Ma and Pa Ferguson

James Edward Ferguson—better known as “Pa” Ferguson—was born on August 31, 1871, near Salado in Bell County, Texas. His wife, Miriam Amanda Wallace—better known as “Ma” Ferguson—was born in Bell County, Texas, on June 13, 1875. The couple married in 1899 and had two children: Ouida and Dorris. 
Although he had never previously held office, James ran for Governor of Texas in 1914 as the anti-prohibition candidate. He won in 1914 and was reelected in 1916. Early in his second term, however, James became involved in a serious quarrel with the University of Texas after its board of regents refused to dismiss faculty members whom he found objectionable. In retaliation, the Governor vetoed the appropriations for the university. An impeachment trial followed in 1917, with the Texas Senate ultimately convicting him on 10 charges. As a result, the Court of Impeachment voted to remove James from office and make him ineligible to hold any public office in the state of Texas.
Following her husband's impeachment, Miriam decided to run for the governorship herself in 1924. James served as her campaign manager. Telling voters that they would get “two governors for the price of one,” referring to her and her husband, Miriam won not only the Democratic nomination but also the general election. As such, she became the first female Governor of Texas as well as the first elected female state governor in the United States. Ferguson ran for—and won—the position again in 1932.
Miriam's time as chief executive of Texas was not without its controversy. Rumors circulated that state highway contracts were given to those who advertised in the Fergusons’ newspaper, and that pardons were available for prisoners who made cash payments to the governor’s husband. Nevertheless, Miriam took on many of the era’s tougher issues, aligning herself with anti-prohibitionists and denouncing the Ku Klux Klan. She also helped establish the University of Houston as a four-year institution.
Aside from Miriam's unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign in 1940, the Fergusons retired from political life after her term ended. James died of a stroke on September 21, 1944. Miriam died of heart failure on June 25, 1961.
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Bell County Museum - Texas State Exposition (1926)
Home movie of the 1926 Texas State Exposition in Austin, including carnival games and a horse race
Bell County Museum - Intimate Glimpse of Miriam A. Ferguson
1920s home movie of Governor of Texas Miriam “Ma” Ferguson at work as well as at home in the Governor’s M...
Bell County Museum - 36th Infantry Division at Camp Palacios (1927)
Home movie of Texas National Guard summer training camp