Outstanding Members of the County Bar
To speak of, think of, the Bar of Quitman County is to bring to mind real men–capable, conscientious, and trustworthy–who, aside from performing their respective duties legally, have an important part in the civic, social, industrial, religious, and cultural life of our separate communities and the county at large.
Manford Esca Denton, one of the most outstanding members of the bar of Quitman County since its beginning, was also a leading figure both in the moral and material life of the community. Born in Calhoun County, January 16, 1872, the son of W.H. [William H. Denton 1840-1896] and Susie Lovelace Denton [1851-1929] his family moved to Lafayette County, where he attended the grammar schools there, and later, at the age of eighteen, he was a graduate from the Normal School at Iuka. Five years later, he received his law degree from the University of Mississippi, having taken this full course, as well as a greater part of the course in letters. In the meantime, he had been first assistant at the Tula Normal School and principal of Longtown Academy, in Panola County. He began his career in 1896 as a member of the firm of Stone, Lowery, and Denton. A close student, and of the highest moral character, and being ever attentive to any case entrusted to his care, he rose so rapidly in his profession that at thirty-six years of age, Governor Noel appointed him Chancellor of the Seventh District, in which capacity he gained the reputation of being a discriminating judge. He was re-appointed in 1912 by Governor Brewer, but resigned in 1914 to resume his practice and devote his time to his private affairs. Previously, he had served a term and a half as a member of the Legislature. Ever since the construction of the Yazoo-Delta line of the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad through Quitman County, there had been talk of moving the county seat from Belen to a point of better transportation, but it remained for Judge Denton to “suit the notion to the word.” He it was who organized the Marks Townsite Company, buying half of a section of land from the late L. Marks [Lepold Marks 1852-1910] at what then was Riverside; he it was who laid off the town of Marks and named it for its pioneer settler and millionaire planter, and led the movement to change the county seat from Belen to Marks. The first drainage meeting held in the Delta was called by Judge Denton, and was held in his office, resulting in a series of meetings, culminating in the organization of the Tallahatchie Drainage district. When the drainage laws of the state were settled according to the decision of the Supreme Court in the litigation growing out of the district, he organized the first drainage under the new laws. He assisted in organizing the Riverside Bank, and was its president from 1910 until he resigned in 1915. He died in 1935.1
Van Stone [Van Dorn Stone 1885-1967], of Lambert, who was born in Montgomery County 1885, attended Mississippi College and received his law degree from Cumberland University in 1913. He has a lucrative law practice in Lambert, and is the brother of the late Judge Deck Stone.2
Tom Shelton [Thomas Moses Shelton 1872-1949], born on May 26, 1872, in Copiah County, attended Kent’s College of Law, Chicago, and received a degree there in 1897, which was supplemented by another from the University of Mississippi in 1898. He began practice in Fayette, Mississippi, in 1899, and served as state senator from Jefferson and Claiborne counties. In 1908, he made the race for Congress but was defeated; again in 1910, he was defeated by only two hundred votes. Subsequently, he moved to Lambert and built up a lucrative practice there, but is inactive now on account of failing health.3
Eugene Thompson [1906-1936] attended Millsaps College two years; transferred to University of Mississippi in 1927, he received his B.A. degree there in 1930. Finishing law at Tulane in 1932, he took a position with the Federal Land Bank of New Orleans. He came to Marks on October 1, 1936, and became a member of the Boone & Thompson firm, but is now practicing alone with offices in the Judge Lowrey building.4
