Baylor University Poage Library

About Thomas A. Pickett

Thomas A. Pickett was born on August 14, 1906, in Travis, Texas. He lived briefly in Iola and then moved to Palestine with his family in 1913. He attended public schools there and graduated from Palestine High School in 1923. He then attended Conway's Business College and worked for one year in his father's law office. He attended the University of Texas from 1924 to 1928. While in his first year at the university, he was elected freshman class president.

He was admitted to the state bar and began practice in Palestine in 1929. Pickett served as Anderson County Attorney from 1931 until 1935. He married Louise Watson in 1938 and they had two daughters: Helen Louise and Alice Melinda. Louise was Pickett's second wife; little is known about his prior marriage. He was a Baptist until the late 1950s when he became an Episcopalian.

Served as district attorney, 3rd Judicial District, from 1935 to 1945. Pickett unseated incumbent Nat Patton for U.S. representative, 7th District, in the 1944 Democratic primary election and defeated Republican J. Perrin Willis in the general election. He succeeded Patton on January 3, 1945. Pickett was reelected in 1946, 1948, and 1950 by running unopposed. He also served on the House Public Works, Veterans Affairs, and Administration committees.

Pickett resigned from office on June 30, 1952, did not run for reelection, and was succeeded by John Dowdy in September 1952. After that, Pikett served as vice-president of the National Coal Association from 1952 until 1961 and the Association of American Railroads from 1961 to 1968. Pickett later moved to Florida in 1968.

Pickett died on June 7, 1980, in Leesburg, Florida, and was cremated, and his ashes were buried at St. James Episcopal Church in Leesburg.

A political career is full of hazards. There is no stability in such a career since there is a no assurance of continuance in office.

                                                                                                                      -Tom Pickett