Hurt, James Mann (1830–1903)

By: Cecil Harper, Jr.

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: February 1, 1995

James Mann Hurt, Confederate Army officer, lawyer, and judge, son of James Mann Hurt, was born on December 15, 1830, in Carroll County, Tennessee. His mother, a member of the Marshall family of Virginia, was an early settler of Lebanon, Tennessee. Hurt attended Bethel College, read law under Milton Brown, and attended Cumberland University, where he received his law degree in 1857. He then moved to Osceola, Missouri, where he established a law practice and married Matilda L. Douglass in April 1858. The couple had three children.

In the fall of 1858 Hurt and his wife moved with her parents to Grayson County, Texas, and Hurt began a highly successful law practice. With the outbreak of the Civil War he raised an infantry company, of which he was elected captain. Except for a few months' service under Gen. Joseph E. Johnston during the Vicksburg campaign in 1863, Hurt's company served under Gen. Samuel B. Maxey for the entire war.

Subsequently Hurt resumed his law practice and became active in local and state politics as a Democrat. He was a delegate to the state Constitutional Convention of 1866, where he was a member of the Conservative Union Caucus. He was then appointed district attorney by Governor James W. Throckmorton, but he resigned in 1867 after refusing to take the "Ironclad oath." He was reappointed by Governor Edmund J. Davis in 1870 but was removed about a year later. He resumed his legal practice, specializing primarily in criminal law. By 1875, according to the Dallas Weekly Herald (see DALLAS TIMES HERALD), he was reputed to be "the finest advocate in North Texas, if not in the entire state."

In 1876 Hurt moved to Dallas. In 1880 he was appointed to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals by Governor Oran M. Roberts. He was subsequently elected and reelected to that court until his retirement in 1898. From 1892 until 1898 he was presiding judge. He died on April 3, 1903, at his country home south of Dallas and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery.

James D. Lynch, The Bench and Bar of Texas (St. Louis, 1885). William S. Speer and John H. Brown, eds., Encyclopedia of the New West (Marshall, Texas: United States Biographical Publishing, 1881; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978).
  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Politics and Government
  • Judges
  • 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.

Cecil Harper, Jr., “Hurt, James Mann,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 23, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 1, 1995

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