Finty, Tom, Jr. (1867–1929)

By: Alonzo Wasson

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: September 26, 2019

Tom Finty, Jr., lawyer, newspaper editor, public servant, and writer, son of John and Honora (Dollin) Finty, was born on October 1, 1867, in Xenia, Illinois. He attended public schools and worked as clerk and bookkeeper in a general store from 1880 to 1885. From 1885 to 1889 he was employed by various railroads as telegraph operator, station agent, and business solicitor. About 1889 he came to Texas as an employee of the Cotton Belt (St. Louis Southwestern) Railway. Later, working as accountant in a Rusk bank, he ventured into journalism as the Rusk correspondent of the Galveston News, a part-time job that could have taken hardly more than thirty minutes a week. From 1892 to 1894 Finty did double duty as a court stenographer and law student, and in 1894 he was admitted to the bar. In that year he became associated with the Galveston Tribune, first as reporter and then as city editor. In 1897 he moved to the Galveston News as city editor; from 1901 to 1914 he was political editor of the Galveston News and Dallas Morning News, withheadquarters at Dallas. When the Dallas News decided to establish the Evening Journal in 1914, Finty was chosen editor. He also became legal counsel and editorial executive of the A. H. Belo Corporation, publisher of the Dallas News and associated enterprises. He was made a director of the corporation in 1919.

Finty's genius for making friends gave him a statewide acquaintance probably not rivaled by that of anyone else outside of public office. He organized and for some years directed the activities of what became the Texas Election Bureau. He spent months making several studies of public concerns, including city planning and public education. He became the secretary of the Texas Educational Survey Commission in 1923. His professional associations included the Texas Press Association, the Texas Editorial Association, the Southwestern Political and Social Science Association (see SOCIAL SCIENCE QUARTERLY), and the Texas Newspaper Association, for which he served as chairman of the libel committee. He was a Democrat, a Knight of Pythias, and a member of the University, Writers, and Lions clubs. His publications include Penitentiary System of Texas (1909), Anti-Trust Legislation in Texas (1915), and Texas Homestead Exemption Law (1918).

Finty married Georgie Bonner of Rusk on September 14, 1892; they had one daughter. He died in Dallas on April 25, 1929, and was buried there.

Sam Hanna Acheson, 35,000 Days in Texas: A History of the Dallas "News" and Its Forbears (New York: Macmillan, 1938). Tom Finty Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Who's Who in America, 1928–29.


  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
  • Editors and Reporters


  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas

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

Alonzo Wasson, “Finty, Tom, Jr.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 24, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 26, 2019

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