b. 1871 – Coryell County, Texas
Neff attended McGregor High School in McLennan County and graduated from Baylor University. He taught school before earning a law degree from the University of Texas. He served in the Texas House from 1900 to 1905 and was county attorney from 1905 to 1912. Known as a relentless but brilliant prosecutor, he declined the position of assistant attorney general.
In the 1920 race for governor against Joseph Weldon Bailey Neff travelled 6,000 miles in his car to 37 counties never before visited by a gubernatorial candidate. A strong prohibitionist and supporter of woman suffrage, Neff won in a runoff. Neff’s secured funding for Texas Technological College and Texas State Teachers College, and reorganized The Highway Commission. Although he was criticized for not taking a strong stand against the Ku Klux Klan, Neff was re-elected in 1922, before becoming president of Baylor University.