Governor of Texas 1931-33, during critical years of the Depression. Born and reared on family farm here.
As a youth hoeing these fields, learned to stay ahead by taking "3 or 4 licks" while others took 2. followed this vigorous philosophy throughout life.
In 1898 he married Maud Abbie Gage; had 5 children. In 1910 bought 2 wells which he developed into the Humble Oil & Refining Company in 1917. Then entered real estate development in Houston, 1925: bought the Houston "Dispatch" and "Post," forerunners of present Houston "Post." As head of Texas Highway Commission, 1927-30, achieved great reforms in roads programs.
His term as governor saw forceful handling of crises of the times. He called a special session of the Legislature to deal with over-production in agriculture. Also put teeth into measures to control oil production by placing 4 counties under martial law following violations of conservation rules.
When he returned to private life, his fortune had been lost. Undaunted, he launched the Sterling Oil & Refining Company and eventually was head of other major businesses. Philanthropies included gift of his La Porte estate as a boys' home, founding of boys' camp and donations to Texas Christian University.