on witness lists for bills SB 25, SB 28, and SB 32, all of which passed.) We do not have his testimony transcripts.
  • Governor Rick Perry also "frequently departs from prepared remarks," according to the May 20, 2004, testimony published for his remarks to the House Select Committee on Public School Finance for the 78th Legislature.

Legislative Families: Grandchildren, Cousins, In-Laws, and More!

In previous posts on legislative families, we have looked at legislative spouses, siblings, and parents/children. In the final post, we are highlighting the extended family. Many legislators come from families that have devoted countless hours of time and energy to the Texas Legislature. See who has followed in legislative family footsteps over the generations.*

  • Barclay-Lindsey family

    • James Walter Barclay served in the House, 1859–1866 (8th–10th)

      • father-in-law to Dave Lindsey, grandfather to John Lindsey
    • David Sudduth Lindsey served in the House, 1893–1897 (23rd–24th)
      • son-in-law to James Barclay, father to John Lindsey
    • John Lindsey served in the House, 1921–1923 (37th)
      • son to Dave Lindsey, grandson to James Barclay

  • Bee-Tarver family

    • Hamilton Prioleau Bee served in the House, 1851–1859 (3rd–7th)

      • brother-in-law to Edward Tarver, father of Carlos Bee
    • Edward Rex Tarver served in the House, 1895–1897 (24th), 1899–1900 (26th)
      • brother-in-law to Hamilton Bee, uncle to Carlos Bee
    • Carlos Bee served in the Senate, 1915–1919 (34th–35th)
      • son to Hamilton Bee, nephew to Edward Tarver

  • Benavides family

    • Bacilio Benavides served in the House, 1859–1861 (8th)

      • uncle to Santos Benavides
    • Santos Benavides served in the House, 1879–1885 (16th–18th)
      • nephew to Bacilio Benavides

  • Blount-Owsley family

    • J.M. Blount served in the Senate, 1866–1870 (11th)

      • father to James P. Blount
    • James P. Blount served in the House, 1885–1887 (19th)
      • son to J.M. Blount, brother-in-law to J.G. Kearby
    • J.G. Kearby served in the Senate, 1891–1895 (22nd–23rd)
      • brother-in-law to James P. Blount
    • Alvin Clark Owsley served in the House, 1889–1892 (21st–22nd), and 1895–1897 (24th)
      • father to Alvin M. Owsley, son-in-law to J.M. Blount, brother-in-law to James P. Blount
    • Alvin M. Owsley served in the House, 1913–1915 (33rd)
      • son to Alvin C. Owsley, nephew to James P. Blount, grandson to J.M. Blount

  • Bourland-Day-Manion family

    • William H. Bourland served in the House, 1846–1849 (1st–2nd), and 1853–1855 (5th)

      • brother to James Bourland
    • James G. Bourland served in the Senate, 1846–1849 (1st–2nd)
      • brother to William H. Bourland, father-in-law to Samuel Day and A.B. Manion
    • Samuel Day served in the House, 1873–1874 (13th)
      • son-in-law to James Bourland, brother-in-law to Austin Brooks Manion
    • Austin Brooks Manion served in the House, 1876–1879 (15th)
      • son-in-law to James Bourland, brother-in-law to Samuel Day

  • Burleson-Loyd-Negley family

    • Edward Burleson served in the Senate, 1846–1851 (1st–4th)

      • great-uncle to A.J. Loyd, great-grandfather to Laura Burleson Negley
    • Andrew Jackson Loyd served in the House, 1899–1901 (26th)
      • great-nephew to Edward Burleson
    • Laura Burleson Negley served in the House, 1929–1931 (41st)
      • great-granddaughter to Edward Burleson

  • Camp family

    • John Lafayette Camp, Sr. served in the Senate, 1874–1875 (14th)

      • father to John L. Camp, Jr., grandfather to W. Nunnelee Camp
    • John Lafayette Camp, Jr. served in the Senate, 1885–1889 (19th–20th)
      • son to John L. Camp, Sr., uncle to W. Nunnelee Camp
    • W. Nunnelee Camp served in the House, 1911–1912 (32nd)
      • nephew to John L. Camp, Jr., grandson to John L. Camp, Sr.

