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HANCOCK, CURTIS (1872–1957). Curtis Hancock, lawyer and first chairman of the Texas State Highway Commission, was born on August 12, 1872, at Pine Hill, Rusk County, Texas, the son of Tyre and Caroline (Hillin) Hancock. He graduated with a law degree from the University of Texas in 1897 and was elected city attorney of Oak Cliff, near Dallas, in 1898. He later became assistant county attorney. In 1903 he entered the Texas legislature as the youngest member ever seated in the Dallas delegation up to that time. He served two terms, then practiced law in Dallas County.

In 1917 Governor James E. Ferguson appointed Hancock the first chairman of the State Highway Commission, which was established that year. Hancock was reappointed to the same post by Governor William P. Hobby. He served as manager of the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce in Stephens County in the 1920s and promoted the Breckenridge oil boom. He worked for the improvement of Texas highways throughout his life and for the development of Big Bend National Park, where the Curtis Hancock Highway was subsequently named for him.

Hancock married Ada Rike on February 10, 1898, and they had three children. Hancock was a member of the Dallas County Bar Association, the Knights of Pythias, the Dallas County Road Association, the Big Bend Trail Association, and the Oak Cliff Methodist Church. He died in Dallas on January 8, 1957, and was buried in Laurel Land Cemetery near Dallas.


John D. Huddleston, Good Roads for Texas: A History of the Texas Highway Department, 1917 to 1947 (Ph.D. dissertation, Texas A&M University, 1981). Richard Morehead, Dewitt C. Greer (Austin: Eakin Press, 1984). Frank M. Stewart, Highway Administration in Texas (University of Texas Bulletin 3423,1934). Texas Bar Journal, March 1957. Texas State Highway Commission, Biennial Report.

William B. Alderman

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Handbook of Texas Online, William B. Alderman, "Hancock, Curtis," accessed November 22, 2017,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on August 10, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.