Thomas Mitchell Campbell

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Thomas Mitchell Campbell
T.M. Campbell, Governor, Bain portrait bust.jpg
24th Governor of Texas
In office
January 15, 1907 – January 17, 1911
LieutenantAsbury Bascom Davidson
Preceded byS. W. T. Lanham
Succeeded byOscar Branch Colquitt
Personal details
BornApril 22, 1856
Rusk, Texas
DiedApril 1, 1923 (aged 66)
Galveston, Texas
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Fannie Irene Bruner
ParentsThomas Duncan and Rachel Moore Campbell
Cynthia Divernia Carroll Campbell (stepmother)

Thomas Mitchell Campbell (April 22, 1856 – April 1, 1923) was the 24th Governor of Texas, serving two terms from 1907 to 1911. He was an attorney and businessman, working as a manager for the International-Great Northern Railroad before entering politics from Palestine, Texas.


Campbell was born in Rusk in Cherokee County in East Texas, the son of Thomas Duncan and Rachel (Moore) Campbell. He attended school at Rusk and entered Trinity University in 1873 to study law. He was unable to support himself and withdrew after a year.

Campbell went to work in the Gregg County clerk's office and continued his studies at night. In 1878, he was admitted to the Texas bar. In the same year, he married Fannie Irene Bruner of Shreveport, Louisiana. Her father, William Bruner, had served as a captain from Mississippi in the Confederate States Army. After the war, he settled in Shreveport. There he became a landholder and was elected as city comptroller in Shreveport.

Campbell practiced law in Longview until he became involved with the troubled International-Great Northern Railroad in 1889. He became its court-appointed receiver in 1891 and moved his family to Palestine. The next year, after lifting the line from bankruptcy, he remained in Palestine as the general manager of the railroad.

Political career[edit]

Campbell distrusted monopolistic big business and sympathized with trade unions. He shared many of the reformist political views of former Texas governor James Stephen Hogg. In 1897, Campbell resigned from the railroad and became active in Democratic Party politics. At Hogg's urging, he decided to run for governor.

Campbell was elected governor in 1906. In his two terms in office, 1907-1911, Campbell initiated a number of reforms involving railroad regulation, equitable taxation, and lobbying restrictions. In 1907, he named the legendary Captain Bill McDonald of the Texas Rangers as the state revenue agent. During his two-year appointment, McDonald increased the state's valuation by a nearly a billion dollars.[1]

Shocked when the Slocum Massacre broke out on July 29, 1910, when a large mob of whites attacked blacks in and around Slocum in his home Anderson County, Campbell ordered the state militia to the area to suppress the violence. Twenty-two unarmed blacks were documented as killed in the white riot, but the death toll was said to be much higher. Many black families fled the area, losing all their property.[2][3][4]

Campbell's most significant legislation centered on prison reform, as Campbell's administration ended the convict lease system for inmates and implemented more humane treatment of prisoners. Under Campbell, many state agencies were established, including the Department of Insurance and Banking, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the State Board of Health, and the Texas State Library.

Campbell returned to private law practice in Palestine, but remained active in Democratic politics. In 1916, he ran unsuccessfully against his fellow Democrat Charles Culberson for the United States Senate. Well into the 1960s, Texas was essentially a one-party state, with the only competitive contests taking place in the Democratic primaries.

He died in Galveston and is interred in Palestine, Texas. His grave is marked with a tall white obelisk.[5]


  1. ^ "McDonald, William Jesse". Retrieved March 9, 2010.
  2. ^ Tim Madigan (January 16, 2016). "Texas marks racial slaughter more than a century later". Washington Post. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  3. ^ "Cavalry to Quell Outbreak in Texas" (PDF). The New York Times. 1910-08-01. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
  4. ^ Davies, David Martin (2017-01-15). "Should Texas Remember Or Forget The Slocum Massacre?". Texas Public Radio. Retrieved 2017-03-20.
  5. ^ CAMPBELL, THOMAS MITCHELL. The Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved Apr. 11, 2005.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
S. W. T. Lanham
Governor of Texas
Succeeded by
Oscar Branch Colquitt