James A. Elkins

James A. Elkins

James Anderson Elkins Sr. (1879 – 1972) was a Houston, Texas lawyer. He co-founded the law firm, Vinson and Elkins.

Born in Huntsville, Texas, his father was a former Walker County sheriff, but died when Elkins was just a boy. He was reared by his mother and attended public schools. He later attended the University of Texas, receiving his law degree in 1901. After this Elkins returned home to Huntsville, then served as county judge there from 1903 to 1905. Although serving as a judge for only a few years in the earlier part of his career, the title "Judge" remained synonymous with Elkins throughout his years practicing law and banking. He joined with his friend, William Ashton Vinson, to open up a law practice together in Houston - Vinson and Elkins. In 1924, Elkins ventured into the banking industry, opening the Guaranty Trust Co. The bank eventually grew into Houston’s largest — First City National Bank. Politically well connected, Elkins was one of the most powerful business leaders in Houston during the city’s most formative years. [http://www.houstonhistory.com/whoswho/history7hof.htm] Elkins was a fundraiser for the University of Houston, and served as a regent for the university as well [cite web |url=http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/EE/fel20.html |title=Elkins, James Anderson |publisher=Texas State Historical Association |work=Handbook of Texas Online |accessdate=2008-07-27]

Elkins was a regular attendee of the so-called Suite 8F Group (named after the room in the Lamar Hotel where gathering were held). This behind-the-scenes socialization amongst leading Texas politicians and businessman included the likes of Jesse Jones, Gus Wortham, James Abercrombie, George R. Brown, Herman Brown, Lyndon Johnson, Will Clayton, William P. Hobby, Oscar Holcombe, Hugh Roy Cullen, and John Connally.

During his life, Elkins accumulated a large fortune, which has kept his among Houston's most prominent and wealthy families.


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