Judge Morris A. Spoonts biography

Judge Morris A. Spoonts, general attorney for the Fort Worth & Denver City Railroad and for other corporate interests in this part of Texas, has had his residence and practice in Fort Worth for the last fifteen years. He is one of the brilliant and prominent lawyers of the state, and during the latter years of his practice has become connected almost entirely with corporation business. This department of the profession requires the highest talents and training, and he prepared himself by special research and hard study after he had already gained a prominent position as counsel and advocate in the sphere of general practice. He was born, reared and has spent his active career in the Lone Star state, and during twenty-five years of continuous work in the courts and office has proved himself one of the leaders of public thought and affairs and is influential and progressive and enterprising in every department of life to which his efforts have been directed.

Judge Spoonts was born in Bell county, Texas, in 1857, being a son of Joseph and Mary (Vanderbilt) Spoonts. His grandfather was a native of Germany and a member of the a bar in that country, whence he came to America and located at Leesburg, Virginia. In the latter city the father of Judge Spoonts was born, in 1803, and in 1852 came to Texas and made settlement in Bell county, where he died in 1870. His business was milling, and he made a fair success throughout his career, and died an honored and respected citizen. His wife was born in New York City in 1812 and was a niece of the old Commodore Vanderbilt, and her father was a captain in the United States navy during the war of 1812.

Morris A. Spoonts received his early education in the public schools of Bell county, and at Belton took up the study of law under A. M. Montieth, being admitted to the bar at that place in 1878, when twenty years of age. Soon afterward he went out to the Texan frontier, to Buffalo Gap in Taylor county, and in 1881 located at Abilene, to which the county seat of that county had been removed. The Texas & Pacific Railroad was being built through Abilene about that time. While Judge Connor was incumbent of the office of district judge he was appointed by Governor Ross as judge to hear all cases in the district in which Judge Connor was disqualified. After eight years’ residence and practice in Abilene he came, in 1889, to Fort Worth, where his business interests have since been centered. His abilities made him especially valuable and much sought for corporation work, and he gradually came more and more into that branch of the profession. In 1890 he was appointed general attorney for the Fort Worth & Denver City Railroad, which position he has since held. He is also attorney for a number of other railroads centering at Fort Worth, and his practice is now confined exclusively to the legal affairs of these corporations.

In 1900 and 1901 Judge Spoonts was president of the State Bar Association of Texas, and he enjoys a state-wide reputation as a profound lawyer and brilliant advocate. He was president of the city council of Fort Worth for two or three years, and was acting mayor for one year during the absence of Mayor Paddock on account of illness. He was president of the Fort Worth Public Library during the time it built and completed the splendid new Carnegie library building in this city. In many other ways he has been prominently connected with the best social and intellectual phases of this city’s life.

He was married in 1879 to Miss Josephine Puett, and they have four children: Marshall, Adele, who is the wife of C. R. Wharton, of Houston; Nadine and Leslie.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 19-20.