Tyler County Judges Portrait Collection, 1913 | East Texas Research Center
By Kyle Ainsworth
Extent: 6.0 Linear Feet
Date Acquired: 06/08/2011
Originally inhabited by the Caddos, Alabamas, and other Native American tribes for hundreds of years, white settlers came to the area of East Texas that would later become Tyler County in 1834. Organized as the Menard District of Liberty County in 1842, the state legislature separated Tyler County into its own county in 1846.
List of Tyler County County Judges (1849-1892)
William A. Ferguson (1849-1850)
B. W. Isbell (1851-1853)
Mijamin Priest (1854) - Born c.1809, Priest was a native of Alabama. It is unclear when he came to Texas, but the 1850 census shows that Priest was a lawyer in Woodville, Tyler County, married, and had five children. He served as county treasurer from 1850-1853 and then one year as the chief justice. Sometime between 1854 and the 1860 census, Priest moved his family to Rusk, Cherokee County, where he continued to live through 1880.
James Barclay (1856-1858) - The son of Walter and Elizabeth McQueen Barclay, James Barclay was born in Tennessee in 1816. He moved to Texas at the age of 20 with his parents and siblings. Barclay married Virginia Ann Foster in 1841 and the couple eventually raised 12 children. He and his new family settled in what was to become Tyler County. Barclay was civic-minded and held a variety of positions in county government. He was the first tax assessor-collector for Tyler County, and later its sheriff (1850), judge (1856-1858), and representative in the Texas Legislature (1859-1860, 1863). Barclay was also well-known as an advocate for Native Americans, allowing them to reside on his property in the 1850s, and twice serving as an Indian agent for the state (1858, 1864-1865). Barclay died in 1871 and is buried at Hart Mill Cemetery in Tyler.
James M. Charlton (1859-1860)
R. C. Fulgham (1861-1865)
A. J. Harrison (1866)
R. C. Fulgham (1867-1869)
A. J. Harrison (1870)
W. D. Kincaid (1871-1876)
E. G. Geisendorff (1877)
Henry West (1878-1892) - West was a native of Tennessee, born c.1828. He was a charter member of the Mount Hope Masonic Lodge no.121, acting as its first secretary and grand lodge representative, and later, as the fourth lodge master. West served Tyler County in a number of different capacities. He was a justice of the peace (1856), district clerk (1866), district judge, as well as a long-serving county judge (1878-1892). As of 1880, West had three children with his wife, Emily.
List of Tyler County District Judges (Not in chronological order)
Samuel A. Wilson (1866-1868) - Born in San Augustine County in 1835, Wilson moved with his family to Tyler County in 1848. He began his study of law at age 15 with Woodville attorney Mijamin Priest. Wilson married Priest’s daughter, Susan, in 1853. As a Tyler County public servant, he was district attorney twice, in 1856 and 1858, and then a district judge (1866-1868) after the Civil War. Wilson moved to Rusk, Cherokee County, in 1868 and became the district attorney there. Further legal service included being a commissioner to revise Texas civil and criminal statutes (1879-1881), appointment as an Associate Judge of the State Court of Appeals (1882-1891) and a Reporter for the Court of Appeals. Wilson was also an officer in Company F, First Texas Regiment, Hood’s Brigade, and was wounded at Antietam.
Edmond L. Parsons (??-??) - Born c.1821, E. L. Parsons was a native of Tennessee. In 1846, he served as a state-appointed commissioner to establish voting precincts in the newly created county of Tyler. Parsons was county clerk for ten years, from 1850 to 1860. He had five children with his first wife, Mary A., and eight more with his second wife, Sarah. Between the 1870 and 1880 censuses, Parsons moved from Tyler County to Van Zandt County. (Note: While the portrait is of an E. L. Parsons, there was no such name in the census records. The similarity of the cursive ‘J’ and cursive ‘L’ might be to blame).
Henry C. Pedigo (??-??) - Born c.1821, Pedigo was a native of Virginia. He practiced law in Tyler County from at least 1850 through 1870. Pedigo had one daughter with his wife, Cordelia E.
Henry West (??-??) - See above
Stephen P. West (??-??) - The son of Judge Henry West, Stephen P. was born in Texas to Emily C. West in about 1854. By the age of 25, he was practicing law in Tyler County.
John Wheat (??-??) - Wheat was born in Alabama in 1813. He fought in the Texas for Independence. Wheat was Tyler County commissioner from 1852 to 1854. He married four times and died in 1889.
County Office Unknown
David F. Lindsey (??-??) – Lindsey was born about 1838 in Mississippi. In 1870, he had a wife, Coraline, and three children.
Ancestry.com (2009). 1850 United States Federal Census. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Online at http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8054 (accessed 2 August 2011).
_______. (2009). 1860 United States Federal Census. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Online at http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=7667 (accessed 2 August 2011).
_______. (2009). 1870 United States Federal Census. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Online at http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=7163 (accessed 2 August 2011).
Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (2010). 1880 United States Federal Census. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations Inc. Online at http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=6742 (accessed 2 August 2011).
Bell, Clark, ed. (1891). “Samuel A. Wilson.” The Medico-Legal Journal, Vol. IX. New York: Medico-Legal Journal, pp.323-324. Online at http://books.google.com/books (accessed 20 June 2011).
Biesele, Megan. “TYLER COUNTY.” Published by the Texas State Historical Association. Online at the Handbook of Texas Online, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hct10 (accessed 19 September 2011).
Gammel, H. P. N. (1898). The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897, Volume II. Austin: The Gammel Book Company, p.42.
Martin, Howard N. "BARCLAY, JAMES." Published by the Texas State Historical Association. Online at the Handbook of Texas Online, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fba61 (accessed 3 August 2011).
Smyrl, Shannon. (2008). “Mijamin Priest and His Descendants: A Pictorial History.” Online at http://priest.jvilletx.com/Priest2.htm (accessed 2 August 2011).
“Texas Historical Marker – John Wheat.” Published by William Nienke and Sam Morrow. Online at http://www.9key.com/markers/marker_detail.asp?atlas_number=5457011461 (accessed 3 August 2011).
Tyler County, Texas Court Minutes, Book A, January 1849 – January 1861. Transcribed by Jack Whitmeyer. Online at http://www.countygenweb.com/txmontgomery/tyler_county_court_minutes_book_a.pdf (accessed 2 August 2011).
Tyler County, Texas Court Minutes, Book B, February 1861 – August 1881. Transcribed by Jim Laird and Ann Crews Laird, 1998. Online at http://www.countygenweb.com/txmontgomery/tyler_county_court_minutes_book_b.pdf (accessed 2 August 2011).
Wheat, J. E. “Mount Hope Lodge 121.” Online at http://www.hamcomm.com/contents/mhlodge.html (accessed 2 August 2011).
Access Restrictions: Open to Research.
Acquisition Source: Tyler County Historical Commission
Acquisition Method: Donation
Preferred Citation: [Item], Tyler County Judges Portrait Collection (B-127), East Texas Research Center, Ralph W. Steen Library, Stephen F. Austin State University.
Browse by Item:
[Item 1: Judge Edmond L. Parsons],
[Item 2: Judge James W. Barclay],
[Item 3: Judge Stephen P. West],
[Item 4: Judge Henry C. Pedigo],
[Item 5: Judge Samuel A. Wilson],
[Item 6: Judge Mijamin Priest],
[Item 7: Judge David F. Lindsey],
[Item 8: Judge John Wheat],
[Item 9: Judge Henry West],