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Samuel Taliaferro "Sam" Rayburn Passes Away

Today in Masonic History Samuel Taliaferro "Sam" Rayburn passes away in 1961.

Samuel Taliaferro "Sam" Rayburn was an American politician.

Rayburn was born on January 6th, 1882 in Roane County, Tennessee. He was born 25 days before Franklin D. Roosevelt. Rayburn graduated from East Texas Normal College (now Texas A&M University - Commerce) in Commerce, Texas.

In 1907, Rayburn was elected to the Texas House of Representatives. After being elected he attended the University of Texas School of Law. He was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1908. In the Texas House of representatives, during his third term Rayburn was elected as the Speaker of the House at the age of 29.

The following year, Rayburn was elected to the United States House of Representatives. He would serve a total of 49 years in the United States House of Representatives. In 1940, he would be elected the Speaker of the House. He would serve as Speaker of the House for the next 21 years except from 1947 to 1949 and 1953 to 1955. During those gap years the House of Representatives was controlled by the republicans.

Rayburn was friends with Roosevelt and served as Speaker of the House during the last five years of Roosevelt's time as President. Rayburn started what was nicknamed the "board of education." It was a social meeting for members of Congress. The individuals who were invited would get together play cards, drink and discuss the politics of the day. It was considered to be a great honor to be invited to one of the "board" meetings. Rayburn himself was the only one allowed to invite to the meeting. Harry Truman, who had gone to the "board" meetings while he was in Congress was in attendance at another "board" meeting the night he got the call that Roosevelt had passed away and Truman had become the President.

Rayburn also served as a mentor to Lyndon B. Johnson. Rayburn had served with Johnson's father in the Texas legislature. Rayburn also tried to give advice to Roosevelt's sons as well.

Rayburn is credited with the phrase "A jackass can kick a barn down, but it takes a carpenter to build one."

During his time in public office he was known for his integrity. A story that best sums up who he was occurred when he was in the Texas Legislature. The law firm that he had begun practicing in represented a railroad. When a check had come in for work the firm had done for the railroad, Rayburn was entitled to one third of the money as one of the partners in the firm. He refused the money stating that it would not be proper for him to take money from a firm that he may have to vote on legislation about in the future. This kind of behavior in the legislature was unheard of at the time in American politics. When he was in the United States House of Representatives an oil man had an expensive horse sent to Rayburn's ranch which Rayburn promptly returned.

Rayburn also did not believe in spending taxpayer money, even for government business. When he needed to go to Panama to inspect the Panama Canal, he paid for the trip himself refusing to have the government pay for it.

Rayburn passed away on November 16th, 1961 from cancer.

Rayburn was a member of Constantine Lodge No.13, Bonham, Texas.