John Nance Garner

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John Nance Garner IV (November 22, 1868 – November 7, 1967), was the 44th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives (1931–33) and the 32nd Vice President of the United States (1933–41).


Early life and family

Garner was born near Detroit in Red River County in East Texas, to John Nance Garner, III, and his wife, the former Sarah Jane Guest.[1] Garner attended Vanderbilt University for one semester before dropping out and returning home. He eventually studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1890, and began practice in Uvalde, Uvalde County, Texas. He was County Judge of Uvalde County from 1893 to 1896. (Although the County Judge in Texas is now primarily the chief administrative officer of a County, comparable to the Mayor of a City, the office is a Judicial position and the County Judge sits in small civil cases, misdemeanor criminal cases, and probate cases.) In the 1893 campaign for Uvalde County Judge, his Democratic primary opponent was Mariette Rheiner, a rancher's daughter. He married her two years later, and they had one child, a son, Tully Charles Garner, two grandsons, Tully of Fredricksburg Texas and John, and one granddaughter, Jean Venette Garner married to Clarence Brewer Price, one great granddaughter, Tracy Denise Greenwood married to John Alexander Greenwood, and three great great grandchildren, Andrea Ashley Greenwood, Cory Alexander Greenwood, and Nolan Brewer Greenwood.

Texas politics

Garner was a member of the Texas House of Representatives from 1898 to 1902. While in the Texas Legislature, a bill came up to select a state flower for Texas. Garner fervently supported the prickly pear cactus for the honor and earned the nickname "Cactus Jack" for his effort. The bluebonnet eventually won out and was chosen as the state flower.

Garner was elected as a Democrat to the United States House of Representatives in 1902 from a newly created Congressional District covering tens of thousands of square miles of rural South Texas. He was elected from the District fourteen subsequent times, serving until 1933. His wife served as his private secretary during this period.

Garner's hard work and integrity made him a respected leader in the House, and he was chosen to serve as minority floor leader for the Democrats in 1929, and then as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives in 1931.

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