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Andrew Jackson Hamilton (1815-1875)

Associate Justice, Texas Supreme Court, 1867-1869

Andrew Jackson Hamilton was born January 28, 1815 in Huntsville, Alabama. He received his education there and was admitted to the bar in 1841. In 1846 he moved to LaGrange, Texas, where he practiced law for three years. Following his appointment by Gov. Bell to the position of attorney general in 1849, he settled permanently in Austin. He represented Travis County in the Texas Legislature from 1851 to 1853, and in 1859 he was elected to the U.S. Congress.

Hamilton was a strong and vocal opponent of secession. In late 1861 he returned to Austin from Washington and was elected to the state senate. But Texas was now a Confederate state, and the Unionist Hamilton declined to take the oath required for office. Instead he fled to Mexico, and then went to Washington, DC, where he was appointed brigadier general for the Texas troops fighting on the Union side. He was a great orator and gave pro-Union speeches in northern cities. He spent the latter part of the war in New Orleans, which had come under Union control in 1862.

In 1865 President Johnson appointed Hamilton Provisional Governor of Texas. In 1867 Hamilton was appointed an associate justice of the Texas Supreme Court; this was the court known as the Military Court, appointed when Texas came under military command following the Civil War.

Hamilton participated in the Reconstruction Convention of 1868. A moderate Republican, he ran unsuccessfully for governor against the radical E. J. Davis in 1870. Following the election, Hamilton returned to private life, practicing law and working on his farm near Austin. He died of tuberculosis in Austin on April 11, 1875 at the age of sixty, and was buried in Austin's Oakwood Cemetery.

Notable opinions

Luter v. Hunter, 30 Texas reports 690 (1868) (Requiring defendant to pay debt held by plaintiff but collected by confederacy receivership during secession because supportive of rebellion, also holding act passed during rebellion staying payment of debt repugnant to constitution and therefore void as impairing contract and war extended four year statute of limitations to five).

Canfield v. Hunter, 30 Texas reports 712 (1868) (ruling in accordance with Luter and Culbreath, another companion case).

Culbreath v. Hunter, 30 Texas reports 713 (1868).


Baker, DeWitt Clinton. A Texas Scrap Book Made up of the History, Biography and Miscellany of Texas and Its People 295 (Austin, Texas: The Steck Co., 1935).

Davenport , Jewette Harbert. The History of the Supreme Court of the State of Texas 91- (Austin, Texas: Southern Law Book Publishers, 1917).

Lynch, James Daniel. The Bench and Bar of Texas 104-109 (St. Louis, Missouri: Nixon-Jones Printing Co., 1885).

Marten, James A. Hamilton, Andrew Jackson, Handbook of Texas Online (last updated June 6, 2001).

Norvell, James R. The Reconstruction Courts of Texas 1867-1873, 62 The Southwestern Historical Quarterly 141-163 (October, 1958).

Shelley, George E. The Semicolon Court of Texas, 48 The Southwestern Historical Quarterly 449-468 (April, 1945).

Extended bibliography

Adkins, John Robert. The Public Career of Andrew Jackson Hamilton (Master's thesis, University of Texas, 1947).

Andress, Elsye Drennan. The Gubernatorial Career of Andrew Jackson Hamilton (Master's thesis, Texas Technological College, 1955).

Personnel of the Texas State Government 42. Lewis E. Daniell, compiler (Austin, Texas: the author, 1889).

Daniell, Lewis E. Types of Successful Men of Texas 91 (Austin, Texas: E. Von Boeckmann, 1890).

Davis, Ellis A. and Edwin H. Grobe. 1 The New Encyclopedia of Texas 260 (Dallas, Texas: Texas Development Bureau, 1929?).

DeShields, James T. They Sat in High Place 253 (San Antonio, Texas: Naylor Co., 1940).

Haley, James Evetts. Fort Concho and the Texas Frontier 119 (San Angelo, Texas: San Angelo Standard-Times, 1952).

Hunt, James Frank. Andrew Jackson Hamilton and Unionist Politics During the Civil War and Reconstruction in Texas (Master's thesis, Southwest Texas State College, 1960).

Johnson, Francis White. 2 A History of Texas and Texans 1083 (Chicago, Illinois & New York, New York: The American Historical Society, 1914).

Kittrell, Norman G. Governors Who Have Been and Other Public Men of Texas 47 (Houston, Texas: Dealy-Adey-Elgin Co., 1921).

Lynch, James Daniel. The Bench and Bar of Texas 13, 104, 533 (St. Louis, Missouri: Nixon-Jones Printing Co., 1885).

Richardson, Thomas Clarence. 1 East Texas, Its History and Its Makers 219 (New York, New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1940).

Thrall, Homer S. A Pictorial History of Texas 549 (St. Louis, Missouri: N. D. Thompson, 1885).

Speer, Ocie. Texas Jurists 56 (Austin, Texas: the author, 1936).

Waller, John Leroy. Colossal Hamilton of Texas; a Biography of Andrew Jackson Hamilton, Militant Unionist and Reconstruction Governor (El Paso, Texas: Texas Western Press, 1968).

Additional information available in Southwestern Historical Quarterly as follow:
Volume 11, page 277, 294, 295, 304
Volume 12, page 100
Volume 14, page 95, 120, 121
Volume 16, page 131, 132, 169
Volume 18, page 348, 351, 353
Volume 38, page 47
Volume 47, page 147, 285, 305, 309
Volume 48, page 449, 450, 452, 455, 461
Volume 50, page 468, 469n, 473
Volume 51, page 5, 125, 179, 266
Volume 55, page 2
Volume 56, page 65
Volume 60, page 17
Volume 61, page 159, 199
Volume 62, page 142, 145, 153, 162, 209
Volume 63, page 434, 435
Volume 64, page 334
Volume 65, page 239, 249n, 255, 581
Volume 67, page 151
Volume 68, page 93, 173n, 178n, 179, 181
Volume 69, page 479, 488, 492
Volume 70, page 506
Volume 71, page 117, 155, 356
Volume 72, page 465, 466, 493, 505, 520
Volume 73, page 91, 94, 99, 473
Volume 75, page 390
Volume 76, page 125
Volume 78, page 3, 4, 11, 20
Volume 81, page 283, 284
Volume 82, page 243, 248, 261

Ashcraft, Allan C. Texas in Defeat: The Early Phase of A. J. Hamilton's Provisional Governorship of Texas, June 17, 1865 to Feburary 7, 1866, Texas Military History, No. 4 (1970).

Moore, Walter B. Governors of Texas-Andrew J. Hamilton, Dallas Morning News, May 6, 1963.

Brown, Frank. Annals of Travis County and of the City of Austin. Archives Division, Texas State Library (Austin, Texas).