Wharton, Clarence Ray (1873–1941)

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: October 2, 2020

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Clarence Ray Wharton, lawyer and historian, son of Frank B. and Ella (Ray) Wharton, was born in Tarrant County, Texas, on October 5, 1873. He attended the common schools of the county and taught school from 1888 to 1892. He studied law, was admitted to the bar around 1893, and in 1895 practiced law in Decatur with Charles V. Terrell. Wharton moved to Richmond in 1897 and to Houston, where he entered the law firm of Baker, Botts, Baker, and Lovett (see BAKER AND BOTTS) in 1901. On August 5, 1902, Wharton married Adele Spoonts of Fort Worth. They had four children. Wharton was made a full partner of the law firm in 1906 and became a prominent corporate attorney in Houston. He was counsel for Houston Lighting and Power Company, Houston Gas and Fuel Company, and Houston Electric Company. An interest in Texas history prompted him to become a writer. In addition to many articles, his published works included The Republic of Texas (1922), El Presidente (1924), San Jacinto, the Sixteenth Decisive Battle (1930), History of Texas (1935), History of Fort Bend County (1939), Satanta, the Great Chief of the Kiowas and His People (1935), L'Archeveque (1941), and Gail Borden, Pioneer (1941). In 1930 he wrote and edited a five-volume Texas history, Texas Under Many Flags. Wharton was the first chairman of the Houston Community Chest and was prominent in the American Red Cross during World War I. He was an active member of the Harris County Historical Society, of which he was vice president in 1923. He was an Episcopalian. He died in Houston on May 1, 1941, and was buried there in Glenwood Cemetery.

Houston Chronicle, May 2, 1941. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.


  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
  • Commercial and Corporate Law

Time Periods:

  • Progressive Era
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • Great Depression


  • Houston
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • North Texas
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

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

Anonymous, “Wharton, Clarence Ray,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 18, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/wharton-clarence-ray.

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October 2, 2020

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