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TIMON, WALTER FRANCIS

TIMON, WALTER FRANCIS (1876–1952). Walter Timon, lawyer, judge, and legislator, was born on October 4, 1876, at Rock Ranch in San Patricio County to John and Ellen (Keating) Timon. His father, a rancher, sent Timon to private schools in Corpus Christi and San Antonio. He later attended National Normal University in Lebanon, Ohio, where he earned a degree in business administration. After completing his undergraduate studies, he went on to earn a degree in law from Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee. Admitted to the Texas bar in 1901, Timon almost immediately began to run for political offices. He served as county attorney for San Patricio and in 1903 represented the region in the Twenty-eighth Texas Legislature. He returned to the Texas House of State Representatives in 1905 as well. Following his terms in the legislature, Timon ran for and won the position of county judge of Nueces County. Under his administration Nueces County built a new courthouse in Corpus Christi in 1914. He served as county judge until 1917, when Governor James E. Ferguson appointed him to the Twenty-eighth District Criminal Court. Timon's career in politics was sometimes plagued by controversy. In May of 1915 a Federal Grand Jury indicted him and numerous other county officials for voter manipulation in the previous general election. When the case came to trial in September, prosecution witnesses testified that Timon had suggested that the use of bribes was the only way to insure victory. Although the jury convicted five and acquitted sixteen of the defendants, they could not agree on Timon's part in the affair. The government attempted to revive the case in 1917 but ultimately dropped the charges against Timon. Personal troubles also haunted Timon in 1917. He was named executor of his late mother's estate in 1916, and his sisters, led by Cecilia Leahy, brought suit to contest her will. After an initial mistrial, the case eventually ended in Timon's favor. Despite the court ruling, harsh feelings remained among the siblings to the extent that Mrs. Leahy's son, Harry J. Leahy, stalked Timon. On October 15 while in Brownsville on business, Timon shot his nephew in a hotel lobby. Leahy avoided serious injury when the bullet was deflected by a gold watch in his pocket. Although Leahy was not in possession of a gun at the time, Timon claimed he shot in self-defense. Leahy was arrested and held based on his uncle's charges. As president of the Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce following the 1919 hurricane that devastated both commercial and residential districts, Timon spearheaded the campaign to build the Corpus Christi seawall and breakwaters. At his suggestion, city planners laid an extra-wide city boulevard along the seawall. The street was named in his honor. Timon also served on the Nueces County Navigation Commission from 1923 to 1925. He married Bessie Baker of Lebanon, Ohio, on April 12, 1899. The couple had two sons, both of whom died in childhood. Timon died on August 2, 1952, in Corpus Christi.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Corpus Christi Caller-Times, August 3, 1952. Anita Eisenhauer and Gigi Starnes, Corpus Christi: A Picture Postcard History (Corpus Christi: Anita's Antiques, 1987). Nueces County Historical Society, History of Nueces County (Austin: Jenkins, 1972). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Frank Wagner

Citation

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

Frank Wagner, "TIMON, WALTER FRANCIS," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fti18), accessed September 16, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.