Saturday, January 7, 2017

Shields Ivans Cornett (1893-1950)

Portrait from the Texas State Bar Journal, Vol. 6, 1950.

    Shields Ivans Cornett was for many years a leading citizen and attorney based in Linden, Cass County, Texas. In addition to practicing law he served Cass County as its County Judge and County Attorney, and in 1940 was elected as Linden's Mayor. Born on January 3, 1893 in Cornett, Texas, Shields Ivans Cornett was the son of George Thomas and Frances Holston Cornett. He would attend the public schools of Cornett and graduated from the local high school. In 1911 he married to Stella Vida Harrell (1895-1974), with whom he would have two children, Woodrow Wilson (1913-1994), and Frances (1918-2010).
   In the late 1910s, Cornett began reading law in his spare time and also worked at farming. Admitted to the Texas bar in 1925, Cornett quickly rose to the top of his profession in Cass County, and just one year after being admitted to practice was elected as Cass County Attorney, an office he would hold until resigning in 1931. For the next two years, he would practice law in Daingerfield, Texas and in 1932 was an unsuccessful candidate for Cass County Judge, being defeated by S.L. Henderson.
   Following his return to Linden in the early 1930s Shields I. Cornett continued with his practice and in the succeeding years established a reputation as one of that city's prominent public men, being a past president of the Linden Chamber of Commerce and a member of the board of stewards of the Linden Methodist Church. Returning to political life in the early 1940s, Cornett would serve as the chairman of the Cass County Democratic Committee for a decade and in 1940 won election as Mayor of Linden, serving until 1945
   During Cornett's tenure as Mayor of Linden, he pulled double duty, chairing the county's selective service board during WWII. In 1945 Cornett became Cass County Judge, and served on the bench for two terms, leaving office in 1949. He returned to private practice after leaving that judgeship and continued until his death at age 57 on March 21, 1950. The Texas Bar Journal notes that Cornett had suffered a heart attack and was later transferred to a hospital in Texarkana, Texas, where he subsequently died. Cornett was survived by his wife and two children and was later interred at the Linden Cemetery.

From the Citizens Journal, March 23, 1950.

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