Henry W. Lightfoot, lawyer, politician, and jurist, was born in Lawrence County, Alabama, on December 29, 1846. He served in the Eleventh Alabama Cavalry during the Civil War, graduated in 1869 from the law school of Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tennessee, and entered practice in Lawrence County, Tennessee.
He moved to Texas in 1872, first to Sherman and later to Paris, where he went into law partnership with Gen. Sam Bell Maxey. On November 3, 1874, he married Dora Rowell Maxey, adopted daughter of Gen. Samuel Bell and Marilda Maxey, in Paris, Texas. They had two children, Sallie Lee and Thomas Chenoweth. Lightfoot became prominent in Texas politics when he attended the Democratic convention at St. Louis in 1876. He was elected to the state Senate in 1880 and resigned in 1882. In 1884 tragedy struck the Lightfoot household when his wife Dora passed away from cancer. He was a delegate to the 1888 convention, again at St. Louis, where he seconded the nomination of Grover Cleveland.
He became president of the Texas Bar Association in 1889 and in the same year married Etta J. Wooten, daughter of Thomas D. Wooten of Austin. In 1893 Lightfoot was appointed chief justice of the Court of Civil Appeals, Fifth District, to fill the vacancy of Justice Thomas Jefferson Brown, who was appointed associate justice of the state Supreme Court. In the 1894 election Lightfoot was elected to succeed himself as chief justice of the Court of Appeals. He resigned in October 1897 and went to Skagway, Alaska, on legal business. He died on the mission, on August 27, 1901. His remains were sent via train back to Paris, Texas, for burial. He was buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Paris, Lamar County, Texas.
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Galveston Daily News, July 15, 1884. C. W. Raines, Year Book for Texas (2 vols., Austin: Gammel-Statesman, 1902, 1903).
Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“Lightfoot, Henry W.,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 26, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
March 1, 1995