First Woman Governor of Texas


phyliss_miranda.jpgTexas had the first woman elected governor in the United States, but she wasn’t the first woman to be governor.  Marian A. Ferguson was better known as “Ma” Ferguson and elected in 1924 and inaugurated in 1925, which was two weeks after a woman became governor of Wyoming.

“Ma” Ferguson was married to former-governor James E. Ferguson, who was barred from running again after he resigned in 1917, just before he could be removed from office on corruption charges.

Interestingly enough, Governor “Ma” Ferguson is remember for granting an average of one hundred pardons a month during her first two-year term of office, which was also marred by charges of graft and corruption.

Although she lost bids for re-election in 1926 and 1930, she served again from 1933 through 1935, when she fought the Depression with loans for cotton farmers and “bread bonds” to feed starving children.

One of Governor “Ma” Ferguson’s many full pardons went to “Buck” Barrow, who quickly took advantage of his release from prison to continue a life of crime.  Buck and his wife got together with Buck’s brother, Clyde, and his girlfriend Bonnie Parker, who were already notorious criminals.

A few months later, in a shootout with police, Buck was killed, and his wife Blanche was capture.  Bonnie and Clyde continued their crime spree.

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were both Texas natives.  They met in Dallas in 1930 and formed a criminal partnership that included jailbreaks, robberies, kidnappings, and murders.

Their crime-spree prompted a well-publicized nationwide manhunt that ended on May 23, 1934, when a group of lawmen ambushed the couple and killed them.

Since then, their short careers as lawbreakers have been popularized in films, songs, and movies.  Even in the Texas Ranger Museum in Waco there is a display of exhibits related to their ultimate demise.

Tell me about your favorite outlaw!

To one lucky reader who leaves a message, I’ll will send you an e-Copy of my contemporary romance “The Tycoon and the Texan” from eKensington or if you want to wait a couple of weeks, I’ll give you an e-Copy of “Hearts and Spurs” anthology from Prairie Rose Publications, featuring short stories from five Petticoats and Pistols Fillies.

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A native Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Phyliss Miranda still believes in the Code of the Old West and loves to share her love for antiques, the lost art of quilting, and the Wild West.

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20 thoughts on “First Woman Governor of Texas”

  1. Hi phyliss. I was born in 1935 and have heard of Bonnie and Clyde for many years. A very bad character to release from prison. Cause the death of many. I’ve never understand why Presidents and Governors would be allowed to release prisoners back on the street. I would love to have this Anthology, Hearts and Spurs. Hope you had a nice Christmas and hope you have a very New Year ahead of you this year. MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com

  2. Morning Phyliss! Love your blog. Learned some things I didn’t know. I really enjoyed the Bonnie and Clyde mini-series that was on the History channel last month. That was the first time I’d heard about Buck Barrow. Ma Ferguson was such a colorful character. Texas had/has more than its share of those. I think my favorite outlaw was Wild Bill Hickok who could be either good or bad depending on his mood of the day. But he was certainly one tough man who didn’t take anything off anyone.

    Wishing you lots of success! Hope you feel better.

  3. My favorite outlaws would be(train and bank robbers)Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Loved the movie version of the end of their lives with Paul Newman and Robert Redford.

  4. Hi Phyliss, the Ranger Museum (part of the Buckhorn Saloon) has a B and C display, too. How can ya not just love Butch and Sundance LOL. But evil as they were, Frank and Jesse James were both devoted family men, go figure. I actually have an outlaw series going on but of course, mine always get redeemed all because of a good woman’s love. 🙂

    I love this post, and learning about Ma, another strong woman of the west.

  5. Very interesting history lesson! Can’t say I ever thought about a favorite outlaw and I am not sure she would qualify but I love reading and hearing about Calamity Jane.

  6. Wow I never knew that! thanks of the post! I think my favorite outlaws were Jesse and Frank James. I know it might be a little off but my favorite movie about them is American Outlaws! Soo good seeing cowboys fight for something that was there’s and looking good while doing it!

  7. Wow, quite the history. I have always followed the stories of Bonnie and Clyde. But my favorite is Jesse James. (is it bad to *have* a favorite bad guy?!)

