Minor, Fred Hawthorne (1888–1976)

By: Robert S. LaForte

Type: Biography

Published: May 1, 1995

Fred H. Minor, lawyer and Texas legislator, was born on a farm near Lewisville, Denton County, Texas, on December 11, 1888, to John Rufus and Elizabeth Matilda (Boyd) Minor, who moved to Texas from Alabama and Tennessee with their families in the mid-1850s. He attended the country schools of Denton County, Lewisville grade and high schools, North Texas State Normal College (now the University of North Texas), where he earned a teacher's certificate, and the University of Texas law school. Before studying law he taught elementary school for four years. At Texas, where he earned the LL.B. in 1916, he graduated first in his class and won the much-coveted "Cyc" award, an encyclopedia of law given to the senior with the highest scholastic average.

From 1917 until his death Minor practiced law in Denton. He became involved in Democratic party politics early in his legal career and served as Denton County Democratic chairman from 1918 until 1924. In 1926 he was elected to the Texas legislature, where he remained until 1933. During his second term the illness of W. S. Barron allowed Minor to act as speaker of the House, a position to which he was elected in 1931. He believed his most important accomplishment as speaker was the passage in 1931 of oil-proration legislation to help conserve the East Texas oilfield. Governor Coke R. Stevenson appointed Minor to the Liquor Control Board (see TEXAS ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE COMMISSION) in 1943, and in 1948, his last year on the board, he became chairman. He was also a member of the Texas Civil Judicial Council. In 1932 he was chosen to attend the Democratic national convention in Chicago. He was an alternate delegate in 1940.

Minor served on the Denton City Council for eight years and the Denton Board of Education for sixteen years. He was chairman of the city council for one term and president of the school board for twelve years. His other memberships included the Denton County, the Texas, and the American Bar associations. He was a Mason, a Knight of Pythias, a Kiwanian, a member of the Denton Chamber of Commerce (of which he served a term as president), and a member of the First Christian Church of Denton. In recognition of his contributions he was awarded the Otis Fowler Award, the highest honor given by the Denton chamber, and was named distinguished alumnus by North Texas State University. He married Katharine Johnson in 1920. They had one child. Minor died on April 24, 1976, and was buried in Roselawn Cemetery in Denton.

Frank Carter Adams, ed., Texas Democracy: A Centennial History of Politics and Personalities of the Democratic Party, 1836–1936 (4 vols., Austin: Democratic Historical Association, 1937). Denton Record-Chronicle, April 25, 1976.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Robert S. LaForte, “Minor, Fred Hawthorne,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/minor-fred-hawthorne.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995