Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Humboldt Hunter Cummins (1873-1961)

Portrait courtesy of the Legislative Library of Texas.

  Today marks a return to the Lonestar State to highlight the political doings of another oddly named Texas state legislator. Humboldt Hunter Cummins (nicknamed "Hum") was for over four decades a practicing attorney in Grayson County, Texas. Cummins would serve Grayson as its County Attorney for four years and later served a term in his state's house of representatives.
  Born in Denison, Texas on March 12, 1873, Humboldt Hunter Cummins was one of several children born to James Hunter (a former Judge) and Helen Morrison Cummins. "Hum" Cummins would attend the public schools of Grayson County and in the early 1890s began the study of law at the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a member of the school's baseball and football teams. He earned his bachelor of laws degree in the class of 1894 and shortly after his graduation returned to Denison to establish a law practice.
  Cummins first entered Denison political life at the age of just 24,  being elected as Denison City Attorney. He would serve in that post until 1902 and two years later was named as assistant county attorney for Grayson County. In September 1904 Cummins married in Denison to Nellie Moore (1874-1959), to whom he was wed for over fifty years. The couple would remain childless through the entirety of their marriage.
  After several years away from elective office in his native county "Hum" Cummins was elected as Grayson County Attorney, a post he would continue to hold for four years. An ardent Democrat, Cummins is remarked by the "History of Texas and Texans" as having been "one of the influential party men of his section", and continued his political ascent in 1920 when he was elected as one of three representatives from Grayson County to the Texas state legislature.

"Hum" Cummins, from the History of Texas and Texas, 1914.

   Taking his seat at the start of the 1921-23 session, Cummins proved to be busy as a freshman representative, serving on a total of six committees during his term, those being: Banks and Banking, Constitutional Amendments, Insurance, Judiciary, and Oil, Gas and Mining. Cummins' time in the state house also saw him sit on the "Neinast Investigating" committee, responsible for examining evidence related to the contested election of Washington County representative Henry J. Neinast. 
  Following his brief time in state government, Cummins returned to his law practice in Denison. A longstanding member of the local Elks Lodge, Cummins was also a member of the Grayson County Chamber of Commerce as well as a charter member of the Denison Lions Club. Widowed in 1959, Humboldt Hunter Cummins died in Denison on October 3, 1961 at age 88. Both he and his wife were interred at the Fairview Cemetery in Denison, Texas.

Humboldt H. Cummins, from the October 1961 Texas State Bar Journal.

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