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William Harding Mayes

William Harding Mayes (May 20, 1861 – June 26, 1939) was Lieutenant Governor of the U.S. state of Texas (1913–1914), a newspaperman who published the Brownwood Bulletin and founder of the University of Texas journalism school.

Willia Mayes
Mayes William.jpg
23rd Lieutenant Governor of Texas
In office
January 20, 1913 – August 14, 1914
GovernorOscar Branch Colquittj
Preceded byAsbury Bascom Davidson
Succeeded byWilliam Pettus Hobby Sr.
Personal details
BornMay 20, 1861
Mayfield, Kentucky, US[1]
Died26 June 1939(1939-06-26) (aged 78)
Austin, Texas, US
  • Jessie Wise (m. 1886–her death in 1899)[2][3]
  • Anna Marshall (m. 1900–his death)
Alma materVanderbilt University
ProfessionJournalist, politician, professor

Early lifeEdit

Born in Mayfield, Kentucky, Mayes was educated at Norton's English and Classical School in Tennessee, Paducah District Methodist College in Kentucky[4] and Vanderbilt University,[5] class of 1881,[6] where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta.[7][8] He practiced law in Kentucky in 1881 as a partner in the law firm Park and Mayes[9] and in Texas from 1882 to 1886, serving as county attorney of Brown County, Texas from 1882 to 1883.[10] He received an honorary doctorate of laws from Daniel Baker College in 1914.

Mayes purchased weekly newspapers in Brownwood, Texas in the 1880s and began the daily Brownwood Bulletin newspaper in 1900, which he published until 1914.[11] He and his brother, H.F. Mayes,[3] founded one of the earliest newspaper chains, owning Texas papers in Brady, Stephenville, Santa Anna, May, Ballinger and Dalhart.[12] The Brownwood Bulletin was the first newspaper in Texas to not be officially linked to the state Democratic party, instead opting to be independently Democratic (supportive of the party in general, but critical when warranted).[13]


Mayes was elected Lieutenant Governor of Texas in 1912 despite not campaigning for the position.[14] While Lt. Governor, Mayes played a notable role in the controversy surrounding the Daughters of the Republic of Texas' custodianship of the Alamo Mission in San Antonio, siding with Clara Driscoll over Adina De Zavala to demolish most of the remaining portions of the site's long barracks. He made this decision while governor Oscar Colquitt had left the state on business.[15] This event became known as the "Second Battle of the Alamo."

In September 1913, the University of Texas offered him a position as chair of an as-yet created School of Journalism.[16] However, Mayes declined, and immediately thereafter announced he was running for the office of Governor on a platform of statewide prohibition and local option.[16] He was initially considered to be a favorite,[17] but withdrew after Thomas Ball consolidated prohibitionist support,[18] who in turn lost the nomination to James E. Ferguson. Later in life he also served as executive vice president of the Texas Centennial Committee of 1936.[19]

After failing to gain the Democratic nomination for Governor, Mayes resigned from office,[20] founded, and became dean of the University of Texas School of Journalism[21] at the insistence of University President and friend Sidney Edward Mezes.[10]


Mayes founded the University of Texas School of Journalism in 1914 and was its dean until 1926.[22] As dean, he founded The Texas Journalist, a student run newspaper.[23] In 1916, he was one of seven faculty members[24] targeted for firing by Texas governor James E. Ferguson, who found them objectionable.

