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William McLaughlin Taylor, Sr. (1876-1959)

Associate Justice, Texas Supreme Court, 1945-1950

William McLaughlin Taylor, Sr. was born April 2, 1876 in Smithland, Tennessee. He attended Nixon Spring Academy there before going to National Normal University in Lebanon, Ohio, where he earned an undergraduate degree in 1899. That year he moved to Texas, taught school in Lewisville for a year and then taught English and history at Denton High School for six years. While in Denton, he studied law in the office of Emory C. Smith. Taylor was married and had a son and a daughter.

Taylor was admitted to the Texas bar in 1906, and moved to Snyder, where he practiced law until 1912. He also served as mayor of Snyder and president of the local school board. In 1912 Taylor moved to Dallas and practiced law there until 1918, when Gov. Hobby appointed him to the Texas Supreme Court commission of appeals. He served on the commission until 1921 and then returned to Dallas, resuming his law practice. In 1931 he was elected special district judge of the Fourteenth District Court and was later appointed judge of that court by Gov. Sterling when his predecessor, Judge Foree, died. He completed Foree's unexpired term and then was elected to a four-year term in 1932.

In 1935 Taylor was again appointed to the Texas Supreme Court commission of appeals. Ten years later, when a constitutional amendment increased the supreme court to nine justices, Taylor became an associate justice of the Texas Supreme Court. He served on the court until the end of 1950, when he retired and returned to Dallas.

Taylor died in Dallas on May 1, 1959 at the age of eighty-three. His son, William McLaughlin Taylor, Jr., was a federal district judge for nearly twenty years.


22 Texas Bar Journal 546 (September 1959).

Extended bibliography

Speer, Ocie. Texas Jurists 162 (Austin, Texas: the author, 1936).

Additional information available in Southwestern Historical Quarterly as follow:
Volume 60, page 19, 20

Additional information available in Texas Bar Journal as follow:
Volume 14, page 57
Volume 15, page 25
Volume 22, page 546, 679

Dallas Man Gets Seat on State's High Court, Dallas Morning News, Aug. 28, 1945.

Duncan, Dawson. Justice Taylor Will Quit Court, Dallas Morning News, Apr. 30, 1950.

W. M. Taylor, Ex-Justice, Dies at 83, Dallas Morning News, May 2, 1959.

Memorial for Judge Scheduled, Austin American-Statesman, Nov. 19, 1959.

High Court Associates Laud Late Dallas Jurist, Dallas Morning News, Nov. 20, 1959.