Court History

Justices from 1845 - 1876 

Austin was deemed the official state capital in 1845 during annexation into the United States, and an act approved May 12, 1846 provided that the Court should hold its annual sessions at the capital. In November 1850, this was changed by amendment to provide for the Court to hold sessions throughout the year in Austin, Galveston, and Tyler. This practice continued through secession and the Civil War period.

Justices Under the Constitutions of 1845 and 1861

Chief Justices

  • John Hemphill (March 1846 - October 1858)
  • Royall T. Wheeler (October 1858 - April 1864)
  • Oran M. Roberts (November 1864 - June 1866)

Associate Justices

  • Abner S. Lipscomb (March 1846 - November 1856)
  • Oran M. Roberts (April 1857 - October 1862)
  • George F. Moore (October 1862 - June 1866)
  • Royall T. Wheeler (March 1846 - October 1858)
  • James H. Bell (October 1858 - August 1864)
  • Reuben A. Reeves (November 1864 - June 1866)
Oran M. Roberts, Chief Justice 1964-1866. Photo: TSLAC.
Oran M. Roberts, Chief Justice 1864-1866. Photo: TSLAC.

Justices Under the Constitution of 1866 (1866 - 1870)

During the post-war years, all of the Supreme Court justices had been removed from office as "impediments to Reconstruction" and replaced by order of the occupying Union government.

Removed by U.S. Military Authorities in 1867

  • George F. Moore (Chief Justice, August 1866 - September 1867)
  • Richard Coke (August 1866 - September 1867)
  • S. P. Donley (October 1866 - September 1867)
  • Asa H. Willie (August 1866 - September 1867)
  • George W. Smith (August 1866 - September 1867)

Appointed by U.S. Military Authorities to Replace Them

  • Amos Morrill (Chief Justice, September 1867 - July 1870)
  • Livingston Lindsay (September 1867 - July 1870)
  • Albert H. Latimer (September 1867 - November 1869)
  • James Denison (January 1870 - July 1870)
  • Colbert Coldwell (September 1867 - October 1869)
  • C. B. Sabin (March 1870, no record of service)
  • Andrew J. Hamilton (November 1867 - October 1869)
  • Moses B. Walker (December 1869 - July 1870)
Asa H. Willie, Chief Justice 1866-1867. Photo: TSLAC.
Asa H. Willie, Chief Justice 1866-1867. Photo: TSLAC.

Justices Under the Constitution of 1869 (1870 - 1876)

The Texas Constitution of 1869 allowed for the Supreme Court's annual meetings in Austin only. However, the Court began traveling between Austin, Galveston, and Tyler again after the Constitution was amended in December 1873, with an additional act in February 1874 providing that the Court hold its sessions once each year in those cities.

Three Justices from July 5, 1870, to January 29, 1874

  • Lemuel D. Evans (Chief Justice, July 1870 - August 1873)
  • Wesley Ogden (July 1870 - August 1873; Chief Justice, August 1873 - January 1874)
  • Moses B. Walker (July 1870 - January 1874)
  • J. D. McAdoo (August 1873 - January 1874)

Five Justices from January 29, 1874, to April 18, 1876

  • Oran M. Roberts (Chief Justice, January 1874 - April 1876)
  • Reuben A. Reeves (January 1874 - April 1976)
  • Thomas J. Devine (January 1874 - September 1875)
  • John Ireland (September 1875 - April 1876)
  • George F. Moore (February 1874 - April 1876)
  • William P. Ballinger (February 3, 1874, resigned same day)
  • Peter W. Gray (February 1874 - April 1876)
  • Robert S. Gould (May 1874 - April 1876)
"The Celebrated Semi-Colon Court" - Chief Justice Ogden, Justices McAdoo and Walker, 1874-1874. Photo: Texas Supreme Court Archives.
"The Celebrated Semi-Colon Court" - Chief Justice Ogden, Justices McAdoo and Walker, 1874-1874. Photo: Texas Supreme Court Archives.