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Forrester Hancock

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from This Was Ellis County

A publication of the Junior Historians,

Waxahachie High School, 1979

This article is an excerpt of The Hancock Building and Lawyer Hancock by Steve Wallace dealing specifically with Forrester Hancock.

Forrester Hancock

William Forrester Hancock, the only child of William P. and Louella Hancock, was born on November 23, 1909, at 701 East Marvin in Waxahachie. Forrester's maternal as well as paternal (see William P. Hancock) grandparents were Ellis County pioneers. Benjamin F. Forrester came to Boz in Ellis County from Mississippi. He served in the Confederate forces in the Civil War and returned home to marry Fanny Green of Boz in 1868. About 1890 Forrester built a home in Waxahachie at 701 East Marvin (the house burned completely in 1978). At the time he owned a freight line and he hauled lumber for the home from Shreveport, Louisiana, on an ox-drawn wagon. The Forresters had nine children, one of which was Forrester's mother. After B.F. Forrester's death, Forrester’s daughter, Mrs. Orr, owned the home. After her family left Waxahachie, the home became known as the Hancock Place and was known by that name until it burned.

Forrester Hancock attended public schools in Waxahachie and graduated from Waxahachie High School in 1927. While a high school student, he was janitor at the Hancock Law Offices. For cleaning the offices, emptying sandboxes, mopping the floors and sweeping the stairs, he earned $7.50 a month.

After graduating from high school, Forrester entered the University of Texas to study pre-medical courses, but changed his mind and majored in law, as had his father. He played football on the University team. After graduation in 1933 with a law degree, he moved into the offices of his father to begin his law career. In February of 1934 he was admitted to the State Bar of Texas and subsequently to the Ellis County Bar Association.

From 1934 until 1937 Forrester served as Waxahachie City Attorney and from 1939 until 1942 as the District and County Attorney for Ellis County.

Though Will and Forrester Hancock utilized the same office building, they were never partners. Each maintained separate files, secretaries, banks and clients. When advice was needed, the father was there to help the son.

As prosecutor and as defense attorney, Forrester has the reputation of one of the most eloquent and efficient in Texas, as many who witnessed his work will attest. As District Attorney he prosecuted many cases, some of which resulted in punishment in the electric chair. At this time he is not proud of having had a part in sending lawbreakers to their death in the electric chair, but that was the law, he stated.

He was never in the courtroom until he went to the university, because his father would not allow it. Forrester was known as one of the best attorneys in North Texas.

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