Saturday, October 8, 2011

Choice Boswell Randell (1857-1945), Choice Wall Moore (1910-1990)

    A six-term Congressman from Texas in the early 20th century, Choice Boswell Randell (that's Randell with an "e") wasn't born a native Texan; his birth instead occurring in Murray County, Georgia on New Years Day, 1857. The son of James and Louisa Amantha (Gartrell) Randell, Randell attended both public and private schools in Georgia and would go on to attend the North Georgia Agricultural School for a short period. He would leave that school to begin the study of law in the late 1870s and in 1878 was admitted to the Georgia bar.
   After passing the Georgia bar exam, Randell removed to Denison, Texas, where he established his law practice. In October 1879 he married to Anna Marschalk (1859-1913), with whom had two sons, Andrew (born ca. 1881) and Choice Marschalk (died in infancy in 1883). Following his removal to Texas it didn't take long for Randell to make his name known, and by 1881 he was serving as City Attorney of Denison. After a year in that post, he won election as Grayson County Attorney, an office that he would fill until 1888. After serving six years as county attorney, Randell resumed his law practice.
   In November 1900 Randell was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas' 5th district, defeating Republican nominee J.W. Thomas by a substantial margin, 28,074 votes to 1,790. During his years in the House Randell was a prime mover behind numerous pieces of legislation that aided in the construction of building projects throughout his district. He was also prominent in the passage of the Randell Anti Graft Resolutions, a piece of legislation that prevented congressmen from accepting money and goods from corporations/businesses that wished to have legislation passed in their favor. The Bismarck Daily Tribune profiled Randell's work in their April 8, 1912 edition, and also featured the portrait of him shown below.

                               From the Bismarck Daily Tribune, April 8, 1912.                              

    Following the redistricting of Texas' congressional districts, Randell was reelected to Congress in 1902, and for the remainder of his time in Congress represented the 4th district. He would be reelected to four further terms in 1904, 1906, 1908 and 1910 and sat on the house Ways and Means committee from 1906-12
   The area of Texas that Randell had represented since 1903 underwent redistricting in 1912, and instead of mounting a reelection bid for his seat opted to run for the U.S. Senate seat that had been vacated by Joseph W. Bailey. Also vying for the seat was John Morris Sheppard (1875-1941), who had served alongside Randell in Congress since 1902. In January 1913 the Texas legislature elected Sheppard to the senate seat, where he would serve until his death twenty eight years later. 
   Choice B. Randell's term in Congress concluded in March 1913 and he was succeeded by Sam Rayburn (the future Speaker of the House), who had won election the previous November. Having retired from government service, Randell subsequently returned to his earlier career as an attorney, with his law office being located in Sherman, Texas. Widowed in 1913, Randell lived out the remainder of his life in Sherman, dying at age 88 on October 19, 1945. He was later interred at the West Hills Cemetery in that city.

Portrait from "Representing Texas", 2007.

Portrait from the Honey Grove Signal Citizen, July 10, 1942.

   Two-term Texas state representative Choice Wall Moore is another "Choice" who made his name known in Lonestar State politics. Born on March 5, 1911 in Fannin County, Texas, Choice W. Moore was a son of Jasper Oscar and Nodie Moore
   First elected to the Texas State House of Representatives in 1940, Moore served during the 1941-43 session and was vice chairman of the committee on State Eleemosynary and Reformatory Institutions. Also during this term, Moore worked closely with fellow Fannin County representative John W. Connolly to introduce a bill to "pay the school teachers fund, the blind, dependent children and the old age people." Moore would serve on the committees on State Affairs Military Affairs, Penitentiaries, Privileges, Suffrage and Elections and Rural Aid.
   Reelected to the house in November 1942, Moore would waive his "constitutional legislative military exemption" and signed on for service in the U.S. Army during World War II. He is recorded as having requested a short furlough from duty to serve in the legislature's January 1943 session and on May 27, 1944, resigned his seat.
   Little is known of the remainder of Moore's life following his military service. In the late 1940s, he served as the manager of the Bonham, Texas Chamber of Commerce, resigning that post in March 1948. He married in 1950 to Ruby Thomas (1920-2013), to whom he was wed until his death on July 28, 1990 at age 80. Both Moore and his wife were interred at the Willow Wild Cemetery in Bonham, Texas

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