  • Canales family

    • José Tomás Canales served in the House, 1905–1911 (29th–31st) and 1917–1921 (35th–36th)

      • uncle to Terry Canales, great-uncle to Gabi Canales and Terry A. Canales
    • Terry A. Canales served in the House, 1973–1977 (63rd–64th)
      • father to Gabi Canales and Terry A. Canales, nephew to J.T. Canales
    • Gabi Canales served in the House, 2003–2005 (78th)
      • daughter of Terry A. Canales, sister of Terry Canales, great-niece to J.T. Canales
    • Terry Canales serves in the House, 2013–present (83rd–86th)
      • son of Terry A. Canales, brother of Gabi Canales, great-nephew to J.T. Canales

  • Cocke family

    • Frederick Bird Smith Cocke, Sr. served in the House, 1861–1863 (9th), and 1879–1881 (16th)

      • father to Fred Cocke, Jr. and J.R. Cocke, grandfather to William A. Cocke
    • James Rogers Cocke served in the House, 1893–1897 (23rd–24th)
      • son to Frederick Cocke, Sr., brother to Fred Cocke, Jr., uncle to William A. Cocke
    • Frederick Bird Smith Cocke, Jr. served in the House, 1899–1901 (26th)
      • son to Frederick Cocke, Sr., brother to J.R. Cocke, uncle to William A. Cocke
    • William Alexander Cocke served in the House, 1907–1909 (30th)
      • grandson to Frederick Cocke, Sr., nephew to J.R. Cocke and Fred Cocke, Jr.

  • Crabb family

    • Hillary Crabb served in the House, 1853 (4th) and 1855–1857 (6th)

      • great-grandfather to Joe Crabb
    • Joe Crabb served in the House, 1993–2011 (73rd–81st)
      • great-grandson to Hillary Crabb

  • Cuellar-Martinez family

    • Renato Cuellar served in the House, 1987–1997 (70th–74th)

      • uncle to Armando Martinez
    • Armando Martinez serves in the House, 2005–present (79th–86th)
      • nephew to Renato Cuellar

  • Daniel family

    • Price Daniel, Sr. served in the House, 1939–1945 (46th–48th)

      • brother to Bill Daniel, father to Price Daniel, Jr.
    • Bill Daniel served in the House, 1949–1955 (51st–53rd)
      • brother to Price Daniel, Sr., uncle to Price Daniel, Jr.
    • Price Daniel, Jr. served in the House, 1969–1975 (61st–63rd)
      • son to Price Daniel, Sr., nephew to Bill Daniel

  • De La Garza family

    • Eligio De La Garza served in the House, 1953–1965 (53rd–58th)

      • uncle to Eddie De La Garza
    • Eddie De La Garza served in the House, 1991–1997 (72nd–74th)
      • nephew to Eligio De La Garza

  • Dies family

    • W.W. Dies served in the House, 1897–1901 (25th–26th)

      • uncle to Martin Dies, Jr.
    • Martin Dies served in the Senate, 1959–1967 (56th–59th)
      • nephew to W.W. Dies

  • Dougherty-Leo family

    • Edward Dougherty served in the House, 1859–1861 (8th)

      • father-in-law to Alexander Leo, Jr.
    • Alexander Leo, Jr. served in the House, 1883 (18th)
      • son-in-law to Edward Dougherty

  • Dunnam family

    • W.V. Dunnam, Sr. served in the House, 1917–1919 (35th)

      • grandfather to Jim Dunnam
    • Jim Dunnam served in the House, 1997–2011 (75th–81st)
      • grandson to W.V. Dunnam

  • Durant family

    • John Durant served in the Senate, 1861–1866 (9th–10th)

      • uncle to William Durant
    • William Durant served in the House, 1883–1885 (18th)
      • nephew to John Durant

  • Farrar-Duff family

    • Bowd Farrar served in the House, 1925–1933 (39th–42nd)

      • uncle to Virginia Duff
    • Virginia Elizabeth Duff served in the House, 1951–1963 (52nd–57th)
      • niece to Bowd Farrar

  • Faubion family

    • James Henry Faubion served in the House, 1885–1891 (19th–21st), 1893–1895 (23rd), and in the Senate, 1903–1905 (28th)

      • uncle to H.E. Faubion
    • Herbert Elmo Faubion served in the House, 1919–1925 (36th–38th)
      • nephew to J.H. Faubion

  • Few-Lewis family

    • William Allen Few served in the House, 1933–1934 (43rd)

      • father-in-law to Don A. Lewis
    • Donald A. Lewis served in the House, 1947–1951 (50th–51st)
      • son-in-law to W.A. Few

  • Fowler family

    • John H. Fowler served in the House, 1853–1855 (5th)

      • great-uncle to G.R. Fowler
    • Godfrey Rees Fowler served in the House, 1903–1905 (28th)
      • great-nephew to John H. Fowler

  • Fly family

    • George Washington Lafayette Fly served in the House, 1881–1883 (17th)

