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Justin Davis
Robert Lee Satterwhite (1871–1959).
State legislator Robert Lee Satterwhite served as Speaker of the Texas House during the Thirty-ninth Texas Legislature from 1925 to 1927. Courtesy Legislative Reference Library of Texas and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

SATTERWHITE, ROBERT LEE (1871–1959). Robert Lee Satterwhite, newspaper editor, farmer, and legislator, was born in Nevada County, Arkansas, on January 28, 1871. He was the son of James L. Satterwhite and Mary Jane (Basden) Satterwhite. Satterwhite moved with his family to Freestone County, Texas, in 1885. Growing up in Texas, he worked two years on a farm and four years as a printer. Building on his experience in printing, Satterwhite founded the Wortham Signal in 1893. He soon after became the publisher and editor for the Wortham Journal while he continued to farm. On August 17, 1893, he married Bessie Weaver in Fairfield (Freestone County), Texas; they had four children. In 1898 Satterwhite enlisted in the United States Army during the Spanish-American War and fought with the Second Texas Regiment. 

After returning home in 1900, Satterwhite, a Democrat representing Freestone County, was elected to the Twenty-seventh Texas Legislature as a member of the Texas House of Representatives. During his term he served on numerous committees, including the Agricultural Affairs, Claims and Accounts, Judiciary No. 2, and Senatorial Districts committees. After a single term in office, Satterwhite moved to farm in Knox County, Texas, until 1909 when he moved to Tulia, Texas. In 1913 he founded the Tulia Enterprise. However, after the paper failed, Satterwhite moved to Panhandle, Texas, in 1915 and by 1916 had purchased the Panhandle Herald. In 1923 he moved to Amarillo. 

Satterwhite was elected to the Thirty-sixth and Thirty-seventh Texas legislatures and represented Carson, Dallam, Hansford, Hartley, Hutchinson, Moore, Oldham, Potter, and Sherman counties. During the Thirty-eighth, Thirty-ninth, and Fortieth legislatures he represented Armstrong, Carson, Deaf Smith, Oldham, Potter, and Randall counties. Satterwhite became speaker of the Texas House of Representatives in the Thirty-ninth Texas Legislature in 1925. As speaker he dealt with an extensive revision of the state’s civil statutes. In 1927 Satterwhite moved to Odessa, Texas, where he managed a ranch. Sometime after the death of his first wife in 1920, Satterwhite married a woman named Lula. She was listed as his wife on the 1930 census. He served his final term as a state representative from 1931 to 1933 in the Forty-second legislature. Satterwhite remained in Austin after his legislative service and lived there for fifteen years. While in Austin he unsuccessfully ran for lieutenant governor in 1944 and another state representative seat in 1946. In 1947 he moved to Houston, where he spent the remainder of his life. Satterwhite died in the Veterans Administration Hospital in Houston on November 29, 1959. He was buried in Panhandle Cemetery in Panhandle, Texas.


Dallas Morning News, November 30, 1959. Legislative Reference Library of Texas: Lee Satterwhite (, accessed March 15, 2017. “Robert Lee Satterwhite,” Find A Grave Memorial (, accessed March 15, 2017.

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

Handbook of Texas Online, Justin Davis, "SATTERWHITE, ROBERT LEE ," accessed June 25, 2019,

Uploaded on March 20, 2017. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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