The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979 Page: 330
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
pioneers. For instance, I discovered that Judge Legett successfully de-
fended my great, great uncle, Sheriff J. V. Cunningham of Abilene, in
a sensational case in Wichita, Kansas, in 1897.
Legett's later years were devoted to his extensive business, farming,
and ranching interests. By 1910 he was one of the wealthiest men in
West Texas. Legett had good perspective and an enthusiasm for the
welfare of the people of Central West Texas. Concerned with the un-
predictability of the cotton market and West Texas rainfall, he origi-
nated what came to be known as the Legett Plan which encouraged
cotton farmers to include "three cows, two sows and two-hundred chick-
ens" on their farms to provide needed diversification.
Though Legett was a successful man in every sense of the word, having
come from an impoverished childhood to great wealth, he linked finan-
cial success to family goals rather than to his own personal goals. In
all cases, family interests appear to have overshadowed his personal
The book justifies the author's nomination of Legett as representative
of the development of the Abilene area. The author has chosen an ad-
mirable subject, located and used a wide variety of source material in a
very polished style. The result is a solid, comprehensive biography
which deserves to be read by anyone interested in the history of West
The unfulfilled dream of every trial lawyer is to reverse roles, just
once, with the judge before whom he has practiced. My brothers at the
bar will envy my opportunity to render this opinion on the memoirs
here submitted by Justice Calvert.
In his memoirs, Calvert describes with candor his life from his birth
in Tennessee, his move to Texas as a fatherless boy, his youth in the
State Orphans' Home in Corsicana and his adult life including twenty-
two years on the Texas Supreme Court. Calvert confesses to a poor
academic record in college but upon receiving his law license in 1931,
he began a legal career in Hillsboro destined to carry him to the office
of the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Texas.
As a lawyer, I enjoyed his stories of his law practice in Hillsboro and
his description of the inner-workings of the Supreme Court but I doubt
if these will have much fascination for the historian. The most notable
historical contributions of the book are his frank accounts of the back-
ground of legislation with which he was involved as a member and
speaker of the Texas House of Representatives and his adventures in
Democratic party events-state and national. Meaningful passages of
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979, periodical, 1978/1979; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101206/m1/382/: accessed November 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.