Friday, January 6, 2017

Elzo Francis Been (1883-1970)

From the Abilene Reporter News, Sept. 20, 1964.

   It's just a few days into the new year and the Lonestar State yields yet another interestingly named public official, Judge Elzo Francis Been of Eastland County. A practicing attorney for over fifty years, Been migrated to Texas at a young age and after being admitted to the state bar built up a substantial law practice in Eastland. A holder of several local offices in the 1910s and 20s, Been was elected as Judge for Texas' 88th Judicial district in 1924, and over two decades later briefly served as Eastland County Attorney.
   The son of Zachariah Huston and Julia Ann (Ownby) Been, Elzo Francis Been was born in Greenwood, Arkansas on November 9, 1883. Relocating to Texas at an early age, Been would attend school in the town of Gorman and began his college education at the Howard Payne College at Brownwood, Texas. Been earned his bachelor of laws degree from the Cumberland University Law School in the class of 1913 and in the following year married to Fannie Pearl Cannon (1888-1979). The couple were wed for fifty-five years and their union would see the births of two children, Truett Elzo (1915-2003) and Ruby Nell (1920-2011).
   Following his admittance to the Texas bar Elzo Been briefly practiced law in the town of Rising Sun, residing there from 1913-14. in 1915 he removed to Eastland County, where he would reside for the remainder of his life. After building up his law practice in that county he began to dabble in local politics, serving as a deputy tax collector and county clerk, holding the latter office from 1915-17. Been would later advance to the post of Eastland County Attorney, and from 1923 to 1924 was assistant county attorney. 
  In 1924 Elzo Been was elected as Judge for Texas' 88th Judicial district and served eight years on the bench. He retired from the bench in 1932, citing a distaste for the office, as well as noting that he "worried too much about other people's problems--whether or not I had made the right decision in a case." 
  After leaving the bench Been continued with his law practice and built up a large farm in Long Branch, where he would raise cattle. He returned to political life in 1950 when he agreed to serve as Eastland County Attorney for a term of one year, filling a vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Nathan E. Gresham. Been retired from that post in December 1951 and returned to private practice. He died in Elgin, Texas on September 24, 1970 at age 86 and was survived by his wife Fannie and two children. Following her death in 1979 Fannie Been was interred alongside her husband at the Murray Memorial Cemetery in Carbon, Texas.

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