James Dewitt Bruton, Jr

Citation
James Dewitt Bruton, Jr

Material Information

Title:
James Dewitt Bruton, Jr squire from Plant City (1908-1995)
Creator:
Buck, Morison
Place of Publication:
[Tampa, Fla
Publisher:
Morison Buck
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 online resource (4 p.) : ill. ;

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Judges -- Biography -- Florida -- Hillsborough County ( lcsh )

Notes

Original Version:
Originally published as part of the "Chips off the Old Bench" column: [Tampa, Fla.] : Hillsborough County, May 1999, Lawyer under title:
General Note:
Title from caption.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
B28-00008 ( USFLDC DOI )
b28.8 ( USFLDC Handle )
NEW

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Book

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PAGE 1

Jam e s D e w i t t B r u t on Jr S q u i r e f r om P l an t C i t y ( 1908 1995) 1908 w a s a ba nne r ye a r f or A m e r i c a a nd, i nde e d, f or t he r e s t of t he c i vi l i z e d w o r l d. H e nr y F or d pr oduc e d a nd m a r ke t e d t he f i r s t M ode l T F or d ( i t s ol d f or $75 0) t he B oy S c out m ove m e nt w a s f ounde d, a nd G e ne r a l M ot or s C or por a t i on w a s bor n. T he r e w a s a not he r b i r t h t ha t ye a r i n a s m a l l t ow n i n t he O z a r ks w i t hout w hi c h H i l l s bor ough C ount y w oul d ha ve be e n de pr i ve d of one of i t s m os t c ol or f ul pe r s ona l i t i e s J a s D B r ut on, J r ( he a l w a ys us e d t he a bbr e vi a t e d ve r s i on of hi s gi ve n na m e ) w a s not onl y a huge l y s uc c e s s f ul l a w ye r pr os e c ut or l e g i s l a t or a nd s hr e w d i nve s t or he a c hi e ve d j udge s hi ps a t t hr e e di f f e r e nt l e ve l s i n H i l l s bor ough C ount y; P l a nt C i t y M uni c i pa l C our t C ount y C our t a nd C i r c ui t C our t B r ut on ul t i m a t e l y be c a m e a t ypi c a l l y e nt hus i a s t i c G a t or but he c oul d j us t a s e a s i l y ha ve gr ow n i nt o a R a z or ba c k f a n. H e be ga n l i f e i n M a ga z i ne A r ka ns a s j us t dow n t he r oa d f r om F o r t S m i t h, a nd a t t he f oot of M a ga z i ne M ount a i n, hi ghe s t e l e va t i on i n t he s t a t e ( 2753 f e e t ) T he 1998 de m og r a phi c r e c or d l i s t s M a ga z i ne a s hom e t o 825 s oul s I t i s be s t know n c ur r e nt l y a s t he r e s i de nc e of a m a n w h os e na m e i s f a m i l i a r t o gol f e r s J a c k F l e c k, w ho t r ounc e d B e n H oga n i n a pl a yof f f r om t he 1955 U S O pe n t i t l e E s pe c i a l l y dur i ng t he 1700s a nd 1800s i n t hi s c oun t r y, t he t e r m Squi r e w a s a c our t e s y t i t l e e xt e nde d t o l oc a l j udge s i n r ur a l c om m uni t i e s t o s i gni f y t he i r e l e va t e d s oc i a l s t a ndi ng. I n B r i t a i n, w he r e t he t e r m o r i gi na t e d, a s qui r e w a s a hi gh t one d c ount r y ge nt l e m a n, t he c hi e f pe r s ona ge a nd us ua l l y t he l a r ge s t l a nd ow ne r i n t he vi l l a ge T ha t de s i gna t i on s e e m s t o f i t J a s D B r ut on, J r a s c om f or t a bl y a s hi s H om bur g A l w a ys na t t i l y a nd di s t i nc t i ve l y ve s t ur e d du r i ng hi s a c t i ve c a r e e r hi s t a s t e r a n t o doubl e br e a s t e d s ui t w i t h ve s t A ny c ol or w a s f i ne a s l ong a s i t w a s bl a c k. O ut door s he w a s ne ve r s e e n w i t hout t he H om bur g w i t h t uf t s o f hi s gr e y ha i r pe e ki ng out f r om unde r hi s e xpe ns i ve ha t A nd t o c om pl e t e t he p i c t ur e t he r e w oul d be t he i ne vi t a bl e c i ga r c l ut c he d i n hi s r i g h t ha nd, w hi c h w a s m i s s i ng ha l f of t he i nde x f i nge r due t o a c ondi t i on hi s ni e c e de s c r i be d t o m e a s a f e l on. B r ut on's f a m i l y c ons i s t i ng of t he pa r e nt s a nd ni ne c hi l dr e n s e t t l e d i n P l a nt C i t y a bout t he t i m e W or l d W a r I w a s w i ndi ng dow n. H e l i ve d t he r e t he r e s t of hi s l i f e H e a nd hi s w i f e Q ui nt i l l a ( unt i l he r de a t h i n 1989) m a i nt a i ne d a c om f or t a bl e but m ode s t l i f e s t yl e w i t h no di s pl a y o f t he t r a ppi ngs of w e a l t h. T he c ou pl e ne ve r h a d c hi l d r e n, bu t pe r ha ps t o c om pe ns a t e f or t ha t c i r c um s t a nc e a nd, a s hi s l a w y e r R obe r t T r i nkl e E s q. quo t e d hi m W e w a nt e d t o m a ke a di f f e r e nc e i n t he l i ve s of ne e dy, de s e r vi ng youngs t e r s s o he pa i d