      • father to William Madden Fly, grandfather to William Stoner Fly
    • William Madden Fly served in the House, 1915–1923 (34th–37th), and 1926–1929 (39th–40th)
      • son to George Washington Lafayette Fly, uncle to William Stoner Fly
    • William Stoner Fly served in the House, 1947–1953 (50th–52nd), and in the Senate, 1954–1961 (53rd–56th)
      • grandson to George Washington Lafayette Fly, nephew to William Madden Fly

  • Garrison-Carter-Sanford family

    • Caleb Jackson Garrison served in the House, 1876–1881 (15th–16th), and 1883–1885 (18th), and in the Senate, 1885–1889 (20th)

      • brother to T.S. Garrison, uncle to E.H. Carter, great-uncle to Gary B. Sanford
    • Thomas Smith Garrison served in the House, 1897–1899 (25th)
      • brother to C.J. Garrison, uncle to E.H. Carter, grandfather to Gary B. Sanford
    • E.H. Carter served in the Senate, 1911–1914 (32nd–33rd)
      • nephew to C.J. and T.S. Garrison, cousin-once-removed to Gary B. Sanford
    • Gary Bonner Sanford served in the House, 1922–1927 (37th–39th)
      • grandson to T.S. Garrison, great-nephew to C.J. Garrison, cousin-once-removed to E.H. Carter

  • Guinn-Hearne family

    • Robert Guinn served in the Senate, 1853–1870 (5th–11th)

      • brother-in-law to D.T. Hearne
    • D.T. Hearne served in the House, 1883–1887 (18th–19th)
      • brother-in-law to Robert Guinn

  • Hamilton-Perry-Ratliff family

    • David Henry Hamilton served in the House, 1893–1895 (23rd)

      • great-great-grandfather to Rick Perry
    • Rick Perry served in the House, 1985–1991 (69th–71st)
      • great-great-grandson to D.H. Hamilton
    • Dennis Pace Ratliff served in the House, 1931–1935 (42nd–43rd)
      • grandfather-in-law to Rick Perry

  • Hogg family Gov. James Hogg is Joseph's son and Mike's father.

    • Joseph Lewis Hogg served in the Senate, 1846 (1st)

      • grandfather to Mike Hogg
    • Mike Hogg served in the House, 1927–1931 (40th–41st)
      • grandson to Joseph L. Hogg

  • Holland family William is believed to be one of Bird Holland's sons by an enslaved woman. Bird bought the brothers' freedom and took them to Ohio.

    • Spearman Holland served in the House, 1846–1847 (1st), 1857–1859 (7th), and 1861–1863 (9th), and in the Senate, 1863–1866 (10th)

      • brother to Bird Holland, father to James Holland, uncle^ to William Holland
    • Bird Holland served in the House, 1853–1855 (5th)
      • brother to Spearman Holland, father^ to William Holland, uncle to James Holland
    • William H. Holland served in the House, 1876–1879 (15th)
      • son^ to Bird Holland, nephew^ to Spearman Holland, cousin^ to James Holland
    • James K. Holland served in the House, 1849–1851 (3rd), and 1863 (9th), and in the Senate, 1853–1855 (5th)
      • son to Spearman Holland, nephew to Bird Holland, cousin^ to William Holland

  • Jackson-Denny family

    • Robert Hal Jackson served in the House, 1947–1951 (50th–51st)

      • second cousin to Mary Denny
    • Mary Denny served in the House, 1993–2007 (1993–2007)
      • second cousin to Robert Hal Jackson

  • Jolley-Bock family

    • James Jolley served in the House, 1885–1887 (19th)

      • great-grandfather to Bennie Bock II
    • Bennie Bock II served in the House, 1973–983 (63rd–67th)
      • great-grandson to James Jolley

  • Jones-Mills family

    • Henry Jones served in the House, 1846–1847 (1st)

      • father-in-law to Roger Quarles Mills, grandfather to Charles Mills
    • Roger Quarles Mills served in the House, 1859–1861 (8th)
      • son-in-law to Henry Jones, father to Charles Mills
    • Charles H. Mills served in the House, 1913–1915 (33rd)
      • son to Roger Quarles Mills, grandson to Henry Jones

  • Jones family

    • Wiley Jones served in the House, 1863–1866

      • father-in-law to John Mathis
    • John Manson Mathis served in the House, 1918–1919 (35th), and 1931–1935 (42nd–43rd)
      • son-in-law to Wiley Jones

  • Jones family

    • Benjamin Franklin Jones served in the House, 1879–1881 (16th)

