JUDGE TRUMAN H. CONNER, chief justice of the court of civil appeals for the second supreme judicial district of Texas, located at Fort Worth, is a jurist of broad and long experience at the bar and on the bench. He is a true Texan product, not by birth but by rearing since infancy and by identification with the life of the state during all his active career. Self-achievement and success by hard and constant effort are the honorable attributes of his history. With early ambitions looking to a broad legal career, his early life was spent on a farm, and in its work, and by diligence early and late, his educational attainments were made the very best. Since taking his place in his chosen profession he has advanced steadily to a reputation as a foremost lawyer as counsel and before the jury, and as a judge with breath and impartiality of judgment and competence in all departments of jurisprudence.
He was born at Peru, [Miami County] Indiana, but while in infancy was brought by his parents to Texas. His parents were both southerners by birth, spirit and education, his father, Samuel S. Conner, being an immediate descendant of the Conners of Culpeper county, Virginia, and his mother, Margaretta (Holman) Conner, being a Kentuckian by blood. The paternal ancestry is of cavalier stock. Great-grandfather Conner founded the family in Virginia, where he had a land grant from the crown. On the maternal side is numbered the late Congressman W. S. Holman, the “watchdog of the treasury.” Judge Conner’s mother was daughter of a man prominent in this day in the affairs of Indiana, being among other things United States land commissioner under President Jackson. The Judge’s Democracy springs from pure and unpolluted sources, there being several generations of Democrats on both sides, and he himself takes pride in being known for his uncompromising allegiance to the party and political principles of the great Jefferson and Jackson.
His parents engaged in farming after their arrival in Texas, and lived in different places, seeking the best possible location. His father continued agricultural pursuits till his death. He was a well known man, and when he passed away was one of the oldest Masons in the state. Truman H. spent most of his life as a farm boy and student in Ellis county, and was reared to hard work on a farm in a new country, where a great deal of experimenting had to be done before certain crops could be raised, and there was work to be done from morning till night. He had an ambition to become a well educated man and a lawyer, and it was by saving money earned through farm work that he was enable to go through college. He received his literary and classical education in the common schools and at Marvin College, in Ellis county. His legal education was obtained both in college and from private preceptors, among the latter being Judge Rainey and Judge Ferris. He completed his legal training in the law department of Trinity University. After graduation he had the benefit of practicing, at different times, with Senator Devenport and Judge Calhoun, and his entire period of preparation for the profession was spent under the inspiration of the brightest legal minds of Texas.
When it came time for him to seek a permanent location he disregarded several excellent openings at Dallas and other places and decided to go further west, where he might be identified form the first with the institution and early growth of a community. He accordingly located in Eastland, Eastland county, and it was there, during his years of successful practice, that he made his reputation for first-class legal ability, and because of his hard and constant work and devotion and through love of his profession built up a large and profitable practice. In July, 1887, Governor Ross appointed him district judge for the forty-second judicial district. He served in that position until the election of 1898, when he was chosen chief justice of the court of civil appeals for the second supreme judicial district, which comprises a part of Northern Texas, nearly all of Western Texas and all of the Panhandle country, the sessions of the court being held at Fort Worth. Judge Conner has labored hard to excel in his life work, and has succeeded to his own gratification and the pleasure of his friends. Besides being a judge and lawyer of fine training and native ability, he also has a great hold on the affections of the people, which is another source of his power and influence. All ages and classes throughout the limits of his sphere of influence and acquaintance are drawn to him by his inborn courtesy and noble qualities of heart and mind, and in many ways pay him the honor which he has so well merited. In affairs of citizenship his influence is always felt for the best welfare of the sovereign community and people. He is a consistent member of the First Methodist Episcopal church, South, in Fort Worth.
Judge Conner was married in Eastland county to Miss Sallie Jones, who was born in Cooke county, the daughter of a Confederate soldier and a descendant of General Francis Marion, the famous Revolutionary leader from South Carolina. Judge and Mrs. Conner have seven children: Maggie, Annie, George, Miss Frances Marion, Truman H., Rube and Elsie.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biography of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 344-345.