Kittrell, Norman Goree (1849–1927)

By: John W. Payne, Jr.

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: March 6, 2021

Norman Goree Kittrell, judge, legislator, and author, son of Dr. Pleasant Williams and Mary Frances (Goree) Kittrell, was born at Greensboro, Alabama, on July 28, 1849. His parents moved to Texas the following year. Kittrell attended Austin College, a Presbyterian school in Huntsville, and subsequently enrolled at Washington College (now Washington and Lee University). In 1867, after his father's death, he returned to Huntsville to read law in the office of Abercrombie and Banton. In 1870 he was admitted to the Texas bar. Kittrell moved to Galveston and practiced law with the firm of Joseph and Kittrell until 1879, when he moved to Leon County. From 1883 to 1886 he was chairman of the Democratic executive committee of the Second Congressional District. In 1884 he was elected district attorney of the old Twelfth Judicial District (Leon, Grimes, Walker, Madison, and Trinity counties) but resigned two years later to fill a vacancy as judge in the same district. In 1888 he was elected to the same position for a four-year term. In 1893 he moved to Houston and resumed private practice. He was judge of the Sixty-first Judicial District from 1903 to 1913. Governor W. P. Hobby appointed him to the Commission of Appeals for a two-year term, 1919–21. At various times over a thirty-year period Kittrell was a Democratic member of the Texas House of Representatives and was in office at the time of his death.

He wrote A Primer of the Government of Texas (1910), The Nazarene (1913), and Governors Who Have Been, and Other Public Men of Texas (1921), a well-known work that is still widely used by historians. Kittrell married Louisa Blackledge Keyes at Trinity Episcopal Church in Galveston on April 12, 1875. They had six children. Though he was a Methodist, Kittrell was also a strong supporter of the Episcopal Church, to which his wife and children belonged. He was one of the founders of Trinity Episcopal Church in Houston. He died in Houston on January 23, 1927, after an attack of bronchitis.

Lewis E. Daniell, Personnel of the Texas State Government, with Sketches of Representative Men of Texas (Austin: City Printing, 1887; 3d ed., San Antonio: Maverick, 1892). Thomas Jewett Goree, The Thomas Jewett Goree Letters, ed. Langston James Goree V (Bryan, Texas: Family History Foundation, 1981). Houston Post-Dispatch, January 24, 1927. Pleasant Williams Kittrell, The Kittrell Journal, 1853–1867 (Bryan, Texas: Family History Foundation, 1980).

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

John W. Payne, Jr., “Kittrell, Norman Goree,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 18, 2022,

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March 6, 2021

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