John Marvin Jones

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John Marvin Jones,c. 1920

Judge John Marvin Jones (February 26, 1882[1] – March 4, 1976) was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Texas and Chief Judge of the federal Court of Claims.


Marvin Jones was born to Horace King and Theodocia (Hawkins) Jones on a cotton farm in Cooke County, Texas near the town of Valley View, Texas. His sister Metze was married briefly to the legendary Sam Rayburn.

By the age of 17, he was a teacher in a one-room school, and worked his way through Southwestern University, earning himself a Ph.B. He earned an LL.B. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1907.

He moved to Amarillo, Texas to practice law and after an energetic campaign was elected as a member of the Democratic Party to the 65th United States Congress, handily defeating a 20-year incumbent, John H. Stephens. Jones served Texas's 13th congressional district for 24 years. His vote for the declaration of war against Germany was his first vote as a freshman congressman. He thereupon enlisted as a private in the United States Army in 1918, but hostilities ceased before he was sent overseas.

He became chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture in 1931, and as such promoted legislative efforts by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to create a "New Deal" for American agriculture. He introduced, sponsored or supported the Agricultural Adjustment Act, the Farm Credit Administration Act, and several other laws intended to support farmers.

Jones was nominated by President Roosevelt to be an associate judge of the United States Court of Claims on April 9, 1940. Jones was given a leave of absence from the court during World War II to serve on various boards and committees at the request of the President. Following the war and Jones's return to the court, President Harry S. Truman nominated him to be Chief Justice of the Court of Claims in 1947. The use of the title of Chief Justice was ended by Congress for all federal courts other than the Supreme Court, so Jones continued as Chief Judge until his retirement in 1964. He was replaced in that role by his friend and fellow Texan, Judge Wilson Cowen. Jones continued to serve as a senior judge. He died and is buried in Amarillo.

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed a bill naming Amarillo's federal court building the J. Marvin Jones Federal Building.[2]


  1. ^ Thompson, Bette (February 13, 1976). "Amarillo Profiles". Amarillo Globe-Times. p. 37. Now, preparing to celebrate his 94th birthday on Feb. 26, fragile health confines [Jones] to the area which was ever present in his mind while he bent his efforts for its people." 
  2. ^ Raynor, Jessica. "Judge Marvin Jones." Amarillo Globe-News. Accessed on August 9, 2006.

Bibliography and references[edit]

  • The United States Court of Claims : a history / pt. 1. The judges, 1855-1976 / by Marion T. Bennett / pt. 2. Origin, development, jurisdiction, 1855-1978 / W. Cowen, P. Nichols, M.T. Bennett. Washington, D.C.: Committee on the Bicentennial of Independence and the Constitution of the Judicial Conference of the United States. 1976. 
  • May, Irvin M. (1980). Marvin Jones, the public life of an agrarian advocate. College Station: Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 978-1-58544-029-0. 
  • Jones, Marvin (1973). Memoirs; 1917-1973, fifty-six years of continuing service in all three branches of the Federal Government. Edited and annotated by Joseph M. Ray. El Paso: Texas Western Press. 

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
John H. Stephens
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 13th congressional district

March 4, 1917 – March 3, 1919
Succeeded by
Lucian W. Parrish
Preceded by
District created
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 18th congressional district

March 4, 1919 – November 20, 1940
Succeeded by
District inactive
Political offices
Preceded by
Gilbert N. Haugen
Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee
Succeeded by
Hampton P. Fulmer