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.

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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, Clay Bailey, "TOWNES, JOHN CHARLES, JR.," accessed July 17, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on July 20, 2017. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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