      • brother to Charles H. Jones and W.H. Jones, father to J.S. Jones
    • Charles Hill Jones served in the House, 1866–1870 (11th)
      • brother to Benjamin Jones and W.H. Jones, uncle to J.S. Jones
    • William H. Jones served in the House, 1876–1879 (15th), and 1885–1887 (19th)
      • brother to Benjamin Jones and Charles H. Jones, uncle to J.S. Jones
    • James Slaughter Jones served in the House, 1901–1903 (27th)
      • son to Benjamin Jones, nephew to Charles H. Jones and W.H. Jones

  • Lea-Boothe family

    • Pryor Lea served in the Senate, 1861–1866 (9th–10th)

      • grandfather-in-law to Joseph Boothe
    • Joseph Boothe served in the House, 1887–1889 (20th)
      • grandson-in-law to Pryor Lea

  • Mauritz-Patman family

    • Fred Mauritz served in the House, 1935–1939 (44th–45th), and in the Senate, 1941–1947 (47th–50th)

      • father-in-law to Bill Patman
    • William N. Patman served in the Senate, 1961–1981 (57th–66th)
      • son-in-law to Fred Mauritz

  • Maverick family

    • Samuel Augustus Maverick served in the House, 1851–1855, and 1859–1863 (8th–9th), and in the Senate, 1855–1859 (6th–7th)

      • great-grandfather to Maury Maverick
    • Maury Maverick served in the House, 1951–1957 (52nd–54th)
      • great-grandson to Samuel Maverick

  • McLane-Pierce family

    • Charles McLane served in the Senate, 1882–1883 (17th)

      • stepfather to C.C. Pierce
    • C.C. Pierce served in the House, 1907–1910 (30th–31st)
      • stepson to Charles McLane

  • Meyer-Gattis family

    • Charles J.H. Meyer served in the House, 1893–1895 (23rd)

      • great-great-grandfather to Dan Gattis
    • Dan Gattis served in the House, 2003–2011 (78th–81st)
      • great-great-grandson to C.J.H. Meyer

  • Mobley family

  • Moursund family

    • Albert W.H. Moursund served in the House, 1881–1885 (17th–18th)

      • father to Anton N. Moursund, grandfather to Albert Moursund III
    • Anton N. Moursund served in the House, 1901–1903 (27th)
      • son to A.W. Moursund, Sr., father to Travis Moursund, uncle to Albert Moursund III
    • Albert Wadel Moursund III served in the House, 1949–1953 (51st–52nd)
      • grandson to A.W. Moursund, Sr., cousin to Travis Moursund
    • Travis Bruce Moursund served in the House, 1927–1929 (40th)
      • son to Anton N. Moursund, grandson to A.W. Moursund, Sr., cousin to Albert Moursund III

  • Munson family

    • Mordello Stephen Munson served in the House, 1857–1861 (7th–8th), 1866–1870 (11th), and 1875–1876 (14th)

      • father to Milam Stephen Munson, Sr., grandfather to Milam Stephen Munson, Jr.
    • Milam Stephen Munson, Sr. served in the House, 1909–1911 (31st)
      • son to Mordello Stephen Munson, father to Milam Stephen Munson, Jr.
    • Milam Stephen Munson, Jr. served in the House, 1931–1935 (42nd–43rd)
      • son to Milam Stephen Munson, Jr., grandson to Mordello Stephen Munson

  • Patton-Jordan family

    • Edward Patton served in the House, 1891–1893 (22nd)

      • great-grandfather to Barbara Jordan
    • Barbara Jordan served in the Senate, 1967–1973 (60th–62nd)
      • great-granddaughter to Edward Patton

  • Perry-Stevenson-Murr family

    • Henry Grady Perry served in the House, 1921–1923 (37th), and 1949–1953 (51st–52nd)

      • father to Wilbur Wright Perry, brother-in-law to Coke Robert Stevenson
    • Wilbur Wright Perry served in the House, 1953–1955 (53rd)
      • son to H. Grady Perry
    • Coke Robert Stevenson served in the House, 1929–1939 (41st–45th)
      • brother-in-law to H. Grady Perry, grandfather to Andrew Murr
    • Andrew Murr serves in the House, 2015–present (84th–86th)
      • grandson to Coke Robert Stevenson

  • Rains-Barrett family

    • Emory Rains served in the House, 1847–1849 (2nd), 1851–1853 (4th–5th), and in the Senate, 1859–1861 (8th)

      • great-uncle to Eli B. Barrett
    • Eli Brown Barrett served in the House, 1921–1925 (37th–38th), and 1933–1935 (43rd)
      • great-nephew to Emory Rains

