The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 68, July 1964 - April, 1965 Page: 15
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Judge William Pinckney Hill
the United States officials, when they resumed operation of the
court, did not hesitate to draw a line across the middle of the
page in the admiralty docket and in the marshal's fee book and to
convert both books to United States use.2 But the pleadings and
other papers in the cases, the judgment records, and all official
correspondence apparently no longer exist.2
The first mention of the new court appears to have been a
cryptic statement in the Houston Weekly Telegraph, April 16,
1861: "Some of the lawyers want to know what has become of the
C. S. Court at Galveston. We have heard of no resignation. Can
the News inform us?" This inquiry two days after Fort Sumter
could scarcely refer to any resignation except that of the United
States judge, John C. Watrous, who had left the state many weeks
On October 3, 1861, Hill wrote his friend David G. Burnet and
asked him whether he had seen the Sequestration Act. Hill wrote,
"Truly it is a comprehensive act, but must be administered in
much discretion, or it will destroy some of our people while it
benefits others."2 Two weeks later, Hill was telling the citizenry
that he would administer the act so that the burden would fall
"upon our foes and not upon citizens."
The Sequestration Act placed in the court the power to seize
money and property of alien enemies, and to handle the me-
chanics of such seizures the court could appoint receivers. On
2Law Docket, Criminal Docket, Admiralty Docket, Fee Books, Confederate States
District Court, Eastern District of Texas (United States District Court, Southern
District of Texas, Galveston Division).
SThey are reported not to be at the United States District Court, San Antonio;
Archives, University of Texas Library; Archives, Texas State Library; United States
District Court, Tyler; Federal Records Center, Fort Worth; United States District
Court, Houston. In an undated mimeographed memorandum on the location of
United States and Confederate States records Glenn R. Sanderford, chief of the
Reference Service, Federal Records Center, suggests that a fire in Galveston during
the Civil War, mentioned in Walace Hawkins, The Case of John C. Watrous (Dallas,
1950), 57, may have destroyed them. William Pitt Ballinger, in his diary on March
25, 1862, mentions only the destruction of United States records in the fire, however,
for the Confederate States records had been moved to Houston by that time.
William Pitt Ballinger Diary, March 25, 1862 (Rosenberg Library, Galveston).
4Hawkins, The Case of John C. Watrous, 56.
6W. P. Hill to David G. Burnet, October 3, 1861 (Rosenberg Library, Galveston).
6Tyler Reporter, quoted in Houston Weekly Telegraph, October 16, 1861.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 68, July 1964 - April, 1965, periodical, 1965; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101198/m1/35/: accessed May 1, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.