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PEELER, ANDERSON JAMES

PEELER, ANDERSON JAMES (1838–1886). Anderson James Peeler, lawyer and assistant attorney general of Texas, the son of James and Amanda Peeler, was born in Harris County, Georgia, on April 22, 1838. When he was ten the family moved to Florida, where he received his education. In 1857, before he was twenty-one, he was admitted to the state bar by a special act of the Florida legislature. He established a practice at Newport and within two years had been elected by both houses of the legislature as clerk of the state Supreme Court. Also in 1857 he married Mrs. Elizabeth Frances Walker Byrd of Tallahassee. With the outbreak of the Civil War he was elected first lieutenant and adjutant in the Fifth Florida Infantry; he served first under Gen. Braxton Bragg and later in the Army of Northern Virginia under Gen. Robert E. Lee. After promotion to the rank of captain, Peeler was wounded and taken prisoner at the battle of Gettysburg. He was imprisoned at Johnson's Island in Lake Erie and not exchanged until near the end of the war.

After the war he returned to Florida and was elected to the state constitutional convention, which he served as secretary, and then to the state legislature. In 1868 he was a delegate to the national Democratic convention. Early in 1873 he moved to Texas and established a prosperous legal practice in Austin in partnership with W. J. Montgomery and A. S. Fisher. In 1875 he was appointed an assistant attorney general by Gov. Richard Coke. In that capacity he conducted an investigation of the management of the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville and in 1875 wrote the law authorizing the state to resume its control. He also drafted the state's forgery law in 1876. As a strong advocate of the Constitutional Convention of 1875, Peeler proselytized for his cause in a series of letters to the Galveston News over the pseudonym Publius. He returned to private practice in October 1876. He was the author of Law and Equity as Distinguished and Enforced in the Courts of the United States, published in 1883.

Peeler died in Austin on October 31, 1886, and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery. His son J. L. Peeler also served in the Texas House of Representatives.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Sidney S. Johnson, Texans Who Wore the Gray (Tyler, Texas, 1907). James D. Lynch, The Bench and Bar of Texas (St. Louis, 1885).

Thomas W. Cutrer

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Thomas W. Cutrer, "PEELER, ANDERSON JAMES," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fpe15), accessed October 23, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.