The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960 Page: 64
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
libraries. There one often finds chronicles of human tragedies,
sufferings, and vindications. For the most part they represent the
result of careful and considered attention given by a group of
judges to some human problem. Many of these recorded opinions
are truly great, written by sensitive, experienced and learned men.
Some contain forthright and challenging statements of those rights
upon which human dignity is based. Others chronicle or reflect
important times of crisis and historical events. Some cases are of
interest primarily because of the persons involved and the light
thrown upon their human qualities and characters. Often, how-
ever, the appellate opinion contains few details from which the
personalities of the litigants may be reconstructed and the larger
portion of the picture remains submerged like an iceberg in a
murky sea. While much information is contained in the Court's
opinion, this situation is to some extent reflected by the report
of the case of Samuel K. Lewis and Edward McGinnis vs. Charles
and Harriet A. Ames2 decided by the Texas Supreme Court
The action was one in trespass to try title involving lands in
Marion County which at one time were owned by Robert Potter,
first secretary of the navy of the Republic of Texas,3 as a portion
of a league and a labor' to which he was entitled under a head-
right certificate issued by the Republic of Texas. The contest was
between Harriet A. Ames and Lewis and McGinnis, who had pur-
chased the property at a sale made by the administrator of the
estate of Sophia A. Mayfield, deceased. Robert Potter died on
March 2, 1842, and the controlling issue in the case was whether
or not Mrs. Ames was Potter's legal wife at the time of his death.
This question was important as bearing upon numerous phases
2Ibid., XLIV, 319.
3Potter County in the Panhandle of Texas (Amarillo-county seat) was named
for Robert Potter, whose services to Texas included signing the Texas Declaration
of Independence and serving as senator and secretary of the navy. This county is a
considerable distance from Potter's Point in Marion County where Potter was
killed. Potter County was created in 1876 (the year after the Supreme Court
decision in Lewis vs. Ames) and organized in 1887.
4A square league contains 4,428 acres.-United States vs. Perot, United States
Reports, XCVIII, 428; United States Reports, Lawyers' Edition, XXV, 251. A labor
contains 177-1/7 acres. See Ammous vs. Dwyer, Texas Reports, LXXVIII, 639, and
Southwestern Reporter, XV, 1o49, in which a league and a labor are referred to as
containing 4,605 acres.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960, periodical, 1960; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101186/m1/92/: accessed June 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.