Thomas Cothran received his academic and legal education at the University of Virginia. He practiced in his hometown of Abbeville and then moved to Greenville and practiced until 1921. Judge Cothran’s wife, Ione Smith, died in 1886, just eighteen months after their marriage.
He served as an Associate Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court from 1921 until his death in 1934. Prior to election to the Supreme Court, he served several terms as a member of the House of Representatives in the South Carolina General Assembly and was, at one time, its Speaker. Many of his opinions, especially in real estate law and evidence, became landmarks in the law.
His magnificent obsession was aiding and inspiring young, struggling lawyers.
A true gentleman reared in a devout Presbyterian home.