The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959 Page: 149
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The Reconstruction Courts of Texas, 1867-1873
On March 30, 1870, Texas was formally readmitted to the Union
by an act of Congress, but the Reconstruction period in the prac-
tical sense had not been closed and the Semicolon Court is gen-
erally considered to have been a Reconstruction court.
Under the Constitution of 1869, the governor received a four-
year term. Davis took office on January 17, 1870, and some three
years later, on June 4, 1873, the legislature proposed certain con-
stitutional amendments for submission to a vote of the people.
Among the amendments was a proposal to increase the member-
ship of the Supreme Court from three to five, the justices to be
appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the
Senate for nine-year terms. After some confusion as to a proper
date, Governor Davis finally set December 2, 1873, for the elec-
tion of state, district, and county officials as well as the date to vote
upon the proposed constitutional amendments. At this election,
Richard Coke was chosen governor over incumbent E. J. Davis,
I desired to retaliate, I should have printed these gentlemen's opinions just as they
wrote them and have left them to take care of their own literary fame. But could
I have allowed them thus to try their own hands at reporting, I should have
spared them after I saw the effect which the learned chief justice's first opinions,
after leaving the hands of an experienced proof-reader, had upon his nerves.
I thought he was satisfied with his powers of narrative and rhetoric, and, as re-
quested by himself, I corrected his inaccuracies, as every experienced editor al-
ways does with inexperienced writers."
For an account of the life of George W. Paschal, see James P. Hart, "George W.
Paschal," Texas Law Review, XXVIII, 2g.
Despite Paschal's opinion of the "provisionals," particularly the chief justice, it
appears that Amos Morrill was highly regarded by the Galveston Bar where he
resided after his appointment as judge of the United States District Court for
the Eastern District of Texas in 1872. Ill health forced his resignation in 1883,
and he died in March of the following year. From a resolution of the Galveston
Bar prepared upon the occasion of his death by a committee composed of W. P.
Ballinger, J. T. Brady, and S. W. Jones appears the following statement: "Re-
solved, That the members of the bar of the United States Court at Galveston desire
to express their deep sorrow caused by the death of the Honorable Amos Morrill,
who has been for more than ten years the judge of this Federal district.
"Resolved, That the relations between Judge Morrill and the bar of Galveston,
during all that period, were marked with urbanity, consideration and kindness on
the part of Judge Morrill, inspiring permanent feelings and recollections of regard
and esteem on the part of the bar toward him, of which we desire to preserve
"Resolved, That familiar as he was with Texas law and procedure from their
commencement, one of the oldest and most successful lawyers remaining in the
State, and for many years a judge of our Supreme Court, Judge Morrill brought
to the Federal bench the largest experience and a devotion and pride in the
duties of the station which he filled to the full measure of his ability, with im-
partiality, firmness and justice."-James D. Lynch, The Bench and Bar of Texas
(St. Louis, 1885), 159.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959, periodical, 1959; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/m1/191/: accessed May 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.