PAT MORRIS NEFF was born in McGregor, Texas. He received undergraduate and master’s degrees from Baylor University as well as a law degree from the University of Texas. He was a member of the Texas House of Representatives, serving as Speaker from 1903 to 1905, after which he was McLennan County Attorney from 1906 to 1912. During his gubernatorial administration, the Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech University) and South Texas State Teachers College (Texas A & M University—Kingsville) were established. A State Highway Commission was also formed to construct, operate, control, and maintain a system of public highways, taking responsibility out of the hands of counties. And Neff conducted a campaign that led to the creation of the State Park Board, which was funded by a gas tax. While governor, he offered $1,000 for the best Texas song, from which came “Texas, Our Texas,” the official state anthem. Twice during his first term, he declared martial law, once to deal with a labor dispute in Denison and the other to control the oil boom in Limestone county. After completing his second term, Neff served on the National Board of Mediation from 1927 to 1929 and on the Texas Railroad Commission from 1929 to 1932. He was also president of Baylor University from 1932 until 1947. He died five years later of a heart attack and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Waco.
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.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 41. New York: James T. White & Company.