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Allred, James V., 1899-1959 | University of Houston Libraries

Name: Allred, James V., 1899-1959

Historical Note:

James V Allred was born in Bowie, Texas, on March 29, 1899 to Renne and Mary (Henson) Allred, Sr. He graduated from Bowie High School in 1917 and enrolled at Rice Institute (now Rice University), but withdrew for financial reasons. He served with the United States Immigration Service until his enlistment in the United States Navy during World War I. After the war Allred began the study of law as a clerk in a Wichita Falls law office. In 1921 he received an LL.B. from Cumberland University in Tennessee, and began practicing in Wichita Falls Texas. Allred married Joe Betsy Miller of Wichita Falls on June 20, 1927; they had three sons.

In 1923 Governor Pat M. Neff selected him to fill an unexpired term as district attorney for the Thirtieth Texas District, which included Wichita, Archer, and Young counties. In that office Allred earned a reputation as "the fighting district attorney" for his forthright opposition to the Ku Klux Klan. He was a candidate for the office of state attorney general in 1926 but was defeated by Claude Pollard in a close second-primary vote. In 1930 Allred won the race for the same position by defeating the incumbent, Robert Lee Bobbitt. As attorney general, Allred gained popular approval through a continuing campaign against monopolies and large businesses, and against the efforts of corporations to influence state taxation and fiscal policies.

His activities as attorney general, aided by the Depression-born distrust of large corporations, made him a logical candidate for the governorship of Texas in 1934. His principal Democratic opponents in 1934, both from Wichita Falls, were Tom F. Hunter, regarded as more liberal than the attorney general, and Charles C. McDonald, regarded as the candidate of the Ferguson faction. Allred gained a plurality in the first primary and defeated Hunter by 40,000 votes in the runoff. In addition to attempting to legislate his campaign proposals, the governor devoted this term to cooperating with federal programs designed to combat the Great Depression.

Several significant factors worked in Governor Allred's favor in the election of 1936. He had been commended highly by President Franklin D. Roosevelt for the state's cooperation and performance in the national recovery program, and that recognition had been a factor in causing the national Junior Chamber of Commerce to name Allred "Outstanding Young Man in America in 1935." Moreover, he had secured the enactment of many of his 1934 pledges to the voters of the state. As a result, he polled a majority of 52 percent in the first primary in a field of five candidates and won by a landslide in the general election of 1936.

Late in Allred's second term as governor, his nomination by President Roosevelt to a federal district judgeship was confirmed, and upon the completion of his gubernatorial term, he assumed his position on the bench. He resigned from the judgeship in 1942 to seek the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate, and after his defeat in that race by former Texas governor W. Lee O'Daniel he returned for a time to private law practice in Houston. Senator O'Daniel opposed Allred's appointment to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1943. In 1949 President Harry S. Truman returned Allred to the federal bench, where he remained until his death in 1959.

Biographical Timeline:

1890  Born, Bowie, Texas. Son of Renne and Marie Magdalone Henson Allred

1917  Graduated from Bowie High School 1918  Rice Institute, Houston, Texas (1 semester)

1918-1919  United States Navy

1921  LLB Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tennessee

1921-1926  Practiced law, Wichita Falls, Texas

1923-1925  District Attorney, Wichita Falls, Archer and Young counties

1926  Candidate for Attorney General of Texas

1926-1930  Practiced law in Wichita Falls, Texas

1927  Married Joe Betsy Miller of Wichita Falls, Texas

1931-1934  Attorney General of the state of Texas

1935-1939  Governor of Texas (2 terms)

1939-1942  Judge, United States District Court, Southern District of Texas

1942  Sought Democratic nomination to United States Senate

1942-1949  Practiced Law, Houston, Texas

1949-1959  Judge, United States District Court, Southern District of Texas

1959  Died in Laredo, Texas, and is buried in Riverside Cemetery, Wichita Falls, Texas


“Allred, James Burr V.” The Handbook of Texas Online. http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/AA/fal42.html Accessed Tue Jun 10 12:26:50 US/Central 2003

Sources: “Allred, James Burr V.” The Handbook of Texas Online. http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/AA/fal42.html Accessed Tue Jun 10 12:26:50 US/Central 2003

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