Saturday, July 7, 2012

Brownrigg Hefferron Dewey Jr. (1917-1992)

    Outstandingly named Texas state representative Brownrigg Hefferron Dewey Jr. is proof that oddly named political figures weren't just confined to the 19th and early 20th centuries. Nicknamed "Browny", Mr. Dewey served a decade in the Texas legislature, representing Brazos County from 1953-1963. Finding information on B.H. Dewey (as some sources refer to him) has proven to be quite difficult, and, when one considers that he died in fairly recent times, the distinct lack of biographical information on him comes as quite the suprise!
    B.H. Dewey was born on December 16, 1917 in Wilmington, North Carolina, being one of three children born to Brownrigg H. Dewey Sr (1892-1980) and Esther Dewey. Some time following their son's birth the Dewey family removed to Texas, where "B.H." attended Texas A & M University. He was later a graduate of the University of Texas Law School and was admitted to the state bar in 1941. 
   A veteran of WWII, Dewey served in the U.S. Army and following his service returned to Brazos County to practice law. The Big Spring Daily Herald gives note that Dewey served as the secretary-treasurer of the Brazos County Democratic Executive Committee for a number of years and later made two unsuccessful attempts for a seat on the Bryan city council. Dewey was also an alternate delegate to the 1948 Democratic National Convention from Texas. He was first elected to the Texas State House of Representatives in November 1952 and is mentioned by the Herald as defeating four opponents in his bid for a legislative seat.
    After taking his seat in January 1953, Dewey was named to the following House committees: Appropriations, Congressional and Legislative Districts, Conservation and Reclamation, Privileges, Suffrage and Elections, and lastly, Public Printing. Dewey was reelected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1955, 1957, 1959 and 1961, and during his final term was appointed to the Executive Board of the Southern Regional Education Board. A brief write up on this appointment was featured in the 1962 edition of The Alcalde and is posted below.

   In addition to the aforementioned appointment, B.H. Dewey also was selected as the President of the Brazos County Bar Association in 1961, although no source could be found that details how long he served in that post. He continued to be a very busy man during his later legislative terms, holding the chairmanship of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, the Committee on Examination of Comptroller's and Treasurers Accounts, and Representation Before the Legislature. Dewey's last term in the legislature concluded in January 1963 and he chose not to run for a sixth term. Dewey was dubbed the "Bull of the Brazos" during his tenure in the legislature and in regards to his odd name, he was recorded as saying "Call me B.H., nobody knows about Hefferron."
   A few years following the conclusion of his time in state government  Dewey was elected as Justice of the Peace for Precinct 4 of Bryan, Texas, and he is noted in a 1991 Bryan Eagle newspaper as holding this post for nearly 27 years! Other than the preceding information, little else could be found that gives note to Dewey's life and political career. The Texas Legislative Reference Library's website (where the above picture of him was found) lists Brownrigg Hefferron Dewey Jr as dying on November 18, 1992 at age 74. A lifelong bachelor, a burial location for Dewey remains unknown at this time.

B.H. Dewey, from the May 1994 Texas Bar Journal.

                                                                   YOU CAN HELP!
   Although a portrait of him has been located, along with other facts on his service in the Texas legislature, many other aspects of Brownrigg H. Dewey's life remain a mystery! With that out of the way, it's time for one of my famous "You Can Help" segments, and in the case of Mr. Dewey, it is sorely needed! I am currently in the process of trying to find more information on the life of this interestingly named man, and if any readers, lurkers, descendants or amateur historians have any time on their hands and want an interesting project to fill your time with, see what you can find in terms of information on this oddly named politician! I'd appreciate anything and everything you might be able to dig up on this uniquely named Texas resident. As there is next to nothing available online regarding Mr. Dewey, my hope is that someone out there knows more about him than what is already stated in his article here!

1 comment:

  1. If I am not mistaken, Judge Dewey married my late husband and I at the Brazos County Courthouse in his office. He was a strange but nice man....he told us both...I now pronounce you man and wife, where's my $20 bucks? That is what he charged us to marry us....Sincerely, Karen Schrimsher, Alabama