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RENTFRO, ROBERT BYRON

RENTFRO, ROBERT BYRON (1874–1953). Robert Byron Rentfro, lawyer, was born on September 25, 1874, in Montgomery County, Texas, the son of Robert Byron and Laura (Linton) Rentfro. In 1880 his family moved to Brownsville, where he received his preparatory education in the Brownsville public schools. He attended Texas A&M, Southwestern University, and the University of Texas law school. After receiving his LL.B. degree in 1896 he began law practice with his father in Brownsville. He served two terms (1898–1902) as county attorney of Cameron County. From 1907 until 1912 he was deputy collector for the United States Bureau of Customs and postmaster of Brownsville. In 1920 he was elected to the Brownsville city commission and in 1929 was elected mayor, a post he held for five consecutive two-year terms. As mayor he helped secure the establishment of the Rio Grande Valley International Airport and the Port of Brownsville. Rentfro was an authority on water law and administered water control and development projects in the Valley. He headed the law firm Rentfro and Cole from 1912 to 1939, when he formed a partnership with his sons Robert B. and Russell. Rentfro served as chief counselor for the Brownsville Navigation District and the Port of Brownsville from 1933 to 1953 and was city attorney from 1943 to 1953. He was a Republican and Episcopalian and belonged to the Cameron County and the state bar associations, Phi Delta Theta, and the Brownsville Country Club. On April 27, 1904, Rentfro married Eleanor Russell of Brownsville. They had eight children. He died on April 19, 1953.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 41.

Eleanor Russell Rentfro

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Eleanor Russell Rentfro, "RENTFRO, ROBERT BYRON," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fre29), accessed October 31, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.