Sherman Public Library genealogy files
RODE CIRCUIT ON HORSEBACK IN 'OLD DAYS'
H.O. HEAD DIES
TEXAS LAWYER FOR 50 YEARS
Noted Corporation Attorney Passes Away at Sherman Home.
(Special to The News)
Sherman, Texas, April 24 - Judge Henry Oswald Head, prominentas
a corporation lawyer in Sherman for more than fifty years and a former
Associate Justice of the Court of Civil Appeals, died at his home at 7:50
o'clock Wednesday evening after a two weeks' illness.
Funeral services will be held Friday afternoon at 3 o'clock at Central
Christian Church in Sherman, with interment in Sherman mausoleum.
Judge Head was head of the law firm of Head, Dillard, Maxey, Freening,
McReynolds & Haig, and had practicedlaw in this city since 1875.
He was born in sumner County, Tennessee, March 17, 1851, the son of Dr.
James Hershell Head and Barthemia Branham Head, and he came from Revolutionary
stock. His grandfather, Benjamin Head, was a captain in the American
Revolution. His father was a brigadier surgeon in the Confederate
army. A brother served as a private throughout the Civil War on the
AUSTIN COLLEGE GRADUATE
Judge Head was educated in the country schools of Sumner County
and by private tutors. He then entered Cumberland University at Lebanon,
Tenn., where he graduated with the A.B. degree, and he later graduated
in law. After coming to Sherman, he secured his LE. D. degree at
Austin College. He was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi Society of Cumberland
He was elected to the judgeship of the Fifteenth Judicial Districtof
Texas and served from 1886 to 1889. He was an Associate Justiceof
the Court of Civil Appeals from 1892 to 1895, resigning both positions
before the ends of the terms.
TO TEXAS IN COVERED WAGON
Judge Head came to Sherman in 1871 direct from his native State
and immediately after his graduation from the law department of Cumberland
University. He made the trip to Texas in a covered wagon and found
here a thriving community of 1,400 people. On his arrival he associated
himself with the law firm of Hare & Bledsoe, composed of the late Judge
Silas Hare, who later served the old Fifth Congressional District in Congress,
and was also Judge of the District Court, and the late Joseph Bledsoe,
who was also Judge of the District cout. This was one of the strongest
law firms in the State at the time. Judge Head continued to practice
his profession with one or the other of the two until 1885, when he was
elected to fill an unexpired term as Judge of the Fifteenth District court.
After retiring from the bench, Judge Head returned to Sherman and resumed
the practice of law with a former partner, Judge Frank C. Dillard.
Judge P.B. Muse of McKinney came into the firm in 1901.
LAWYER ON HORSEBACK
The young lawyer from Tennessee found a wide field of practice on
his arrival in Texas. The late Judge Binkley was District Judge here
and his district extended as far west as Henrietta and took in a large
scope of country south and east. The lawyers and court officials
rode on horseback from one county seat to another, carrying law books,
briefs and their clothing in saddle bags.
Speaking of the old-time lawyers recently, Judge Head declared that
those pioneer barristers have never been excelled in legal ability.
He related many interesting eventso f the early days.
A humorous eventillustrative of the customs of the times was related
recently. It occurred during a court week in Gainesville. The
hotel there was operated by a man named Fletcher and, as was the custom
everywhere, the guests all bathes their faces in one washpan and used the
one roller towel on the side porch. On this occasion a drummer from
New Orleans, who had slept a little later than the others and was the last
to make his morning ablution, complained to the landlord about the towel.
"You are almost the hardest man to please I ever saw," replied Fletcher.
"At least twenty men have used that towel this morning and you are the
only one to complain."
THEME FOR ROMANCE
Judge Head was married in New Orleanson March 23, 1878, to Miss
Sallie c. Wilson. The incidents of their courtship and marriage would form
the theme for a beautiful romance. Judge Head had a suit against
the father of Miss Wilson, who resided at New Orleans, and he sent the
young lady here to visit a married sister and while here she captured the
lawyer who was opposing her father and forced him to withdraw from the
case before she would set the wedding day.
To this union six children were born, three of whom died in infancy.
Hayden W. Head died in Infancy. Hayden W. Head died in 1922, being at that
time a member of his father's law firm, while Henry O. Jr. and his sister,
Miss Orlena, now Mrs. George Eader, residein Tennessee. Mrs. Head
died in 1918.
District Court was held here twice on the square. Later court
had its session upstairs in the old brick building on the northwest corner
of the square. The present court house was completed in 1875 by the
late capt. L.E. Ely.
Wild geese and ducks were plentiful here in the early days but they
were a menace to growing wheat crops. A man knowns as Butcher Williams,
bought him a...cannon with which to shoot the geese. Priaire chickens
were also here by the millions. There was difficulty in having plenty
of the fowl for dinner in.....
Judge Head was...Houston Oil Company to....suit against the Kirby
Lumber Company, in the Federal Court at Houston. That suit involved
about a million acresof land, much of which was covered by splendid pine
forest and valued at between twenty-five and thirty million dollars.
For his services in this case Judge Head was paid a cash fee of $50,000,
and ever since has been retained by the Houston Oil company as its general
counsel, devoting much of his time to its service.
The first railroad, as Judge Head remembers,the H. & T.C. reached
Sherman in March 1875, the M.K. & T. arriving at Red River in september
of the same year. This is the year that Denison was laid off.
At the time the surveying was done the prairie grass was eight or ten feet
high where the city now is. The T. & P., whose headquarters were
in Marshall, began early in 1872 to build from Sherman eastward, but...only
reached Brookston when a great financila panic of that time came, and it
discontinued its building for serveral years.
A school was being conducted at the time Judge Head arrived here,
shortly afterward, in a frame building on the present site of Kidd Key
College, taught by a Prof. Park and Capt. Le Tellier. After changing
hands a few times this school eventually became Kidd-Key.
Judge Head has been listedin Who's Who in America ever since that
importatn work has been issued, which is proof enought of itself that for
many years he has been widely known and highly esteemed for his profession.