Calhoun County, Alabama

History of the Calhoun County
Probate Judge


Judge Emmett Farrow Crook       1886 - 1912
Born in 1851 to Colonel John Martin Crook and his second wife, Narmesia Woodruff Crook, Emmett Farrow Crook worked in the mercantile business and farmed as a young man in Alexandria, Alabama.  He married Sallie (Sara) Walker in 1872.  In 1886, Emmett Farrow Crook was elected Probate Judge of Calhoun County, and was re-elected to that office for 26 years.  Due to failing health, he had to resign his position in March 1912.  He was a deacon at Parker Memorial Baptist Church for many years.  He was also a Mason and an Elk. *This information was provided by Barbara Crook Vaden Sproull.
1912 - 1916: Probate records reflect that during this period three men signed court records; John M. Crook, as “Clerk of Probate Court”, Jos. J. Arnold, W.H. Cooper, and J. F. Rowan.

Judge Thomas W. Coleman      1916 - 1940
Thomas Wilkes Coleman, Jr. was born December 19, 1868 to Thomas Wilkes Coleman and Frances J. (Wilson) Coleman.  He married Carrie Arnold in 1891, in Anniston.   He was a lawyer, and began his practice in Anniston, Alabama in 1889.  He was a member of the legislature from 1896 - 97; attorney for the City of Anniston from 1897 - 99; Judge of the City Court of Anniston from 1901 - 1916.  Judge Coleman served as Probate Judge of Calhoun County from 1916 - 1940.   *This information can be found in History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, Volume 3.

Judge S. Elbert Boozer     1940 - 1947
Judge S. Elbert Boozer was elected, but took office early by appointment, due to the death of Judge Thomas W. Coleman. 
Judge Boozer was one of Anniston’s leading businessmen, and a two-time gubernatorial candidate.  He stated in a profile published August 8, 1971, at the age of 76, that he “went in as Probate Judge here with the special purpose of running for Governor.”  He ran for Governor in 1946, finishing third in a seven-man race, and again in 1950.

Judge G. Clyde Brittain    1947 - 1975
Judge G. Clyde Brittain served as County Treasurer, prior to being elected Probate Judge of Calhoun County, according to county archives.  He was a graduate of Auburn University. 

Judge Arthur C. Murray                                                      1975 - 2007
Judge Arthur C. Murray, formerly a businessman, was appointed by Governor George C. Wallace as Probate Judge in 1975.  Judge Murray is among only a few who served as Probate Judge for over thirty years.   He continues to serve, when appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, as Special Probate Judge, in cases where a Probate Judge must recuse.  Upon his retirement, Judge Murray was recognized by the Probate Judges’ Association for having the most “up-to-date” records of any Probate Office in the State of Alabama. 


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