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BARRON, WINGATE STUART, SR.
BARRON, WINGATE STUART, SR. (1889–1984). Wingate Stuart Barron, Sr., state legislator, judge, and lawyer, the eldest son of John Marion and Johnnie Frances (Gilbert) Barron, was born on February 6, 1889, in Rock Prairie, Brazos County, Texas, but raised in Grimes County in Southeast Texas. After graduating with a teaching certificate from Sam Houston Normal Institute (now Sam Houston State University) in Huntsville, he began teaching, which led him to become Grimes County’s school superintendent in 1910. In 1914 he started practicing law after passing the state bar, and he eventually established a successful practice in Bryan, Texas. By 1917 Barron had married Ethel G. Sanders. The 1920 census listed him as a lawyer in Bryan, and the household included his wife, a son, and two daughters. Ethel Barron died in 1928, and the 1930 census listed him as the sole head of a family that included two sons, two daughters, and his mother-in-law and sister-in-law. Sometime before 1940 Barron married Bess DuBois.
In 1924 Barron won a seat in the Thirty-ninth Texas Legislature’s House of Representatives as a Democrat representing Brazos and Grimes counties and began the first of three consecutive terms, which he concluded as speaker of the House. During his three terms, he passionately pursued improving the state’s public school system. He also promoted legislation on behalf of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (now Texas A&M University). As speaker during the Forty-first Texas Legislature, he presided over several important changes to the public education system, such as legislation that reorganized the State Board of Education, a regulation that set the minimum age of school children to the age of six, and the establishment of a physical education program in public schools.
Toward the end of his term as speaker, he was urged to pursue statewide elective office by his colleagues; however, he declined and returned to Bryan to resume his career in the law. During the Great Depression, the former speaker of the House devoted considerable time as local secretary-treasurer of the Federal Land Bank and helped many area farmers obtain loans. In 1940 he was appointed judge of the Eighty-fifth District and served until his retirement in 1955.
Retirement was short-lived for Judge Barron. From 1956 to 1959 he served on the board of directors of the State Bar of Texas. Barron was known for his professional and judicial contributions to the state and for his years of active civic involvement in Bryan. Wingate Stuart Barron, Sr., died at the age of ninety-five on February 12, 1984, in Bryan, Texas. He was survived by his second wife, Bess, a daughter, two sons, a sister, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. He was buried beside his first wife in Bryan City Cemetery in Bryan, Texas.
Austin American-Statesman, February 13, 1984. "Guide to 51st through 60th Speakers," Texas House Speakers Oral History Project Biographies and Resources, Briscoe Center for American History (https://www.cah.utexas.edu/projects/speakers_51_60.php), accessed March 8, 2017. Legislative Reference Library of Texas: Wingate Stuart Barron, Sr. (http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/legeLeaders/members/memberDisplay.cfm?memberID=2125&searchparams=chamber=~city=~countyID=0~RcountyID=~district=~first=~gender=~last=barron~leaderNote=~leg=~party=~roleDesc=~Committee=), accessed March 8, 2017.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Kyle E. Havron, "BARRON, WINGATE STUART, SR. ," accessed September 18, 2018, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fbarr.
Uploaded on March 21, 2017. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.