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Fly, William Seat (1851–1934)

Biography Entry

William Seat Fly, drover, Democratic leader, and jurist, son of Elijah Madden and Nancy Edmondson (McKie) Fly, was born in Madison County, Mississippi, on October 29, 1851. In November 1855 the family moved to Gonzales County, Texas. In 1869 Fly worked in a hide and tallow factory in Rockport and in 1870 drove a herd of horses to Mississippi, where he studied anatomy and physiology and got some practical experience as a clerk in a drugstore. He changed the course of his study, however, and in October 1873 was admitted to the bar at Gonzales, Texas. He became a prominent lawyer and a leader in the Democratic party; he was one of the electors on the Grover Cleveland ticket in 1888, presided over the state convention in 1890, and was chairman of the convention in 1892. He was appointed associate justice of the Court of Civil Appeals of the Fourth Supreme Judicial District in San Antonio in 1893 and was elected chief justice in 1912. He married Cayloma Pilgrim on November 16, 1876; they had one daughter. Fly died on June 1, 1934.

San Antonio Express, June 2, 1934. Clarence R. Wharton, ed., Texas under Many Flags (5 vols., Chicago: American Historical Society, 1930).


  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
  • General Law

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

Anonymous, “Fly, William Seat,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 24, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995