The complaints against Mayes, who had been one of Ferguson's chief rivals for the 1914 Democratic gubernatorial nomination (along with prohibitionist congressman Thomas Henry Ball), stemmed from negative editorials against Ferguson that the Brownwood Bulletin published while Mayes still owned half of the company. Ferguson was quoted saying that the Bulletin had "skinned me from hell to breakfast."[25] However, Mayes maintained that he was out of the state when these editorials - editorials that were widely reprinted throughout the state in the ensuing controversy[25] - were written and approved by others and that he no longer had a financial stake in the business dealings of the Bulletin. Although Mayes was exonerated by the board of regents, he was later dismissed by the university in 1917[25] in a 4-3 vote.[26] However, the dismissal was reversed and he was fully reinstated as dean[19] and Ferguson was eventually impeached by the Texas Legislature.[27] Later, Governor Ma Ferguson succeeded where her husband had not, and was able to remove funding for the School of Journalism entirely, effectively abolishing its programs.[28]

He served as president of the Texas Press Association in 1899–90 and was elected without opposition[29] president of the National Editorial Association in 1908.[30] He was elected vice-president of the American Association of Journalism Teachers in 1916[31] and president of the Association of American Schools and Departments of Journalism in 1920–21.[32] After retiring from the school and from public life, he published a book entitled "Texas Empire Builders of 1936."[33] In 1940, shortly after his death, the University of Texas acquired his 80-volume library on the history of journalism in Texas.[34]

Personal lifeEdit

Mayes had seven children: four from Jessie Ware, whom he married in 1886, and three from his second wife, Anna Marshall, whom he married in 1900 after his first wife's death the year before. Mayes is buried in Greenleaf Cemetery in Brownwood.

His son William Harding Mayes Jr. was a print journalist who worked for the Brownwood Bulletin, was editor of the Ranger Times and Harlingen, Texas's The Valley Morning Star.[35]

His son Wendell Wise Mayes was initially a print journalist, working for the Parlier Progress in Parlier, California and later for the Fresno Bee.[36] He was later elected mayor of the Texas cities of Center (1925–1928)[37] and Brownwood (1939–1951),[38] where he owned and ran the KBWD radio station as part of a larger broadcasting chain.[39] In 1939, he was appointed by Governor James Allred to serve on the executive committee of the Texas Big Bend Park Association, which created Big Bend National Park.[40][41][42][43][44][45] He later served as chairman of the Texas State Parks Board,[46][47] as a member of the Brown County Hospital Authority,[48] and chairman of the board of regents of Texas Women's University.[49] Dorothy Evans Mayes, wife of Wendell Wise Mayes, was a noted Texan artist.[39][50] Howard Payne University's Department of Art's gallery is named in their memory.[51] Their son, Wendell Wise Mayes Jr., is a prominent diabetes philanthropist and radio journalist.

