Who was John Ireland?
A little history behind the name
John Ireland was the 18th governor of Texas. He was a New Year baby, born on January 1, 1827 in Kentucky to Irish immigrants. At age 18, he became Hart County's deputy sheriff, encouraging him to study law.
In 1852, he moved to Seguin, Texas and began his career as a lawyer. In 1857, he married Anna Maria Penn. They had three children.
In 1858, John Ireland was elected mayor of Seguin. Through the Civil War, Ireland served as a border patrol in south Texas and along the Gulf Coast. After the Civil War, Ireland reentered politics in 1872, and was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, and chaired the executive committee of the Democratic party. In 1875, he served as an associate justice on the Texas Supreme Court, but lost his position in 1876 when the new state constitution reduced the number of associate justices, remaining a member of the Texas House of Representatives. During his time as legislator, Ireland backed the bill to begin building the University of Texas at Austin. He also selected local pink granite as the construction material for the Texas State Capital.
In 1882, John Ireland won the governor race against a strong opposition from the Independent candidate George W. Jones. As governor, Ireland accomplished many things, including reversing the Oran Roberts' policy of rapid sale of public lands, arguing instead for a minimum price and sale to the highest bidder. The proceeds from these sales went into permanent funds for public schools, the state university, and state institutions. The state constitution was amended to provide school districts with taxing power, and a state superintendent of education. John Ireland served two terms as governor of Texas.
After leaving his position as governor, he returned to Seguin to continue practicing law. He moved to San Antonio, where he later died in 1896.
Here he is pictured in front of the temporary capital, while our current State Capital was being erected. Sitting in the front from left to right: comptroller John D. McCall, House Speaker L.L. Foster, Governor Ireland, Supreme Court clerk Charles S. Morse, and Senate doorkeeper A.J. Dorn.