John Charles Hoyo, Sr., lawyer, judge, and legislator, was born in Weimar, Texas, on July 20, 1891, to George Peter Hoyo and Emma (Schmidt) Hoyo. He attended Princeton University and the University of Texas at Austin. In 1916 Hoyo received his L.L.B. degree from the University of Texas, where he wrote for the Daily Texan and was one of three honor graduates.
Following his graduation, Hoyo returned to Weimar, where he began his lifelong career in law and politics and won election as city attorney in April 1917. When the United States entered World War I, Hoyo enlisted in the United States Navy and earned the rank of ensign. After the war ended, he returned home and was elected Colorado County judge for one term from 1920 to1922. Hoyo later opened a law practice in Seguin and served as county attorney for Guadalupe County from 1927 to 1930. In 1930 he moved to San Antonio to practice law and eventually established the firms of Hoyo, Sharpe, and Williams; Hoyo, Wideman, and Shelton; and Hoyo Shelton, and Haight. On June 11, 1933, he married Katherine Haensel. The couple had one son, John C. Hoyo, Jr.
In 1940 Bexar County voters elected Hoyo to the Texas House of Representatives, where he held office as a member of the Democratic Party from 1941 to 1946. As a legislator, he sat on a number of committees relating to jurisprudence, business, and taxation. Hoyo chaired the Oil, Gas, and Mining Committee, as well as the Conservation and Reclamation Committee during his terms in the state house.
Following his retirement from the legislature in 1946, Hoyo continued to practice law and support numerous fraternal and philanthropic organizations in San Antonio. In addition to being an active participant in the Texas Bar Association and American Bar Association, he was a Master Mason, Scottish Rite Mason, and member of the American Legion, Eagles, Sojourners Club, and San Antonio Taxpayer’s League. In addition, he was president of the Sons of Hermann Harmonia Lodge No. 1 and chaired the Trust and Probate Literature Committee of the American Bar Association. On December 18, 1957, Governor Price Daniel appointed Hoyo as judge of the 150th Judicial District Court of Bexar County.
On November 13, 1958, Hoyo passed away at the age of sixty-seven in San Antonio, a few days after suffering a stroke while in court. The Texas legislature honored the late Hoyo with a memorial resolution praising him as “an outstanding and respected member of his community” and a “fine, public spirited citizen and dedicated jurist.” After a funeral at Christ Episcopal Church he was interred at Mission Burial Park in San Antonio. Though Hoyo has been repeatedly cited as one of the first Tejano state legislators of the twentieth century due to his Hispanic-sounding surname, he was of French and German extraction.
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Juan Gómez-Quiñones, Chicano Politics: Reality and Promise, 1940–1990 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1990). Legislative Reference Library of Texas: John C. Hoyo (http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/legeLeaders/members/memberDisplay.cfm?memberID=1531&searchparams=chamber=~city=~countyID=0~RcountyID=~district=~first=~gender=~last=hoyo~leaderNote=~leg=~party=~roleDesc=~Committee=), accessed April 21, 2016. Cynthia E. Orozco, No Mexicans, Women, or Dogs Allowed: The Rise of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2009). Colorado County Citizen (Columbus, Texas), November 20, 1958. Weimar Mercury, June 12, 1952.
Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
Politics and Government
Forty-seventh Legislature (1941)
Forty-ninth Legislature (1945)
Forty-eighth Legislature (1943)
World War II
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“Hoyo, John Charles, Sr.,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 27, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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