  • Rowland-Gough family

    • James Franklin Rowland served in the House, 1889–1893 (21st–22nd)

      • uncle to James Rowland Gough
    • James Rowland Gough served in the House, 1891–1897 (22nd–24th), and in the Senate, 1897–1901 (25th–26th)
      • nephew to J.F. Rowland

  • Runnels family

    • Hiram George Runnels elected but never sworn (7th)

      • uncle to Hardin Runnels and Howell Runnels
    • Hardin Richard Runnels served in the House, 1847–1855 (2nd–5th)
      • brother to Howell Runnels, nephew to Hiram G. Runnels
    • Howell Runnels served in the House, 1855–1859 (6th–7th)
      • brother to Hardin Runnels, nephew to Hiram G. Runnels

  • Russell family

    • William Jarvis Russell served in the House, 1849–1851 (3rd)

      • father to William H. Russell, grandfather to W.J. Russell
    • William H. Russell served in the Senate, 1874–1876 (14th)
      • son to William Jarvis Russell, father to W.J. Russell
    • William Jarvis Russell served in the House, 1893–1895 (23rd), and 1899–1905 (26th–28th)
      • son to William H. Russell, grandson to William Jarvis Russell

  • Shepard family

    • James Shepard served in the House, 1850–1851 (3rd), and 1856–1857 (6th)

      • brother to Chauncy Shepard, uncle to Seth Shepard
    • Chauncy Shepard served in the Senate, 1857–1866 (7th–10th)
      • brother to James Shepard, father to Seth Shepard
    • Seth Shepard served in the Senate, 1874–1876 (14th)
      • son to Chauncy Shepard, nephew to James Shepard

  • Stewart family

    • William Henry Stewart served in the House, 1848–1851 (2nd–3rd), and 1859–1861 (8th)

      • grandfather to Maco Stewart, Jr., great-grandfather to Maco Stewart III
    • Maco Stewart, Jr. served in the House, 1923–1925 (38th)
      • father to Maco Stewart III, grandson to William H. Stewart
    • Maco Stewart III served in the House, 1961–1963 (57th)
      • son to Maco Stewart, Jr., great-grandson to William H. Stewart

  • Stollenwerck family

  • Tarlton-Morrow-Farenthold family

    • Benjamin Tarlton served in the House, 1881–1883 (17th), and 1885–1887 (19th)

      • brother-in-law to W.C. Morrow, grandfather to Frances "Sissy" Farenthold
    • W.C. Morrow served in the Senate, 1913–1917 (33rd–34th)
      • brother-in-law to Benjamin Tarlton, great-uncle to Frances "Sissy" Farenthold
    • Frances "Sissy" Farenthold served in the House, 1969–1973 (61st–62nd)
      • granddaughter to Benjamin Tarlton, great-niece to W.C. Morrow

  • Terrell family

    • Henry Berryman Terrell served in the House, 1901–1909 (27th–30th), and in the Senate, 1909–1915 (31st–34th)

      • brother to George Terrell, uncle to J. Turney Terrell
    • George Butler Terrell served in the House, 1899–1903 (26th–27th), 1907–1913 (30th–32nd), 1917–1920 (35th–36th), and 1931–1933 (42nd)
      • brother to H.B. Terrell, father to J. Turney Terrell
    • J. Turney Terrell served in the House, 1930–1933 (41st–42nd)
      • son to George Terrell, nephew to H.B. Terrell

  • Thurmond family

    • Pulaski A. Thurmond served in the House, 1863 (9th)

      • brother to George Thurmond and Alfred Thurmond
    • Alfred Thurmond served in the House, 1866–1870 (11th), and 1873–1874 (13th)
      • brother to George Thurmond and Pulaski Thurmond
    • George Murat Thurmond served in the House, 1901–1903 (27th)
      • brother to Alfred Thurmond and Pulaski Thurmond, father to Roger H. Thurmond, grandfather to George M. Thurmond and Roger H. Thurmond, Jr.
    • Roger Harold Thurmond served in the House, 1929 (41st)
      • son of George Thurmond, father to George M. Thurmond and Roger H. Thurmond, Jr., nephew to Alfred Thurmond and Pulaski Thurmond
    • George Murat Thurmond served in the House, 1955–1959 (54th–55th)
      • grandson of George M. Thurmond, great-nephew of Alfred Thurmond and Pulaski Thurmond
    • Roger H. Thurmond, Jr. served from 1959–1967 (56th–59th)
      • grandson of George M. Thurmond, great-nephew of Alfred Thurmond and Pulaski Thurmond

