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James Mann Hurt (1830-1903)

Presiding Judge, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, 1892-1898
Judge, Texas Court of Appeals, 1880-1892

James Mann Hurt was born December 15, 1830, in Carroll County, Tennessee. He attended Bethel College at McLemoresville, Tennessee, and read law under Milton Brown before earning his law degree from Cumberland University at Lebanon, Tennessee in 1857. He moved to Osceola, Missouri, established a law practice, and was married in 1858. He and his wife went on to have three children.

Hurt and his wife relocated in 1858 to Grayson County, Texas, north of Dallas, where Hurt established a successful law practice. When the Civil War broke out he raised an infantry company and was elected its captain. Following the war, he returned to practicing law and became active in politics.

Hurt was a delegate to the Texas Constitutional Convention of 1866. Gov. James Throckmorton appointed him a district attorney, but he was forced to resign in 1867 for refusing to take the "ironclad oath" stipulating he had never borne arms against the United States or supported the Confederacy. Gov. Edmund Davis reappointed him to the position in 1870, but he was removed the following year during the turmoil of Reconstruction politics. Hurt returned to practicing law, specializing in criminal cases, and moved to Dallas in 1876.

In 1880 Gov. Oran Roberts appointed Hurt to the Texas Court of Appeals. He was subsequently elected to the position and served until 1898. Hurt was chosen the court's presiding judge when it became the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in 1892, and served in that position until retiring from the bench in 1898.

James M. Hurt died at his country home near Dallas on April 3, 1903, and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery.

*The Texas Court of Appeals became the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on April 13, 1892, through an amendment to Judiciary Article V of the State Constitution, adopted September 22, 1891.

Sources

Cecil Harper, Jr. Hurt, James Mann, Handbook of Texas Online (last updated June 6, 2001).
http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/HH/fhu44.html

Judicial History of Court of Appeals and Court of Criminal Appeals, 166 The Texas Criminal Reports xvii-xxvii (1958).