The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 404
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
1911 referendum vote that would have instituted statewide prohibition
in Texas, Gov. Oscar B. Colquitt, an avowed "wet," incurred the wrath
of "dry" leaders who caustically dubbed him "Oscar Budweiser
Colquitt." Campbell, Colquitt's predecessor as governor, resented his
successor's persistent criticism of the two "progressive" Campbell
administrations. It was no secret that Campbell, a "dry" progressive,
served as the principal advisor to Judge Ramsey, Colquitt's opponent
for the Democratic party's nomination. Colquitt and his supporters
believed that the governor sought revenge through Ramsey, who was lit-
tle more than a stand-in for Campbell. Since the Democrats dominated
state politics, a win in the July party primary was tantamount to victory
in the November general election."
As one historian has noted, "the 1912 gubernatorial primary was one
of the most bitterly fought races in Texas history." "It seemed as if the
state was one seething cauldron of boiling and sputtering tar," a news
reporter later recalled. At a time when Confederate veterans still lobbied
for preferential state legislation, the 1912 primary was likely the first in
which the leading candidates traveled statewide by automobile. As a per-
ceptive contemporary observer predicted, the campaign would prove to
be "a hammer and tongs, bludgeon and battle axe affair." Prohibition
dominated discussion, but allegations of corruption, mismanagement,
and violent behavior within the state prison system also became impor-
tant issues. The question of corporal punishment, highlighted by the two
candidates' opposition to use of the bat as the prison's principal discipli-
nary measure figured most prominently in political debates. That each
candidate accused the other of condoning and encouraging brutalities in
penal affairs suggests that, at least momentarily, the barbaric practices
that dominated the prison system alarmed many Texas citizens.5
William Franklin Ramsey reached adulthood in the Johnson County
town of Alvarado. Unlike Colquitt, he received a college education,
graduating with baccalaureate, law, and master's degrees from Trinity
University, then located in Limestone County. After establishing success-
ful legal and business careers in Cleburne, in 1907 Ramsey received an
appointment from Campbell as chairman of the state prison board. The
4 Gould, Progresszves and Prohizbstonsts, 45-91; and Huckaby, "Oscar Branch Colquitt,"
217-220, 301-321. Gov. James Stephen Hogg was the last chief executive before Colquitt to face
a serious challenge to the two-term tradition. See Robert C. Cotner, James Stephen Hogg A
Biography (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1959), 267-319; and Hendrickson, The Chief
Executives of Texas, 119-131.
i" Gould, Progressives and Prohazbztonists, 86 (1st and 2nd quotations); Bulletin: "Col. Waples on
Governor Colquitt's Race," Colquitt Papers, 182B TXC (3rd quotation); Huckaby, "Oscar
Branch Colquitt," 201-203, 241, 307; Dallas News, July 6, 1912; Broadside. "Judge Ramsey Points
to the Facts," TXC-D, and Broadside: "An Unholy War Based Upon A False Issue, Speech by
Barry Miller of Dallas," TXC-D, both m Colquitt Papers.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/472/: accessed June 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.