The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 2, July 1898 - April, 1899 Page: 5
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Oran Milo Roberts.
composed of three judges, appointed by the Governor and holding
office for six years; and there were at first eight district courts, the
presiding judges of which were also appointed by the Governor for
six years. 'An amendment to the Constitution in 1850 made all
judicial and most of the 'State officers elective. The first judges
appointed for the several districts, in 1846, were James Love,
William Jones, R. E. B. Baylor, M. P. Norton, 0. M. Roberts,
William B. Ochiltree, John B. Jones, and John T. Mills. All of
these had been district judges under the Republic except Love and
Roberts. Although they no longer constituted part of the 'Supreme
Court, the habits 'and influence of the system formerly existing
continued to lend great efficiency and skill to the administration
,of justice by these courts; and by reason of the large territory cov-
ered by each district, the variety and novelty of t'he questions con-
stantly arising for settlement, and the self-reliance, original
thought, and profound discretion demanded and inspired by the
situation, the district bench was highly respected and was a pow-
erful factor in laying the foundations of our judicial fabric.
The Supreme Court was then composed of that 'triumvirate of
legal worthies--the dii majored of Texan jurisprudence- Hemp-
hill, Wheeler, and 'Lipsoomb; but it is not too much to say that
their labors in moulding the marvelous composite of the Civil and
the Common Law, with its new features of marital and homestead
rights, and its incomparable system of pleading and practice with-
out technical forms of action or distinctions between law and
equity, were vastly aided and enlightened by the intelligence, zeal
and industry 'of the early district judges. The 'decisions of the
Supreme Court under the Republic 'had been few and desultory,
their reported cases were imperfectly presented, precedents for the
anomalous questions that arose were scarce and inadequate, and
the work of both bench and bar was arduous and trying in the
Judge Roberts was located in the oldest and most populous sec-
tion of the State, the bar of his district was the largest and ad-
mittedly the ablest in Texas, and the character of litigation tried
before him was correspondingly complicated and difficult; so that
his experience was laborious ,and varied, 'his capacity for adminis-
tration and decision was taxed to the utmost, and his successful
discharge of his duties 'was so well 'attested that it led to his pro-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 2, July 1898 - April, 1899, periodical, 1898/1899; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101011/m1/9/: accessed April 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.