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Maxey, Thomas Sheldon (1846–1921)

Biography Entry

Thomas Sheldon Maxey, lawyer and judge, was born in Brandon, Mississippi, on September 1, 1846, the son of Robert and Harriet Virginia Maxey. After a year of service in the Confederate Army, he entered the University of Mississippi in 1865. In 1867 he enrolled in the University of Virginia, where he received a law degree in 1869. He served a year in the Mississippi legislature before resigning and moving to Jefferson, Texas. On October 12, 1871, he married Lizzie Coffee; they had one son. He practiced law in Jefferson City before moving in 1877 to Austin, where his partners included Anderson J. Peeler and Samuel R. Fisher. Maxey married Mary Frances Campbell on September 25, 1878. He received law degrees from the University of Mississippi in 1888 and Tulane University in 1897. In June 1888 President Grover Cleveland appointed him United States district judge for the Western District of Texas. In May 1897, in In re Ricardo Rodríguez, Maxey ruled in favor of Rodríguez's right to American citizenship. He also presided at the trial of William Sydney Porter (O. Henry) in Austin in 1898. He resigned the judgeship in December 1916, but continued to be important in affairs of the Episcopal Church. He was a Democrat and a Mason. He died on December 5, 1921.

Austin Statesman, December 5, 1921. Book of Texas: A Newspaper Reference Work (Houston: Houston Chronicle et al., 1914). Harold Chase et al., comps., Biographical Dictionary of the Federal Judiciary (Detroit: Gale Research, 1976). Who Was Who in America, Vol. 1.


  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Politics and Government
  • Judges
  • Lawyers
  • General Law

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

Anonymous, “Maxey, Thomas Sheldon,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed November 27, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.