His daughter from his second marriage, Isabelle Mayes Hale, was a noted Texas artist.[52] His son from his second marriage, Robert Chappell Mayes, was also a notable Texas journalist working in Edinburg, Texas at the Edinburg Review and served as news editor of the San Antonio Express News[53][54] until his retirement in 1977.[55] Anna Elizabeth Morris Mayes, wife of Robert, was also a Texas journalist, working in Gonzales, Texas, Houston, and San Antonio.[56][57]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Jessie Wise 1869-1899 - Ancestry". Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  3. ^ a b "1899-1900 W.H. Mayes Brownwood Bulletin | Texas Press Association". 1939-06-26. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  4. ^ Alcalde. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  5. ^ Vanderbilt University Quarterly - Vanderbilt University. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  6. ^ Vanderbilt University Quarterly - Vanderbilt University. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  7. ^ The Catalogue of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. p. 370. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  8. ^ List of Phi Delta Theta members
  9. ^ "1899-1900 W.H. Mayes Brownwood Bulletin | Texas Press Association". 1939-06-26. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  10. ^ a b Sherre Lynne Paris. Raising Press Photography to Visual Communication in American Schools of ... p. 64. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  11. ^ [2]
  12. ^ Special to the New York Times (June 27, 1936). "William H. Mayes, ex-Texas official".
  13. ^ [3]
  14. ^ [4]
  15. ^ Randy Roberts; James S. Olson. "A Line in the Sand: The Alamo in Blood and Memory". p. 214. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  16. ^ a b [Waco Morning News, 29 September 1913, pg. 4]
  17. ^ [Wichita Daily Times, 26 January 1914 pg. 7]
  18. ^ [The Liberty Vindicator, 27 February 1914, pg. 1]
  19. ^ a b [5]
  20. ^ Sherre Lynne Paris. Raising Press Photography to Visual Communication in American Schools of ... p. 64. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  21. ^ "Microsoft Word - PD edited 11 29.doc" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  22. ^ "About the Department | School of Journalism". 2000-01-01. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  23. ^ Sherre Lynne Paris. Raising Press Photography to Visual Communication in American Schools of ... p. 64. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  24. ^ Weiner, Hollace Ava & Kessler, Jimmy (2006). Jewish Stars in Texas: Rabbis And Their Work. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press. pp. 48–49.
  25. ^ a b c Sherre Lynne Paris. Raising Press Photography to Visual Communication in American Schools of ... p. 64. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  26. ^ The Houston Post, 13 July 1917, pg. 1
  27. ^ "FERGUSON, JAMES EDWARD | The Handbook of Texas Online| Texas State Historical Association (TSHA)". Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  28. ^ Raising Press Photography to Visual Communication in American Schools of ... - Sherre Lynne Paris. p. 64. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  29. ^ Palestine Daily Herald, 21 August 1908, pg. 1
  30. ^ Alcalde. p. 794. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  31. ^ San Francisco Chronicle, 23 April 1916, pg. 39
  32. ^ [6]
  33. ^ "August » 2010 » Jackson Purchase Historical Society". Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  34. ^ Faculty Council. "Faculty Council | The University of Texas at Austin". Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  35. ^ [Brownwood Bulletin 9 February 1973, Fri. pg. 2]
  36. ^ "Brownwood Bulletin (Brownwood, Tex.), Vol. 22, No. 305, Ed. 1 Saturday, October 7, 1922 - Page: 3 of 7 . Magnified. The Portal to Texas History". 1922-10-07. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  37. ^ "Past Mayors of Center | City of Center - Texas". Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  38. ^ [7]
  39. ^ a b "Dorothy Mayes paintings on exhibit at Stars - News - Brownwood Bulletin". Brownwood, TX. 1994-03-03. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  40. ^ John Jameson. The Story of Big Bend National Park. p. 43. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  41. ^ "Lubbock Morning Avalanche from Lubbock, Texas on September 17, 1937 · Page 12". 1937-09-17. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  42. ^ "Corsicana Daily Sun from Corsicana, Texas on November 30, 1939 · Page 12". 1939-11-30. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  43. ^ "Big Bend NP: Administrative History (Chapter 6)". 2003-03-03. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  44. ^ James Wright Steely. Parks for Texas: Enduring Landscapes of the New Deal. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  45. ^ "Big Bend NP: Administrative History (Chapter 7)". 2003-03-03. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  46. ^ "Texas State Parks in the 1950s - Texas State Library | TSLAC". 2016-11-16. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  47. ^ [Brownsville Herald, 26 June 1939, pg. 1]
  48. ^ [Brownwood Bulletin, 13 December 1965, pg. 1]
  49. ^ Abilene Reporter-News, 18 January 1970, pg. 1
  50. ^ "History of The Brownwood Art Association". Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  51. ^ [8]
  52. ^ Dictionary of Texas Artists, 1800-1945. p. 42. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  53. ^ "In Memory of Robert Chappell Mayes - Porter Loring Funeral Home, San Antonio, TX". Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  54. ^ "Inventory of the San Antonio Express-News Photograph Collection, 1938-1959". Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  55. ^ The Alcalde. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  56. ^ "Message Boards". Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  57. ^ "In Memory of Anna Elizabeth Mayes - Porter Loring Funeral Home, San Antonio, TX". Retrieved 2017-02-22.
Political offices
Preceded by
Asbury Bascom Davidson
Lieutenant Governor of Texas
Succeeded by
William P. Hobby Sr.