Partee L. Denton [Partee Lovelace Denton 1900-1976], born in Belen, Mississippi, on August 6, 1900, the son of Ira C. [Ira Claude Denton 1875-1915] and Birdie Bobo Partee [1875-1937], attended Castle Heights Military Academy, Lebanon, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee. Attaining a law degree in 1925 from the University of Mississippi, he began work in the bond department of the Union & Planters Bank in Memphis. However, in a few months he formed a law partnership with his uncle, Judge M.E. Denton, in Marks, which lasted until January, 1928, when he became County Attorney. He served in this capacity for four years, being defeated for the same post in the 1931 election. Upon the death of A.A. Pogue, Denton was appointed to fill the unexpired term, and has filled the place since. He is also attorney for the Board of Supervisors.5
Judge W.F. Gee [William F. Gee], former resident of Quitman [county], but now living in Clarksdale, was born on August 5, 1883. He began his career as a lawyer in Lambert in 1909; moving from there to Marks in 1911, he commanded a large and respectable clientele here until 1925,when he moved to Clarksdale. By appointment, he served as Chancellor of the Seventh District for a short term in 1919.6
Judge P.H. Lowrey [Perrin Holmes Lowrey 1860-1941], revered able lawyer and jurist, was born in March, 1860, in what is now Alcorn County, then Tishomingo, near Kossuth. He attended Mississippi College and studied law under Judge Hall and Judge Booth, and was admitted to the bar in Sardis in 1886. He was Circuit Judge of the Third District from 1900 to 1903, and upon the death of Judge Stone 1935, he became County Judge of Quitman County, which chair he now holds.7
E.C. Black [Elbert Cecil Black 1883-1964], born in Madison County, June 4, 1883, attended Cumberland University at Lebanon, Tennessee, and received his L.B. degree there in 1908. He began practice in Silver City, but moved from there to Marks and opened an office in 1909, and here he has remained, identifying himself with all things conducive to a better county in which to live, and building up a lucrative and successful practice.8
E.E. Boone [Edward Everett Boone 1890-1939], born May 30, 1890, at Ruston, Virginia, was elected to the House of Representatives from Quitman County in 1919 for the term 1920-1924, and was re-elected in 1923 for the term 1924-1928; during both sessions he served as chairman of the committee on drainage. He is a Mason, a Shriner, a member of the Knights of Pythias, and an Elk.9
T.N. Gore [Teay Notley Gore 1890-1976], born in Embry, Webster County, August 28, 1890, came to Quitman County as principal of the Marks High School in 1914. He represented the county in 1928-1932 and again in 1936-1940 in the legislature. He is a Mason; served in the World War; is a member of the American Legion and “Forty and Eight.” He served on the committee of Education while in the House of Representatives.10
Judge Deck Stone [James Deck Stone], born in Montgomery County, 1880, after attending Mississippi College and studying law at the University of Chicago, entered into a partnership with Judge M.P. Lowrey at Marks. After two years, this partnership was dissolved in 1912, and Stone moved to Lambert, where he opened a law office. He had the distinction of serving as the first County Judge, beginning July 11, 1927; his term ending at his death in December, 1935.2
L.B. Lamb [Lomax B. Lamb] was born in Panola County on October 13, 1871, and after finishing Law in the University of Mississippi, began practice in Batesville. He moved to Marks in October, 1921, forming a partnership with Judge P.H. Lowrey. At one time he was attorney for the Panola-Quitman-Drainage District, also the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad. He became Vice President of the Citizens Bank and Trust Company in 1928, which office he held until his death, June 16, 1932. 11
J.W. Mack [1870-1928] moved to Belen in 1897, and began his practice of law there. He was born in Lula, Coahoma County, in 1870; studied law in Memphis, and in 1897 located in Belen for the practice of his profession; moving to Marks in 1911, when the County seat was changed to that place. He was attorney for the Board of Supervisors for a number of years, and was vice-president of the Citizens Bank and Trust Company until his death in 1928.12
