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Thomas J. Mabry

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Title: Thomas J. Mabry  
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Subject: List of Governors of New Mexico, Brushy Bill Roberts, Joseph Montoya, Edwin L. Mechem, John J. Dempsey, Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico
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Thomas J. Mabry

Thomas J. Mabry
14th Governor of New Mexico
In office
January 1, 1947 – January 1, 1951
Preceded by John J. Dempsey
Succeeded by Edwin L. Mechem
Personal details
Born (1884-10-17)October 17, 1884
Carlisle County, Kentucky
Died December 23, 1962(1962-12-23) (aged 78)
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) (married three times) Winifred White, Katherine Burns, Clara A. Berchtold
Residence Clovis
Profession Attorney
Religion Presbyterianism

Thomas Jewett Mabry (October 17, 1884, Carlisle County, Kentucky – December 23, 1962, Albuquerque, New Mexico) was a New Mexico politician and judge, who was Chief Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court (1939–46) and the 14th Governor of New Mexico (1947–51).


Mabry attended the University of Oklahoma and the University of New Mexico School of Law. He settled in Clovis, New Mexico, where he practiced law and published the local newspaper. He was a member of the New Mexico Constitutional Convention in 1910.

Mabry held numerous political and judicial posts, including serving in the New Mexico Senate (1912–17); on the Albuquerque City Commission (1926–27); as District Attorney of Albuquerque (1932–36); and as a state district judge (1937–39). From 1939 to 1946, he was Chief Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court. He was elected Governor as a Democrat in 1946 and reelected in 1948.

Mabry is most famous for his involvement in the "Brushy" Bill Roberts hearing. "Brushy" Bill Roberts claimed to be the notorious outlaw William H. Bonney, a.k.a. Billy the Kid. A petition for the pardon of Billy the Kid was filed by William V. Morrison, a probate investigator, on November 15, 1950. Mabry agreed to a private hearing with Morrison and Brushy, along with one or two historians of Mabry‘s choosing, to be held on November 29.

On the morning of the 29th, as Morrison and Brushy ate breakfast at a Santa Fe diner, Morrison read in a local newspaper that Mabry had publicly announced his meeting with a Billy the Kid claimant. Morrison immediately telephoned Mabry, who apologized for making the announcement, but reassured him that the meeting would still be kept private. A few hours later, Brushy and Morrison arrived at Mabry's mansion. Upon entering the conference room, they were shocked at what they saw. Present in the room were several photographers and reporters, armed policemen, Oscar and Jarvis Garrett (Pat's sons), Cliff McKinney (Kip McKinney's son), Arcadio Brady (William Brady's grandson), and historians William Keleher, E. B. Mann, and Will Robinson. In short, the private meeting had developed into a media circus. Badly frightened, Brushy apparently suffered a mild stroke, and when the questioning began, he failed miserably. However, the men asking the questions seemed to treat the affair as something as a joke, some ridiculed him and refused to ask questions while others primarily asked meaningless questions (i.e. how many girlfriends he had, did he enjoy stealing livestock, etc.). He completely forgot basic information about himself and, when asked a question regarding the past of Billy the Kid, he couldn't remember Pat Garrett's name. Stating he felt ill, he was eventually taken to another room to lie down. Shortly thereafter, Governor Mabry made an announcement that he was not going to pardon Brushy, because he did not believe him to be Billy the Kid. Disappointed, Morrison took Brushy to a local doctor, Stan Lloyd, and when he was well enough, he took him home to Hico.

External links

Biography portal
  • National Governors Association biography
Political offices
Preceded by
John J. Dempsey
Governor of New Mexico
Succeeded by
Edwin L. Mechem
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