Texas Politics - Speakers of the House
 
   
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25.    Charles G. Thomas

Charles Graham Thomas (1879-1937), businessman and politician, the son of Charles I. and Emma A. (Graham) Thomas, was born on December 10, 1879, at Richardson, Texas. At the age of ten he moved with his family to Lewisville in Denton County. After graduating from high school he attended Baylor University, where he graduated in 1898. In 1901 he married Roberta Lovelace Everett; they had four daughters. With the exception of a two-year period when he was in Cleburne, Thomas made his home in Lewisville. After ending a successful lumber business in 1914, he became a real estate broker and insurance man. He taught Sunday school for thirty years, served as chairman of the board of deacons of the Lewisville Baptist Church, and was president of the Denton County Baptist Association. His success in business and interest in the civic and political life of Lewisville and Denton County resulted in his running for political office in 1917.

He was elected as a Democrat to represent the Forty-sixth District (Denton County) in the Texas House of Representatives. During the first of three terms in the House Thomas was appointed to the appropriations committee. He was a member of the minority that supported woman suffrage and prohibition. He was reelected in 1919 and became appropriations committee chairman. After his successful campaign in 1921, he outmaneuvered A. B. Curtis of Tarrant County to be named speaker of the House of the Thirty-seventh Legislature. In his inaugural address Thomas encouraged Texas to establish a sound financial base so that the state would attract business. He specifically mentioned support of public education, encouragement of manufacturing, building of good roads, and improvement of the marketing and warehousing of farm products.

As speaker, Thomas concentrated on banking and insurance legislation. He was the author of the state banking depository law and of the bill that provided the first appropriations for a circulation library of braille books. After the end of the Thirty-seventh Legislature, Thomas worked in private business until 1935, when he was appointed secretary of the Texas Relief Commission. In 1937 he worked for the state Board of Control. He resigned from the board, however, because of a recurring illness. On February 14, 1937, Thomas died of a stroke at Van Alstyne. He was buried in Old Hall Cemetery in Lewisville.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Dallas Morning News, January 12, 1921, February 16, 1937. Buckley B. Paddock, History of Texas: Fort Worth and the Texas Northwest Edition (4 vols., Chicago: Lewis, 1922).

David Minor

Reprinted with permission from the Handbook of Texas Online, a joint project of the Texas State Historical Association and the General Libraries at the University of Texas at Austin. © 2003, The Texas State Historical Association.

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