JOSEPH DRAPER SAYERS was born in Grenada, Mississippi. He attended Bastrop Military Institute from 1852 to 1860, after which he served in the Confederate Army as Major of the 5th Regiment of Mounted Volunteers. Following the Civil War he was a teacher and a practitioner of law. Prior to being elected governor, he was a member of the Texas Senate, Lieutenant Governor, and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Sayers’ gubernatorial administration was marked by several catastrophic events, including destruction by fire of the state penitentiary at Huntsville in 1899, damage to large areas of Texas as a result of floods on the Brazos River, and the Galveston flood of 1900. After serving two terms as governor, Sayers began a law practice in San Antonio, was appointed a regent of the University of Texas, and served as chairman of the Industrial Accident Board, and as a member of the State Board of Legal Examiners and the State Board of Pardon Advisors. He died and was buried in Bastrop.
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.