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The Ross S. Sterling Collection - Governor Sterling’s Inauguration (1931)

Sterling Miller

Silent | 1931

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This home movie captures scenes of Governor Ross S. Sterling’s gubernatorial inauguration on January 20, 1931. Following close-up scenes of the Texas State Capitol Building and grounds are scenes of the large crowd, flag-adorned grandstand, and the motorcade entering for the ceremony. Also of interest are opening scenes of an early ferry carrying cars across a river.
Ross Sterling was the 31st Governor of Texas from 1931-1933. He was born in Chambers County’s Anahuac, Texas on a farm and moved to Sour Lake in 1903. Sterling married Maud Abbie Gage in 1898; they were the parents of five children - Walter, Mildred, Ruth, Ross Jr., and Norma. At the age of 36, Sterling developed his two oil wells into Humble Oil and Refining Company, which later became part of Exxon-Mobil. He was also involved in banking and owner of the Dayton-Goose Creek Railway Company. After moving to Houston in 1925, he began working in real estate and bought two newspapers, the Houston Dispatch and the Houston Post. He was elected to office in 1931. During his term as governor, he made several controversial decisions, including declaring martial law in 4 East Texas counties, in an effort to save the oil industry from self-destruction during the Depression. He was defeated for a second term by Miriam “Ma” Ferguson and returned to Houston where he continued to work in several industries, including serving as president of the Sterling Oil and Refining Company from 1933 to 1946. Sterling died in Ft. Worth, Texas in 1949.