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Judge W. C. Morrow


Oct. 6, 1942--Hillsboro Mirror

Judge W. C. Morrow

Funeral services will be held at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church at 2:30 Thursday afternoon, with interment in the cemetery by the side of his wife who died in 1920. Marshall and Marshall in charge of arrangements.

The life of Judge Morrow was distinguished in many ways, first by the fact that it was an illustration of the fact that in “America” man’s opportunities for success and advancement in any career which he chooses is limited only by his willingness to sacrifice, study and work, and second by a record of public service which in length of years can be matched by few people.

Born October 12, 1858 in Elizabethtown, Kentucky he came to Texas at the age of 17 years with his parents, W. W. and Gabrella Morrow, located in Fort Worth and secured employment as a clerk in a drug store, subsequently acquiring a half interest in the business. At the age of 19 he disposed of his Fort Worth interest and he and his family moved to Whitney where he and his father constructed the building in which they thereafter owned and operated a drug store. He continued there until he moved to Hillsboro in 1885. He was married in 1881 to Miss Fannie Etta Tarlton, sister of B. D. and G. D. Tarlton, studying law with his wife at night and at other times while he was in business. He studied law at the University of Virginia and following the completion of his education returned to Hillsboro to practice law, and practiced law here for 35 or 40 years.

He was elected county judge of Hill County in 1896 and following his tenure of office continued to practice here until 1916. He served as state senator from this district for four years. He was elected to the court of criminal appeals in 1916, and after the death of Judge W. L. Davidson in 1921 became presiding judge and continued to hold that position until his resignation because of failing health in 1939, a record of 23 years on the state’s highest criminal court, and 18 as its presiding judge. He continued to keep his home in Hillsboro, spending his vacations here when retiring from the court of appeals. At his last election he received the largest vote ever cast for a candidate for state office in Texas.

The following appraisement of Judge Morrow appeared in the law journal on his resignation:

“During his membership on the Court of Criminal Appeals that court has handed down many decisions important in the jurisprudence of Texas, and Judge Morrow has been the author of many large such opinions. He was responsible in large measure for the rule of that court on all motions for rehearing presented in it shall be considered primarily by another judge than the one who wrote the original opinion, and likewise for the right to present oral arguments on motions for rehearing. Both of these provisions in the procedure of the court are regarded by lawyers of Texas as being in the interest of justice and the proper administration of the law.”

At the time of Judge Morrow’s resignation from the Court of Criminal Appeals, William Thornton, Austin correspondent of the Dallas News, began his story of the resignation as follows: “Judge W. C. Morrow, the grand old man and veteran of Texas jurists, on Thursday submitted his resignation as presiding judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals, after nearly twenty years of service on that bench”.

The splendid record of Judge Morrow as a jurist was equalized by that of general good citizenship, and devotion to the interests of the nation, state and community, and he was generally beloved in Hillsboro where he had made his home for over fifty years, contributing to every feature of the community’s progress.

He is survived by three sons, Wm. C. of Hillsboro, Tarlton and Wright of Houston; and a daughter, Mrs. Roger Guthrie of Houston; together with seven grand children and one step granddaughter.

The sons have followed their father’s profession and gain eminence in it, while they and the daughter and grand children have exhibited the splendid citizenship of Judge Morrow and wife.


Submitted by HCGS