  8. Great post! So many outlaws back when. Certainly those James brothers made their mark as did Bonnie and Clyde.

  9. Hi Maxie, so good to hear from you today. I’ve found out that I’m learning more about things that went on when I was younger because I’m older and know it’s value in history. I bet you heard a lot about Bonnie and Clyde. I had a great Christmas out on the central coast of California with my whole family, but I missed my friends in Amarillo. I hope you had a great one, too. I haven’t read anybodies stories except mine and Linda’s in “Hearts and Spurs” but I know all of them will be as good as the first anthology. I sure had a time getting mine written because of the holidays, but am pleased with it, so if you’re the lucky winner, I know you’ll enjoy all of the stories. Have a great evening, Miss Maxie, Phyliss

  10. Hi Janine, glad you stopped by today. Miss Linda, I agree with you about Hickok. I missed the Bonnie and Clyde mini-series, but I bet it was good. I’ll watch for it and record the series. Thanks for asking. Yes, I’m feeling better. Just too much holiday and cold weather. Although we’ve had a lot of snow (although light) we’re really dry and I think it’s allergies more than anything, but thanks for asking. Love, P

    Mary, good that I gave you an idea. I know you’ll do a great job on it. I’ve always found it so interesting how a tiny seed can germinate into something really interesting. You have a great evening, Miss Mary, hugs, P

  11. Totally agree Laurie and Tanya! Two of the best looking men in the world, as far as I’m concerned. Shows my age, huh! It’s like Billy the Kid was one of the nicest young men yet one of the meanest. Like you said, Tanya, “Go figure.” The people in Old Tascosa loved him … well until they found out the horses he had were stolen. The Buckhorn, are you talking about the one in San Antonio? I’ve been there because my kids who moved back to California lived there and I know you used to come to a conference near SA. Fredericksburg, if I remember right. You know, Linda and I were part of an outlaw anthology and it was fun to make them fun loving and heroes. We gotta write those sexy, redeemable outlaws, don’t we? Good luck on your series, Tanya. Hugs to both of you, Phyliss

  12. Renee, I’m so glad you feel smarter! Although it’s just a tad! LOL Goes to show why we read blogs, to learn something every day. Hope you’re feeling better.

    Hi Connie J. You choose a good one but one I don’t know a lot about without checking her out. Don’t want to show how dumb I am, but wasn’t she like Annie Oakley, as far as a gun/rifle gal of the era?

    Hi, Cora. I’m not sure that’s strange at all because I’m not sure what any of us would have done during those days to protect our families and make ends meet, especially after the Civil War. I’d hope I wouldn’t be an outlaw, but they are fun to read about. Thanks for dropping by. You are all in tonight’s drawing, so hope one of you win. Hugs, P

  13. Hi Colleen, good to hear from you. Love to share. I think all the Fillies do. Gotta use that research we do but never makes it to a book or an interesting fact we come across. Have a great evening, lady. Hugs, P

    No, Susan P, I don’t think it’s bad to have a favorite outlaw hero!!!! LOL

    Hi Melanie B, good to see you. Looks like there’s a draw between the James Brothers and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid!!! And, with a bit of Bonnie and Clyde in there to boot.

    Hope everybody has a great evening. Hugs to all, Phyliss

  14. I always love learning more about the history of our great state. I found the connection between “Ma” Ferguson and Bonnie and Clyde to be very interesting! I can’t really say that I have a favorite, but Billy the Kid always comes to mind when I think of outlaws.

  15. Thank you, Phyliss, for another interesting post. Interesting how things interconnect in unexpected ways.
    I am not a big fan of real outlaws. The fictional ones, who are good at heart and rarely did anything that was terribly bad, are another story, literally.

    I guess my favorite outlaw would be my grandfather. He was a bootlegger during Prohibition. He lived in northern New York near Lake Champlain, literally on the Canadian border. His family house straddled the border. They would bring legal Canadian booze in the kitchen door, which was in Canada. They would store it on the Canadian side of the house until they were ready to make a run. They would take it out the front door, in New York State, load it into their cars and trucks, and drive due south to New York City, about 6 hours away today, don’t know how long a run it was back then. I know he ditched one car load in the lake when chased by the police. Of course, not much was ever said about this when he was alive. It usually came out at family reunions when he was visiting with his brothers and cousins. My brother has been doing a lot of research on our families and has pulled up some interesting things. I haven’t had an opportunity to read it all yet. I do know he was “exiled” for a period of time, but not where or why. It may have just gotten too hot for him when he almost got caught.

  16. Phyliss, I guess I never thought about having a “favorite” outlaw…but if I did, it would probably be Jesse James. There was a show on PBS the other night about all the outlaws that had Oklahoma ties–Pretty Boy Floyd, Bonnie and Clyde, Belle Starr, Ma Barker, oh–too many to remember–but there were a LOT of them. I’m excited about Hearts and Spurs–it won’t be long now!

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