Jeff Fowler had his honey-do list.
Mow the yard … check.
Take out the trash … check.
Fix the leaky faucet in the kitchen … check.
Run for county attorney … check.
In 1928, Fowler ran for the position of county attorney in Throckmorton County, Texas, which was located northwest of Fort Worth. In an age of duplicitous and bend-the-truth politicians, his reason for wanting the job was, in the words of the Harrison Daily Times, “startling in its frankness.”
Fowler’s announcement, which was featured in a March 6, 1928, story in the Daily Times titled “Jeff Fowler Seeks Office Because Wife Told Him To,” said, “To the voters of Throckmorton County: Having been strongly solicited by my wife, I hereby announce my candidacy for the office of County Attorney.”
Continuing in his frank manner, Fowler added, “I want the office because I think I can make a living out of it.”
Fowler was an Arkansas boy, born in 1893 around St. Joe and raised in the area. He had moved to Texas in about 1926, and in his words, in 1927 “married the finest little girl in Throckmorton County.”
In announcing his candidacy, Fowler emphasized his Arkansas roots.
“As for myself, I am an Arkansas hill-billy, born and raised in the Ozark Mountains. Outran the dogs on Sunday morning to keep from having my face washed – did my sparking bare-footed – never saw a train until I was 15 and was almost grown when I learned that Republicans walked on their hind feet like people.”
Continuing his resume, Fowler said that he had “farmed with a bull-tongued plow, taught school, practiced law and am a first-class mechanic, having worked a right smart around a molasses mill.”
Fowler was opposed in the race by B.F. Reynolds and James F. Wright. Rather than slam his opponents, Fowler praised the men, whom he called “two of your best known citizens.”
“Concerning them,” Fowler said, “I shall have nothing to say except that they are honorable and upright men, deserving of your confidence and support.”
Regarding Reynolds, the incumbent county attorney, Fowler said, “He is my best friend and I love him. I have served for the past year and am at present his assistant.”
Fowler regarded Wright also as a friend and assured voters that if they elected Wright, their confidence in him would not be misplaced.
Fowler made a pledge to the voters.
“…if elected (I) will make the thieves and bootleggers think hell ain’t 40 feet from the courthouse.”
The candidate made a prediction about the campaign.
“So, I expect to spend the time between now and election, kissing babies, complimenting the ladies’ cooking and bragging on the old man’s crop.”
The story of Fowler’s wife-driven campaign was featured in several newspapers in Texas, including the Abilene Reporter-News, Lubbock Morning Avalanche and Robstown Record and as far away as the Livermore (Cal.) Journal.
Later that year, Fowler was chosen as an alternate in the Texas delegation to the 1928 Democratic National Convention.
Fowler died in 1971 and is buried in Throckmorton, Texas. Minnie Leora Fowler, who insisted that her husband run for office, died in 1992 at the age of 85.
This is article is part of a series about Boone County history and provided by the Boone County Historical Museum. The museum is located at 124 South Cherry in Harrison. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday. Closed on Sunday and Wednesday. For more information on the museum, call 741-3312 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.