While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Clay Bailey
Humble Oil Logo
Humble Oil Logo. Courtesy of the University of Texas at Austin. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Townes's Grave
John Charles Townes, Jr.'s Grave. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

TOWNES, JOHN CHARLES, JR. (1886–1948). John Charles Townes, Jr., attorney, was born in Georgetown, Texas, on July 4, 1886, the son of Kate Rector (Wildbahn) and John Charles Townes. From 1903 until 1906 he was a student in the liberal arts department of the University of Texas; he entered the university law department in 1906 and received the LL.B. degree in 1909. Townes married Helen Markle of Palestine, Texas, in 1910, and they had three daughters. Helen died in 1941, and Townes married Mozelle Barnhart on June 9, 1944. Between 1909 and 1917 he practiced law in Houston. During World War I he served with the rank of major in the infantry and was sent to Texas as supervisor of the Selective Service. In 1918 he was called to Washington to serve in a committee rewriting the draft law. He was employed as a lawyer for Humble Oil and Refining Company (see EXXON COMPANY, U.S.A.) in May 1919, and became general attorney before leaving the firm on January 1, 1929. Thereafter he practiced privately. Townes attained a position of national prominence in the area of oil litigation. He was a longtime active member of the State Bar of Texas and served one year as its president. He also served in official capacities for the Houston Chamber of Commerce and the national organization of the American Legion. He died on February 22, 1948.


Houston Post, February 23, 24, 1948. Texas Bar Journal, February 22, 1955.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


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

Handbook of Texas Online, Clay Bailey, "TOWNES, JOHN CHARLES, JR.," accessed July 04, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fto29.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on July 20, 2017. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...