Penn, Justo Sabor (1875–1939)

By: Elliott Young

Type: Biography

Published: May 1, 1995

Justo S. Penn, journalist and Democratic political leader, son of Virginia Josephine (Muller) and James Saunders Penn, was born in Austin, Texas, on October 4, 1875. On August 14, 1901, he married Alice Herrera. They had three daughters and two sons. Penn attended Laredo public schools and studied for two years at Southwestern University in Georgetown. In 1882 he was named an honorary page of the Texas legislature, during his uncle John Ireland's tenure as governor. In 1910 he was elected to a term in the state legislature. He served as chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee of Webb County until November 1926. He was also a member of the Democratic Executive Committee representing the Twenty-seventh Senatorial District. On July 1, 1926, he sold the controlling interest in the Laredo Daily Times to the J. E. Hanway and Associates of Casper, Wyoming. After leaving journalism, Penn dedicated himself to the businesses of real estate and oil. He was appointed county judge in Laredo on May 15, 1928, and was subsequently elected to that office until his death. He was a member of the Elks, the Rotary Club, and the Knights of Pythias. He was a Catholic. Penn died in Laredo on July 3, 1939.

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). Jerry D. Thompson, Warm Weather and Bad Whiskey: The 1886 Laredo Election Riot (El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1991).
  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
  • Publishers and Executives

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

Elliott Young, “Penn, Justo Sabor,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995