PAGE 2

t he c os t s of c ol l e ge f o r a l a r ge num be r of t he c hi l d r e n of ot he r s i n t he P l a nt C i t y a r e a B r ut on t ook hi s unde r gr a dua t e a nd l a w de gr e e s a t t he U ni ve r s i t y i n G a i ne s vi l l e ope ne d s hop i n P l a nt C i t y a nd p r a c t i c e d l a w e ne r g e t i c a l l y a nd c ont i nuous l y a f t e r 1931 f or t he ne xt t hi r t y ye a r s H e s a m pl e d j us t a bout e ve r y oppor t uni t y t ha t c a m e hi s w a y a s a s m a l l t ow n, a m bi t i ous l a w ye r A l ook a t t he M a r t i nda l e H ubbe l di r e c t or y ove r t he ye a r s s t a r t i ng i n 1933 pr ovi de s a p r e t t y good i ndi c a t or of hi s pr ogr e s s i ve l y e nha nc e d r i s e bo t h pr of e s s i ona l l y a nd f i na nc i a l l y. I n 1933 he w a s gi ve n a s i m pl e v" r a t i ng w i t h a n e s t i m a t e d w or t h of l e s s t ha n $1000. B y 1937 he w a s l i s t e d a s a t t or ne y f or S e a boa r d R a i l r oa d a nd T a m pa E l e c t r i c C o w i t h ne t w or t h of f r om $10 M t o 20M I n 1943, he w a s s how n a s M uni c i pa l J udge w i t h no i nc r e a s e i n hi s ne t w or t h, but i n 1950 he w a s de s i gna t e d w i t h t he a v" r a t i ng, a ne t w o r t h o f ove r $100, 000 a nd r e pr e s e nt a t i ve c l i e nt s i nc l ude d t he t w o m e nt i one d a bove pl us F e de r a l L a nd B a nk of C ol um bi a a nd B r e ye r I c e C r e a m C o. H e s uc c e e de d i n w i nni ng a s e a t i n t he F l or i da H ou s e of R e pr e s e nt a t i ve i n 1935 but e vi de nt l y ha d no f ur t he r a m bi t i ons a l ong t hos e l i ne s T he p r e vi ous ye a r he s e r ve d a s A s s i s t a nt C ount y S ol i c i t or i n t he C r i m i na l C our t o f R e c or d. H i s obj e c t i ve s a ppe a r t o ha ve be e n t o bui l d h i s l a w pr a c t i c e w hi c h he de c i de dl y e nj oye d. H e w a s a c t i ve i n t he A m e r i c a n B a r A s s oc i a t i on, a nd w a s a ke y m e m be r of a gr oup of i n f l ue nt i a l l a w ye r s w hi c h f or m ul a t e d pl a ns w hi c h l a t e r l e d t o c r e a t i on of T he F l or i da B a r C he s t e r f i e l d S m i t h f or m e r A B A P r e s i de nt c a l l e d hi s w or k, A m onu m e nt a l c ont r i but i on t o t he l e ga l pr of e s s i on. T he hi s t or y o f B r ut on's p r of e s s i ona l l i f e a nd hi s a c c om pl i s h m e nt s a s a l a w ye r a nd j udge a nd a l s o hi s ge ne r os i t y w i t h hi s m one y t o i n s t i t ut i ons he be l i e ve d i n, a r e w e l l c hr oni c l e d i n s t or i e s ove r t he l a s t 10 12 ye a r s o f