O'Daniel, W. Lee (Wilbert Lee), 1890-1969

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1890-03-11
Death 1969-05-11
English

Biographical notes:

Politician and businessman Wilbert Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel (1890-1969) was born in Malta, Ohio, one of two children of William Barnes and Alice Ann (Thompson) O’Daniel. Following his father’s death, shortly after O’Daniel’s birth, his mother remarried and moved the family to Reno County, Kansas. A 1908 graduate of Salt City Business College, O’Daniel became a stenographer and bookkeeper for a flour milling company. In 1917, he married Merle Estella Butcher, with whom he had three children. O’Daniel rose through the ranks of the flour industry, becoming sales manager of the Burrus Mills in Fort Worth, Texas, by 1925.

In charge of the company’s radio advertising, O’Daniel began writing songs for a hired group of musicians, the Light Crust Doughboys, and discussing religion on air. In 1935, he organized his own flour company, Hillbilly Flour. Relying heavily on his radio popularity, O’Daniel drew huge crowds in his 1938 Democratic campaign for governor, posing as a hillbilly and extolling the Ten Commandments, his flour, tax cuts, and industrialization. He easily won the election and another in 1940. His administration’s actions included attacks on organized labor, domination of the University of Texas Board of Regents, and continued radio showmanship. In 1941, O’Daniel won a seat in the United States Senate, barely defeating future president Lyndon Johnson. During his seven-year tenure, he introduced a number of unsuccessful anti-labor bills and was a dedicated supporter of the Republican-Southern Democratic coalition. Retiring to Texas, O’Daniel bought a ranch near Fort Worth and founded an insurance company, returning to politics in unsuccessful runs in the 1956 and 1958 Democratic gubernatorial primaries.

Source:

Green, George N. “ O’Daniel, Wilbert Lee [Pappy] .” Handbook of Texas Online . Accessed January 13, 2011.

From the guide to the O'Daniel, W. Lee "Pappy", Papers 1940; 92-143; 99-114., 1911-1951, (Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin)

Politician and businessman Wilbert Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel (1890-1969) was born in Malta, Ohio, one of two children of William Barnes and Alice Ann (Thompson) O'Daniel.

O'Daniel rose through the ranks of the flour industry, becoming sales manager of the Burrus Mills in Fort Worth, Texas, by 1925. In charge of the company's radio advertising, O'Daniel began writing songs for a hired group of musicians, the Light Crust Doughboys, and discussing religion on air. In 1935, he organized his own flour company, Hillbilly Flour. Relying heavily on his radio popularity, O'Daniel drew huge crowds in his 1938 Democratic campaign for governor, posing as a hillbilly and extolling the Ten Commandments, his flour, tax cuts, and industrialization. He easily won the election and another in 1940. In 1941, O'Daniel won a seat in the United States Senate, barely defeating future president Lyndon Johnson. During his seven-year tenure, he introduced a number of unsuccessful anti-labor bills and was a dedicated supporter of the Republican-Southern Democratic coalition. Retiring to Texas, O'Daniel bought a ranch near Fort Worth and founded an insurance company, returning to politics in unsuccessful runs in the 1956 and 1958 Democratic gubernatorial primaries.

From the description of O'Daniel, W. Lee "Pappy," Papers, 1911-1951 (University of Texas Libraries). WorldCat record id: 706822721

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http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6902dh2
Ark ID:
w6902dh2
SNAC ID:
71974710

Subjects:

  • Radio broadcasting--History--20th century
  • Legislators--United States--Archives
  • Radio broadcasting--United States--History--20th century
  • Flour mills--Texas--History--20th century
  • Flour mills--History--20th century
  • Legislators--Archives

Occupations:

not available for this record

Places:

  • Texas (as recorded)
  • Texas. Governor (1939-1941 : O’Daniel) (as recorded)
  • Texas (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Texas. Governor (1939-1941 : O⁰́₉Daniel) (as recorded)