The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 48, July 1944 - April, 1945

THE SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
VOL. XLVIII APRIL, 1945 No. 4
Zie Semiclon Court of (eras
GEORGE E. SHELLEY
T HE RECONSTRUCTION period of Texas furnishes an interest-
ing chapter in the history of the state; and not the least
important of its phases is that which has to do with the
activities of the Supreme Court which was appointed by the
military commanders then in charge of the state. This court
succeeded the constitutional court, whose members were ousted
at the close of the war; and, when the personnel of that court
is recalled, the tragedy of this judicial dislocation is all the
more apparent. The judges replaced were Chief Justice George
F. Moore and Associate Justices Richard Coke, S. P. Donley,
Asa H. Willie, and George W. Smith - all men of culture,
intellect, and fine judicial ability. No judicial act of this court
was ever the subject of merited criticism; and the precedents
established by the opinions of these men are as firmly fixed
today as they were when announced from the bench.
This court was succeeded, in 1867, by one appointed by
Major General Phil Sheridan, military commander of Texas
at that time. It was composed of Amos Morrill, Chief Justice,
and Associate Justices Livingston Lindsay, Albert H. Latimer,
Colbert Caldwell, and Andrew J. Hamilton. The personnel of
the court changed from time to time during its existence of
more than six years. Five other judges appointed on it were
Moses B. Walker, James Denison, Lemuel D. Evans, Wesley
Ogden, and J. D. McAdoo. Some of these judges were men of
distinguished ability; all were anti-secessionists of the most
pronounced type.
This court, at the time of the decision in the Rodriguez case,
which will hereafter be discussed at length, gained for itself
the historic and derisive appellation of the "Semicolon Court."
It was then composed of Presiding Judge Wesley Ogden and
Judges Moses B. Walker and J. D. McAdoo, the membership
at that time having been reduced from five to three members,
and the designations of presiding judge and judge having been

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 48, July 1944 - April, 1945. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146055/. Accessed September 20, 2014.