Manford Esca Denton, one of the most outstanding members of the bar of Quitman County since its beginning, was also a leading figure both in the moral and material life of the community. Born in Calhoun County, January 16, 1872, the son of W.H. and Susie Lovelace Denton his family moved to Lafayette County, where he attended the grammar schools there, and later, at the age of eighteen, he was a graduate from the Normal School at Iuka. Five years later, he received his law degree from the University of Mississippi, having taken this full course, as well as a greater part of the course in letters. In the meantime, he had been first assistant at the Tula Normal School and principal of Longtown Academy, in Panola County. He began his career in 1896 as a member of the firm of Stone, Lowery, and Denton. A close student, and of the highest moral character, and being ever attentive to any case entrusted to his care, he rose so rapidly in his profession that at thirty-six years of age, Governor Noel appointed him Chancellor of the Seventh District, in which capacity he gained the reputation of being a discriminating judge. He was re-appointed in 1912 by Governor Brewer, but resigned in 1914 to resume his practice and devote his time to his private affairs. Previously, he had served a term and a half as a member of the Legislature. Ever since the construction of the Yazoo-Delta line of the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad through Quitman County, there had been talk of moving the county seat from Belen to a point of better transportation, but it remained for Judge Denton to "suit the notion to the word." He it was who organized the Marks Townsite Company, buying half of a section of land from the late L. Marks at what then was Riverside; he it was who laid off the town of Marks and named it for its pioneer settler and millionaire planter, and led the movement to change the county seat from Belen to Marks. The first drainage meeting held in the Delta was called by Judge Denton, and was held in his office, resulting in a series of meetings, culminating in the organization of the Tallahatchie Drainage district. When the drainage laws of the state were settled according to the decision of the Supreme Court in the litigation growing out of the district, he organized the first drainage under the new laws. He assisted in organizing the Riverside Bank, and was its president from 1910 until he resigned in 1915. He died in 1935.
Information provided by Margaret Rivers Mitchell.
Father, Lawyer, Judge, Legislator
Blanche V Phillips Denton
1879–1949 (m. 1898)
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