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Stockton P. Donley (1821-1871)

Associate Justice, Texas Supreme Court, 1866-1867

Born in Howard County, Missouri, on May 27, 1821, Stockton P. Donley attended Transylvania University in Kentucky and was admitted to the bar in that state.

In 1846 Donley moved to Texas and opened a law practice in Clarksville, the county seat of Red River County. The following year he relocated to Rusk, and went into partnership with James M. Anderson. Donley quickly established a reputation as a capable criminal attorney. In 1853 he was elected district attorney of the Sixth Judicial District and gained a reputation as an efficient prosecutor. In 1860 he relocated to Tyler.

When the Civil War broke out, Donley enlisted as a private in the Texas volunteer army and was captured at Fort Donelson, Tennessee. He was eventually exchanged and promoted to lieutenant. Following the war he returned to Tyler and resumed practicing law.

In 1866 Donley was elected by popular vote to the Texas Supreme Court, serving until he was among state officials removed by the military as "impediments to Reconstruction" on September 10, 1867. He went into practice with Oran Roberts and then with John L. Henry. He practiced privately until his death in Kaufman, Texas on February 17, 1871. He was buried in Tyler.

Notable opinions

Maria v. State, 28 Texas reports 698 (Tex. 1866) (reversing former slave's conviction for murder in second degree on grounds of erroneous jury instruction. Trial court should have charged jury that deceased's whipping of defendant's child was adequate provocation if defendant was found to possess concomitant passion, reducing conviction to manslaughter).

Sources

Anderson, H. Allen. Donley, Stockton P., Handbook of Texas Online (last modified June 6, 2001). http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/DD/fdo14.html

Davenport, Jewette Harbert. The History of the Supreme Court of the State of Texas 86 (Austin, Texas: Southern Law Book Publishers, 1917).

Lynch, James Daniel. The Bench and Bar of Texas 148-150 (St. Louis, Missouri: Nixon-Jones Printing Co., 1885).

Extended bibliography

Davenport , Jewette Harbert. The History of the Supreme Court of the State of Texas 86 (Austin, Texas: Southern Law Book Publishers, 1917).

Johnson, Sidney Smith. Texans Who Wore the Gray 41 (Tyler?, Texas: 1907).

Lynch, James Daniel. The Bench and Bar of Texas 148 (St. Louis, Missouri: Nixon-Jones Printing Co., 1885).

Richardson, Thomas Clarence. 3 East Texas, Its History and Its Makers 1248 (New York, New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1940).

Roach, Hattie. A History of Cherokee County 157 (Dallas, Texas: Southwest Press, 1934).

Speer, Ocie. Texas Jurists 44 (Austin, Texas: the author, 1936).

Additional information available in Southwestern Historical Quarterly as follow:
Volume 38, page 66
Volume 48, page 449
Volume 60, page 17
Volume 62, page 143, 154