hi s l i f e I n t he f a l l of 1991 i s s ue of t he U ni ve r s i t y of F l or i da L a w ye r m a ga z i ne t he r e i s a c om pr e he ns i ve or a l hi s t or y o f J udge B r ut on put t oge t he r by D e ni s e S t obb i e T he l a r ge s s of J udge a nd M r s B r ut on t o t he U ni ve r s i t y of F l or i da l e d t o t he de di c a t i on of B r ut o n G e e r H a l l i n 1984 a nd i n 1988 t he U ni ve r s i t y pr e s e nt e d hi m w i t h i t s D i s t i ngui s he d A l um nus A w a r d. B ot h B r u t ons ha d a ke e n a ppr e c i a t i on of t he va l ue of books a nd l i br a r i e s M r s B r ut on, f o r m e r l y Q ui nt i l l a G e e r s e r ve d f a i t h f ul l y a nd w e l l on t he H i l l s bor oug h C ount y L i b r a r y B oa r d A f t e r t he de a t h of hi s w i f e i n 19 89 B r ut on ga ve ove r a pe r i o d of t i m e s e ve r a l hundr e d t hous a nd dol l a r s t o w ha t be c a m e know n a s B r ut on M e m or i a l L i b r a r y i n P l a nt C i t y. N ot f a r f r om hi s hom e ba s e he e s t a bl i s he d B r ut on's A udubon A c r e s B i r d S a nc t ua r y a nd N a t ur e P r e s e r ve on 45 a c r e s o f l a nd P e r i od i c a l l y he w oul d t our a l l ove r t he pr e s e r ve d a r e a i n hi s 1952 W i l l ys J e e p t ha t a nd hi s a i r boa t he c a l l e d hi s t oys T he J udge 's ni e c e G r a c e B r ut on K e l l y, a l i f e l ong r e s i de nt of t he a r e a r e l a t e s t ha t he r unc l e w a s e s s e nt i a l l y a l one r ; not a r e c l us i ve m a n, but one w ho w a nt e d t o be d i f f e r e nt F or e xa m pl e s he s ugge s t s t ha t hi s A be L i nc ol n" h a i r c ut a nd l ong s i de bur ns a r e e vi de nc e of hi s i di os ync r a s y. O ne ge t s t he i m pr e s s i on t ha t J a s D B r ut on J r s e t out e a r l y i n hi s c a r e e r t o c r e a t e a n i m a ge w hi c h w oul d c l e a r l y di s t i ngui s h hi m f r om hi s c ont e m po r a r i e s S a i d N e t t l e D r a ughon t he n C i t y M a na ge r of P l a nt C i t y, upon l e a r ni ng of hi s de a t h r e por t e dl y s a i d, T he r e ha s ne ve r be e n a nyone qui t e l i ke J udge B r ut on, a nd I gue s s t he r e ne ve r w i l l be a ga i n. R a l ph W a l do E m e r s on m us t ha ve ha d s om e one l i ke B r ut on i n m i nd w he n he s a i d, W hos oe ve r w oul d be a m a n m us t b e a nonc onf or m i s t H e l i ke d t o d r i ve a l uxur y a ut om ob i l e pr oudl y de c l a r i ng on one oc c a s i on t ha t he ha d ow ne d 23 C a di l l a c s a nd pa i d c a s h f or a l l o f t he m A f t e r he w e nt on t he be nc h, be i ng f i r s t

