Hutchison, William Oscar (1834–1900)

By: Joseph M. Nance

Type: Biography

Published: September 1, 1995

William Oscar Hutchison, soldier and legislator, was born on October 10, 1834, the son of Beverly and Mary Purcell (Hixson) Hutchison of "Peach Orchard," Loudoun County, Virginia. William O. was the oldest of twelve children-nine boys and three girls. He attended the common schools of the county, read law, and in February 1859 received his license to practice. He moved to Texas in 1859 and built a home across from the courthouse in San Marcos. He practiced law with E. Kone. and later with the firm of Hutchison and Franklin. On October 10, 1861, near Austin, William married Leonora Shields Clifton (December 2, 1838-June 8, 1903), who had been born in Terrebone Parish, Louisiana. They had three sons. During the Civil War Hutchison enrolled as a lieutenant in Company A, Thirty-second (Col. Peter C. Woods's Texas Cavalry Regiment, organized late in 1863. In April 1864 he fought in the battles of Mansfield and Pleasant Hill during the Red River campaign. He rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Hutchison later was the first commander of Camp E. C. Woods, United Confederate Veterans. After the war Hutchison enlarged his home, and in 1901, after Hutchison's death, Thomas L. Griffin bought the house. He occasionally ran is as a boardinghouse, where at one time Lyndon B. Johnson boarded. In 1968 the house was designated a Texas historic landmark, and later it was moved to Southwest Texas State University to become the alumni center.

Hutchison was a leader in the Protestant Episcopal Church in San Marcos and for many years superintended its Sunday school. He also was treasurer of the Episcopal Missionary District of Western Texas. As an attorney he invested in land and also in the Cora Miller Mine in Silver City, New Mexico, with Edwin J. L. Green and others. In 1892 Hutchison was elected to the Texas Senate from the Twenty-first District. For a time the only Populist member of that body, he served on the judiciary committee and other committees. In 1894 he was defeated in a bid for election from the Ninth District to the United States House of Representatives. Hutchison died on February 14, 1900, and was buried in the San Marcos cemetery.

Members of the Legislature of the State of Texas from 1846 to 1939 (Austin: Texas Legislature, 1939). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Vertical File, Tula Townsend Wyatt Collection, San Marcos Public Library, San Marcos, Texas.

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

Joseph M. Nance, “Hutchison, William Oscar,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 02, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 1, 1995