Judge Coleman G. Witherspoon biography

JUDGE COLEMAN G. WITHERSPOON, prominent lawyer and member of the firm of Witherspoon and Gough at Hereford, a firm which has done more for the development and up building of this city and the surrounding country than any other one agency, has spent the past fifteen years of his career in this extreme part of the Panhandle and has been a foremost figure in the political, legal and business circles throughout the entire period in which Deaf Smith county has been an organized entity of Texas. Recognized now as one of the most capable lawyers in the Panhandle country, he has worked hard and earnestly to deserve this reputation, and has always been progressive, an indefatigable student, conscientiously devoted to his profession, and a man of the highest integrity in all the relations of life.

A native of Ellis county, Texas, where he was born December 24, 1856, he was the son of William A. and Anna E. (Garvin) Witherspoon. His father, a native of Newton county, Missouri, came to this state with his parents when he was nine years old, the family residence being established where Midlothian now stands, in Ellis county. William Witherspoon lived there until 1890, when he came out to Deaf Smith county and settled in the center of the county at La Plata, where during the remaining years of his life he developed one of the finest ranches of northwestern Texas. He set out and cultivated to a flourishing condition a nice orchard and a splendid grove of walnut trees, innovations which were a revelation of the possibilities of the plains country and added no little weight to the arguments which have since made this country highly favored by prospective settlers. The father has passed away since he located in the Panhandle, and the valuable Witherspoon ranch in La Plata is now under the management of one of his sons, Hugh Witherspoon. Judge Witherspoon’s mother died in Ellis county during the progress of the Civil war.

Reared on the farm in Ellis county, where he spent the first twenty-two years of his life, he was educated partly there and party away from home surroundings. In Johnson county he taught school for ten years, and in the meantime applied himself to the study of law. He has always been ambitious in his legal pursuits, and long after he has been admitted to the bar and was well established in practice he went down to the State University at Austin and took the course in the law department, from which he was graduated in 1898. Previous to this, in 1889, he had come out to the Panhandle country, and has ever since been a resident of Deaf Smith county, and it was from here that he went to the university. Before locating in Deaf Smith he had been admitted to the bar, and was therefore well prepared to the practice law as soon as he arrived in the Panhandle. Upon the organization of Deaf Smith as a county he was elected the first county and district clerk, and he served as such for three terms. He served, by election, as county attorney for one term, and was county judge one term. For two years he taught school at La Plata.

When the Pocos Valley Railroad was built through the southeast corner of Deaf Smith county and the town of Hereford was started, Judge Witherspoon at once moved form La Plata to the latter place, where, however, there was as yet only a site and no houses. He opened his office in a tent, and for a time represented a large land company which had extensive interests a large land company which had extensive interests in the vicinity. In May, 1899, he became the law partner of Judge L. Gough, whose personal history appears elsewhere in this work, and firm name has since become Witherspoon and Gough. It is the leading law firm of this portion of the state, and it has been interested, either actively or by lending its influence, in every enterprise which has tended to promote the growth and welfare of Deaf Smith county and this part of the state. Judge Witherspoon has personally been very active in the affairs of Hereford. He is the owner of a fine ranch of five thousand acres in the county. He affiliates with the Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias, and he and his wife are Presbyterians.

Judge Witherspoon was married in Johnson county of this state to Miss Fannie A. Jackson, and they have two children, William Claude and Bertha.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 290-291.