  • Truitt-Stephens family

    • James Alfred Truitt served in the Senate, 1846–1849 (1st–2nd), 1851–1853 (4th), 1855–1859 (6th–7th), and 1866–1870 (11th)

      • grandfather to James W. Truitt, John H. Truitt, and J.H. Stephens
    • Alfred M. Truit served in the Senate, 1849–1851 (3rd)
      • son of James Alfred Truitt, uncle^ to James W. Truitt and John H. Truitt
    • James W. Truitt served in the House, 1881–1883 (17th), and 1891–1895 (22nd–23rd)
      • brother to John H. Truitt, grandson to James Alfred Truitt, nephew^ to Alfred M. Truitt, cousin^ to J.H. Stephens
    • John Hays Truitt served in the House, 1887–1889 (20th)
      • brother to James W. Truitt, grandson to James Alfred Truitt, nephew^ to Alfred M. Truitt, cousin^ to J.H. Stephens
    • John Hall Stephens served in the House, 1889–1893 (21st–22nd)
      • grandson to James Alfred Truitt, cousin^ to James W. Truitt and John H. Truitt

  • Wurzbach-Kleberg-Eckhardt family

    • Charles Louis Wurzbach served in the House, 1876–1885 (15th–18th), and 1891–1892 (22nd)

      • father to William Wurzbach, grandfather to Bob Eckhardt
    • William Augustus Wurzbach served in the House, 1895–1897 (24th)
      • son to Charles Wurzbach, uncle to Bob Eckhardt
    • Marcellus Eugene Kleberg served in the House, 1873–1874 (13th)
      • brother to Rudolph Kleberg, uncle to Robert J. Eckhardt, great-uncle to Bob Eckhardt
    • Rudolph Kleberg served in the Senate, 1883–1886 (18th–19th)
      • brother to Marcellus Kleberg, uncle to Robert J. Eckhardt, great-uncle to Bob Eckhardt
    • Robert J. Eckhardt served in the Senate, 1915–1917 (34th)
      • uncle to Bob Eckhardt, nephew to Rudolph Kleberg, nephew to Marcellus Kleberg
    • Robert C. "Bob" Eckhardt served in the House, 1959–1967 (56th–59th)
      • grandson to Charles Wurzbach, nephew to William Wurzbach, nephew to Robert J. Eckhardt, great-nephew to Rudolph Kleberg, great-nephew to Marcellus Kleberg

*Many of the fathers and sons were "Senior" and "Junior," or at least shared the same first name. If we did not find indication of nicknames, we used "FirstName, Sr./Jr." on the second reference. In cases where we believe legislators had a preference for a nickname or abbreviated name, we used that name on the second reference. Names are in chronological order within family groups. We've attempted to identify all of the legislative extended families, but let us know if you think we missed some! This information is provided as a public service by the Legislative Reference Library. The Legislative Reference Library makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy and makes no warranty in regard to its use. Users assume all risk of reliance on the information included on this site.

 
^ denotes where we are fairly certain of a familial connection but do not have sufficient documentation. Let us know if you can help confirm or deny our hunches!

Notable Names in the Minutes

Most of the people who testify at legislative hearings are "regular" people—active citizens or members of organizations who want to make their voices heard about proposed legislation. However, in our committee minutes scanning project, famous names sometimes jump out at us. Here are a few examples:

  • Musician Willie Nelson was the second individual to testify at the House Committee on Government Organization public hearing on April 4, 1989. Nelson spoke in favor of SB 489, 71R, a sunset bill that provided for the continuation of the Department of Agriculture. Noted in the minutes: "Chair recognized Willie Nelson of Austin, Texas, representing himself, as well as rabbits and horned toads." Congresswoman Barbara Jordan "of Austin, Texas, representing herself"—the Texas Legislature's own past Sen. Jordan—testified immediately following Nelson.
  • On March 11, 2009, the 81st Legislature's House Committee on Appropriations heard from Linda Gray and Larry Hagman, actors of Dallas fame, regarding film incentive funding.
  • Sometimes you have to know your Texas history—and possible name misspellings—to spot the notable figure mention. In the 39th Legislature (1925), the House Committee to Investigate Certain State Departments was charged with, among other items, investigating "the administration of highway affairs by the State Highway Commission." Former Rep. Sam Johnson, at the time a section foreman with the Highway Commission, testified before the committee, and he talks about his son, "Linden Johnson," who was driving tractors and helping Sam with payroll. "Lyndon" is the correct spelling of Rep. Johnson's son's name—as in future U.S. president Lyndon Baines Johnson! 

