Matlock, Avery L. (1852–1933)

By: Carolyn Hyman

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: November 20, 2020

Avery L. Matlock, attorney and state senator, son of Avery and Margaret (Russell) Matlock, was born on April 22, 1852, in Roan County, Tennessee. He attended the University of Tennessee and in 1873 graduated from Cumberland Law School in Lebanon, Tennessee. He moved to Texas and, at the persuasion of his former roommate, John Hall Stephens, settled in Montague County. Matlock served as county attorney of Montague County from 1875 to 1878, during which time he successfully prosecuted several gangs of murderers. He was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1881 and to the Texas Senate in 1883. In 1887 he was sent to the XIT Ranch as a legal investigator for the Capitol Freehold Land and Investment Company. He was instrumental in clearing the XIT properties of desperadoes and putting the ranch on a sound financial basis. In 1901 he represented the company in extensive suits. In 1906 he moved to San Antonio, where he went into private law practice. He served as city attorney of San Antonio and was one of the organizers of the Rockport and Mexican Railroad, which he served as general attorney.

Matlock married Annie S. Herbert of Denton in 1877; she died in 1879. In 1881 he married Alice Hyatt of New York; she died in 1902. In 1903 Matlock married Susan Polk Hyman of Fort Worth; they adopted two daughters. After 1920 Matlock spent part of his time in Fort Worth and died there on July 14, 1933. He was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Fort Worth.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram, July 15, 1933. J. Evetts Haley, The XIT Ranch of Texas and the Early Days of the Llano Estacado (Chicago: Lakeside, 1929; rpts., Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1953, 1967). Men of Affairs of San Antonio (San Antonio Newspaper Artists' Association, 1912).

  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
  • Criminal Law and District Attorneys
  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Politics and Government
  • Government Officials
  • Seventeenth Legislature (1881-1882)
  • Eighteenth Legislature (1883-1884)
  • House
  • Senate
  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Fort Worth

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

Carolyn Hyman, “Matlock, Avery L.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 28, 2022,

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November 20, 2020

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