Claude M. Isbell was born June 28, 1884 in Rockwall County, Texas and died on July 22, 1962 at Austin, Texas at 78 years of age. Claude was the son of Joseph Marion Carmichael and Margaret McCulloch Isbell. He was raised by his grandmother, Mary Emma Isbell, as his mother died when he was quite young. He received his early education in the Rockwall schools and later received his law degree from Lebanon University, Lebanon, Tennessee.
In the late 1920s and early 1930s he served 6 years as Rockwall County Judge. In 1935 he began serving 6 years in the Texas State and was Rockwall County’s first State Senator. While in the Senate, he headed a committee which investigated the Texas old-age pension program and recommended increased coverage for the aged.
Senator Isbell resigned his Senate seat to accept appointment as Assistant Securities Commissioner in the Secretary of State’s Department. He later served as Assistant Secretary of State. In early 1944, Governor Coke R. Stevenson appointed him Secretary of State for the State of Texas, an office he held until 1947. After serving as Secretary of State, Senator Isbell became Secretary of the Texas Senate, a post he held until being selected as Executive Secretary of the Board of Regents for Texas’ State Teachers Colleges. He served in this capacity from 1948 through 1958.
In 1920 he married Anne Zollner, the daughter of Matthew Zollner and Barbara Zuspann. They lived together until his death in 1962. She lived until 1977, when she passed away at the age of 80.
Claude Isbell was the first in many aspects of Rockwall County politics. He was the first of our four state senators and he was the first and only Secretary of State from Rockwall County.