Jerry  Sadler

Portrait of Jerry  Sadler Headstone Photograph

Served His Country and State in:
12th U. S. Cavalry 1927 - 1929, Fort Brown, Tex.
Railroad Commissioner of Texas 1939 - Resigned in 1942
To Enter U. S. Army in World War II
Served 27 Months in Persian Gulf Command
Honorably Discharged in 1945 with Rank of Lt. Colonel
Member House of Representatives - Anderson Co. Tex. 1955 - 1961
Commissioner, General Land Office of Texas 1961 - 1971


Sept. 8, 1907
Feb. 25, 1982

Laura Jones
Aug. 24, 1920
Full Name: Jerry  Sadler
Location: Section:Republic Hill, Section 2 (C2)
Row:T  Number:9
Reason for Eligibility: Member, Railroad Commission of Texas; Member, Texas House of Representatives; Commissioner of the General Land Office 
Birth Date: September 8, 1907 
Died: February 25, 1982 
Burial Date: February 27, 1982 

SADLER, JERRY (1907 ~ 1982). The following is a biography of Jerry Sadler, former member of the Texas House of Representatives and Commissioner of the General Land Office. The biography was taken from the General Land Office's "History of the Land Commissioners."

Gerald Anthony Sadler was born in Kirbyville, Texas on September 8, 1907. At the age of 30, he became the youngest Railroad Commissioner in the history of that agency. He felt that big business and oil companies were taking advantage of the common man in Texas. With oil as the lifeblood for Texas during the depression, Sadler felt that the wealth should belong to the people of Texas, rather than “the fat cats of Wall Street.” Fifteen months into his term, he made a run for the Governor’s Office against Governor O’Daniel.

He stayed at the Railroad Commission until 1942. Despite being exempt from entering the armed forces, he resigned from the Railroad Commission in order to enlist in the Army as a private, despite being eligible to be commissioned an officer. He served during World War II in Iran as a supervising officer for supply lines to the Soviet Union. After the war, Sadler was commissioned as a Lieutenant Colonel.

In 1946, he ran for Governor once again, placing fourth in a crowded field. He then moved his attention to the House of Representatives. Sadler is best remembered, however, for his decade at the Land Office. He won the 1960 election, and assumed the role of Land Commissioner on January 3, 1961. There was no celebration on his first day; rather, he felt that his first day was just another day for the agency and no special commemoration was necessary. Among GLO employees, he is probably best remembered for requiring lower hemlines and higher sideburns, and outlawing coffee breaks away from the desk. He felt that the personal appearance of the younger workforce was “a sign of moral decay” and the coffee breaks were costing taxpayers a fortune.

He marketed the GLO as being “the biggest real estate agency in the world,” controlling over 22 million acres of land and mineral resources. He more than doubled the size of the Permanent School Fund, raising an additional $517 million, and increased the royalties on mineral lands from one-eighth to one-sixth. Over the first thirty years of the existence of the VLB, Sadler was responsible for over 35% of all land loans made by veterans.

Just like his predecessor, however, he was focused on issues relating to the Texas Coast and submerged lands. Early on in his administration the Coastal Division was created. In 1963, he became the first commissioner to employ aerial photography to aid employees in surveying the Texas Coast. The biggest controversy of Sadler’s administration dealt with his handling of a 400-year-old Spanish treasure from a 1554 shipwreck off the Padre Island seashore. Sadler’s handling of this treasure earned him the nickname “Jerry the Pirate” from some State Legislators, because of his actions; including punching a reporter and attacking a senator who were questioning his authority in the matter. Sadler claimed “These sunken ships and their cargo” for the Permanent School Fund because they were found within the newly established 10.36 mile-boundary off the Texas Coast.

He lost the race for land commissioner in 1971 and retired to his five-acre ranch near Slocum. He ran for Railroad Commissioner in 1976 and 1978, losing both elections. Then in 1981, he ran for Land Commissioner again. Sadler passed away of natural causes before the election could take place.



Gerald Anthony "Jerry" Sadler served as a member of the Railroad Commission of Texas from January 1, 1939 to January 1, 1943, as a member of the Texas House of Representatives from January 11, 1955 to December 31, 1960, and as Commissioner of the General Land Office from January 1, 1961 to January 1, 1971.

Entered by Administrator on 4/14/2005

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