Judge John Marvin Jones
                                           (1882 - 1976)

Perhaps Valley Views greatest bid for distinction is the success of native son Judge John Marvin Jones
who was born in Valley View on February 26, 1882.  He was the son of Horace and Theodocia
HAWKINS Jones.  He attended Elm Grove School and a public school in Miami, Texas, before
graduating from Southwestern University with a B. A. in 1905 and the University of Texas with an LL.B.
in 1908. He completed the three-year course in two years and in 1908 opened a law firm with his
brother Delbert in Amarillo.

He then practiced law in Amarillo with Leonidas Barrett and Ernest Miller until defeating John Hall
Stephens in the election of 1916 for a United States congressional seat.  He represented the Thirteenth
District as a Democrat.  As a protégé of John Nance Garner and close friend of Samuel T. Rayburn
and Hatton W. Sumners, Jones became a member of the House Agriculture Committee in 1921.  He
became chairman in 1930 and remained in that post until he resigned ten years later to become an
associate justice of the United States Court of Claims.  In agricultural legislation Jones generally
specialized in farm finance that cut across commodity interests.  He wanted low interest loans and
mortgages, soil conservation, farm subsidies, agricultural research, and new markets for farm products.  
As a result he helped found the Farm Credit Administration and the Federal Farm Mortgage
Corporation.  Additionally, he played important roles in the Jones-Connally Act; the Soil Conservation
and Domestic Allotment Act; Section 32 of the Agricultural Adjustments Act of 1935, the first
guaranteed annual appropriation for agriculture in United States history; the Bankhead-Jones Farm
Tenancy Act; and the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938.  During the Great Depression Jones ardently
supported the construction of public buildings and urged the location of federal agencies in Amarillo.  As
a practical politician he supervised the passage of more significant agricultural legislation than any
previous House agriculture chairman.
Before he quit Congress, Jones accumulated 13 pens with which three presidents - Coolidge, Hoover,
and Roosevelt - had signed into law the bills he had written.
After 1940 Jones served on the United States Court of Claims.  He took leave of absence (request
of President Roosevelt) from June 29, 1943 to June 30, 1945, and during these two years he
brought stability to the strife-torn War Food Administration by leadership that was principled and
centered on public service rather than bureaucratic.  He championed increased production of food
and fibers, and the WFA, aided by favorable weather, was reasonably successful in meeting its
production goals during World War II.

After the war he returned to the court and President Harry S. Truman nominated him to be Chief
Justice of the Court of Claims in 1947.  He served in that capacity until 1964.  In his opinions he
refrained from judicial activism and tried to balance law, congressional intent, and his own concept of
quality, which was deeply rooted in his Texas heritage.  As a judicial administrator he helped
reestablish the Court of Claims as a constitutional court and supervised the construction of a new
He secured the Veterans Administration Hospital for Amarillo and was instrumental in establishing the
Helium Plant near Soncy Road, and a Small Lakes program for the western states. Lake Marvin near
Canadian was named for him.  From 1964 until his death he served as senior judge.

In 1966, Jones was named the "Sugar Man of the Year" by sugar industry leaders in Washington,
D.C.  In 1971, Jones fell ill and after that spent most of his time in Amarillo, penning his memoirs in
1973. He was honored by the International Christian Leadership as a "minister of justice in the spirit of

After his death in 1976, two congressmen presented a joint eulogy on the floor of the House of
Representatives. In 1980, President Carter signed a bill naming Amarillo's federal court building after

Jones was a devout Methodist who contributed generously to religious causes and provided
scholarships at many Texas universities.  He died in Amarillo on March 4, 1976 and is buried in Llano
Cemetery, Amarillo, Potter County.

Judge Jones made many contributions over his lifetime to the Valley View United Methodist Church of
which his parents were founding members.  Fluorescent lights were installed in the church in 1941
because of a generous gift from Marvin Jones that was in honor of his mother.  Then in 1942 he gave
the beautiful pulpit and chairs that are still in use today.

