know that Governor
James Stephen Hogg was born in Rusk,
Texas, because once a state park there commemorated Hogg's birthplace.
Fewer know that Governor Thomas Mitchell Campbell also was born in
Rusk, on April 22,
Campbell attended local schools until leaving to study law at Trinity
University. He operated a legal practice in Longview
in Gregg County until
he became involved in managing the International-Great Northern Railroad,
which eventually meant a move to Palestine,
Those successful in saving the railroad, Campbell resigned to reenter
the private practice of the law in Palestine,
where he became interested in politics, and in 1906 won the first
of two terms as governor.
Campbell's tenure as Texas' chief executive occurred during the "Progressive
Period" begun by Governor
Hogg and dominated by Colonel Edward M. House, and Campbell's
administration was among the most progressive of the period.
Campbell supported passage of the Robertson Insurance Law, which required
deposits of premiums paid by Texans in Texas financial institutions
rather than being transferred out of state so they could be accessed
by local courts, and other insurance reforms.
Campbell ended the long standing practice of leasing inmates of Texas
penal institutions to private contractors as laborers, which often
led to abuse and mistreatment of prisoners. His administration witnessed
the creation of several new state agencies and services, including
the Department of Insurance and Banking, the Bureau of Labor Statistics,
the State Board of Health, and the Texas State Library.
After returning to the practice of law in Palestine
in 1911, Campbell ran unsuccessful for the U.S. Senate in 1916. He
passed away in Galveston
on April 1, 1923, and was interred in Palestine-not
far from Rusk.
P. McDonald, PhD
Feb. 25-Mar. 3 column
This column is provided as a public service by the East Texas Historical
Association. Archie P. McDonald is director of the Association and
author of more than 20 books on Texas.
by Archie P. McDonald - Order Here