MADISON COUNTY TENNESSEE
BIOGRAPHIES of Madison County TN

WILLIAM JOHNSTONE BRITTON

William Johnstone Britton, a well known cotton buyer of Memphis and former president of the Memphis Cotton Exchange, was born January 14, 1880, on a plantation in Madison county, Mississippi, and is the only living son of William and Mary (Poindexter) Britton. The father was born May 3, 1853, in Madison county and spent his last days in Sharkey county, Mississippi, where he passed away December 24, 1894. His first wife died in 1884 and later he wedded Laura Nicholson, who proved a good and kind mother to William J. Britton of this review. There was a son of the second marriage, Louis Nicholson Britton, who now resides in New York, where he is devoting his time to art.

William Johnstone Britton was reared on the old home plantation in Madison county, Mississippi, and completed his education in the State University at Oxford. He had also attended the Bellevue high school of Virginia for a period of two years but at the age of nineteen his textbooks were put aside and he came to Memphis, where he engaged in the cotton business in the employ of Currier & Warwick, with which firm he remained for more than two years. He was afterward employed by the firm of F. M. Crump & Company, with whom he continued from 1901 until 1918, being admitted to a partnership in the business in 1913. Six years later he withdrew from the firm and established the cotton business on his own account, organizing his interests under the style of W. J. Britton & Company.

His offices and cotton rooms are located at No. 104 South Front street and he is a prominent and well known member of the Memphis Cotton Exchange, of which he served as president in 1921. He has made three trips abroad, largely in the interest of his business, going first in 1913 and again in 1920 and the third time in 1922. He owns a cotton plantation in Sharkey county, Mississippi, and he is one of the prominent representatives of the cotton industry in the south, controlling a business that has reached very extensive and gratifying proportions. On the 5th of September, 1904, Mr. Britton was married in Memphis to Miss Ellen Ward, who was born and reared in this city. Their children are: William J., seventeen years of age, a student in the Sewanee Military Academy at Sewanee, Tennessee; George Harris, a youth of fourteen, who is attending a private school in Memphis; and Ellen Ward, aged eleven, a student in St. Mary's parochial school. Mr. Britton is of the Episcopal faith, having membership in St. Mary's cathedral. He also belongs to the Memphis Chamber of Commerce, which is indicative of his interest in the public welfare and the betterment of community matters. He belongs to the Memphis Country Club, and finds his chief recreation in golf. His business associates and those whom he meets through social relations, all speak of him in terms of the highest regard, recognizing in him a representative business man and a substantial citizen, whose sterling worth has been manifest in many ways that have contributed in notable measure to the public good.

Source: Tennessee the Volunteer State 1769 - 1923 Volume 4