Texas History

In July 1931, Texans were wondering if their state was going to war with Oklahoma. The two neighboring states were in a showdown over a bridge over the Red River. While many saw this Red River Bridge War as a farcical episode it was also a watershed moment in history.

Historian Rusty Williams uses this incident to examine life in Texas and Oklahoma in this troubled time of economic collapse, agricultural disaster and tremendous transformation. Williams is the author of the book “The Red River Bridge War: A Texas Oklahoma Border Battle.”

Texas State Archive

When we are taught Texas history we generally focus on the heroes and leaders and politicians who did great things. People like Stephen F. Austin, General Sam Houston and Governor Jim Hogg. However, the text books skip right over the state leaders who were, at best, sub-par. But there’s a lot to learn from the stinkers. Should we be asking, where did the voters go wrong with electing leaders who failed them. For example how did Governor and U.S. Senator W. Lee O’Daniel continue to win elections?  And what should we learn from his rise – rule and eventual fall.

Texas State Archive

There are many colorful yarns about W. Lee “Pass the Biscuits Pappy” O’Daniel. With his hillbilly band the radio flour salesman won two terms as Texas Governor. And then Pappy became a Senator by orchestrating one of the most spectacular campaigns and controversial vote counts in Texas history. 

Texas State Archive

This is part three of a five-part series broadcasting on Texas Standard and Texas Public Radio. The series tells the strange story of W. Lee O'Daniel, who in 1938 went from being a flour salesman on the radio to Governor of Texas and then U.S. Senator.  O'Daniel is considered one of the most amazing politicians in Texas history who accomplished virtually nothing.

The 34th Governor of Texas was W. Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel. The businessman and radio personality was elected to office in 1938 by riding his own celebrity wave. But after the election how did Pappy do as governor?

Texas State Archive

This is part two of a five-part series broadcasting on Texas Standard and Texas Public Radio. The series tells the strange story of W. Lee O'Daniel, who in 1938 went from being a flour salesman on the radio to Governor of Texas and then U.S. Senator.  O'Daniel is considered one of the most amazing politicians in Texas history who accomplished virtually nothing.

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