An interesting event that happened in Valley View was the marriage of Sam Rayburn, Mr. Sam, the
long time speaker of the United States House of Representatives to
Metze Jones, the sister of his good
friend Marvin Jones.
The marriage took place in the United Methodist Church in Valley View in
1927.  The marriage lasted less than three months.  Mr. Sam, remained unmarried thereafter   Metze
Jones would later marry Jeff Neely and they made their home in Amarillo.  Metze Jones Neely died on
October 10, 1982.
Marvin Jones with President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Chief Judge John Marvin Jones
Story created by;
Norman L. Newton
January 9, 2008
Revised: 2/23/2011

Primary Sources used;

History of the Valley View United Methodist Church

Handbook of Texas Online

Online Encyclopedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Marvin_Jonesones Federal Building

History Makers of the High Plains

Jones, Marvin. Marvin Jones Memoirs 1917-1973: Fifty Years of Continuing Service in all Three Branches
of the Federal Government . Edited and annotated by Joseph M. Ray. El Paso: Texas Western University
Press, 1973; May, Irvin M. Marvin Jones: The Public Life of an Agrarian Advocate . College Station: Texas
A.&M. University Press, 1980.
Jones, Marvin. Marvin Jones Memoirs 1917-1973: Fifty Years of Continuing Service in all Three Branches
of the Federal Government. Edited and annotated by Joseph M. Ray. El Paso: Texas Western University
Press, 1973.

May, Irvin M. “Marvin Jones: Agrarian and Politician.� Agricultural History 51 (April 1977): 421-40.

—-. Marvin Jones: The Public Life of an Agrarian Advocate. College Station: Texas A&M University
Press, 1980.

—-. “Marvin Jones: Representative Of and For the Panhandle.� West Texas Historical Association
Year Book 52 (1976): 91-104.

Women’s History Month (WHM) - March, 2007

Death Certificate: FamilySearch Record Search
This old post office sits just north of
the Potter County Courthouse. It
today acts as just a Federal
Courthouse. It was built in 1938
with the designs of architect Wyatt
C. Hedrick;
it was renamed the J.
Marvin Jones Federal Building in
Oprah vs. the Cattlemen. Winfrey probably received the most press in the 1990s when she became
embroiled in a lawsuit with Texas cattlemen. In an April 1996 show about dangerous foods, vegetarian
activist Howard Lyman explained that feeding ground-up animal parts to cattle could spread mad cow
disease in the United States. Winfrey exclaimed that the information stopped her from eating another
burger. Cattlemen in Texas, led by Amarillo rancher Paul Engler, alleged that the broadcast caused the
cattle industry to lose millions of dollars in the beef futures market. Engler and six other plaintiffs brought
suit under Texas's False Disparagement of Perishable Foods Products law. The suit claimed that Winfrey
knew the information presented on the show was false and misleading. The case was to be the most
significant test of so-called "veggie libel" laws to date, but U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson ruled
that the case would not proceed under the "veggie libel" law, but would be tried as a business
disparagement case. In this instance, then, cattlemen had to prove that Winfrey maliciously and
intentionally sought to harm the beef industry. Attorneys for the cattle men argued that Winfrey had
knowingly produced a show that was unfairly biased against the beef industry. Winfrey's attorney
countered that the case was actually about the First Amendment. On 26 February 1998 the jury decided
the case in favor of Winfrey, determining that the statements did not constitute libel. After the verdict,
Winfrey exclaimed, "Free speech not only lives, it rocks!"
Off the primary subject and speaking of this courthouse - A very high profile trial conducted in Amarillo
at the J. Marvin Jones Federal Building in recent memory is the
Oprah vs. the Catlemen.   The following
will be a excert that I have taken from an article when Oprah was the winner of the Women's History
Month (WHM) - March, 2007.
Reference: Link to Judge Jones Death Certificate
Photo: John Marvin Jones abt. 1920
Photo abt. 1940;

This is my favorite picture that I have of
him.  NLN