Visit The University of Texas homepage

William Pierson (1871-1935)

Associate Justice, Texas Supreme Court, 1923-1935

William Pierson was born March 12, 1871 in Gilmer, Texas. His father was a successful banker; his mother died when he was just ten years old. Following her death, William and his father moved to Haskell, where William attended school. He attended Baylor University from 1891 to 1896, graduating with a degree in literature and oratory. He then studied law at The University of Texas, graduating in 1898. Following his graduation, he practiced law in Greenville. In 1901 he was married, and he and his wife had three children.

Pierson, a Democrat, was elected to the Texas House in 1901. He served on the House judiciary and education committees and sponsored a bill to establish the College of Industrial Arts for Women (now Texas Woman's University) at Denton and state normal schools at Denton and San Marcos. In 1912 he was elected judge of the Eighth Judicial District, and served in that position until 1921. Governor Pat M. Neff appointed Pierson an associate justice of the state supreme court in 1921. He served in the position for twelve years.

William Pierson and his wife, Lena, were murdered on April 24, 1935 by their youngest child, twenty-one-year old Howard, who had a history of mental illness. They were buried in the State Cemetery in Austin.


Minor, David. Pierson, William, Handbook of Texas Online (last updated June 6, 2001).

Extended bibliography

Johnson, Francis White. 3 A History of Texas and Texans 1456 (Chicago, Illinois & New York, New York: The American Historical Society, 1914).

The Twenty-Seventh Legislature and State Administration of Texas, 1901, 175. Niel John McArthur, ed. (Austin, Texas: B. C. Jones, Printers, 1901).

Speer, Ocie. Texas Jurists 116 (Austin, Texas: the author, 1936).

Additional information available in Southwestern Historical Quarterly as follow:
Volume 60, page 18
Volume 68, page 478