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Leroy Gilbert Denman (1855-1916)

Associate Justice, Texas Supreme Court, 1894-1899

Leroy Gilbert Denman was born October 31, 1855 in Guadalupe County, Texas, and grew up on his parents' farm. He received his early education in the rural school there. When Leroy was five years old, his father was said to have plowed a furrow from the family home to the schoolhouse a mile away, so that young Leroy would be able to find his way home. Following his public schooling, Denman attended private school in Texas, and taught school for four years before entering the University of Virginia to study law. Among his classmates there was future U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. Denman graduated with a law degree in 1880 and returned to Texas, practicing law for two years in New Braunfels before moving to San Antonio.

Denman practiced law in San Antonio from 1882 until 1894, when Gov. Hogg appointed him associate justice of the supreme court to fill the vacancy created by the death of John W. Stayton. Denman was then elected to the position and remained on the bench until resigning in 1899 to return to private practice in San Antonio. He was said to have been deeply read in legal lore and was a laborious student of the law. The chief characteristics of the 146 opinions he wrote while on the bench were described by his peers as "brevity, simplicity of expression, and accuracy of legal conclusion."

Following his service on the court, Denman practiced law, served as president of San Antonio Loan & Trust Company, and was chairman of the board of directors of the San Antonio National Bank. He also owned a farm and ranch near his birthplace in Guadalupe County. Denman was married in 1881; he and his wife had two sons and five daughters. Both of his sons became lawyers, and four of his five daughters married lawyers. Five of his grandsons also became lawyers. Sons and grandsons alike continued the San Antonio law firm that Leroy Denman had established.

Denman died suddenly during a meeting with a client in his law office on September 14, 1916 at the age of sixty. He was buried in Mission Burial Park, San Antonio.

Notable opinions

Joske v. Irvine, 91 Texas reports 574 (in which the supreme court of Texas refused to follow the scintilla of evidence rule previously announced by the United States Supreme Court).

Royal Insurance Company v. McIntyre, 90 Texas reports 170 (in which the Court defined for Texas the measure by which total losses in fire losses would be determined).

Crawford v. McDonald, 88 Texas reports 626 (in which the Court defined the difference between direct and collateral attacks on judgments).

Sanger v. Warren et al., 91 Texas reports 472 (widely quoted)(in which the Court passed upon the liability of an undisclosed principal for the payment of a mortgage debt).


107 Texas reports 670-676.

Banks, C. Stanley. A Texas Portrait: Leroy Gilbert Denman, 24 Texas Bar Journal 1125.

Denman, Leroy G. Denman, Leroy Gilbert, Handbook of Texas Online (last updated June 6, 2001).

Extended bibliography

Boswell, Harry James. American Blue Book, Texas Attorneys 175 (Minneapolis, Minnesota: H. James Boswell & Son, 1926).

Daniell, Lewis E. Types of Successful Men of Texas 232 (Austin, Texas: E. Von Boeckmann, 1890).

Loughery, E. H. Texas State Government 5 (Austin, Texas: McLeod & Jackson, 1897).

Speer, Ocie. Texas Jurists 98 (Austin, Texas: the author, 1936).

Additional information available in Southwestern Historical Quarterly as follow:
Volume 60, page 18
Volume 63, page 133
Volume 65, page 194

Additional information available in Texas Bar Journal as follow:
Volume 24, page 1125

Franklin, Thomas H. Judge Leroy G. Denman, 3 Texas Law Review 260.

In Memoriam, 107 Texas reports 657 (1916).