PAGE 3

a ppoi nt e d t o t he C ount y C our t i n 1961 by G ov. F a r r i s B r ya nt t he n e l e va t e d t o C i r c ui t C our t i n 1964 he ha d t he pol i t i c a l a s t ut e ne s s t o m a ke c a l l s on l a w of f i c e s a nd on ot he r publ i c of f i c i a l s du r i ng t he pr e C hr i s t m a s hol i da ys w he n i t w a s oppor t une t o t a ke a f e w hour s or da ys of f A c c or di ng t o s e ve r a l j udi c i a l a s s i s t a nt s w ho kne w hi m a l l s a ve one r e que s t i ng a nonym i t y, B r ut on ha d a t w i nkl i ng e ye f or t he l a di e s L oi s W a l s h, a s a vvy, s pi r i t e d P hi l a de l phi a n w hos e w i t a nd pe r s ona l i t y a r e r e m i n i s c e nt of R os a l i nd R us s e l l i n he r pr i m e w a s a s s i s t a nt t o J udge V e r non W E va ns J r a nd be f o r e hi m t he l a t e J udge R oge r D F l ynn S he l a ughi ngl y r e c a l l s t ha t dur i ng P l a nt C i t y's S t r a w be r r y F e s t i va l J udge B r ut on m a de s ur e t ha t m a ny of t he j ud i c i a l s t a f f e r s i n t he T a m pa c our t hous e got a s t i c ky ba c k, e m br oi de r e d s t r a w be r r y e m bl e m H e w a nt e d a s s ur a nc e no doubt t ha t i t w oul d be w or n s o he w oul d ge nt l y but f i r m l y a f f i x t he s i m ul a t e d s t r a w be r r y on t he r e c i pi e nt 's c he s t O ne of he r c ol l e a gu e s t ol d L oi s one da y W e l l B r ut on got m e a ga i n. F u r t he r a f f i a nt s a ye t h not J udge B r ut on w a s a n e nt e r t a i ni ng s pe a ke r A bout t hr e e ye a r s a f t e r he w a s a ppoi nt e d t o C ount y C our t t he w r i t e r i nvi t e d hi m t o s pe a k a t a l unc he on s pons or e d by F l o r i da C ounc i l of B a r A s s oc i a t i on P r e s i de nt s T he s ubj e c t of hi s t a l k w a s S t uf f a nd T hi ngs L i ke T ha t T he r e O ne m e m o r a bl e s ni ppe t of s t uf f w a s hi s r e m a r k t ha t t he f e m a l e e l e pha nt i s t he onl y f ou r l e gge d m a m m a l w i t h m a m m a r y gl a n ds be t w e e n t he f or e l e gs r a t he r t ha n a t t he hi nd qua r t e r s e vi de nt l y na t ur e 's w a y o f e na bl i ng m a m a e l e pha nt t o be t t e r c ont r ol he r nur s i ng c a l f F r om t hi s s c r i be 's ow n e xpe r i e nc e w i t h J udge B r ut on i n a f i r s t de g r e e m ur de r t r a i l he l d i n C our t r oom O ne he ha d a pe nc ha nt of t a ki n g ove r t he e xa m i na t i on of w i t ne s s e s H e w a s a be l i e ve r i n e qua l oppor t uni t y s o bot h s i de s ha d t ha t us ua l l y di s t r a c t i ng e xpe r i e nc e D on B uc ha na n, w ho i s i n c ha r ge of t he C l e r k of C i r c ui t C our t 's E v i de nc e D e pa r t m e nt ha s s om e s t o r i e s c onc e r ni ng hi s e xpe r i e nc e w hi l e s e r vi ng a s h i s j ur y t r i a l c l e r k. I r e m e m be r be i ng t he D e put y C l e r k a s s i gne d t o J udge B r ut on's c our t on a W e dne s da y i n t he e a r l y 70s H i s H onor e nj oye d c or ne d be e f a nd c a bba ge a nd t he o l d T r i bune G r i l l o f f e r e d t hi s di s h a s t he i r s pe c i a l on W e dne s da y s H e i nvi t e d m e t o j oi n hi m f or l unc h t hi s pa r t i c ul a r da y, a nd c onf i de d t o m e t h a t hi s j udge 's s a l a r y, w hi c h w a s a bi t ove r $38, 000 a ye a r a t t ha t t i m e di d not e ve n c ove r hi s i nc om e t a x S i nc e t he C l e r k of t he C our t w a s pa yi ng m e l e s s t ha n $125 a w e e k, he r e c e i ve d ve r y l i t t l e s ym pa t hy" H e ha d a M i da s t ouc h w he n i t c a m e t o m a ki ng m o ne y f r om pr ude nt i nve s t m e nt s i n s t oc ks a nd l a nd. A t de a t h t he e s t i m a t e d va l ue of hi s e s t a t e w a s $4 M i l l i on dol l a r s T he i nve nt or y w a s pl a c e d unde r s e a l a nd i s not ope n t o i ns pe c t i on w i t hout C our t o r de r S uf f i c e i t t o s a y t ha t t he m a j o r be ne f i c i a r i e s w ho s ha r e d e qua l l y i n t he bul k of t he e s t a t e w e r e : F l or i da U ni t e d C hi l dr e n's H om e i n D e l t ona F i r s t U ni t e d M e t hodi s t C hur c h o f P l a nt C i t y, a nd C hi l dr e n's H om e I nc i n T a m pa T ha t ol d c ur m udge on, H L M e nc ke n, s a i d, I go on w or ki ng f or t he s a m e r e a s on t ha t a he n goe s on l a yi ng e ggs B e t t e r w o r t h r e m e m be r i ng i s t he ph i l os ophy of J D B ur t on, a t r ul y unf or ge t t a bl e c ha r a c t e r w ho c i t e d t he f ol l ow i ng quo t e on hi s pl a que i n B r ut on G e e r H a l l i n G a i ne s vi l l e t ha t ha r d w or k a nd hone s t y pa ys H i s f a t he r p r e a c he d t ha t t o hi s c hi l d r e n, s a i d B r ut on, t e a c hi ng t ha t i f yo u s pe nd l e s s t ha n you e a r n, you'l l ne ve r ha ve f i na nc i a l t r oubl e M or i s on B uc k A f t e r w or d:

