Stevenson becomes governor of Texas as O'Daniel departs for U.S. Senate

August 4th, 1941

On this day in 1941, Lt. Gov. Coke Stevenson became governor of Texas when Governor O'Daniel resigned to become a United States senator. Stevenson was self-made. His formal schooling consisted of seven three-month school terms. As a teenager he hauled freight between Junction and Brady. He studied history and bookkeeping by campfire light, worked as a bank janitor and then a cashier, studied law at night, and passed the state bar exam in 1913. Stevenson organized and became president of the First National Bank in Junction. After serving as county attorney (1914-18) and county judge (1919-21), he was a state representative from 1928 to 1939, when he was elected lieutenant governor. He was elected governor on his own in 1942 and served until 1947. He ran for the United States Senate in 1948 and lost in a famous contested race to Lyndon Johnson. Stevenson died in San Angelo in 1975.

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Stevenson becomes governor of Texas as O'Daniel departs for U.S. Senate

August 4th, 1941

On this day in 1941, Lt. Gov. Coke Stevenson became governor of Texas when Governor O'Daniel resigned to become a United States senator. Stevenson was self-made. His formal schooling consisted of seven three-month school terms. As a teenager he hauled freight between Junction and Brady. He studied history and bookkeeping by campfire light, worked as a bank janitor and then a cashier, studied law at night, and passed the state bar exam in 1913. Stevenson organized and became president of the First National Bank in Junction. After serving as county attorney (1914-18) and county judge (1919-21), he was a state representative from 1928 to 1939, when he was elected lieutenant governor. He was elected governor on his own in 1942 and served until 1947. He ran for the United States Senate in 1948 and lost in a famous contested race to Lyndon Johnson. Stevenson died in San Angelo in 1975.

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Related Handbook of Texas Articles

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With more than 27,000 articles about Texas history, the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas is the largest online encyclopedia about all things Texas. Now you can celebrate the history of Texas every day by activating your free subscription to Texas Day by Day. Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles. It's one of the best ways to learn more about Texas history — in only 15 minutes a day!

Activate your free subscription to Texas Day by Day and you can:

  • Explore Texas history each day in bite-sized pieces conveniently delivered to your inbox each morning
  • Astound your friends with your Texas history prowess
  • Get in-depth looks at some of the overlooked events and landmarks in Texas history
  • Discover new places to explore in the Lone Star State
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