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History of the Office

Stephen F. Austin:

Stephen F. Austin, commonly referred to as the father of Texas, served as Texas Secretary of State in 1836.

After attending school in Connecticut and Kentucky, Austin returned to his family in Missouri. In 1821, Austin traveled to San Antonio to recruit United States citizens to settle in Texas. Austin negotiated with federal officials in Mexico, to which Texas then belonged, to acquire large grants of land. During the next 15 years, Austin brought thousands of settlers from around the United States to Texas. He also created many early maps of the area and remained devoted to the development of the land now known as Texas.

After Texas won independence from Mexico in 1836, the newly elected President of the Texas Republic, Sam Houston, appointed Austin Secretary of State. Austin served as Secretary of State for only three months. He died of pneumonia while in office in December 1836 at the age of 43.

Stephen F. Austin wrote in July, 1836: "The prosperity of Texas has been the object of my labors, the idol of my existence, it has assumed the character of religion, for the guidance of my thoughts and actions, for fifteen years."

Many Secretaries of State held other statewide offices, including:

Governor of Texas
David G. Burnet
(SOS May 1846 - January 1848. Burnet also served as President of the Republic)
March 1836 - October 1836
J. Pinckney Henderson
(SOS December 1836 - 1837)
February 1846 - December 1847
Edward Clark
(SOS December 1853 - December 1857)
March 1861 - November 1861
Mark W. White, Jr.
(SOS January 1973 - October 1977)
January 1983 - January 1987

Lieutenant Governor
Edward Clark
(SOS December 1853 - December 1857)
August 1859 - November 1861
Ben Ramsey
(SOS January 1949 - February 1950)
January 1951 - September 1961
Robert D. (Bob) Bullock
(SOS September 1971 - January 1973)
January 1991 - January, 1999

Attorney General
J. Pinckney Henderson
(SOS December 1836 -June 1837)
November 1836 - December 1836
Ebeneezer Allen
(SOS December 1844 - February 1845)
August 1850 - August 1852
George Clark
(SOS January 1874 - January 1874)
January 1874 -
April 1876
Gerald C. Mann
(SOS January 1935 - August 1935)
January 1939 - January 1944
John Ben Shepperd
(SOS February 1950 - April 1952)
January 1953 - January 1957
Crawford C. Martin
(SOS January 1963 - March 1966)
January 1967 - December 1972
John L. Hill
(SOS March 1966 - January 1968)
January 1973 - January 1979
Mark W. White, Jr.
(SOS January 1973 - October 1977)
January 1979 - January 1983

Robert D. (Bob) Bullock
(SOS September 1971 - January 1973)
January 1975 - January 1991

S.L. Staples
(SOS January 1921 - August 1924)
August 1924 - January 1925

Railroad Commissioner
Allison Mayfield
(SOS January 1895 - January 1897)
January 1897 - January 1923
Ben Ramsey
(SOS January 1949 - February 1950)
September 1961 - December 1976
Antonio O. Garza, Jr.
(SOS January 1995 - December 1997)
January 1999 - November 2002

Lone Stars

Shortest Term

George Clark, confederate soldier and attorney, served as Secretary of State for only 10 days in 1874. A friend and supporter of then Governor Richard Coke, Clark served as Secretary of State until the arrival of the regular appointee. Clark was then appointed Texas Attorney General a few days later.

Longest Term

Jane Y. McCallum, prominent writer and prohibition leader, served as Secretary of State for six years. Governor Daniel J. Moody appointed her in January 1927, and she retained the position under the next Governor, Ross Sterling, until 1933. She later became an important figure in the women's suffrage movement in Texas.

First Woman Secretary of State

Emma C. Meharg was appointed Secretary of State in 1925 by Governor Miriam A. "Ma" Ferguson, Texas' first female Governor. Meharg served until January 1927.

Loyal Texas Public Servant

James Webb served as Secretary of State of both the Republic of Texas under President Mirabeau B. Lamar and of the State of Texas under Governor Peter Bell. In addition, he served as Secretary of the Treasury and Attorney General of the Republic. He later became the first judge of the Fourteenth Judicial District of Texas, which included Corpus Christi. Webb County, in Southwest Texas, was named in his honor.

International Diplomat

Edward Aubrey Clark was appointed Secretary of State by Governor James Allred in January 1937 when Clark was only 30 years old. He served until January 1939. After leaving state government, he served as a mentor and advisor to three generations of political leaders, including Lyndon Baines Johnson. In 1965 President Johnson appointed Clark to be United States Ambassador to Australia.

Tony Garza was appointed Secretary of State by Governor George W. Bush in 1995. He served as Secretary of State until December 1997. Garza was then elected to the Texas Railroad Commission in 1998, serving from January 1999 through November 2002. President George W. Bush appointed Garza to the post of U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, and Ambassador Garza presented his credentials to Mexico's President Vicente Fox on November 22, 2002.

Grandfather of a U.S. President

Joseph Wilson Baines served as Secretary of State under Governor John Ireland from January 1883 to January 1887. As Secretary of State, Baines helped oversee construction of the Capitol building. In 1869, he married Ruth Huffman. Their daughter, Rebekah Baines Johnson, was the mother of Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th President of the United States.

U.S. Attorney General

Alberto Gonzales was appointed Secretary of State by Governor George W. Bush in December 1997 and served until January 1999. In 2000, he was elected to the Supreme Court of Texas and later served as Counsel to President George W. Bush in 2001. In 2004, he was appointed by President Bush as the 80th U.S. Attorney General.