Hartley, Oliver Cromwell (1823–1859)

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: January 1, 1995

According to some sources, Oliver Cromwell Hartley, legislator and codifier of Texas law, was born in Virginia, but he was more likely born in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, on March 31, 1823. He received his B.A. degree from Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania in 1841 and was admitted to the bar in 1844. He served as a private in the Mexican War and was subsequently promoted to lieutenant. He later supported filibustering campaigns to the south. He married Sarah C. Davis of Bedford in 1845 and in 1846 became disabled and moved to Galveston, Texas, to practice law; that year he was appointed reporter of the decisions of the state Supreme Court. In this position, which he held until his death, he reported volumes four through twenty-one of the Texas Reports. Between 1848 and 1849 he compiled A Digest of the Laws of Texas (1850). In 1851 and 1852 he represented Galveston County in the state legislature. In 1854 he served on a three-man commission to codify the laws of the state, after which he published a volume of forms for use in civil proceedings. He died at Galveston on January or February 13, 1859. Hartley County was named for him and his brother, Rufus K. Hartley.

Harbert Davenport, History of the Supreme Court of the State of Texas (Austin: Southern Law Book Publishers, 1917). Earl W. Fornell, "Texans and Filibusters in the 1850s," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 59 (April 1956). Zachary T. Fulmore, History and Geography of Texas As Told in County Names (Austin: Steck, 1915; facsimile, 1935). James D. Lynch, The Bench and Bar of Texas (St. Louis, 1885). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Lelia Clark Wynn, "History of the Civil Courts in Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 60 (July 1956).

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

Anonymous, “Hartley, Oliver Cromwell,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 27, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/hartley-oliver-cromwell.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995