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GOD & TEXAS: The Governors of Texas

Some of the most intriguing people on earth have served as the governor of the great state of Texas. Books have been written on their decisions, idiosyncrasies, and approach to leadership. Here are some interesting anecdotes about some of them:

James Pinckney (1846) was quite tall, and always dressed in an elegant manner. While serving as Minister to England and France, he married Frances, who was fluent in eighteen languages and competent in seven other languages.

Richard Hubbard (1876) was known as “The Demosthenes of Texas,” and stood at 5 foot 9 inches, weighing 300 plus pounds. He also served as Minister to Japan.

Oran Roberts (1879) was known for his corn cob pipe and evening “toddy.” Because he was stiffly opposed to any form of religion, he was the only governor who refused to declare a day of prayer after the assassination of President James Garfield.

Joseph Sayers (1899) fought on the battlefield during the Civil War while on two crutches.

Oscar Colquitt (1911) was a “hod carrier” and a “printer's devil” and founded the Pittsburg (TX) Gazette.

Miriam Ferguson's (1925/1933) campaign theme was “Put on your old gray Bonnet,” and had the Old Gray Mare band play at her inauguration.

Ross Sterling (1931) weighed over 265 pounds and could carry a 200 pound sack of feed under each arm.

And last, Francis R. Lubbock (1861) was known for his frequent and stunning outbursts of profanity. Born in South Carolina in 1815, and coming to Texas in 1836, Lubbock died at the age of 89 years, while serving as a politician for 63 of those years.

During the Civil War, Lubbock served as a lieutenant colonel under the direct command of close friend Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States. After the war, Lubbock was imprisoned in solitary confinement in a 12-by-14-foot cell for two years at Fortress Monroe, with nothing to read but a Bible and a prayer book.

In his book, “Six Decades in Texas,” Lubbock recounts the incredible impact that confinement had on his life, and how the Bible strengthened his faith. After his first wife died, Lubbock married Sarah, the widow of a Presbyterian minister. With her encouragement, he made a deeper commitment to Christ and joined the Presbyterian church in Austin.

When Lubbock died, many celebrated leaders of Texas attended his funeral and made comments. Perhaps the words of Judge Norman G. Kittrell best summed up Lubbock’s life: “Governor Lubbock was not a big man, either physically or intellectually, but he was an absolutely honest man. He swore like a trooper, but he forsook that habit a number of years before he died and joined the Presbyterian church.”

In his will, Lubbock requested that his pastor Dr. Smoot officiate the funeral, and that he would be buried in his Confederate Gray uniform. Further, he bequeathed funds to Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary which were used to build a campus refectory (Lubbock Hall), and a larger building (Sampson Hall), for dormitories, offices, classrooms, and a library.

Lubbock was a living illustration of 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT, “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

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