- Richard B. Hubbard
Richard Bennett Hubbard, Jr. (
November 1, 1832– July 12, 1901) was the 16th Governor of Texasfrom 1876 to 1879 and United States Envoyto Japanfrom 1885 to 1889. He was a Confederate veteran of the American Civil Warand was a member of the Democratic Party.
Hubbard was the son of Richard Bennett and Serena (Carter) Hubbard. He was born in
Walton County, Georgia, but spent his formative years in Jasper County, Georgia. In 1851, Hubbard graduated from Mercer Institute with an A.B. degree in literature. He was elected National University Orator, a high honor at Mercer. Hubbard then briefly attended lectures at the University of Virginia. In 1853, Hubbard graduated from Harvard Universitywith an LL.B. degree. After graduating from Harvard, Hubbard and his parents moved to Smith County, Texas. They settled in Tyler, Texasand then on a plantation near Lindale, Texas.
Hubbard first entered politics in 1855 as an opponent of the American
Know-NothingParty. In the 1856 presidential election, Hubbard supported James Buchanan, who appointed him United States Attorneyfor the western district of Texas. Hubbard resigned in 1859 to run for the Texas legislature. He was elected and became a supporter of Southern secession.
After secession, Hubbard ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the
Congress of the Confederate States. During the American Civil Warhe commanded the Twenty-Second Texas Infantry Regiment and served in the Trans-Mississippi Department in Arkansas and Louisiana.
Hubbard's postwar law practice, supplemented by income from real estate and railroad promotion, enabled him to resume his political career by 1872, when he was chosen presidential elector on the
Horace Greeleyticket. Hubbard was subsequently elected Lieutenant Governor of Texas in 1873 and 1876 and succeeded to the governorship on December 1, 1876when Richard Cokeresigned to become a United States Senator.
Hubbard's gubernatorial term was marked by
post-Reconstructionfinancial difficulties, by general lawlessness, and by the fact that the legislature was never in session during his administration. Though political opponents prevented his nomination for a second term, he remained popular with the people of Texas. His accomplishments as governor include reducing the public debt, fighting land fraud, promoting educational reforms, and restoring public control of the state prison system.
In 1884, Hubbard served as temporary chairman of the Democratic national nominating convention. He supported the party nominee,
Grover Cleveland, and was appointed Ambassador to Japan in 1885 after Cleveland won the presidency. Hubbard's four years in Japan marked a delicate transitional period in Japanese-American relations. Under American and European influences, Japan was emerging from feudalism and dependency and had begun to insist on recognition as a diplomatic equal, a position Hubbard strongly supported. He concluded with Japan an extradition treaty, and his preliminary work on the general treaty revisions provided the basis for the revised treaties of 1894-99. When he returned to the United States in 1889, he wrote a book based upon his diplomatic experience, "The United States in the Far East", which was published in 1899.
Hubbard was a
Baptist, a Freemason, and a member of the board of directors of Texas A&M University. In 1876 he was chosen Centennial Orator of Texas to represent the state at the World's Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There he urged national unity and goodwill in an acclaimed oration.
Hubbard was first married to Eliza B. Hudson, daughter of Dr. G. C. Hudson of
Lafayette, Alabama, on November 30, 1858; one daughter of this marriage, Serena, survived. Hubbard's second marriage, on November 26, 1869, was to Janie Roberts, daughter of Willis Roberts of Tyler. Janie died during Hubbard's mission to Japan, leaving him a second daughter, Searcy. Hubbard lived his final years in Tyler, where he died on July 12, 1901. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Tyler.
* [http://texashistory.unt.edu/permalink/meta-pth-5827:264 Entry for Richard B. Hubbard] from the [http://texashistory.unt.edu/permalink/meta-pth-5827 "Biographical Encyclopedia of Texas"] published 1880, hosted by the [http://texashistory.unt.edu/ Portal to Texas History.]
* Sketch of [http://texashistory.unt.edu/permalink/meta-pth-5828:495 Richard B. Hubbard] from [http://texashistory.unt.edu/permalink/meta-pth-5828 "A pictorial history of Texas, from the earliest visits of European adventurers, to A.D. 1879"] , hosted by the [http://texashistory.unt.edu/ Portal to Texas History] .
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