THOMAS MITCHELL CAMPBELL was born in Rusk, Texas, receiving his early education in the public schools and then attending the Rusk Masonic Institute. He went on to Trinity University at Tehuacana and was admitted to the Bar at Longview, Texas in 1878. In addition to practicing law, he was a receiver and general manager for the International-Great Northern Railroad. Running for governor in the state’s first primary, he received a plurality but not a majority of the vote, and since the law did not yet provide for a primary run-off, the issue went into party convention, by which Campbell was nominated. During his administration as governor, reform measures were passed, including legislation to strengthen antitrust codes, to establish a pure food code, to restrict lobbying, to provide for municipal regulation of public utilities, and to increase appropriations for public schools. In addition, the state Department of Insurance, Banking, Statistics and History was created, as was the Texas State Library, and the state banking system was reorganized. Finally, Campbell’s administration abandoned the harsh system of contract leasing of prisoners from the state penitentiary for labor. After leaving office, Campbell returned to his law practice. He ran unsuccessfully for a U.S. Senate seat, but served on the Exemption Board during World War I. He died in Galveston and was buried in Palestine, Texas.
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. 14. New York: James T. White & Company.