Heritage, Volume 9, Number 3, Summer 1991 Page: 15
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and said, "Your mother can run." Jim had
already filed her name and set a series of
history-making events in motion. Miriam
Ferguson, then forty-nine years old, ran
The slogan "two governors for the price
of one" was heard throughout Texas during
Miriam's first term, and people were
assured that while Mrs. Ferguson held the
title, it would really be Jim who ran the
state. This assumption, while comforting
to many, was not entirely correct. Miriam
definitely had her own ideas about how the
state was to be run, and she did not hesitate
to make her opinions known.
A woman governor was a great curiosity
in 1924, and reporters came to see for
themselves exactly what made this lady
tick. Temple was overrun with newspaper
men anxious to uncover this latest
development in the sensational Ferguson
family. Miriam was photographed doing
routing chores, canning peaches, and
feeding chickens in her backyard. The
public could not get enough of a woman
who would eventually be known to a
generation of voters as simply Ma
Ferguson. Mrs. Ferguson hated the
moniker and considered it beneath her
dignity. The nickname stuck, however,
and helped to elect her twice.
Miriam ran for reelection in 1926 and
lost; she ran again in 1930 and was again
defeat; and then she ran a fourth time in
1932 and beat Ross Sterling. The 1932
election was not without its share of
skulduggery. The Sterling faction filed a
suit to contest her right to hold office. The
suit, though unfounded, was an attempt to
keep Miriam's name off the ticket in the
general election in November by
entangling her in a court battle. In order for
the case to get onto the October docket it
was was first necessary to serve her with an
injunction before midnight on the
fifteenth of October. The Fergusons knew
of the plans to serve the papers. Around
nine in the evening of the fifteenth, an
officer attempted to serve the papers at the
home of their daughter Ouida in Austin.
The Fergusons avoided detection and
slipped out the back door and into a
waiting car. Once across the county line,
the Fergusons were safe. Miriam's name
was placed on the ballots and she won.
Times were hard and Governor
Ferguson faced many of the same problems
in 1932 that our present woman governor
faces today. The prison systems were
overcrowded and in debt, Texas schools
were suffering, unemployment was a major
concern, and the economy was at an all
time low. One of the first official duties that
Governor Miriam A. Ferguson. Inauguration, January 17, 1933. Photo by Ellison of
Austin, courtesy of the Bell County Museum.
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 9, Number 3, Summer 1991, periodical, Summer 1991; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45423/m1/15/: accessed November 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.