Legislative Families: Parents and Children

Leading by example is not just for parents teaching their children to have good manners and be good sports—some children are inspired by their parents' leadership and follow their footsteps into legislative careers. Between 1846 and 2019, more than 100 parent-children sets have served in the Texas Legislature.*

As with the legislative siblings, some parents/children's service overlapped:

  • Oscar Dudley Baker and Oscar Lindsey Baker ^

    • O.D. served in the House, 1921–1925 (37th–38th)
    • Oscar served in the House, 1923–1927 (38th–39th)
  • Spearman Holland and James K. Holland
    • Spearman served in the House, 1846–1847 (1st), 1857–1859 (7th), and 1861–1863 (9th), and in the Senate, 1863–1866 (10th)
    • James served in the House, 1849–1851 (3rd), and 1863 (9th), and in the Senate, 1853–1855 (5th)
  • Eddie Lucio, Jr. and Eddie Lucio III
    • Eddie, Jr. served in the House, 1987–1991 (70th–71st), and serves in the Senate, 1991–present (72nd–86th)
    • Eddie III serves in the House, 2007–present (80th–86th)
  • William Rowland Newton and George Mayo Newton In HCR 20, 46R, W.R.'s memorial resolution, he and George were recognized as "the only combination of a son and father team in each branch of the Legislature at the same time, from the same district, in the history of the Legislature."
    • W.R. served in the Senate, 1937–1938 (45th)
    • George served in the House, 1935–1939 (44th–45th)
  • George Butler Terrell and J. Turney Terrell
    • George served in the House, 1899–1903 (26th–27th), 1907–1913 (30th–32nd), 1917–1920 (35th–36th), and 1931–1933 (42nd)
    • J. Turney served in the House, 1930–1933 (41st–42nd)

Most parents and children served in different years:

*This blog post is the third in a series, with previous posts on legislative spouses and legislative siblings, and a post to come on other family connections. We've attempted to identify all of the legislative parents/children, but let us know if you think we missed some! This information is provided as a public service by the Legislative Reference Library. The Legislative Reference Library makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy and makes no warranty in regard to its use. Users assume all risk of reliance on the information included on this site.

 

^Many of the fathers and sons were "Senior" and "Junior," or at least shared the same first name. If we did not find indication of nicknames, we used "FirstName, Sr./Jr." on the second reference. In cases where we believe legislators had a preference for a nickname or abbreviated name, we used that name on the second reference.

 

Capitol Spirits, 2019

Leading up to Halloween each year, we gather stories of supernatural and strange happenings in the Lone Star State. Below you'll find tales of hauntings by a madam, a governor, star-crossed lovers, outlaws, pirates, and soldiers. You can find these and more stories on our Capitol Spirits Pinterest board

From the Legislative Reference Library, we hope you have a fun and safe Halloween!!

Blanche DuMont

Austin's warehouse district serves up a front-row seat to lively entertainment, much as the area did in the late 1800s as the epicenter of Austin's red light district (Guy Town). Blanche DuMont, a well-known madam, owned a building at 211 W. 4th. Perhaps Blanche had so much fun, she didn't want to leave. She frequents the dance floor at Oilcan Harry's, the bar currently occupying her old address, and she's thought to be the presence down the street at her namesake bar, DuMont's Down Low.

 

Governor Pendleton Murrah

Governor Pendleton Murrah had a difficult life. Inaugurated in November 1863 in the midst of the Civil War, he faced this arduous situation while battling tuberculosis and handling the suicide of a young visitor to the Governor's Mansion. When the war ended, he fled to Mexico with Confederate troops, dying shortly after arrival. With so many trials and tribulations, perhaps his ghost, who is seen inside and outside the Governor's Mansion, is in search of a resolution to his misfortunes.

 

 

Waco's Cameron Park

Looking for a target-rich environment to do a little ghost hunting? You could not do better than Waco's Cameron Park. Look for the outlaws of Lindsey Hollow and the star-crossed lovers at the top of Lover's Leap. Partake of the haunting atmosphere of the Witch's Castle, Jacob's Ladder, and the Motorcycle Pits. Your roadmap is at "The Haunting of Cameron Park," by Terri Jo Ryan. 

