Hawkins, Walace E. (1895–1951)

By: Mark Odintz

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: January 1, 1995

Walace E. Hawkins, lawyer, public servant, and oilman, was born on July 24, 1895, at Brookhaven, Texas, the son of Wiley Pierce and Mattie (Meeks) Hawkins. His family moved to Runnels County when he was five. Hawkins supported himself through college, first Stamford Junior College, then Southwestern University. He was selected as principal of a high school in Dublin, Texas, at age eighteen and briefly represented Runnels County in the state legislature in 1917. For a short time he attended law school at the University of Michigan, then transferred to the University of Texas. His studies were interrupted by World War I; he served in the army as captain of a company of black soldiers on the Arizona-Mexico border. After the war he returned to UT and received his law degree in 1920.

From 1922 to 1924 Hawkins was assistant attorney general of Texas. He developed an expertise in oil and natural-resource law through his work with attorney general and Supreme Court justice Calvin M. Cureton, and, during Hawkins's involvement with the Texas-Oklahoma boundary dispute (see GREER COUNTY), through his association with Texas geologist Robert Thomas Hill. In 1924 he started a private law practice in Houston that specialized in oil and gas conservation cases. Hawkins joined the legal department of Magnolia Petroleum Company in Dallas in 1925 and was made general counsel in 1939. In 1940 he became vice president of the Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association. Hawkins was also interested in legal history; he published El Sal de Rey, a work on the history of mineral law in Texas, in 1947 and The Case of John C. Watrous, a study of District Judge Watrous's involvement in fraudulent land transactions in mid-nineteenth-century Texas, in 1950. Hawkins married Frances Booth in 1921, and they had four children. On August 5, 1951, his youngest child, a teen-age boy, murdered him in their Dallas home. Hawkins is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Austin.

Dallas Morning News, August 6, 1951. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Mark Odintz, “Hawkins, Walace E.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 11, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/hawkins-walace-e.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995

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