Born in South Carolina, PENDLETON MURRAH moved at an early age to Alabama, where he was educated by a charitable society of the Baptist Church. He went on to graduate from Brown University and study law. Although he was admitted to the Bar in Alabama, he suffered from tuberculosis and moved to the dry climate of Texas, establishing a law practice in Marshall. He was appointed to a position in the Quartermaster’s Department of the Confederate States Army for Eastern Texas in 1862. An unsuccessful candidate for Congress in 1855, he was elected to the Texas Legislature in 1857. Six years later he was elected Governor of Texas in a contest held without regard to party affiliation. Serving during the final months of the Civil War, he found it difficult to work with Southern authorities. As most of Texas’s able-bodied men were being conscripted, lawlessness and panic swept over the state. When the Confederacy collapsed, Murrah issued proclamations for the protection of private property, summoned the state legislature into special session, and called for a Constitutional Convention. Despite these efforts, civil authorities lost control and Murrah was forced to flee the Capitol. He died shortly after in the city to which he had fled: Monterrey, Mexico.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.