Visit The University of Texas homepage

Will Reid Wilson, Sr. (1912-2005)

Associate Justice, Texas Supreme Court, 1951-1956

Will Reid Wilson was born July 29, 1912 in Dallas, Texas. He graduated from Highland Park High School and earned an undergraduate degree in geology at the University of Oklahoma before attending Southern Methodist University Law School, where he graduated first in his class.

Following graduation, Wilson joined the Dallas firm of Turner, Rogers, and Wynn and served as an aide to Dallas mayor Woodall Rogers, who served from 1939 to 1947. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, earning the rank of major. Stationed in New Guinea and the Philippines, Wilson commanded a field artillery battalion and received a bronze star for heroism.

After the war Wilson returned to Dallas and was elected district attorney of Dallas County, serving two terms from 1946 to 1950. He was elected to the Texas Supreme Court in 1950 and took office in 1951. He served as an associate justice until June 1956, when he resigned to run for the office of state attorney general.

Wilson won the election and served as Texas attorney general from 1957 to 1963. He received the Wymann Memorial Award for outstanding American attorney general from the National Association of Attorneys General in 1959. He later ran unsuccessful races for the U.S. Senate and the Texas governorship before co-founding the Austin law firm of Wilson, Kendall, Koch, and Randall. He served as assistant U.S. attorney general during the Nixon administration from 1969 to 1971, where he headed the criminal division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He left shortly before the Watergate break-in and later wrote a book, titled A Fool for a Client, about his views on the demise of Nixon's presidency.

In addition to his law practice and civil service, Wilson ran two cattle ranches in Milam and Williamson counties. He was married and had two children; his wife died in 1984. Wilson died December 14, 2005, at the age of ninety-three. He was buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, next to his wife of thirty-six years.


Will R. Wilson, Sr. Obituary, Austin American-Statesman, December 16, 2005.

Will Wilson, Texas State Cemetery (visited September 28, 2006).

Extended bibliography

Additional information available in Southwestern Historical Quarterly as follow:
Volume 56, page 119
Volume 60, page 19
Volume 62, page 89
Volume 63, page 627
Volume 65, page 452
Volume 68, page 514

Additional information available in Texas Bar Journal as follow:
Volume 14, page 6
Volume 16, page 530
Volume 20, page 466
Volume 23, page 535
Volume 24, page 687
Volume 32, page 155