Visit The University of Texas homepage
Visit the Tarlton Law Library homepage

Albert Hamilton Latimer (1800-1877)

Associate Justice, Texas Supreme Court, 1867-1869

Albert Hamilton Latimer, Texas legislator, supreme court justice, and signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, was born May 25, probably in the year 1800, in Huntingdon, Tennessee. He was admitted to the Tennessee bar in 1831. Latimer arrived in Texas in late 1833 with various family members and settled near what is now Clarksville in Red River County. He was married three times, fathered nineteen children, and became a successful planter.

Beginning in 1836, Latimer began a long career of service to Texas that encompassed the revolution, the Republic, statehood, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. He attended the Convention of 1836, signed the Texas Declaration of Independence, and fought in the Texas Revolution. He served as a representative in the Fifth and Sixth Congresses of the Republic of Texas from 1840-42, was a delegate to the Convention of 1845, and served as a member of the senate in the Third Legislature in 1849-51.

Latimer, a Unionist, was able to remain in Texas during the Civil War due to his advanced age. In October 1865 Provisional Governor A. J. Hamilton appointed him state comptroller. He left the comptroller position to serve as a federal tax commissioner and oversaw revenue collection for North Texas, and in 1867 he was appointed supervisor of voter registration for that region. He also worked briefly for the Freedman's Bureau, resigning that post in 1867 when he was appointed an associate justice of the Texas Supreme Court.

Latimer was among the anti-secessionist justices appointed following the military removal of state officials in September 1867. Latimer supported A. J. Hamilton in his unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign against E. J. Davis, and was a candidate for Lieutenant Governor on Hamilton's ticket. Latimer resigned the court post in November 1869. Gov. Davis appointed him district judge of the Eighth Judicial District in 1870 and he served in that capacity until July 1872. He died in Clarksville, Texas on January 27, 1877.

Notable opinions

Cannon v. Murphy, 31 Texas reports 405 (Tex. 1868) (ruling in favor of plaintiff's as inheriting mother's community property, since parents' acquired such inchoate right through their settlement and occupation of land).

Hamblin v. Warnecke, 31 Texas reports 91 (Tex. 1868) (holding administrator's sale of land to pay debts invalid because not necessary to pay estate's debts, land, being homestead, was exempt from sale by statute, and sale was fictitious since administrator sold land to himself for no consideration).

Texas Constitution references - Art VII, ยง22

Swindel v. State, 32 Texas reports 102 (Tex. 1869) (affirming defendant's conviction for theft of a gelding as earlier prosecution for horse theft constituted a separate offense and thus did not place defendant in double jeopardy).

Sources

Kemp, L. W. Latimer, Albert Hamilton, Handbook of Texas Online (last updated June 6, 2001). http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/LL/fla44.html

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

Dixon, Samuel Houston. The Men Who Made Texas Free 61 (Houston, Texas: Texas Historical Publishing Co., 1924).

Kemp, Louis Wiltz. The Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence 191 (Salado, Texas: The Anson Jones Press, 1944).

Speer, Ocie. Texas Jurists 52 (Austin, Texas: the author, 1936).

Texas Legislature, House of Representatives. Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832-1845.

Additional information available in Southwestern Historical Quarterly as follow:
Volume 43, page 329
Volume 48, page 449
Volume 49, page 377n
Volume 55, page 180n
Volume 60, page 17
Volume 62, page 145
Volume 64, page 346
Volume 67, page 23
Volume 77, page 250
Volume 78, page 9n
Volume 82, page 257