Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown. Page: 206 of 894
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INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
0. C. HARTLEY,
r Oliver Cromwell Hartley was born in Bedford
County, Penn., March 31st, 1823, where his ancestors,
who emigrated from England, settled soon
after the American Revolution; was educated at
Franklin and Marshall College, from which he was
graduated aud honored with the valedictory of his
class in 1841; studied law in the office of Samuel
M. Barclay, an eminent lawyer of Bedford, and at
the age of twenty-one was admitted to the bar and
began the practice of his profession. In 1845 he
married Miss Susan C. Davis, of Bedford, and in
1846 moved to Texas and located at Galveston.
The Mexican war was then in progress, and, a call
being made for volunteers to rescue the army of
Gen. Taylor from its perilous position on the Rio
Grande, Mr. Hartley volunteered as a private,
and hastened with his company to the seat of hostilities
which he reached soon after the battles of
Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma had been fought,
victories for the American arms which enabled
Gen. Taylor to assume the offensive and obviated
any immediate need for the services of the reinforcements
which were at hand.
On the organization of Col. Johnson's Regiment,
Mr. Hartley was elected a Lieutenant in the company
from Galveston, which, being disbanded during
the summer, he returned to the Island City and
resumed the practice of law. The statutes of the
State were at that time in much confusion as to
arrangement and the members of the bar greatly
felt the inconvenience occasioned by the want of a
sufficient digest. Mr. Hartley prepared a synoptical
index of the laws for his own use, which became
the basis of his admirable " Digest of the Texas
Laws." This work was begun in 1848, and in the
spring of 1850 was submitted to the legislature,
which authorized the Governor to subscribe for
fifteen hundred copies for the use of the State.
His digest fully met the wants of the profession,
and was justly regarded a work of great merit
In 1851, he was elected to represent Galveston
County in the legislature and distinguished himself
as a useful and efficient member. It was said of
him that " he was noted for the frankness and independence
of his bearing and his refusal to enter
into the intrigues and cabals by which legislation is
so often controlled."
While a member of the legislature he was
appointed reporter of the decisions of the Supreme
Court, and held that office until his death. His
skill as a reporter was recognized as eminent.
His analyses are accurate and thorough and his
syllabi present a clear and concise exposition of
the law. He was especially apt and felicitous in
eliminating distinctive principles and establishing
legal results from complicated relations and views
arising from a combination of facts, and his efforts
greatly aided in the development of the peculiar
system of Texas jurisprudence.
In February, 1854, he was appointed by the
Governor one of the three commissioners authorized
by the legislature, "to prepare a code amending,
supplying, revising, digesting and arranging
the laws of the State." The other members of the
commission were John W. Harris and James Willie,
and in their division of the labor, the preparation
of a " Code of Civil Procedure " was assigned to
Mr. Hartley. To this work he applied himself
with great zeal, and with an ambition that the civil
code of Texas should be superior to that of any
other State in the Union; and as an adjunct to its
value and merits he prepared a complete system of
forms to be used in all civil proceedings; but the
State was not prepared to adopt a new civil code,
and its publication was postponed.
The assiduity with which he pursued his labors
upon this work, and which was unremittedly applied
to his duties as court reporter and the demands
of his profession, finally undermined a
naturally robust and vigorous constitution. He
became a martyr to his industry and ambition, and
died of apoplexy of the brain at his residence in
the city of Galveston on the 13th of January,
Mr. Hartley was a thorough scholar. Possessed
of a patient fondness for investigation and the
acquisition of knowledge, he had from his early
youth devoted his life to its pursuit, and his mind
was disciplined by a thorough and systematic
training, and expanded by constant intellectual
nourishment. Before he left his native State he
had attracted the attention of Judge Jeremiah
Black, who was at that time Chief Justice of
Pennsylvania, whose friendship he secured and
retained. He had also won the interest and esteem
of Mr. Buchanan, who gave him flattering testimonials
as a sesame to public confidence in Texas.
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown., book, ; Austin, Tex.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/206/: accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .