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MATHES, BURKE WILLIAM (1896–1977). Burke William Mathes, attorney, state representative, and cofounder of Texas Tech University, son of Lela Mai (Burke) and William Carey Mathesqv, was born at Hale Center on July 15, 1896. One of eleven children, his brothers included William Carey, Jr., and George Curtis Mathes.qqv He was a graduate of Plainview High School, 1913, and received his LLB, Phi Beta Kappa, at the University of Texas in 1921. He served as representative in the Texas legislature from Hale County, 1921–25, was an attorney in Plainview, 1921–30, and Los Angeles, California, 1930–74, and was on the board of directors of Curtis Mathes Corporation, Dallas. On January 25, 1923, at Austin he pressed for the name and location of Texas Technological College in Lubbock in a meeting with Silliman Evans of Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Senator William H. Bledsoe, representatives R. A. Baldwin, Lewis T. Carpenter, R. M. Chitwood, and Homer Wade of West Texas Chamber of Commerce. He also assisted J. Frank Norfleet in his famous prosecution of confidence men. An ensign in the United States Navy, 1917–19, he was an early pilot of lighter-than-air craft. He was a Methodist and a Democrat/Republican. He married Fay Mahan on September 9, 1930, at Clovis, New Mexico. She was a graduate of Texas University for Women, Denton, and University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California. They had two children, a son Burke Mathes, Jr., who became president of the Curtis Mathes Corp., Dallas, and Pacific Stereo, San Francisco, and an attorney and business executive in Boston, Massachusetts, and a daughter Mary Fay (Mathes) Brandt of Pasadena, California. Burke William Mathes died on October 1, 1977, at Pasadena, California.


J. Frank Norfleet, Norfleet (Fort Worth: White, 1924; rev. ed., Sugar Land, Texas: Imperial, 1927). Vertical File, Southwest Collection, Texas Tech University.

W. Michael Mathes


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

W. Michael Mathes, "MATHES, BURKE WILLIAM," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed April 01, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.