Robert C. Cotner

BREWSTER, FEW (1889–1957). Few Brewster, attorney and legal scholar, was born in Williamson County, Texas, on May 10, 1889, the son of V. B. and America (Seymour) Brewster. After graduating from Killeen High School, he attended Baylor University and Howard Payne College (now Howard Payne University), which later awarded him an honorary doctorate. He transferred to the University of Texas, where he became a quizmaster and belonged to the Order of Chancellors while in the law department. After receiving his B.A. in 1913, Brewster completed work for the LL.M. in 1916. Later he was initiated into Phi Delta Phi fraternity. He practiced law in Temple from 1916 to 1929, except while he was a second lieutenant in the infantry in World War I. He remained active in the American Legion. In 1918 he married Myra Kilpatrick of Temple; they had three children.

Brewster was county attorney of Bell County from 1919 to 1923. Then he served as district attorney until 1929, when he became district judge of the Twenty-seventh District. After several terms he resigned to accept appointment in November 1941 to the Supreme Court Commission of Appeals. When the state Supreme Court was enlarged to nine members in 1945, he became an associate justice. He was elected in 1948 and reelected in 1954.

While Brewster was president of the Bell County Bar Association he served as an officer of the Texas Bar Association, first as head of the judicial section (1937–38), then as secretary (1938–39), and subsequently as vice president (1939–40). He became vice president of the new State Bar of Texas in April 1940 and served as president in 1940–41. Besides being a frequent speaker, he published several articles, including "Benefit of Clergy" (1939) and "Prime Obligation" (1954) in the Texas Bar Journal; in the latter article he urged acceptance of a racially integrated bar. His success as an administrator and judge was enhanced by his "tension-breaking humor," and he was a legal scholar whose work was carefully planned and executed. One outstanding example was his 400-page manuscript to serve as "a ready reference to the more important phases of the law relating to prohibited liquor and searches and seizures as declared in the Texas statutes and decisions." This study included digests of cases, forms, and an overall index for ready reference. The work was revised and ready for publication in 1930, but after some delay and condensation it was published under the title Search and Seizure (1931).

Brewster served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of Texas from 1945 to 1957, when he resigned because of ill health. He died at home of a heart attack on October 12, 1957, and was buried at the State Cemetery in Austin.

Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Clarence R. Wharton, ed., Texas under Many Flags (5 vols., Chicago: American Historical Society, 1930). Who's Who in America, 1952–53.

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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, Robert C. Cotner, "BREWSTER, FEW," accessed February 23, 2020,

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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