Did You Know Texas’ Shortest Elected Official is Buried in Snyder?
Texas is a state with no shortage of larger-than-life characters, from folks heroes to historical figures to entertainment gurus to politicians. Perhaps one of the tallest tales in Texas politics is that of Texas State Treasurer Charley Lockhart, who wasn't very tall at all.
Born in Dallas County in 1876 to John and Lucretia Lockhart, he first ran for the office of Scurry County treasurer in 1900.
Snyder, the county seat, was a typical turn-of-the-century West Texas farming town, so it's no surprise that Charley Lockhart was re-elected as treasurer a total of eight times, and served as Scurry County treasurer until 1919. Lockhart then relocated to Austin, Texas, where he began working with the sergeant-at-arms of the Texas House of Representatives.
It's safe to say that his smaller stature of three feet and nine inches (45 inches) didn't affect his ability to serve his constituents. In fact, that was the entire platform of his 1930 campaign for Texas State Treasurer - Lockhart was known for his a sense of humor and a genuine interest in a life of service, telling the Houston Post:
"I don't want the votes that are given me through a feeling that life has not handed me a square deal. Life has been good to me. I have filled public office, earned the confidence and friendship of my fellows and educated my children. . . . I'm simply a little man with big ideas and sufficient experience and ability to carry my ideas out..."
Although there's no sound available, here's a brief newsreel video from 1931, right after Lockhart's election:
To his credit, Lockhart served the Lone Star State from 1930 until 1946, when he resigned due to ongoing health problems. He was replaced by Deputy Treasurer Jesse James (not the Old West outlaw), who went on to become the longest-serving State Treasurer in Texas.
After his death in 1954, Charley Lockhart was buried in Snyder Cemetery (North Avenue West, Snyder, Texas, 79549). He remains the shortest elected official in the state of Texas to this day.
Douglass, Neal. [Charley Lockhart at Desk], photograph, 1940; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth62201/: accessed February 23, 2022), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.