Miriam Amanda "Ma" Wallace Ferguson, better known as "Ma" Ferguson, was born in Bell County, Texas in 1875. She graduated from Salado College and Baylor Female College in Belton before marrying James E. Ferguson in 1899. The couple had two daughters. James became involved in politics and successfully ran for governor of Texas in 1915. Due to several discrepancies in his business dealings, however, the state launched a formal investigation against James, impeached him, and barred him from holding public office. The Fergusons continued to be involved in Texas politics and Miriam became the first female governor of Texas in 1924. Her platform opposed the Ku Klux Klan and prohibition, in addition to promising to reduce government spending. Her failure to reduce spending and generous pardons created controversy during her term. She did not seek reelection in 1926, did not run in 1928, lost in 1930, and won a second term as governor in 1932. Ferguson was an important force in the Texas political scene for most of her life, but after serving a second term as governor, she retired from the public eye until her death on June 25, 1961.
More information about Miriam Amanda "Ma" Wallace Ferguson can be found in the Governors James E. and Miriam "Ma" Ferguson collection at The Texas Collection.