PAGE 4

W ha t a pl a c e t o be i n i s a n ol d l i b r a r y! I t s e e m s a s i f a l l t he s oul s of a l l t he w r i t e r s t ha t be que a t he d t he i r l a bor s t o t he s e B odl e i a ns w e r e r e pos i ng he r e a s i n s om e dor m i t or y o r m i ddl e s t a t e I do no t w a nt t o ha ndl e t o p r of a ne t h e l e a ve s t he i r w i ndi ng s he e t s I c oul d a s s oon di s l odge a s ha de I s e e m t o i nha l e l e a r ni ng w a l ki ng a m i d t he i r f ol i a ge : A nd t he odor of t he i r ol d m ot h s c e nt e d c ove r i ngs i s f r a g r a nt a s t he f i r s t bl oom of t he s e s c i e nt i a l a ppl e s w hi c h gr e w a m i d t he ha ppy or c ha r d C har l e s L am b


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APA

Cras ut cursus ante, a fringilla nunc. Mauris lorem nunc, cursus sit amet enim ac, vehicula vestibulum mi. Mauris viverra nisl vel enim faucibus porta. Praesent sit amet ornare diam, non finibus nulla.

MLA

Cras efficitur magna et sapien varius, luctus ullamcorper dolor convallis. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Fusce sit amet justo ut erat laoreet congue sed a ante.

CHICAGO

Phasellus ornare in augue eu imperdiet. Donec malesuada sapien ante, at vehicula orci tempor molestie. Proin vitae urna elit. Pellentesque vitae nisi et diam euismod malesuada aliquet non erat.

WIKIPEDIA

Nunc fringilla dolor ut dictum placerat. Proin ac neque rutrum, consectetur ligula id, laoreet ligula. Nulla lorem massa, consectetur vitae consequat in, lobortis at dolor. Nunc sed leo odio.