JUDGE NEWTON F. LOCKE, prominent merchant of Miami county and county judge of Roberts county, holds a premier position among the pioneer citizens of the great Texas Panhandle. For over a quarter of a century he has been closely identified with the life and affairs of this section of the state, and his influence and prosperity have increased with the years. The industrial and commercial phases of the region have not alone felt the impetus of his energy and enterprise, for he has almost from the first taken an active part in public affairs and has often been the incumbent of some important office.
Judge Locke has always lived in the sunny south, and though a man just in the prime of his years he has had a varied and earnestly active and useful career. He was born near Selma, in Dallas county, Alabama, January 13, 1853, being a son of William F. and Elizabeth (Brazeal) Locke. His parents were both natives of Alabama, and his father lost his life while serving the cause of the south in the armies of the Confederacy.
Reared on a farm, Judge Locke spent the first twenty-one years of his life in his native state, and in 1874 came to Texas where for over thirty years he has centered his activities. His first location was in Dallas, where for a year he was employed in the mercantile firm of Leonard Brothers. He then moved to Jacksboro in Jack county and was in a store there for about a year. It will be remembered that the seventies were still a period of Indian trouble and depredation for the Texas frontier, along which at that time Jack and Young counties still lay, and these especially suffered from the ravages of the redskins. Accordingly the Texas Rangers, that famous body of state troops of whom Texas history will never cease to speak, where kept pretty busy, and Mr. Locke joined the organization under Lieutenant Hamilton. General John B. Jones being in command of the battalion. For two years he was in the exciting and arduous service of the Rangers in the frontier counties from the Red river southward.
In the spring of 1879 Mr. Locke came out to Wheeler county, which was the first county to be organized in the Panhandle, and the organization was effected that very year. He located at Mobeetie, the county seat. At that time all the counties north of the Red river in the Panhandle were attached to Wheeler for judicial purposes, and in the year of Mr. Locke’s coming the nearest justice of the peace was at Henrietta in Clay county. In 1884, when the second regular election after the organization of Wheeler county occurred, Mr. Locke was elected clerk of the county and district courts, and received three successive re-elections, so that he held the office for eight years. He remained a resident of Wheeler county until 1894, and early in that year came to Miami in Roberts county. After engaging in the mercantile business for a while he sold out, and was then on his ranch three years. In 1901 be bought back into the mercantile business, and has since been numbered among the enterprising merchants of the town of Miami. His well known firm is the N. F. Locke and Son, his son, Newton, being the associate in the business. In Roberts county also Mr. Locke has been publicly active, having served one term as county treasurer, and in 1902 was elected to the office of county judge for a term of two years. He was re-elected in 1904.
A man of the highest character and standing, with a most creditable record in every enterprise he has undertaken since be became a resident of this section of the state, Mr. Locke is greatly esteemed by all who know him and has wielded his influence in the right direction for public progress and prosperity. Fraternally he is a Mason and Odd Fellow. In 1881 he was married in Young county to Miss Dora Barton, and they are the parents of four fine sons, named respectively, Claude, who is a merchant at Allanreed, this state, Newton, William and Clarence.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas, Vol. I (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), pp. 298-299.