Edgar E. Witt

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Edgar E. Witt (January 28, 1876 – July 11, 1965) was a Texas lawyer and politician, serving as Lieutenant Governor for two terms in the 1930s. He also served twice as Chairman of the American-Mexican Claims Commission and Chief Commissioner of the Indian Claims Commission.

Early life[edit]

Witt was born on January 28, 1876, in Bell County, Texas to James Monroe and Elizabeth (Simpson) Witt. He attended public schools in Eddy.[1] He attended the University of Texas at Austin, joining the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity along with his boyhood friend Tom T. Connally.[2] He graduated in 1900 and graduated from the University of Texas Law School with an LL.B. in 1903. He married Gwynne Johnstone on June 6, 1904. They had no children.

Legal career and military service[edit]

Witt joined a law firm in Waco in 1906 and later practiced with his brother, Charles F. Witt, beginning in 1912. He was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1914. In 1918, he was commissioned a Captain in the United States Army and was sent to Paris, France.

Political career[edit]

While Witt was abroad, a vacancy occurred in his home district, Texas Senate, District 11. In absentia, his name was entered as a candidate in the special election, and he won. He served in the Texas Senate until 1930.

Witt was elected Lieutenant Governor of Texas twice, in 1930 and 1932. He served under Governors Ross S. Sterling and Miriam A. "Ma" Ferguson, although Texas Lieutenant Governors do not run as a ticket with the Governor. He ran for Governor in 1934, but lost the Democratic Primary to James V. Allred.[3]

Chairman of the Mexican Claims Commission[edit]

He then resumed the practice of law in Waco. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed him chairman of the special Mexican Claims Commission. He served until 1938 and was appointed Chairman again in 1943. He held the post until 1947. President Harry S. Truman appointed him chief commissioner of the Indian Claims Commission, and Witt served as Chair of that Commission until his retirement in June 1960.

Witt remained an active member of the Democratic party throughout his life.

Death[edit]

Witt died in Austin on July 11, 1965, and was buried in the family plot in Oakwood Cemetery in Waco.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Three Men in Texas: Bedichek, Webb, and Dobie: Essays by Their Friends. Dugger, Ronnie. p.75.
  2. ^ Three Men in Texas: Bedichek, Webb, and Dobie: Essays by Their Friends. Dugger, Ronnie. p.75.
  3. ^ Edgar E. Witt from the Handbook of Texas Online
Political offices
Preceded by
William Harmann
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from District 96 (Waco)

1915–1917
Succeeded by
unknown
Preceded by
Augustus R. McCollum
Texas State Senator
from District 11 (Waco)

1920 - 1930
Succeeded by
John Davis
Preceded by
Barry Miller
Lieutenant Governor of Texas
1931–1935
Succeeded by
Walter Frank Woodul