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Saturday, May 22, 2004

The First 25 Women Judges in Texas (Or at least among the first 50)

As I research, I continue to be amazed at the judges coming out of the woodwork. I still have very few of the municipal judges, but despite the fact I'm trying hard and fast to actually WRITE the book tentatively entitled She Who Must Be Obeyed: Pioneer Women Judges in Texas I've found another ten to add to the list this week, and nine are among these earliest ones. I'm still researching. I had a tremendous stroke of luck when I last put a list of names, finding somebody who knew Mrs. A. L. Duff (Juliet Barron Duff) well and has given me great information. I know that was luck or fortune, but I'm hoping fortune will happen again. (I also remember winning $87 the first time I played Keno and never again making much more than the cost of the ticket, but that's another vice.)

These women were judges in Texas. They may not be the first 25, but they're up there in front. I've read the Elected and Appointed Officials lists at the Texas State Archives from 1906 through 1988. I could have missed names. Others who should have been listed might not have been. Others were listed and they were not designated "Mrs." or "Miss" and had a name that could have been a man's so I assumed they were men. Some of these listed didn't have a title, and they could be men with names I assumed to be women's.

Municipal court judges are not listed, and they're not collected anywhere. I really need any help anybody can give me for getting those names and places.

Here are my first 25, as of now. If you know something about them, email me. If not, wait until I get the book out to learn the great things I'm finding about them!

The earliest women judges in Texas:

  1. Ophelia Geraldine "Birdy" Crosby Harwood; Mayor, therefore Municipal judge; Marble Falls, Burnet Co.; Elected 1917

  2. Mrs. Mary C. Robertson; JP Precinct 3; Eagle Pass, Maverick County; Elected 11/2/1922

  3. Juliet Barron Duff, Mrs. A. L.; JP; Gaines County; 1924

  4. Helen Marion Therrel Viglini; Municipal Corporation Court; Who knows?; Before 2/1/1925

  5. Hortense Sparks Ward; Special Chief Justice, Supreme Ct.; Texas; 1/8/1925. I found a bombshell about the All-Woman Texas Supreme Court yesterday as well!

  6. Ruth Brazzil Roome; Special Justice, Supreme Ct.; Texas; 1/8/1925

  7. Hattie Lean Henenberg; Special Justice, Supreme Ct.; Texas; 1/8/1925

  8. Beulah Taylor; JP; Harrison Co. (Marshall); Appointed 3/2/25

  9. Mrs. Mary H Peel; JP #8; Kaufman County (Kemp); Elected 1926, 1934

  10. Dollie M. Ray; JP #4; Lipscomb County; Elected 11/6/28

  11. Fay Tipton; JP #3; Northfield, Motley Co.; Elected 11/4/30, 32

  12. Mrs. Carl, Mrs. M. A. Steelman; JP; Harrison Co. (Marshall); 1930, 32, 34. Carl was her first name. M. A. was her husband.

  13. Mrs. Don Crow; JP #3; Bell County; 1/26/1931

  14. Betty Dunman; JP #1; Chambers Co.; Elected 11/8/32

  15. Mrs. A. S. Crump; JP; Cottle County; Appointed 6/12/1933

  16. Dollie Trenfield; JP 4; Higgins, Lipscomb Co.; Elected 11/6/34. My guess is this is the same person as Dollie Ray who earlier held the seat, but she did not hold it continuously. There was at least one man in between.

  17. Mrs. Turner Sadler; JP #2; Gustine, Comanche Co.; Elected 11/6/34

  18. Iris Loraine Stokes, Mrs. R. F.; JP #4; Randall Co.; Appointed 6/11/34

  19. Eclan Smith JP #6; Franklin, Robertson Co.; Appointed 1/1/35

  20. Sarah T. Hughes; District 14th; Dallas; Appointed 2/11/1935

  21. Rosa H. Vankirk; JP #1; Bandera, Fannin Co. Appointed 5/11/36

  22. Mrs. M. M. O'Neal; JP; Crane, Crane Co. Elected 11/3/36

  23. Mrs. Grace Holt; JP; Rockwall, Rockwall Co.; Appointed 9/13/37

  24. Mrs. Velma Davenport; County Judge; Decatur, Wise Co.; Appointed 5/17/38

  25. Mrs. Lillian Bowles; JP #2; Forny, Kaufman Co.; Appointed 9/3/38

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