Bonham -- 100 years have passed since Sam Rayburn first took the oath of office in 1913 to begin his 48 year tenure in the United States House of Representatives. The Sam Rayburn House Museum will celebrate this milestone anniversary with an open house on Saturday, March 23.
Before coming to the national political scene, Rayburn spent five years in the Texas House of Representatives. He won his first election in 1906. After two terms in the Texas House and with a reputation for honesty and fairness, Rayburn made the successful run for Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives in 1911. Rayburn was proud and honored in his new position, but his political aspirations would soon carry him from Austin to Washington D.C.
In 1912, when U.S. Congressman Choice Randell vacated his seat representing the Fourth Congressional District of Texas, Rayburn quickly filed to include his name on the ballot for the upcoming election. He joined the campaign in earnest. His campaign was managed by a group of supporters known as the ďInner Sanctum.Ē This group included prominent businessmen, attorneys and bankers from the district. They set up Rayburn clubs, organized campaign caravans, shook hands and spread the Rayburn message. In campaign speeches, the young hopeful spoke frankly about the issues; he was loyal to the Democratic Party, he supported free trade to benefit farmers, he supported a federal inheritance tax, and he supported Statesí Rights. He also voiced his concerns about taxation for revenue purposes only, not to benefit specific groups.
Voters considered Rayburnís views on national legislation as they headed to the polls in the Democratic election on July 27, 1912. The vote was so close that the official count was delayed until August 1. Rayburn claimed victory and was elected by a margin of just 2% over opponent Tom Perkins. Rayburn won the General Election in November 1912 and officially became the Fourth Congressional District of Texas Representative in Congress.
The newly elected Congressman hopped aboard a train in Bonham on February 27, 1913 and began his trek to his new job in Washington D. C. He arrived before the start of the 63rd Congress in part to attend President Woodrow Wilsonís inauguration. After the inaugural ceremony, Rayburn quickly began working in the House. He took the oath of office on April 7, 1913 as a member of the 63rd Congress. 1913marked the beginning of Rayburnís 48 years of service in the U.S. House.
In celebration of the 100 year anniversary of Sam Rayburnís start in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Sam Rayburn House Museum will host an open house on Saturday, March 23. The event will take place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The museum will offer free admission, tours and refreshments.
The Sam Rayburn House Museum tells the real story of Sam Rayburn, one of the most powerful and influential politicians of the 20th century, in his authentic 1916 home.
Preserved as a period time capsule, the two-story home contains all original Rayburn furnishings. The Sam Rayburn House Museum is one of 20 historic attractions operated by the Texas Historical Commission. For more information visit www.visitsamrayburnhouse.com.