An Oklahoma Legend Laid to Rest
May 14, 2003
I chose the topic for this week's Almanac because I thought that the story
of Mr. Gore needed to be told again. He was and is an important figure in American politics and his memory
needs to go on. Sadly, I found out that my sources for this story were not the best and this story does
contain some factual mistakes.
If you are interested in Mr. Gore please consult the standard Oklahoma
An Oklahoma legend laid to rest this week on the Oklahoma Audio Almanac.
Hello, Iím Steven Knoche Kite.
Thomas Pryor Gore truly led a life of adventure and accomplishment. Born in 1870 in Mississippi the
son of a farmer and part time lawyer, Thomas Gore was the unfortunate victim of two separate accidents
occurring at ages eight and eleven left Gore completely blind. Lack of sight did little to slow the progress
of Gore as family members and class mates read aloud to him allowing the completion of his public education.
At the age of twenty Gore received a teaching certification and taught public school for one year before
entering the Tennessee School of Law. Attracted to the Populist Party, as was his father, Gore served
as one of the most effective stump speakers for the Peopleís Party throughout their time of existence.
After the 1895 failure of the Populist in Mississippi, Gore moved to Corsicana, Texas married the daughter
of a cotton farmer and set up his own law practice. In 1900 Gore and his wife moved to Oklahoma Territory
in search of new opportunities. It was while in Oklahoma that Gore achieved his greatest levels of fame
and political success. Switching allegiances over to the Democratic Party, the party of choice for most
Oklahomanís then, Gore reopened his law office in Lawton. Just one year after moving to the area, Goreís
political ability allowed for his election into the Oklahoma Territorial Council and with statehood in
1907 Gore was elected to the United Stateís Senate becoming the first blind senator in US history.
During his first terms as senator, Gore staying true to his populist roots argued persuasively for
the farmers and working class constituents as well as for Native American rights. Gore, in 1921, is credited
with saving over thirty million dollars in royalties for native Americans which would have otherwise gone
to Euro-American oil concerns.
Following his term in the Senate Gore practiced law in Washington DC for thirteen years, traveled the
country speaking on behalf of Native American groups and figured heavily in the policies of the Democratic
Party. It was in this week of May in 1949 that Thomas P. Gore passed away at the age of 79. His body was
returned to Oklahoma buried in Oklahoma City. Not only did Thomas Gore achieve national fame his immediate
family did as well; he is the grandfather of Gore Vidal, the grandfather of Senator Albert Gore of Tennessee
and the great grandfather of one time vice president Al Gore.
A good man says "goodbye" this week on the Almanac.
I'm Steven Knoche Kite.
The Oklahoma Audio Almanac is a joint production of the Oklahoma State University
Library and Oklahoma's Public Radio.