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The Texas Jurists Collection

Identifier: THR/01/2014.s069

Scope and Contents

This collection was purchased and donated by James L. Britton, III. This collection is a combination of the Early Texas Jurists collection and the Distinguished Jurists Who Formed the First Supreme Court of the Republic of Texas collection which was arranged, described, and digitized during a large grant project called Texas Tides. The Early Texas Jurists collection contains autographed documents of 53 early Texas attorneys and judicial officials. The earliest listed is Cephas Adams in a suit involving Parker vs. Bolin alleging failure to board and clothe a hired slave in Galveston. Another Galveston attorney is William Pitt Ballinger whose law firm still exists in Galveston and is the oldest firm west of the Mississippi River. There are petitions, jury charges, bills of exceptions, admiralty suits, judgments, and orders for the sale of land to satisfy the claims against an estate. Counties include Ft. Bend, Colorado, Cherokee, Washington, Austin,and Montgomery in a representative sampling of early Texas. The Distinguished Jurists collection assembles autographed documents of five early Texas attorneys and judicial officials: R. A. Williamson, John T. Mills, R. E. B. Baylor, Benj. C. Franklin, and Edward T.Branch. Williamson, Franklin and Branch fought at San Jacinto. Judges Williamson and Mills served with distinction in the Republic of Texas Congress prior to their judiciary responsibilities. Branch (fromLiberty) and Mills had prior service as District Judges, and Williamson became Chief Justice of the First Supreme Court of the Republic. Judge Baylor was one of the founders of Baylor University in Waco. Some noted cases in which they participated were: a court “seizure order” involving litigation over slaves was signed by Judge R. E. B. Baylor. Judge Franklin (from Galveston) was attorney for the defendant in Jones vs. Hall, a four part petition to dissolve an injunction, one of the most celebrated land trials in legal history. Finally, Judge E. T. Branch of Liberty fought at San Jacinto, served with distinction in the first and second Congresses, and was District Judge before serving on the Supreme Court of the Republic.


  • Creation: 1837 - 1881
  • Creation: Undated

Conditions Governing Use

The materials represented in this finding aid have been made available for research, teaching and private use. For these purposes, you may reproduce (print, make photocopies, or download) these items without prior permission on the condition that you provide proper attribution of the source in all copies.

Please contact the Newton Gresham Library's Special Collections and University Archives department to request permissions to reproduce materials for any other purpose, or to obtain information regarding the copyright status of a particular digital image, text, audio or video recording.


1 boxes (58 folders)

Language of Materials



The Texas Jurists Collection is housed in one (1) flat archival box and is located in archival storage / fire safe. The items are arranged in chronological order by last name. These materials are dated between 1837 and 1881.

The “SHH #” is a unique code containing bracketed letters and numbers that follow the organizational pattern set during a grant funded digitization project called Texas Tides. The first letters in the brackets represent Sam Houston State University and are followed by the item’s identifying sequence, often correlating to a collection or sub-collection as delineated during the Texas Tides digitization process as well as the item number. For example, in the SHH # structure here [SHH III:3], SHH indicates Sam Houston State University, III indicates the third sub-collection and 3 indicates the item number within sub-collection III.

Shaneil Snipe
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Thomason Special Collections & SHSU University Archives Repository

1830 Bobby K. Marks Drive
Huntsville TX 77341 US