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William Beck Ochiltree (1811-1867)

Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the Republic of Texas, 1842-1845

William Beck Ochiltree was born October 18, 1811 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Little is known about his early years. His family lived in Florida and Alabama, and apparently his formal education was limited. Ochiltree began practicing law in Alabama and moved to Texas in 1839. He had several residences and lived in five Texas counties during his lifetime. Married twice, he fathered at least seven children.

Upon settling in Texas, Ochiltree practiced law in Nacogdoches and held numerous political positions beginning with his appointment as judge of the Fifth Judicial District in 1842, which automatically made him an associate justice of the supreme court. Other positions included secretary of the treasury of the Republic (1844), adjutant general of the Republic (1845), and delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1845. He then practiced law for ten years before being elected a representative in the Sixth Legislature of the State of Texas (1855). He moved to Marshall in 1859 and was a delegate to the Secession Convention (1861).

During the Civil War Ochiltree served in the Confederate forces and was elected to the Provisional Congress of the Confederate States in 1862. He resigned the following year due to poor health. He lived in Jefferson from that time until his death there on December 27, 1867 at the age of fifty-six. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Jefferson.

Notable opinions

Titus v. Hardin.

The Republic v. Monroe Edwards.

Sources

Blake, Robert Bruce. Ochiltree, William Beck, Handbook of Texas Online (last updated June 6, 2001). http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/OO/foc2.html

Ericson, Joe E. Judges of the Republic of Texas (1836-1846) 212 (Dallas, Texas: Taylor Publishing Co., 1980).

Lynch, James Daniel. The Bench and Bar of Texas 81-84 (St. Louis, Missouri: Nixon-Jones Printing Co., 1885).

Extended bibliography

Baker, DeWitt Clinton. A Texas Scrap Book Made up of the History, Biography and Miscellany of Texas and Its People 298 (Austin, Texas: Steck Co., 1935).

Biographical Encyclopedia of Texas 283 (New York, New York: Southern Publishing Co., 1880).

Johnson, Sidney Smith. Texans Who Wore the Gray 55 (Tyler?, Texas: the author, 1907).

Kittrell, Norman Goree. Governors Who Have Been and Other Public Men of Texas 154 (Houston, Texas: Dealy-Adey-Elgin Co., 1921).

Lynch, James Daniel. The Bench and Bar of Texas 13, 81, 533 (St. Louis, Missouri: Nixon-Jones Printing Co., 1885).

Richardson, Thomas Clarence. East Texas, Its History and Its Makers 564 (New York, New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1940).

Speer, Ocie. Texas Jurists 554 (Austin, Texas: the author, 1936).

Thrall, Homer S. A Pictorial History of Texas 596 (St. Louis, Missouri: N. D. Thompson & Co., 1879).

Additional information available in Southwestern Historical Quarterly as follow:
Volume 18, page 65, 192
Volume 24, page 290
Volume 25, page 40, 49, 50
Volume 32, page 179, 348
Volume 33, page 232, 242, 315, 322
Volume 34, page 341, 342
Volume 35, page 82
Volume 36, page 71, 228
Volume 37, page 46, 141, 323
Volume 38, page 57, 59, 65, 220
Volume 47, page 378
Volume 48, page 383
Volume 49, page 378, 381n, 545
Volume 52, page 217
Volume 56, page 539
Volume 57, page 449
Volume 60, page 3, 17, 524
Volume 62, page 331
Volume 65, page 449
Volume 67, page 123
Volume 69, page 319
Volume 71, page 349, 350, 354, 375
Volume 72, page 352, 354
Volume 73, page 19, 26, 32, 183
Volume 76, page 7, 145, 151, 158, 159
Volume 82, page 235