SAMUEL WILLIS TUCKER LANHAM was born in Spartanburg District, South Carolina. He attended public school in South Carolina but later moved to Texas, where he studied law and was admitted to the Bar. He served in the Confederate Army from 1862 to 1864 and then taught in Red River County, Texas for three years while also studying law before he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served eight non-consecutive terms. He was the last Confederate veteran to hold the office of governor. During his two gubernatorial terms, a body of laws was passed comprising the state’s election code. The laws provided for the mandatory filing of campaign expenditures and the holding of primaries for parties polling more than one hundred thousand votes in the previous general election. Lanham’s administration also saw the development of the petroleum industry in Texas that was to become the backbone of the state’s economy. Leaving office after two terms, Lanham retired to Weatherford, Texas, where he died and was buried.
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. 13. New York: James T. White & Company.