First Woman Governor of Texas

Texas 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 remembered 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 real or imaginary!

To one reader who leaves a comment, I will give them an eBook of my latest Kasota Spring Romance Out of a Texas Night.

Website | + posts

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.

Visit her at

25 thoughts on “First Woman Governor of Texas”

  1. A great blog Phyliss- speaking of Bonnie & Clyde. Bonnie Parker is a distant cousin of mine. My Great Grandmother and Bonnie’s Mom we’re sisters. On top of that I live now in Hugoton, KS and it’s been discovered that Bonnie & Clyde lived here for a short time during their lives on the run. All the findings have been sent to Topeka and authenticated and will be put in a museum there.
    Topeka, Kan. – History has been found in Hugoton, and Kansans interested in checking it out for themselves can see it in person at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City.
    Here’s a little history on their stay here in Hugoton:

    Local consensus claims that Bonnie and Clyde lived in Hugoton under the pseudonyms Jewel and Blackie Underwood. Clyde reportedly worked in a farmer’s field and Bonnie ran a café on Main Street called Jewel’s Café, where it is believed the couple ran a bootlegging operation. Clyde often gambled in the basement of the Bundy Hotel, where the collapsed tunnel was discovered in April of last year.

    You have a great day Phyliss. Love you sweet lady & my dear friend!

    • Great blog! I don’t recall ever knowing that Ma Ferguson had all those pardons! I don’t recall a lot of history that I learn in authors blogs and I can’t ever figure out if I was ever taught these bits of history or not. I love an outlaw that his crimes are to take out murders, rapists, and men that actually need to be dead but they also live a life with a wonderful love story and family in retrospect. My favorite fictional character that fits this profile is Jake Harkner in Rosanne Bittner’s “Outlaw Hearts” series. I already have this autographed copy of this book and I loved it!

      • Hi Stephanie, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Yes, Rosanne Bittner’s Jake Harkner is an interesting character. I can’t even remember half of what I learned in history and that, along with English, was my best subjects. Sometimes I’ll read a blog or something in the paper or on the Internet and think “wow, I didn’t know that” then later find one of my notes about it. Our brains aren’t made to retain everything. LOL Take care of yourself, and again, so pleased to hear from you. Hugs, Phyliss

    • Oh my gosh, Tonya, I should have talked to you before I did this blog. Now someone needs to do a blog on Bonnie and Clyde with your personal information. I’d heard they had spent time in Kansas, but didn’t have any facts to support it. How interesting. Thank you, precious friend, for the additional information. I’m glad you were the first to leave a comment, so the others can read more about Bonnie and Clyde. Gosh, I’m impressed. Thanks for stopping by, sweet lady, and leaving such interesting history. Big Texas hugs, Phyliss

  2. I love the post about First Women. They are always so interesting. I also enjoy hearing about connections like Bonnie and Clyde. I would have to say that I have always been fascinated by Jesse James. So he would sort of be my favorite.

    • Hi Debra, good to hear from you. I enjoyed learning more about our first woman governor myself. I also love Jesse James. Good favorite. Have a great day, lady. Hugs, Phyliss

    • Hi Janine. I’m like you, Bonnie and Clyde fall under some of my favorite outlaws. Good to hear from you and I hope you have a wonderful rest of the day. Hugs, Phyliss

    • Hi Kim. Good to hear from you. I’m like you, Jesse James is an intriguing outlaw. I didn’t realize Ma Ferguson was so close to be the very first woman governor by only two weeks. I love research. I hope you have a wonderful day. Hugs, Phyliss

    • Hi Quilt Lady. Happy to see your comment. I guess, at least in this part of the country, there are a lot of outlaws to choose from. Billy the Kid was very interesting, so I think he’s a good choice for you. A big Texas hug, Phyliss

    • Hi Nat, my friend. I’m so happy you came by and read my blog and left a comment. I agree that “Ma” F was an interesting person with such great history. Thanks for your compliment. Take care and a big hug from me to you, Phyliss

    • Hi Hebby. So good to hear from you. Yes, I agree that this piece of history does make one feel like the “wild and wooly west” has returned. I hope you have a wonderful rest of the day. Hugs, Phyliss

  3. Interesting, Phyliss. It appears she was no better than her husband. Good heavens. Corruption is sure rampant in politics it seems. They have too much power.

    • Hi my Fellow Filly. Glad you stopped by and left a comment. It does make you stop and think that corruption in politics goes back many, many centuries. Take care of yourself, my friend. Hugs, Phyliss

    • Hi Denise, good to hear from you. Oh yes, no bad guys could be as sexy and handsome as Redford and Newman. Love, love ‘um. Hugs, Phyliss

  4. Hi Lori, thanks for stopping by, friend. I’m glad I was able to do a blog with some information some folks didn’t know. Thrills me. Hope all is well with you and yours. Have a great evening. Hugs, Phyiss

  5. I am going for Jesse James. My Dad was named Jesse James Payne. He had brothers named Clark Gable Payne and Benjamin Franklin Payne. Do not know if grandparents were history fans or just not imaginative enough to come up with different names.
    Love the blog and the history from Cousin Tonya Lucas.

    • Jerri- I didnit know his brother also were named after famous people. That’s so cool. Love you my sweet Cuz!

Comments are closed.