While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


George P. Huckaby
Portrait of Oscar Branch Colquitt
Portrait of Oscar Branch Colquitt. Image courtesy of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

COLQUITT, OSCAR BRANCH (1861–1940). Oscar Branch Colquitt, politician and governor, was born on December 16, 1861, at Camilla, Georgia, the son of Thomas Jefferson and Ann Elizabeth (Burkhalter) Colquitt, each of whom boasted some distinguished American ancestors. The family moved in 1878 to Daingerfield, Texas, where young Colquitt worked as a tenant farmer and attended the Daingerfield Academy one term. After a brief apprenticeship as a newspaperman, he founded the Gazette at Pittsburg, Texas, in 1884. He married Alice Fuller Murrell of Minden, Louisiana, on December 9, 1885, and the couple had four sons and one daughter. He sold the Gazette and published the Times-Star of Terrell, Texas, from 1890 to 1897. Colquitt served as state senator from 1895 to 1899 and was the author of delinquent-tax laws that earned him a statewide reputation. He was the state revenue agent during the last eight months of 1898 and, as the tax expert of a special tax commission, wrote the report that this commission submitted to the legislature in 1900. Colquitt acted as a paid lobbyist for several corporations during the sessions of 1899 and 1901 and also practiced law, having been admitted to the bar in 1900. He succeeded John H. Reagan as state railroad commissioner and served from 1903 to 1911.

A letter to Oscar Colquitt discussing the impact of his anti-prohibitionist views on the 1910 race for governor
A letter to Oscar Colquitt discussing the impact of his anti-prohibitionist views on the 1910 race for governor. Image courtesy of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

He made an unsuccessful run for governor in 1906 and was elected governor in 1910 as an anti-prohibitionist. After being reelected in 1912, he held the office until 1915. His administration achieved a reform of the prison system, improvement in the physical plants and management of the eleemosynary institutions, great advancement in the educational system, and a number of measures designed to improve the lot of laborers. This program was adopted despite the open hostility of two legislatures, which resulted from the animosities engendered by the prohibition question. Colquitt was pro-German from 1914 to 1916 and tried to secure the financial assistance of the German government in buying the New York Sun, which he planned to edit as a German propaganda organ. He failed in this venture, ran for the United States Senate in 1916, and received a large plurality over six opponents in the first primary. In the runoff, however, he was defeated by the incumbent, Charles A. Culberson. Although he remained interested in politics, Colquitt devoted the next decade to serving as president of a Dallas oil firm. 1n 1928 he bolted the Democratic party and headed the "Hoover Democrats" of Texas. He then served as a member of the United States Board of Mediation from 1929 through 1933. He became a field representative of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation in 1935 and held this position until his death, on March 8, 1940. Colquitt was a self-made man, obstinate yet affable. Though not a polished orator, he was a convincing speaker and possessed of the "color that drew a crowd"; he was one of the most effective stump speakers in the history of Texas.


Oscar Branch Colquitt Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. James T. DeShields, They Sat in High Places: The Presidents and Governors of Texas (San Antonio: Naylor, 1940). Lewis L. Gould, Progressives and Prohibitionists: Texas Democrats in the Wilson Era (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1973; rpt., Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1992). George P. Huckaby, Oscar Branch Colquitt: A Political Biography (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas, 1946). Norman Kittrell, Governors Who Have Been and Other Public Men of Texas (Houston: Dealy-Adey-Elgin, 1921). Ross Phares, The Governors of Texas (Gretna, Louisiana: Pelican, 1976).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, George P. Huckaby, "COLQUITT, OSCAR BRANCH," accessed July 13, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fco32.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on February 24, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...