HON. OSCAR B. COLQUITT.— There is perhaps no man in the entire state of Texas better known than the Hon. Oscar Branch Colquitt, of Terrell, Kaufman county. While practical politics has claimed much of his time and while his stalwart Democracy has been exceedingly valuable to his party he is ever found in the foremost ranks of citizens who are devoted to their country’s best interests and to the welfare of their fellow men, in private life and in official positions always laboring with the devotion that has given him a place among the honored and valued residents of Texas.
Mr. Colquitt served the ninth district, composed of Kaufman, Navarro and Henderson counties in the state senate for four years, from 1895 to 1899, and for eight months he served as state revenue agent by appointment of Governor Culberson during his last term, while later Governor Joseph D. Sayers voluntarily tendered him a position upon the tax commission, created for the purpose of revising the revenue laws of the state. In 1902 the Hon. Oscar B. Colquitt made the race for railroad commissioner to succeed John H. Reagan, and was duly nominated and elected. He is always master of his subjects, and fully conversant with the history of the progress of free government from its earliest era to the present day he pours forth in eloquent terms the fundamental doctrine of constitutional government, of individual community rights and of local self government.
Oscar Branch Colquitt was born in the town of Camilla, the county seat of Mitchell county, Georgia, on December 16, 1861. His paternal grandparents were natives of Fairfax county, Virginia, and emigrated to Green county, Georgia, in 1801, the grandfather being a large planter and a colonel of militia with Jackson in his fights with the Indians in Alabama. The great-grandfather was a private soldier in the Revolutionary war, and in a hand to hand conflict with a British officer he was knocked down and pierced through the face by the British officer's sword. While in that attitude he managed to get his pistol and shot the officer dead. He in after life, in relating his experiences and hardships as a Revolutionary soldier, would repeat the incident and weep over it. Walter T. Colquitt, a great criminal lawyer in Georgia and a United States Senator from that state before the war, was the father of Alfred H. Colquitt, a Confederate brigadier general, and after the war elected governor and senator from the state of Georgia, and both were cousins in the family of Oscar B. Colquitt. The latter’s paternal grandmother, Lizzie Franklin, was a distant relative of Benjamin Franklin. Mr. Colquitt’s maternal grandfather was David N. Burkhalter, of Holland-Dutch descent and from Marion county, Georgia. He was a merchant and large planter and a local Methodist minister. Before the war he was an ardent Whig in politics and a friend of Henry Clay. His wife was before marriage Miss Ann Short, and her people came to Georgia from North Carolina. Her mother was related to the Branch family of North Carolina, John Branch being secretary of the navy in Jackson’s cabinet and one of that family subsequently became governor of Florida.
Mr. Colquitt came to Texas with his father and mother, arriving at Daingerfield in Morris county on January 8, 1878, being at that time sixteen years of age. and during the first three years of his residence in this state he worked on a rented farm in Morris county. During the first year he went to school after the crops were harvested, walking two miles from the country into town for that purpose. and he subsequently attended the old Daingerfield College and received instructions from the Rev. E.M. Sweet, who was later connected with the Southwestern University at Georgetown, Texas. During this session of school Mr. Colquitt paid his board by making fires, chopping wood and caring for the stock. After leaving school he sought employment in the railroad service, applying to the management of the old East Line and Red River Railroad Company for the position of brakeman or fireman. But he was unsuccessful in securing such employment, although he subsequently did obtain the position of porter at the Daingerfield station, holding that place for two months and later engaging in other and more profitable work at a turning lathe in a furniture factory at Daingerfield, receiving a dollar and a quarter a day. He resigned that position to accept a place in the printing office of the Morris County Banner on a contract for six months at twelve dollars and a half a month.. This was in the year of 1880.
In December of 1885, at Pittsburg, Texas, Mr. Colquitt married Miss Alice Murrell, who was born and reared at Minden, Louisiana. They have five children, four sons and a daughter.