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Thurman Morris Gupton (1911-1996)

Judge, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, 1976

Thurman Morris Gupton was born November 11, 1911, in the small town of Boling, in Wharton County, Texas. When he was seven years old, his family relocated to West Columbia, in Brazoria County, where Gupton was raised with his four siblings. Gupton made his home in West Columbia the rest of his life, become a civic leader, and in 1969 was named West Columbia's Outstanding Citizen by the local Chamber of Commerce.

After graduating from West Columbia High School in 1930, Gupton attended Rice Institute in Houston, earning a BBA in 1930. He also attended Houston Engineering College, became a licensed surveyor, worked as an abstractor of land titles, worked in the oil fields of East and South Texas, and then earned his law degree from Houston Law School in 1940. He was married in 1930 and became the father of two daughters.

During World War II, Gupton attended the United States Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, and served as a U.S. Navy intelligence officer in all three theaters of the war. He remained active in the U.S. Naval Reserve for the next thirty years, retiring at the rank of captain.

Following the war, Gupton practiced law in West Columbia from 1946 to 1947, when he was elected county judge of Brazoria County. In 1950, Gov. Allen Shivers appointed him judge of the Twenty-third Judicial District, which encompassed Brazoria, Matagorda, and Fort Bend Counties. He served in this capacity for the next twenty-six years until retiring in 1976, at the age of sixty-five. Gupton was remembered as a fair and knowledgeable judge who was never opposed for the position. When not on the bench, he enjoyed the pursuits of hunting, fishing, and raising Angus cattle. He also avidly researched family genealogy and Texas history.

In March 1976, Gov. Dolph Briscoe appointed Gupton a judge on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals following the resignation of W.A. Morrison. He did not seek election to the position, served on the court until a successor was chosen in the 1976 general election, then retired from the bench and served as counsel to the Houston law firm of Kronzer, Abraham & Watkins. He died August 20, 1996, at the age of eighty-four. He was survived by his wife of sixty-six years, and their two daughters.


Criminal appeals judge appointed, Austin American-Statesman, March 24, 1976.

Judge announces retirement: T.M. Gupton ending 25-year judicial career, The Brazosport Facts, November 25, 1975.

Longtime judge T.M. Gupton dies, The Brazoria County News, August 22, 1996.

VanDerSlice, Phillip. Longtime judge dies at age 84, The Brazosport Facts, August 21, 1996.

Thurman Morris Gupton, Deaths and Funerals, The Brazosport Facts, August 21, 1996.