Judge Anderson M. Walthall biography

JUDGE ANDERSON M. WALTHALL, a practitioner at the El Paso bar, and at one time judge of this district court of this district, was born in Cole county June 10, 1851, near Jefferson City, Missouri, a son of William Branch and Matilda (Vaughan) Walthall. The father, a native of Virginia, was a representative of one of the well-known families of that state and as a pioneer went to Missouri, locating there in the early ‘40s. He became an extensive and successful planter, displaying marked ability in the conduct of his important business interests. Both he and his wife died in that state.

Judge Walthall remained upon his father’s plantation until about fifteen years of age, being reared in that portion of Missouri which is historic with the names of noted men and is also celebrated for its richness of soil and its bounteous products. On leaving Cole county the family removed to Callaway county, living on the fine estate adjoining the town of Fulton, which has been a noted seat of learning for several generations. Judge Walthall accordingly acquired the greater part of his education in Westminister College, at Fulton, and when his more specifically literary course was completed he entered upon the study of law in the office of Hoakaday & Flood, at Fulton, the senior partner being Judge Hoakaday, who was later attorney general of the state and served on the Circuit bench. Mr. Walthall qualified for practice in his native state, but did not enter upon the active work of the profession there. Instead he came to Texas in October, 1873, and after visiting Dallas and other places decided upon Parker county as a location, with general headquarters at Weatherford. He also taught school for several terms near Springtown, in the northern part of Porker county. These were pioneer times, when the Indians committed many depredations and outrages in Parker county and adjoining districts, and on more than one occasion Judge Walthall was compelled to dismiss his school on account of the threatened invasion of the redskins.

In 1876 Mr. Walthall was licensed to practice in the courts of Texas, and removed to Breckenridge, the county seat of Stephens county, before that county was organized. There he continued in the active prosecution of his profession until 1885, when he made his way still farther west, locating at Pecos, the county seat of Reeves county, where for several years he was recognized as a prominent lawyer of the thirty-fourth judicial district, which includes El Paso county. On the 1st of January, 1898, he was appointed district judge by Governor Culberson to fill out the unexpired term of Judge Buckler, deceased, and after serving for the three remaining years of that term was regularly elected for the full term of four years. He resigned, however, a short time before his term expired, having been on the bench for six years and eight months. On receiving his appointment to the bench Judge Walthall removed to El Paso, where he has since made his home. He had been married to Miss Sallie Harris, a representative of one of the old families of Missouri, and they have a son, Harris Walthall, and two daughters, Mary Miller, now the wife of J. L. Dunn, a resident of Rogers, Arkansas, and Sallie T. Walthall.

While living in Stephens county Judge Walthall had served as county attorney for several years. He is today recognized as one of the leading lawyers of the El Paso bar, being the senior member of the firm of Walthall, Fall & Walthall, his partners being his son Harris and Judge Albert B. Fall. Nature bountifully endowed him with the peculiar qualifications that combine to make a successful lawyer. Patiently persevering, possessed of an analytical mind, and one that is readily receptive and retentive of the fundamental principles and intricacies of the law; gifted with a spirit of devotion to wearisome details; quick to comprehend the most subtle problems and logical in his conclusions; fearless in the advocacy of any cause he may espouse, and the soul of honor and integrity, few men have been more richly gifted for the achievement of success in the arduous and difficult profession of the law.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 430-431.