George Peddy

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George Edwin Bailey Peddy​

Texas State Representative for
District 8 (Shelby County)​
In office
January 9, 1917​ – September 10, 1917 ​
Preceded by Willie B. Savage[1]
Succeeded by John C. Rogers​

Born August 22, 1892​
Tenaha, Shelby County, Texas
Died June 13, 1951 (aged 58)​
Houston, Texas​
Resting place Ramah Cemetery in Tenaha, Texas​
Nationality American
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Gertrude Irwin Peddy (married 1921-1951, his death) ​
Children Reared two of his nephews by marriage​
Alma mater University of Texas

University of Texas School of Law​ (Austin)

Occupation Attorney for Vinson & Elkins​
Military Service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1917-1919; 1939-1946​
Rank Lieutenant colonel
Battles/wars World War I

World War II - Invasion of Normandy

Awards Bronze Star

Croix de guerre 1939–1945 (France)

George Edwin Bailey Peddy (August 22, 1892 – June 13, 1951) was a Texas attorney and politician who ran in 1922 as a combination |Independent Democrat and Republican write-in candidate for the United States Senate.

He was defeated by the Democratic nominee, Earle Bradford Mayfield (1881-1964), an outgoing member of the Texas Railroad Commission. A native of Overton in East Texas, Mayfield carried the backing of the Ku Klux Klan, which Peddy opposed.[2]

Background

​ Peddy was born on a farm near Tenaha Shelby County, also in East Texas. He was the seventh son of William Henry Peddy and the former Laura Gertrude Chambers. His father died soon after Peddy's birth, and Peddy worked as a young man to help support his mother.​ He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Texas in Austin. In 1920, he graduated from the University of Texas School of Law.[3]

In 1921, Peddy married the former Gertrude Irwin; they reared two of her nephews.[3]

Political career

​ Peddy was the UT student body president in 1917 as well as the District 8 state representative for Shelby County. He opposed the policies of Governor James Edward "Pa" Ferguson (1871-1944) regarding UT funding and procedures but, like Ferguson, was a strong opponent of the Klan. During World War I, Peddy accepted a commission as a captain in the United States Army.[3]

While in training at Camp Funston in Kansas, he obtained leave to attend the impeachment proceedings against Governor Ferguson, which resulted in Ferguson's conviction in the state Senate and removal from office. Ferguson was succeeded by then Lieutenant Governor William Pettus Hobby, Sr. (1978-1964), to the governorship. Peddy resigned his House seat on September 10, 1917 to complete his military duties.[4]

With his law degree in hand, Peddy and two former classmates established a law practice in Houston. For two years, he was the assistant district attorney for Harris County. Peddy was then appointed as the assistant United States Attorney assigned to prosecute mail fraud cases.[3]

U.S. Senate race

Because the Klan was backing Mayfield for the Senate, a group known as the "Independent Democrats" met in Dallas on September 16, 1922 to nominate Peddy to run in the general election scheduled for November 7. The longtime incumbent senator, Charles Allen Culberson (1855-1925), had been eliminated in the primary in which Peddy had supported Ferguson against Mayfield because of the Klan question.​

Democratic Party regulars managed to keep Peddy's name off the general election ballot, and so Mayfield was unopposed. Mayfield's critics said that his ties to the Klan disqualified him from being a Democrat. Mayfield, like the Klan, supported prohibition, but Ferguson favored legal sales of alcoholic beverages despite being illegal anywhere in the United States by the former 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Republican leadership endorsed Peddy, but it was too late to place a candidate for senator on the Republican line.[3]

Among those working to elect Peddy to the Senate by encouraging the write-in against Mayfield and raising campaign funds were two Republican industrialists from Wichita Falls in North Texas, Franklin Marian "Frank" Kell and Kell's son-in-law, Orville Bullington, later the GOP state party chairman and the party's 1932 gubernatorial nominee.[5] ​ Peddy polled 130,744 (33 percent) write-in votes, compared to Mayfield's 264,260 ballots (67 percent. Thereafter, Peddy challenged Mayfield's election before the Senate itself, mostly because Peddy had been kept off the ballot because of filing deadlines. The challenge succeeded only in delaying Mayfield's seating by nine months.[6] Mayfield was unseated for a second term in the Democratic runoff primary in 1928 by fellow Democrat Thomas Terry "Tom" Connally (1877-1963).

Later years

From 1925 to 1942, Peddy practiced with the prominent Houston firm Vinson & Elkins.[3]

During World War II, Peddy, then in his early fifties, volunteered for further military service and attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. He served as a staff officer for the United States Third Army from the invasion of Normandy until the end of the war in Europe in May 1945. Peddy was then named as the deputy military governor of Frankfurt, Germany. He was awarded both the Bronze Star and the French Croix de Guerre.[3]

In 1948, Peddy entered the Democratic primary for United States Senator from Texas to succeed the retiring Wilbert Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel (1890-1969) and polled nearly 20 percent of the vote, sufficient to force his two major opponents, former Governor Coke Robert Stevenson (1888-1975) and then U.S. Representative Lyndon B. Johnson into a runoff election in which Johnson was long criticized for stealing the election with eighty-seven disputed ballots in Jim Wells County, a machine county, in South Texas. He ran on a strongly states' rights and anticommunist platform.[3]

Peddy died shortly before his 59th birthday while he was serving as the chairman of the Texas Cancer Crusade in Houston. He is interred at Ramah Cemetery in Tenaha.[3]

References

  1. Willie Savage. lrl.state.tx.us. Retrieved on July 9, 2020.
  2. Frank H. Smyrl. Mayfield, Earle Bradford. tshaonline.org. Retrieved on July 9, 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 Richard T. Fleming. George Edwin Bailey Peddy. tshaonline.org. Retrieved on July 9, 2020.
  4. George Edwin Bailey Peddy. Legislative Reference Library of Texas. Retrieved on July 9, 2020.
  5. "Frank Kell and the 1920 Republican presidential campaign," Southwestern Studies at Texas A&M University, 1984, p. 122; isbn 0-89096-157-3.
  6. The Election Case of George E. B. Peddy v. Earle B. Mayfield of Texas. United States Senatesenate.gov (1925). Retrieved on July 9, 2020.

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