 

John Wilkes Booth's Trip to Granbury

John St. Helen was well-known in Granbury in the 1870s as a bartender in town who occasionally acted in productions at the Granbury Opera House. Is his ghost the man seen in the lobby wearing a  white shirt, black pants, and tall boots, or the presence who folds down a seat in the balcony? And was John St. Helen really President Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth? Recent research indicates this might not be such a far-fetched idea. [Photo by Kairos14; CC BY-SA 3.0; Wikipedia Commons]    

 

Jean Lafitte's Treasure

Jean Laffite, the infamous pirate, plundered ships in the Gulf of Mexico and many think he left some of his treasure along the Texas coast. Did he bury $2 million in silver bars in the Sabine River? Native American legend speaks of his ghostly pirate band retrieving chests from a sunken vessel. Perhaps they did not get it all, but seek at your peril. Later treasure hunters report demons guard the stash.

 

The Confederate Soldier of Thompson's Island Bridge

What was it like for young Confederate soldiers to go off to war? Two young brothers growing up near San Marcos faced the unknown by promising each other they would return to their home when the fighting was finished—no matter what. One brother lived to return home, but the other died in the war. Perhaps the slain brother kept his promise to his sibling. Late at night you might see him on San Marcos' Thompson Island Bridge—waiting for his brother or reminding you of the evils and costs of war.

 

Cover image by Daniel Mingus

 

Legislative Families: Siblings

The Texas Legislature has seen many siblings who have legislative service in common. As of 2019, there have been 46 sibling sets!* Read on for a list of brothers and sisters who have shared time in the Capitol (along with some interesting details about a few of these family units).

 

Ten sets of siblings have had overlap in their years of service (though not necessarily in the same chamber): 

  • Dennis Bonnen and Greg Bonnen

    • Dennis serves in the House, 1997–present (75th–86th)
    • Greg serves in the House, 2013–present (83rd–86th)
  • William H. Bourland and James G. Bourland
    • William served in the House, 1846–1849 (1st–2nd), and 1853–1855 (5th)
    • James served in the Senate, 1846–1849 (1st–2nd)
  • James Washington Guinn and Robert Guinn
    • Robert served in the Senate, 1853–1870 (5th–11th)
    • James served in the House, 1863–1866 (10th–11th)
  • Ross Hardin and Doss Hardin The first and only twins to serve in the Texas Legislature. Read a speech given by Doss Hardin at Baylor University's 1939 "Convention of Twins" that was read into the Senate Journal record.
    • Ross served in the House, 1935–1941 (44th–46th)
    • Doss served in the Senate, 1938–1940 (45th–46th)
  • Jim Keffer and Bill Keffer
    • Jim served in the House, 1997–2017 (75th–84th)
    • Bill served in the House, 2003–2007 (78th–79th)
  • William Henry Pope and Alexander Pope In an act of brotherly devotion, Alexander died when shot by W.T.S. Keller "while endeavoring to prevent him from shooting his brother, W.H. Pope" during a child custody trial. William was shot but survived the assault.
    • William served in the Senate, 1883–1893 (18th–22nd)
    • Alexander served in the House, 1887–1889 (20th–21st)
  • Joseph Draper Sayers and William Sayers
    • Joseph served in the Senate, 1873–1874 (13th)
    • William served in the House, 1873–1876 (13th–14th)
  • Henry Berryman Terrell and George Butler Terrell The Terrells appear to be the first brothers to serve at the same time, in the same chamber.
    • H.B. served in the House, 1901–1909 (27th–30th), and in the Senate, 1909–1915 (31st–34th)
    • George served in the House, 1899–1903 (26th–27th), 1907–1913 (30th–32nd), 1917–1920 (35th–36th), and 1931–1933 (42nd)
  • Carlos Uresti and Tomas Uresti
    • Carlos served in the House, 1997–2006 (75th–79th), and in the Senate, 2006–2018 (79th–85th)
    • Tomas served in the House, 2017–2019 (85th)
  • Phillip L. Willis and Doyle Willis The Willis brothers are noted as the first siblings to serve two consecutive terms together in the Texas House of Representatives (HR 95, 74R).
    • Phillip served in in the House, 1947–1949 (50th–51st)
    • Doyle served in the House, 1947–1953 (50th–52nd), 1969–1971 (61st), and 1973–1997 (63rd–74th), and in the Senate, 1953–1963 (53rd–57th) 

No siblings have served at the same time in the Senate, according to our research.

 

Other siblings served in the Legislature at different times:

*This blog post is the second in a series, with a previous post on legislative spouses, and posts to come on legislative parents/children, and other family connections. We've attempted to identify all of the legislative siblings, but let us know if you think we missed some! This information is provided as a public service by the Legislative Reference Library. The Legislative Reference Library makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy and makes no warranty in regard to its use. Users assume all risk of reliance on the information included on this site.

 

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