Mark P. Lowrey [Mark Perrin Lowrey 1889-1934] attended Mississippi College and transferred to Cumberland University at Lebanon, Tennessee. In 1913, he finished his law course at Tulane University, New Orleans. In 1917, he became County Attorney and remained in this position for some years, later becoming Mayor of Marks. He resigned as Mayor and entered a partnership with Judge W.F. Gee, which existed for two years; upon dissolving this partnership, he entered another with E.E. Boone, which expired in January, 1934, when he very fittingly joined with his father, Judge P.H. Lowrey, the last partnership of his life. He died in March, 1934.13
W.M. Donaldson [William Marion Donaldson], born in Pontotoc County in 1875, and read law under former Attorney General George T. Mitchell. He moved to Belen in 1902 and opened a law office, but circumstances beckoned him to the native home, and in 1906, he returned to Pontotoc and became associated with General Rush Knox in legal practice. He returned to Quitman County in 1909, and a partnership with J.W. Mack terminated in 1912. He served two terms as Mayor of Marks, during which time he was one of the leaders in securing sidewalks, street improvements, and the sewerage system; as Attorney for the town of Marks, rendered invaluable service in that capacity during the street-paving in 1929. He died in February, 1932.14
A.A. Pogue [Arthur A. Pogue], born in Eupora, Webster County, came to Marks in 1920 to open a law office; he was elected County Prosecuting Attorney in 1924 and served until 1928. On March 8, 1934, he was appointed to fill the same office upon the resignation of R.M. Boone. Pogue was a World War veteran, serving 14 months in France during the War.1
R.M. Boone [Richard Montgomery Boone, Jr. 1898-1935], son of Rev. R.M. [Richard Montgomery Boone 1859-1930] and Mrs. Etta Everett Boone [1871-1956], was born in Alexandria, Louisiana, June 18, 1898. After graduation from High School, he entered the World War at the age of 18, and saw actual service in France. He developed a chronic Rheumatic condition from exposure, and received an honorable discharge, after which he attended the University of Mississippi Law School; graduating in 1925, he entered the practice of law in Marks, where he consistently resided and plied his profession. During this time he was for a number of years a partner of Judge W.F. Gee, and was elected County Prosecuting Attorney in 1932, serving two years, when he resigned to enter private practice. He died in 1935.1
Served in Mississippi Legislature
Many members of the bar of Quitman County have held positions in the Mississippi Legislature and county offices. Those who have been members of the Mississippi Senate are as follows:
Judge M.E. Denton, from 1932 until his death in 1935; he also served two terms in the lower house, 1898 and 1900.
E.E. Boone, from 1920 to 1924; re-elected for term 1924-1928. Served as chairman of committee of drainage.
T.N. Gore, from 1928 to 1932; re-elected for the term 1936-1940; he also served as committeeman on education.15
Those who have been prosecuting attorneys are as follows:
Mark P. Lowrey, 1917 to 1924.
A.A. Pogue, 1924 to 1928; 1934 to fill office on resignation of R.M. Boone.
R.M. Boone, 1932 to 1934.
Partee Denton, 1928 to 1932; in 1934 he was appointed upon the death of A.A. Pogue for the term 1936 to 1940.1
2. Mrs. Van Stone [Irene nee Billingsley 1894-1961], Lambert, Mississippi
3. Tom Shelton, Lambert, Mississippi
4. Eugene Thompson, Marks, Mississippi
5. Partee Denton, Marks, Mississippi
6. Mrs. Blanche Denton [Blanche V. nee Phillips 1879-1949], Jackson, Mississippi
7. Judge P.H. Lowrey, Marks, Mississippi
8. E.C. Black, Marks, Mississippi
9. E.E. Boone, Marks, Mississippi
10. T.N. Gore, Marks, Mississippi
11. Mrs. Virginia Lamb [Virginia nee Owens 1889-1977], Marks, Mississippi
12. Mrs. Lillian Mack, Marks, Mississippi
13. Mrs. Lucille Lowrey [Lucille nee Talbert 1893-1982], Marks, Mississippi
14. Mrs. E.E. Boone, Marks, Mississippi
15. House Journal, Mississippi Legislature
Chapter XVII, The Bar, Works Progress Administration for Mississippi, Source Material for Mississippi History, Quitman County, Vol. LX, Compiled by State-Wide Historical Research Project, Susie V. Powell, State Supervisor, Illustrated, 1936-1938, pages 225-230
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