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Gordon Simpson (1894-1987)

Associate Justice, Texas Supreme Court, 1945-1949

Gordon Simpson, a native of the east Texas town of Gilmer, in Upshur County, was born October 30, 1894. He graduated from Gilmer High School in 1911, attended Baylor University from 1911 to 1913, and then entered The University of Texas, where he earned a B.A. degree in 1915. Simpson entered The University of Texas law school in 1915, but his studies were interrupted when he served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army during World War I from 1917 to 1918. Following his military service he resumed his studies, completed his LL.B. degree at The University of Texas in 1919, and began his legal career in Pecos. He soon relocated to Tyler, where he practiced law from 1919 to 1942. He was married and the father of two daughters.

Simpson was a member of the Texas House of Representatives from 1923 to 1927. He served as judge for the Seventh Judicial District in 1930. He was elected president of the State Bar of Texas, and served from 1941 to 1943. During World War II Simpson returned to military service as a major in the judge advocate general's department from 1942 to 1943, and as a lieutenant colonel from 1943 to 1944.

While on active duty in North Africa, Simpson learned he had been nominated for an associate justice seat on the Texas Supreme Court. He was serving in Europe when he was elected to the court in the 1944 general election. Simpson was sworn in as a justice in January 1945. His service on the bench was interrupted in 1948 when he headed a judge advocate general's commission in Europe charged with reviewing the convictions of Nazis charged with war crimes.

Simpson resigned from the supreme court in 1949 to become vice president and general counsel for General American Oil Co. in Dallas. In 1955 he became president of the oil company, and remained in the position five years. He then returned to law practice. He died in Dallas February 13, 1987, at the age of ninety-two, after suffering a heart attack.


Col. Simpson Takes Oath as Associate Justice, Texas Bar Journal 66, 89, January 1945.

G. Simpson. Texas Bar Journal 1273, December 1987.

Judge Edward L. Van Roden. American Atrocities in Germany. The Progressive 21f, February 1949 (accessed November 8, 2006).

Judge Gordon Simpson. Unpublished, undated biographical sketch. Texas Supreme Court Historical Society.

Rites today for ex-Justice Gordon Simpson, The Dallas Morning News, February 16, 1987.

Extended bibliography

Richardson, Thomas Clarence. East Texas, Its History and Its Makers 467 (New York, New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1940).

Additional information available in Southwestern Historical Quarterly as follow:
Volume 50, page 107
Volume 60, page 18

Additional information available in Texas Bar Journal as follow:
Volume 1, page 118
Volume 2, page 326
Volume 3, page 305, 356
Volume 4, page 313
Volume 5, page 257
Volume 8, page 69
Volume 12, page 547
Volume 17, page 43
Volume 24, page 31, 717