Born in Tennessee on Jan. 6, 1882, Samuel Taliaferro Rayburn came to north Texas with his parents in 1887. His political career began in 1906 with his election to the Texas House of Representatives, where he was speaker of the 1911-13 session.
Rayburn was elected to the U.S. Congress from the 4th District in 1912, the first of his 25 consecutive terms there. Rising quickly to a leadership position, he was chairman of the Democratic party caucus in 1921. As head of the House Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee (1931037), and then majority Leader (1937-40), Rayburn sponsored much of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal legislation.
On Sept. 16, 1940, Rayburn was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives. Except for the 80th (1949-49) and 83rd (1953-55) Congresses, when he was Minority Leader, Rayburn held the speakership until 1961, longer than anyone in the nation's history. A party leader as well, he was chairman of the Democratic National Conventions of 1948, 1952, and 1956.
Rayburn died on Nov. 16, 1961, and Presidents Harry S. Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy, along with Lyndon B. Johnson, were among national figures at his funeral. He is buried in Willow Wild Cemetery.
Location: Sam Rayburn House Museum, 1.5 miles west of Bonham on US 82.