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Micajah Hubbard Bonner (1828-1883)

Associate Justice, Texas Supreme Court, 1878
Chief Justice, Texas Supreme Court, 1878-1882

Born in Greenville, Alabama, on January 25, 1828, Micajah H. Bonner was the son of a Methodist minister. He was raised in Alabama and in Mississippi. After receiving his college education at La Grange College in Kentucky, he was admitted to the bar in Mississippi in 1848 at the age of twenty. The following year he relocated to Marshall, Texas, and practiced law in an office he reportedly built with his own hands. Soon he moved to Rusk and went into practice with J. Pinckney Henderson, who had been the first governor of the State of Texas. Following Henderson 's election to the U.S. Senate in 1957, Bonner practiced alone and also practiced briefly with his brother, F. W. Bonner.

Micajah Bonner's judicial career began in 1873, when lawyers from the Seventh District unanimously petitioned for him to be appointed district judge. Gov. Davis obliged their request and appointed him. Bonner relocated to Tyler where he resided the rest of his life. He was reappointed by Gov. Coke in 1874. The Constitution of 1876 provided for an elected judiciary, and Bonner was subsequently elected to the same position.

In 1878 Gov. Hubbard appointed Micajah Bonner associate justice of the Texas Supreme Court to fill a vacancy after Chief Justice George F. Moore resigned. Bonner was then elected chief justice in the next election, and served one term until 1882. After retiring from the Court he returned to private practice in Tyler. He died there on November 28, 1883.

Bonner was described as fearlessly independent, with an "uncompromising regard for truth and justice."


In Memoriam, 60 Texas reports xii (1883).

In Memoriam, 126 Texas reports ix (1936).

Lynch, James Daniel. The Bench and Bar of Texas 116 (St. Louis, Missouri: Nixon-Jones Printing Co., 1885).

78 Southwestern Historical Quarterly 72-75.

Speer, Ocie. Texas Jurists 82-83 (Austin, Texas: the author, 1936).

Extended bibliography

Biographical Encyclopedia of Texas 223 (New York, New York: Southern Publishing Co., 1880).

Brown, John Henry. Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas 652 (Austin, Texas: L.E. Daniell, 189?).

Davenport , Jewette Harbert. The History of the Supreme Court of the State of Texas 136 (Austin, Texas: Southern Law Book Publishers, 1917).

5 A History of Texas and Texans 2487. Francis White Johnson, ed. (Chicago, Illinois & New York, New York: The American Historical Society, 1914).

Lynch, James Daniel. The Bench and Bar of Texas 116 (St. Louis, Missouri: Nixon-Jones Printing Co., 1885).

Manning, Wentworth. Some History of Van Zandt County 144 (Des Moines, Iowa: The Homestead Co., 1919).

Roach, Hattie. A History of Cherokee County 155 (Dallas, Texas: Southwest Press, 1934).

Speer, Ocie. Texas Jurists 82 (Austin, Texas: the author, 1936).

The Encyclopedia of the New West 106. William S. Speer, ed. (Marshall, Texas: United States Biographical Publishing Co., 1881).

Thrall, Homer S. The People's Illustrated Almanac, Texas Handbook and Immigrants' Guide for 1880, 171 (St. Louis, Missouri: N.D. Thompson, 1880).

Additional information available in Southwestern Historical Quarterly as follow:
Volume 52, page 269
Volume 60, page 18
Volume 78, page 72

Memorial Resolutions Presented to the Supreme Court of Texas on January 8, 1936, 14 Texas Law Review 357.

In Memoriam, 60 Texas reports xii (1883).

In Memoriam, 126 Texas reports ix (1936).